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The Bruce Springsteen wing of the peace movement could really use some help right now from the Ron Paul wing.

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee is boasting that they have captured Tea Party hero Mike Lee for their war with Iran project. AIPAC says that Senator Lee has committed to cosponsor Robert Menendez' bill S. 1881, which the U.S. intelligence community says would blow up U.S. diplomacy with Iran, putting the U.S. on a path to war.

AIPAC lists 47 Senators as having committed to cosponsor the bill. But as of this writing, only 34 have actually done so. That means that 13 Senators have told AIPAC that they will cosponsor the bill but have not done so yet: Lamar Alexander, Saxby Chambliss, Thomas Coburn, Michael Enzi, Deb Fischer, Orrin Hatch, Jim Inhofe, Mike Lee, Rob Portman, Tim Scott, John Thune, Pat Toomey, and Roger Wicker.

All 13 of these Senators who've reportedly pledged but have not yet actualized a commitment to the Iran war team are Republicans. The presence of Utah Senator Mike Lee on this list is striking because in the past he hasn't been a cheerleader for the war team.

Some Republicans, like John McCain, never met a war they didn't like. But Senator Mike Lee is not one of those Republicans. Senator Lee opposed U.S. military intervention in the Syrian civil war. Senator Lee opposed the U.S. bombing of Libya. If he was against the Libya war and the Syria war, it's not at all obvious why Senator Lee should be a cheerleader for a war with Iran.

Of course, one political difference is that opposing wars in Libya and Syria were perceived among many Republicans as "anti-Obama" positions, while warmongering on Iran is currently perceived among many Republicans as an "anti-Obama" position. People who hope to wake up one day and find that partisan opportunism has disappeared from policy discussions are very likely to be disappointed.

But many Republicans clearly are quite capable of taking principled positions on questions of war and peace, in the sense of not deciding whether they support or oppose a war based on whether there is a "D" or an "R" painted on it. For example, many Republicans strongly oppose the war in Afghanistan, despite the fact that it was started under George W. Bush.

We need these folks to speak up now against war with Iran, and against blowing up U.S. diplomacy with Iran. The policy of trying to address concerns about Iran's nuclear program through realistic diplomacy is not, in fact, a specifically Democratic policy. The P5+1 talks that produced the interim nuclear deal with Iran were started under the George W. Bush administration. The basic idea of the interim nuclear ideal - let's start with an agreement under which you guys stop expanding your nuclear program and we stop expanding our sanctions - has been a theme of U.S. diplomacy since the second term of the Bush Administration.

The power of warmonger Democrats like Chuck Schumer and Robert Menendez is at its height when there is a pro-war wall on the Republican side. If the parties are about evenly balanced, and there's a pro-war wall on the Republican side, a couple of Democratic defectors can tip things to the pro-war side. We could use a few pro-diplomacy Republicans to balance the pro-war Democrats.

The Bruce Springsteen wing of the peace movement is not a political powerhouse in Utah. But perhaps if we start an appeal to Senator Lee not to back the pro-war team, some Republicans who oppose wars of choice will pick up the flag.

Robert Naiman is Policy Director of Just Foreign Policy.


The Senate should not blow up U.S. diplomacy with Iran.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Yes, he can get rid of the Am. Middle class & (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ZedMont, detroitmechworks

    Make evil rich people richer. Win-win for the evil TGOP & their evil rotten  1% bosses, no owners.

    nosotros no somos estúpidos

    by a2nite on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 10:49:54 AM PST

  •  Sure he does* (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The MIC is anxious for blood money.

    *So long as his children are not involved in the fighting.

    Ted Cruz president? Pardon my Vietnamese, but Ngo Pho King Way.

    by ZedMont on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 11:07:32 AM PST

  •  War creates jobs! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Course, we're cutting benefits and reducing the workforce, and outsourcing most of it to private corporations.

    Amazingly, despite all this cost cutting, war seems to COST the same...


    I don't blame Christians. I blame Stupid. Which sadly is a much more popular religion these days.

    by detroitmechworks on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 11:11:12 AM PST

  •  Yes…as long as he or his family doesn't get to go (0+ / 0-)
  •  I can't believe how stupid this is (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Robert Naiman, kyril

    Supposedly Iran is our biggest threat (The fact that it is a miniscule threat compaired to what we spend on the Pentagon and the power that brings...That's a different blog), the fact that we have an historic opening with the new administration of Iran, derailing this chance to convert an enemy into at least an arms-length ally is folly, a blunder, a stupid move.
    I can understand the Republicans on this, it's their NeoCONs wet dream to go raze another oil bearing country and it works to their partisan game as well.
    But the Dems that are pulling this, really disappoint and annoy me.
    And one of them is my Senator: Dick Blumenthal.
    I'm sorry, he seems to be taking the Lie berman trajectory.

    If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

    by CwV on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 12:57:05 PM PST

  •  McCain is beating the war drums though (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    he should really know better.  Most recently, he slipped into Syria and met with some of the rebels for a photo op w/o realizing they were some of the "bad guys".  This was highlighted recently when several al Qaeda associated fighters were summarily executed by other rebels.
    Most recently, McCain is concerned about US interests on the Pakistan/Iraq border.  Somehow, I don't think McCain could find Iran on a map of the ME.

    As far as the other warhawks, all I can do is point to numerous articles detailing why a war with Iran would be more costly for US interests than Iraq or Afghanistan.  This is simply the geography of launching an invasion and maintaining a garrison force.  This also does not take into account that as much as 40%-60% of the world's oil passes through the Strait of Hormuz and various other choke points.  Saddam's firing of the oil platforms has been downplayed in the Western press as the environmental disaster it was, but the Iranians would seek to sink several oil tankers in the first hours of any attack on them.  We would do well to remember in Desert Storm and the Iraqi invasion, we never did manage to take out his mobile SCUD launchers.  Iran has a much more extensive and sophisticated shore to ship missiles      

  •  If we went to war with anyone (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Robert Naiman

    it ought to be Saudi Arabia, one of Al Qaeda's major sponsors. It's a fact that 19 of the 22 9/11 hijackers were Saudi nationals. Saudi money finances madrassas all over the world that frequently preach intolerance and jihadist beliefs. The Al Qaeda radicals in Syria are financed by Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia doesn't even pretend to democracy or freedom at any significant level. Not that I am suggesting we attack anyone, of course, but it just illustrates how dumb and feckless American policy in the region has been since WW1.

    Voting is the means by which the public is distracted from the realities of power and its exercise.

    by Anne Elk on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 01:29:05 PM PST

    •  yeah, or instead of war, we could... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Anne Elk, kyril

      instead of going to war with Saudi Arabia, we could just start messing with them on human rights. you know, we could say, hey, by the way, how come you're the only Muslim country in the world in which women aren't allowed to drive? what's that  about? and what are you doing in Bahrain? and what's going on with your Shia population?

      and also, how about we use our banking network enforcement tools to crack down on their terrorist financing in Syria and Iraq.

  •  There is nowhere else in the Middle East (0+ / 0-)

    Where youth are as committed to a secular, democratic, and pro-education/science state as in Iran. (They've seen the other side close up.) Why would we be trying to turn them against us?

  •  One must wonder (0+ / 0-)

    how they would justify an attack on Iran. Do they put their trust in AIPAC more so than they do in our own intelligence agencies, of which the consensus is that Iran does not have a nuclear weapons program?

    Is it Iran's "nuclear ambitions" we hear so much about? That appears to be the best pretext they can come up with at this time.

    Or do they have reasons they dare not reveal?

    These neoconservatives and their liberal interventionist companions' programs have created failed states in Iraq, in Libya and now working on one in Syria. But then perhaps we should consider whether or not that was their real intention or an acceptable alternative outcome.

    Obviously they have no concerns about those people who live in these places, people who are directly affected by our war mongering and promotion of regime change.

    Orwell - "Political language ... is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable"

    by truong son traveler on Tue Jan 07, 2014 at 08:20:37 PM PST

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