The front-runner in the campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, Senator Clinton, yesterday reacted to the Bush administration’s announcement of tough new sanctions on the regime in Tehran with the statement, “I’ve been concerned for a long time over George Bush’s saber rattling and belligerence toward Iran.”
One wonders exactly how long. If Mrs. Clinton was concerned about it, she kept it to herself during her February 1, 2007 speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. Then, she said, “U.S. policy must be clear and unequivocal. We cannot, we should not, we must not, permit Iran to build or acquire nuclear weapons. And in dealing with this threat as I have said for a very long time, no option can be taken off the table.” She said, “we need to use every tool at our disposal including diplomatic and economic in addition to the threatened use of military force.”
She didn’t mention her concern about Mr. Bush’s supposed belligerence when she appeared at a pro-Israel rally in New York on July 17, 2006, and referred to the Iranian-backed terrorist groups Hamas and Hezbollah as “the new totalitarians of the 21st century.”
In fact, while Mrs. Clinton may claim that she has been concerned “for a very long time” about Mr. Bush’s supposed belligerence, she’s only started talking about it recently, in an attempt to pander to hard-left Democratic caucus-goers and primary voters. As Mrs. Clinton doubtless understands, the real belligerents in the conflict between America and the terror-sponsoring, nuclear bomb-building, Holocaust-denying government of Iran are the Iranians, not President Bush.
Any suggestion to the contrary is blurring an important national security issue for partisan political advantage. It puts Mrs. Clinton out of step with her party’s leaders on foreign policy issues, such as the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Thomas Lantos, who yesterday issued a statement commending President Bush for imposing the sanctions and calling for even tougher measures. Mrs. Clinton runs the risk of being used as propaganda echo-chamber by an Iranian government eager to portray America as the aggressor. It’s not only irresponsible, but, in light of Mrs. Clinton’s previous statements, difficult to subject to a charitable interpretation.