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“This isn’t our present policy of keeping the military option on the table. It is, for all practical purposes, mandating the military option.”

-Senator Jim Webb

Story Transcript

PAUL JAY, SENIOR EDITOR: On September 26, the U.S. Senate, by a vote of 76 to 22, passed the Kyl-Lieberman Amendment, which labels the Iranian Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization. Many people, including leading Democrats and Republicans, say this resolution could be used by the Bush administration to justify military action against Iran.


U.S. Senate, September 25, 2007

SEN. JIM WEBB, (D): Categorizing this organization as a terrorist organization, this isn’t our present policy of keeping the military option on the table. It is, for all practical purposes, mandating the military option. This proposal, Mr. President, is Dick Cheney’s fondest pipe dream.


JAY: So, Senator Clinton, here’s our first question. You voted for the Senate resolution that was used by President Bush to authorize the Iraq war. Here’s what you think of that vote now.


Meet the Press, September 23, 2007

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON, (D): Obviously, if I had known then what I know now about what the President would do with the authority that was given him, I would not have voted the way that I did.


TEXT ON SCREEN: Question # 1: Now that you know now what you didn’t know then, why did you vote to provide President Bush with a pretext for another war? Question # 2

JAY: Senator Clinton, you were the only Democratic Presidential candidate who voted for the resolution. Here’s how you defended your vote.


Democratic Presidential Debate, September 26, 2007

CLINTON: … the Revolutionary Guard in Iran is that it is promoting terrorism, it is manufacturing weapons that are used against our troops in Iraq, to put some teeth into all this talk about dealing with Iran. We wouldn’t be where we are today if the Bush administration hadn’t outsourced our diplomacy with respect to Iran and ignored Iran and called it part of the Axis of Evil.


Here again is Senator Web.


WEBB: The Revolutionary Guards are part of the Iranian government. If they are attacking us, they’re not a terrorist organization: they’re an attacking army.


We asked Professor Randall Hansen if one can focus on the Revolutionary Guard without implicating the Iranian government itself.

PROFESSOR RANDALL HANSEN, MUNK CENTER FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDIES: No, I think it’s impossible to declare the army of any state a terrorist organization without declaring the state a terrorist organization as well.

TEXT ON SCREEN: Question # 2. Didn’t this resolution declare the entire Iranian state as terrorist? Doesn’t this echo the �axis of evil� rhetoric that you have condemned? Senator Clinton, Question #3.

JAY: According to the amendment, the fundamental reason for declaring the Iranian Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization is that it’s accused of supplying weapons to Iraqi militias who are using these weapons to kill American troops. The primary proof given in the amendment is a statement from General Petraeus.


C-SPAN broadcast, September 10, 2007

GEN. DAVID PETRAEUS, MULTINATIONAL FORCE IRAQ COMMANDER: It is increasingly apparent to both coalition and Iraqi leaders that Iran, through the use of the Quds Force, seeks to turn the Iraqi special groups into a Hezbollah-like force to serve its interests and fight a proxy war against the Iraqi state and coalition forces in Iraq.


JAY: After General Petraeus’ testimony in front of Congress, Seymour Hersh in The New Yorker wrote,


A former high-level C.I.A. official said that the intelligence about who is doing what inside Iran ‘is so thin that nobody even wans his name on it.’

Here’s what Senator Webb said about the issue:


WEBB: General Petraeus said the Quds Force, we believe, by and large, those individuals have been pulled out of the country, as have been the Lebanese Hezbollah trainers that were being used to augment that activity. Maliki said there used to be support through borders for these militias, but it has ceased to exist.


TEXT ON SCREEN: Question # 3. Given that the intelligence leading to the Iraq war was manipulated in favor of a war policy, why do you believe this intelligence now? Senator Clinton, Question # 4.

JAY: You said this resolution only empowers economic pressure on the Revolutionary Guard, and that’s what its sponsor, Senator Lieberman, says as well.


U.S. Senate, September 26, 2007

SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN, (ID): This sense of the Senate calls on the administration to designate the Islamic Revolutionary Guard corps as a terrorist organization, allowing us to exert economic pressure on those terrorists who also do business to stop them from killing Americans.


While references to direct military action were negotiated out of the bill, Senator Lieberman and Kyl’s real intent was expressed in the original draft. Here’s what it said:


�(3) that it should be the policy of the United States to combat, contain, and roll back the voilent [sic] activities and destabilizing influence inside Iraq of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran…�

Kyl – Lieberman Amendment
(H.R. 1585 / No. 3017)

It says in point number four,


�(4) to support the prudent and calibrated use of all instruments of United States national power in Iraq, including diplomatic, economic, intelligence, and military instruments…�

These paragraphs were struck out to make the resolution appear less overtly a call for military action. But the intentions of the framers of this resolution is clear. The history of this amendment comes out of Senator Kyl and Lieberman’s involvement in an organization called the Committee on the Present Danger. This group includes former CIA chief James Woolsey, representatives of the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee, the American Enterprise Institute, and the Heritage Foundation. Many of the groups members were signatories to the Project for a New American Century’s open letter to President Clinton in 1998, which called for the use of military force against Iraq to remove Saddam Hussein. The same group released a document in 2000 calling for the projection of American military power around the world, and stated that, quote,


�The process of transformation… is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event–like a new Pearl Harbor.�

Project for a New American Century
(September, 2000)

This was written before 9/11. The Committee on the Present Danger openly advocates not merely economic pressure but regime change in Iran. And the honorary co-chairs of this group, Senators Kyl and Lieberman�

So, Senator Clinton, our final question [Question # 4]: Why are you supporting an amendment drafted and backed by the same political forces that pushed Americans into the Iraq war and continue to advocate an increased use of military force?

Once again, Senator Clinton, we’d love to interview you and ask these questions directly. If you’d like to take us up on our offer, you can contact us through our website at

TEXT ON SCREEN: Five days after voting for the Kyl-Lieberman Amendment and receiving widespread criticism, Senator Clinton signed on to Senator Webb’s motion to prohibit aggressive military operations in Iran without specific congressional authorization (Bill S.759). The bill has not left the Senate Foreign Relations Committee since its initial proposal in March of 2007. Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution already states that only Congress can declare war.


Please note that TRNN transcripts are typed from a recording of the program; The Real News Network cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.

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