Christopher Dodd

November 07, 2007

Clinton deals with fallout from controversial Iran amendment at debate

In MSNBC's recent debate, Hillary Clinton was forced to go on the defensive regarding her vote last month to designate Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps as a global terrorist entity. Clinton was forced to repeatedly deny any support of an attack on Iran.

Well, first of all, I am against a rush to war.  I was the first person on this stage and one of the very first in the Congress to go to the floor of the Senate back in February and say George Bush had no authority to take any military action in Iran.         

Secondly, I am not in favor of this rush for war, but I'm also not in favor of doing nothing. Iran is seeking nuclear weapons, and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard is in the forefront of that, as they are in the sponsorship of terrorism. So some may want a false choice between rushing to war -- which is the way the Republicans sound; it's not even a question of whether, it's a question of when and what weapons to use -- and doing nothing. I prefer vigorous diplomacy, and I happen to think economic sanctions are part of vigorous diplomacy. We use them with respect to North Korea. We use them with respect to Libya. And many of us who voted for that resolution said that this is not anything other than an expression of support for using economic sanctions with respect to diplomacy.

Chris Dodd, who voted against the amendment, saw things differently,

This issue is going to come back to haunt us. We all learned, some of us here painfully, back in 2002 that by voting for an authorization regarding Iraq, that despite the language of that resolution, which called for diplomacy at the time, this administration used that resolution, obviously, to pursue a very aggressive action in Iraq.

Joe Biden, who also voted “no”,  criticized the vote further,

Let's look at what happened from the moment that vote took place.      

Oil prices went up to $90 a barrel. Who benefits from that?  All this talk of war, all this talk of declaring people to be terrorists, drove up the price of oil.         

Secondly, we have emboldened Bush at a minimum. His talk of World War III, totally irresponsible talk. We've emboldened him, Tim, to be able to move if he chooses to move.  They're terrorists. The fact that they're terrorists on one side of the border or the other, we've just declared them terrorists.  That gives him the color of right to move against them.               

Thirdly, this has incredible consequences for Afghanistan and Pakistan. Nobody talks about this. Do 75 of our colleagues not understand?  We have now driven underground every moderate in Pakistan and in Afghanistan. This literally -- literally -- puts Karzai, as well as Musharraf, in jeopardy.            

The notion here is it plays into this whole urban legend that America is on a crusade against Islam. This was bad -- if nothing else happens, not another single thing, this was bad policy.

The president had the ability to do everything that that amendment, that resolution called for without us talking to it. And all it has done is hurt us, even if not another single action is taken. Actions  have consequences. Big nations can't bluff.

Barrack Obama was absent for the vote, but joined in criticizing the outcome of the vote,

I don't think we should be talking about attacking Iran at this point, for some of the reasons that Chris and Joe just talked about. Look, we have been seeing, during the Republican debates, the drumbeat of war. The president has been talking about World War III. That is a continuation of the kinds of foreign policy that rejects diplomacy and sees military action as the only tool available to us to influence the region. And what we should be doing is reaching out aggressively to our allies but also talking to our enemies and focusing on those areas where we do not accept their actions, whether it be terrorism or developing nuclear weapons, but also talking to Iran directly about the potential carrots that we can provide, in terms of them being involved in the World Trade Organization, or beginning to look at the possibilities of diplomatic relations being normalized.

We have not made those serious attempts. This kind of resolution does not send the right signal to the region. It doesn't send the right signal to our allies or our enemies, and as a consequence, I think over the long term it weakens our capacity to influence Iran.

John Edwards went further in his criticism,

Well, I just listened to what Senator Clinton said, and she said she wanted to maximize pressure on the Bush administration.  So the way to do that is to vote yes on a resolution that looks like it was written literally by the neocons?  I mean, has anyone read this thing?  I mean, it literally gave Bush and Cheney exactly what they wanted.      

It didn't just give them what they wanted; they acted on it.  A few weeks later, they declared the Iranian Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization and -- this is going to sound very familiar remember from Iraq, the prelude to Iraq? -- proliferators of weapons of mass destruction.  The way you put pressure on this administration is you stand up to -- you say no.

A lot of us on this stage have learned our lessons the hard way, that you give this president an inch and he will take a mile. And this is about such an important issue, and we have to stand up to this president.  We need to make it absolutely clear that we have no intention of letting Bush, Cheney or this administration invade Iraq (sic) because they have been rattling the saber over and over and over.

And what this resolution did, written literally in the language of the neocons, is it enables this president to do exactly what he wants to do. He continues to march forward.  He continues to say this is a terrorist organization.  He continues to say these are proliferators    of weapons of mass destruction.  How in the world is that Democrats? We're not talking about Republicans now, Chris and Joe -- Democrats standing up to this president and saying no, we are not going to allow this; we are not going to allow this march to war in Iran.

Full debate transcript here.

November 06, 2007

Presidential Candidates Assert that Bush has No Authority to Attack Iran

In a letter sent to President Bush on Thursday, thirty senators warned against attacking Iran, saying that Bush has “no authority.” The letter also expressed concern about aggressive rhetoric from the White House. Bush recently insinuated that if Iran even gained the “knowledge necessary” to make a nuclear weapon it could lead to World War III.

Signers of the letter included presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Joseph Biden.

Senators Hillary Clinton and Chris Dodd are both cosponsoring a Senate Resolution “affirming that any offensive military action taken against Iran must be explicitly approved by Congress before such action may be initiated.”
Hillary Clinton also recently cosponsored senate bill S-759, a bill to block funding for an Iran attack.
ABC reported that “tucked inside”  Bush’s massive $196 billion Iraq spending bill is $88 million to equip B-2 stealth bombers to carry the “Big Blue” bunker busting bomb. The Big Blue weighs in at an incredible 30,000 lbs--15 tons--and the B-2s need to be outfitted with a special rack to be able to carry just one bomb.

The request referred to “an urgent operational need from theater commanders.” As Rebecca Griffin of Peace Action reported, there is no practical application of this weapon in Iraq or Afghanistan. Iran’s hardened and buried nuclear facilities, however, would seem a likely target.

Meanwhile, Zogby publicized the results of a telephone survey claiming that 52% of Americans ¬would support a U.S. military strike to prevent Iran from building a nuclear weapon, and 53% believe it is likely that the U.S. will be involved in a military strike against Iran before the next presidential election,

Hillary Clinton led the survey as the candidate “best equipped to deal with Iran” with 21% of the total vote. Rudy Giuliani and John “bomb, bomb, bomb Iran” McCain were the second and third choices. 

June 22, 2007

Chris Dodd Voted on Iraq

Voted NO on redeploying troops out of Iraq by July 2007. (Jun 2006)
Voted YES on investigating contract awards in Iraq & Afghanistan. (Nov 2005)
Voted YES on requiring on-budget funding for Iraq, not emergency funding. (Apr 2005)
Voted YES on $86 billion for military operations in Iraq & Afghanistan. (Oct 2003)
Voted YES on authorizing use of military force against Iraq. (Oct 2002)


View the Peace Action West 2006 Congressional Scorecard (600k)

June 13, 2007

Christopher Dodd On Iran

“Unfortunately, until very recently the Bush Administration sat on the side lines and did nothing to engage Iran in any meaningful dialogue to press Iran to change course. The United States must exhaust all avenues – robust diplomacy and direct negotiations coupled with economic pressures on Iran’s financial and energy sectors. While the United States should never take any option off the table to advance our national security interests, it is critical that all options be carefully analyzed and the implications of their use fully understood. Based on the Administration’s track record I have no faith that it will behave judiciously.”

Statement, February 13, 2007

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