Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Barack Obama: Change you probably shouldn't believe in...

For months Barack Obama has chastised Hillary Clinton over her support for the so-called Kyl-Lieberman amendment, which blamed Iran for the U.S. military's ongoing problems in Iraq and called on the State Department to list the Iranian Revolutionary Guard as a "terrorist organization." Most critics of the amendment, such as Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA), criticized calling a foreign country's chief military forces "terrorists" as an inflammatory move that could ultimately provide the legal justification for an attack.

Naturally, the Obama campaign was eager to create the impression that the now de facto Democratic nominee agreed with that criticism. Several times Obama attacked Clinton's support for an amendment he claimed could set the United States on a path toward war.

Of course, Obama didn't bother to show up to vote on the measure himself, and as his comments today before the annual gathering of the American-Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) reveal, his objections to Clinton's support for that measure had more to do with scoring political points than any real qualms with declaring the military of another country that has never threatened the United States "terrorists":
[W]e should work with Europe, Japan and the Gulf states to find every avenue outside the U.N. to isolate the Iranian regime — from cutting off loan guarantees and expanding financial sanctions, to banning the export of refined petroleum to Iran, to boycotting firms associated with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, whose Quds force has rightly been labeled a terrorist organization.
As ABC News noted last October, Obama previously offered legislation declaring Iran's Revolutionary Guard a "terrorist organization," so this isn't exactly a flip-flop. However, it certainly highlights how little Obama in fact deviates from the mainstream, imperial consensus on foreign policy, despite the claims of Democratic partisans that he somehow represents some sort of fundamental "change". It also highlights the dishonesty of his campaign (surprise! politicians lie!) in playing up his (belated) opposition to the Kyl-Lieberman bill while conveniently downplaying the fact that, well, you know, he agreed with the main thrust of it.

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