Lieberman’s Iranian War Fantasy

Senator Joseph Lieberman was once thought merely to be to the right of his erstwhile colleagues in the Democratic Party.

Senator Joseph Lieberman was once thought merely to be to the right of his erstwhile colleagues in the Democratic Party. These days, it sounds like the independent Senator from Connecticut is to the right of most Republicans, including the President himself—especially when it comes to foreign affairs.

Mr. Lieberman appeared on Face the Nation on Sunday, apparently with the primary purpose of rattling a saber in Iran’s direction.

“If there’s any hope of the Iranians living according to the international rule of law … we can’t just talk to them. If they don’t play by the rules, we’ve got to use our force and, to me, that would include military action,” he told Bob Schieffer.

The concept of taking military action against a nation of Iran’s size and capabilities, while the U.S. remains bogged down next-door in Iraq, seems impractical, if not crazy.

Mr. Lieberman, however, has always been an optimist where military force is concerned—witness, for example, his consistently sunny assessments of the situation in Iraq.

The Senator asserted that “we have good evidence” that Iran has a camp at which people are trained to attack U.S. forces in Iraq. A single “strike” could sort the problem out, he suggested, adding that “I think you could probably do a lot of it from the air.”

Sunday’s performance was not the first time that Mr. Lieberman has made hawkish noises about Iran.

“While we are naturally focused on Iraq, a larger war is emerging,” he wrote in a Washington Post op-ed in December. “On one side are extremists and terrorists led and sponsored by Iran, on the other moderates and democrats supported by the United States.”

Mr. Lieberman also suggested that Al Qaeda and the Iranian government were pursuing a joint strategy in Iraq—an assertion that many observers viewed with considerable skepticism, given that Shiite Iran seems to have a greater vested interest in backing forces from its own strand of Islam than in supporting the Sunni militants of Al Qaeda.

And back in April 2006, Mr. Lieberman gave an interview to The Jerusalem Post in which he held out the possibility of U.S. strikes against Iranian nuclear facilities.

Mr. Lieberman’s hard-line approach may be rooted in justifiable concerns about Iran’s intentions. But the solution he suggested on Sunday is a recipe for disaster. It incorporates the same ingredients of hubris, wishful thinking and over-simplification that have cost the U.S. so dear in Iraq.

Lieberman’s Iranian War Fantasy