George Bush, Dick Cheney, and the neocon warmongers used9/11 to start a war with Iraq and now they're trying to use Iraq to start awar with Iran. And we have to stop them. We owe our American heroes--the men and women in our armed services who are fighting so bravely in Iraq andAfghanistan today--no less. ...As a nation, we stand today at a fork in the road withIran. We have a real choice about the direction we'll take. Onepath will replay the last seven years. It leads toward a dark future ofbelligerence, aggression, and war. We need a new direction--one that willdefuse the Iran threat, rather than aggravate it, one that will make Americasafer, not make the world more dangerous.At the Iowa City speech, John Edwards outlined a comprehensive five-point strategy to contain Iran:
First and foremost, end the preventive war doctrine.
Second, use tougher and more targeted economic sanctions to force Iran's leaders to understand that they cannot continue to buck the will of the international community without destroying their ability to be a modern, advanced nation.
Third, use incentives to convince Iran to abandon its nuclear ambitions and re-join the world community.
Fourth, reengage with Iran using a new multi-level diplomatic approach.
Fifth, reengage with other major nations like Russia and China on the challenges facing Iran.
Today's speech is part of the week-long campaign series of events honoring American heroes from all walks of life. Edwards is highlighting and honoring the bravery and conviction of the men and women in our armed services. Emmett Vanveen of Ottumwa, Iowa, and his son, currently serving in Iraq, were specially mentioned at today's event.
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Here's is the policy paper, in full, issued by the Edwards campaign:
Learning the Lesson of Iraq: A New Strategy for Iran
"Just as George Bush, Dick Cheney, and the neocons used 9/11 to get into Iraq five years ago, they're trying to use Iraq today to get into Iran. And we have to stop them. We owe our American heroes--the men and women in our armed services who are fighting so bravely in Iraq and Afghanistan today--no less. . . . This is a critical moment. As a nation, we stand today at a fork in the road with Iran. We have a real choice about the direction we'll take. One path will replay the last seven years. It leads toward a dark future of belligerence, aggression, and war. We need a new direction--one that will defuse the Iran threat, rather than aggravate it, and that will make America safer, not make the world more dangerous."
- Senator John Edwards
There's no doubt that Iran is an extremely dangerous country. Iran supports terrorist and insurgent activity, threatens Israel, rejects U.N. Security Council resolutions, and appears to be trying to produce fuel for a nuclear bomb. We should take Iran very seriously. As commander-in-chief, if John Edwards ever learned that any nation, including Iran, is threatening an imminent attack, he will do what's necessary to protect America. But there is one thing Edwards believes must not be done--and that is to make America less safe by launching another so-called "preventive war," when the U.S. and the community of nations possess a strong arsenal of diplomatic and economic options that have not yet been used.
George Bush's "preventive war" doctrine was crafted by a radical group of neoconservative Bush administration aides. The doctrine holds that America should shoot first and only ask questions later. It rejects the historic grounding principle of America's national security policy, which is that military force should always be an option of last resort. This radical doctrine was a stunning departure from the policy that kept America safe during both World Wars and during the Cold War. The doctrine led directly to the disastrous war in Iraq and is driving the Bush-Cheney approach today to Iran, including Senator Joe Lieberman's resolution declaring Iran's Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization.
As president, Edwards will get rid of the dangerous "preventive war" doctrine and instead rely on proven national security strategies including overwhelming deterrent strength and retaining every option to address imminent attacks. Unlike Senator Hillary Clinton, Edwards strongly opposed the Lieberman resolution, which will ratchet up tensions and provide Bush and Cheney with the excuse they need to attack Iran. Edwards instead believes that a new multilateral strategy of tough new sanctions and new incentives will defuse Iran and force President Ahmadinejad, the Ayatollah Khameini, and the mullahs to realize their nuclear ambitions and support of terrorism will only put the Iranian nation on a fast track to isolation. Senator Edwards' plan for Iran has five principles:
#1: End the "preventive war" doctrine: We need to ensure that the preventive war doctrine goes where it belongs--the trash-heap of history. As commander-in-chief, John Edwards will reinstitute a national security policy based on building overwhelming deterrent strength and always retaining and planning for the option of using military force whenever we have actionable intelligence of an imminent attack that cannot be deterred through other means--in short, the use of force as a last resort. As president, Edwards will ask his National Security Advisor to remove President Bush's explicit endorsement of "preventive war" from his National Security Strategies. And he will ask his Joint Chiefs of Staff to form military plans in accordance with the national security strategies that we know can keep us and our allies safe--not discredited and dangerous ideological fancies. This strategy will retain every option for keeping America and our allies safe, while showing the world we are once again a strong country that can always win war, but that prefers peace over war.
#2: Use bolder and more targeted economic sanctions: Edwards believes we must use diplomatic "sticks" to force Iran's leaders to understand that they cannot continue to buck the will of the international community without destroying their ability to be the modern, advanced nation they so desperately want to become. First, we must fully enforce the Iran Sanctions Act, a law Congress passed to let the president punish companies that do business with Iran's extremist regime. Second, we must work multilaterally--most importantly, with our Western European allies--to strengthen economic sanctions on Iran. Third, we must completely shut down all Iranian access to the American financial system.
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