Sunday, May 17, 2009

Obama does NOT flip-flop on Iran and the use of military force

This is being represented in many places as President Obama changing his strategy toward Iran:

President Barack Obama says the US has not taken military action against Iran over its nuclear program off the table ahead of the Israeli premier's trip to Washington.

In an interview with Newsweek on Saturday, Obama made it clear that he did not take any options off the table when asked about war with Iran.

"I've been very clear that I don't take any options off the table with respect to Iran. I don't take options off the table when it comes to US security, period," said Obama.

In point of fact, agree with him or not, Barack Obama is being completely consistent on the matter. Here's what I quoted him as saying in a post on September 8 last year:

Speaking on other national security matters, Obama said he would not take military action off the table in dealing with Iran, but diplomacy and sanctions can’t be overlooked.

The Islamic republic is a “major threat” and it would be “unacceptable” for the rogue nation to develop a nuclear weapon, he said.

“It is unacceptable for Iran to possess a nuclear weapon, it would be a game changer,” Obama said. “It’s sufficient to say I would not take military action off the table and that I will never hesitate to use our military force in order to protect the homeland and the United States’ interests.”

To be clear: I don't agree with this policy as stated (it's way too close to the Bush Doctrine of pre-emptive war for my taste), but if you are going to have any credibiity in criticizing American foreign policy, you can't make stuff up.

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