Bob Barr: Iran is Not an Imminent Threat
Libertarian Candidate Bob Barr on Iran
Bob Barr, a former Republican Congressman from Georgia, currently running for President as a 2008 Libertarian candidate, spoke at the "Time To Talk With Iran" event on Capitol Hill on June 10, 2008. The event was organized by the Campaign For a New American Policy On Iran, a coalition of many different groups (including the Mossadegh Project), both conservative and liberal.
Barr, who has lived in Iran as well as Iraq, says that not talking to Iran "makes no sense", and the President does not have the power to authorize war without the consent of Congress. Categorically opposed to any preemptive aggression against Iran, Barr warns, "an attack on Iran would be unnecessary, counterproductive, costly and dangerous".
Here is Bob Barr's press release from June 10th:
Stop the War Threats, Emphasize Diplomacy with Iran, Says Bob Barr
Washington, DC -- Washington is filled with rumors of pending American or Israeli military action against Iran, says Bob Barr, the Libertarian Party candidate for President. But “an attack on Iran would be unnecessary, counterproductive, costly and dangerous,” he warns.
Our own intelligence services tell us that Iran is not actively working to build a nuclear bomb and is years away from having nuclear weapons capability. “There is no imminent threat, and only an imminent threat can ever justify a preemptive strike,” insists Barr. “The tragedy in Iraq demonstrates the counterproductive consequences of initiating war without any compelling justification.”
Although Sen. John McCain claims to want diplomacy to work, he has joked about attacking Iran, singing “Bomb, bomb, bomb Iran” to the old Beach Boys’ tune Barbara Ann. Sen. Barack Obama has raised the issue of talking with hostile regimes essentially at any time and any place with any hostile regime, but nevertheless pointed to the possibility of military action when he spoke to AIPAC. “Neither Sen. McCain nor Sen. Obama can be trusted to keep the peace,” says Barr.
The potential consequences of war, Barr explains, “include attacks on our troops stationed in Iraq, threats to the Gulf oil trade, terrorist attacks around the world, subversion of friendly Arab and Muslim governments, destruction of the democracy movement within Iran, and enduring hostility towards America throughout much of the world.” To risk paying such a price without attempting to deal directly with the Iranian regime “would be counterproductive, costly, and dangerous. Even as our hand-picked and supported Prime Minister Maliki in Iraq talks with Iranian leaders, and even as the Olmert government in Israel talks with the Assad regime in Syria, the Bush Administration refuses to engage one of the largest and most important countries in that part of the world - Iran. This makes no sense.”
Moreover, notes Barr, a former House member, “the power to declare war on Iran lies with the Congress, not the president.” Unfortunately, presidents have routinely abused their role as commander-in-chief of the military. “The president is to direct any war, but the Constitution vests the power to decide if there will be a war in the legislative branch,” emphasizes Barr.
Defusing the confrontation with Iran will not be easy, notes Barr, “but any nonproliferation strategy must begin with diplomacy and include a willingness to address the other side.” In this way President George W. Bush has failed, and Sen. McCain is set to follow in his footsteps. Sen. Obama may be more inclined to try a new approach, but “he is a weather vane, pushed around by the lightest political breezes,” says Barr. “We need new leadership that is both strong and thoughtful to meet today’s many serious foreign policy challenges, such as Iran.”
Barr represented the 7th District of Georgia in the U. S. House of Representatives from 1995 to 2003, where he served as a senior member of the Judiciary Committee, as Vice-Chairman of the Government Reform Committee, and as a member of the Committee on Financial Services. Prior to his congressional career, Barr was appointed by President Reagan to serve as the United States Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia, and also served as an official with the CIA for eight years. He has graduate and undergraduate degrees in international relations and has lived in both Iran and Iraq.
Since leaving Congress, Barr has been practicing law and has teamed up with groups ranging from the American Civil Liberties Union to the American Conservative Union to actively advocate every American citizens’ right to privacy and other civil liberties guaranteed in the Bill of Rights. Along with this, Bob is committed to helping elect leaders who will strive for smaller government, lower taxes and abundant individual freedom.