Woolsey: Iran War Would Be Devastating
Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey (D-CA) Promotes Direct Diplomacy

Arash Norouzi
The Mossadegh Project
| June 27, 2008     
[Updated June 29, 2011]

Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey of Northern California's 6th district served 10 terms under three Presidents between 1993 and 2011. In June 2011, she announced her decision to retire at the end of her 10th term in 2012. President Barack Obama said of Woolsey, "A fierce advocate for children, families and the people of the North Bay, Lynn Woolsey has never forgotten the people who sent her to Congress for nearly two decades. She is a leader on progressive causes and a fighter for working families, and we will miss her passionate voice in Congress. Michelle and I wish her well and join the people of California in thanking her for her many years of service".

Weeks earlier, on June 3rd, Woolsey criticized Obama's military campaign in Libya, supporting H.Con.Res.51 proposed by Dennis Kucinich to end the bombing of that country.

Lynn Woolsey's record as an outspoken advocate for peace is ironclad. She was the first representative to call for the complete U.S. withdrawal from Iraq, pushed hard for a U.S. exit from Afghanistan, and once endorsed efforts to impeach President George W. Bush over his "deliberate and concerted campaign" to get America involved in a "war of choice". "Nothing has animated me more than my opposition to the wars our country has been fighting for nearly the last 10 years", said Woolsey on June 27th while announcing her retirement. "They are a moral blight on the nation, and I have not been afraid to say so."

On June 10, 2008, Woolsey was one of six representatives who attended the "Time To Talk With Iran" event on Capitol Hill. Woolsey warned that Congress must not allow Bush to get America involved in another "bloody quagmire" because, "an attack against Iran would have devastating consequences for our nation, for the region, and for the world."

House of Representatives
February 25, 2009

Mr. Speaker, I rise to speak about the urgent need for the United States to begin direct talks with Iran about its nuclear program.

Time is of the essence. The United Nations reported last week that Iran has more enriched uranium than the world knew and is now capable of building an atomic bomb if it continues with its enrichment program. Iran also recently put a satellite into orbit showing that it has the ballistic missile capacity to deliver a nuclear weapon against an enemy.

The Iranians insist that their nuclear program is for peaceful domestic purposes only, but their nuclear program has raised fears in the Middle East and made that region an even more unstable and dangerous place.

Mr. Speaker, Iran's advanced nuclear program shows that the Bush administration's policy of refusing to talk was a dismal failure. It called Iran part of the "Axis of Evil." Then for nearly 8 years the Bush administration's approach consisted of saber-rattling and threats of war, and look where that's gotten us. Absolutely nowhere.

As someone who strongly opposes nuclear proliferation, I urge that we launch a vigorous diplomatic effort aimed at getting Iran to behave more responsibly. We must begin that effort immediately before their nuclear program gets even more advanced. In the days ahead, we can look for every possible opening to begin face-to-face talks.

This diplomatic effort must include a strong partnership with the international community. The U.N. Security Council, for example, has demanded that Iran suspend its uranium enrichment program. So we must work with the members of the Council to put peaceful pressure on Iran to do just that.

I think that President Obama described the situation best last August when he said, "My job as President would be to try to make sure that we are tightening the screws diplomatically on Iran and that we have mobilized the world community to go after their program in a very serious way."

So, Mr. Speaker, the President followed up on that, as we know, on his first day in office. In an interview with an Arabic language television station, he said, "If countries like Iran are willing to unclench their fist, they will find an extended hand from us." This received a positive response from President Ahmadinejad, who said that Iran was ready for "talks based on mutual respect." Who knows what he really meant, but I think we should take him up on this, call his bluff. Let's test him to see if he was serious. As Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said, "We won't know what we're capable of achieving with Iran until we're actually there working on it."

Mr. Speaker, Iran is currently suffering from tough economic times, high inflation and international isolation. It is also threatening its people miserably. We could take advantage of Iran's problems by offering incentives and help with their problems if they agree to pull the plug on their nuclear ambitions.

During the past administration, there was a great deal of talk about bombing Iran's nuclear facilities, but we all know that would have led us into another disastrous war in the Middle East, and thank heavens we did not do that. But refusing to engage with Iran hasn't worked so far. It's time for a new policy that stresses international cooperation, conflict resolution, and humanitarian assistance.

With President Obama's leadership and willingness to talk and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's abilities, we can push the restart button, the restart button on our relations with Iran. We must now seize every single opportunity to do so because it appears time might be running out.

Capitol Hill
June 10, 2008 [Time To Talk With Iran]

Washington, DC Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey (D-CA) today joined members of the Campaign for a New American Policy on Iran in calling on President Bush to engage in diplomatic negotiations with the government of Iran. Woolsey made her remarks at a press conference this morning.

Lynn Woolsey Thank you all for being here. And I want to thank my friend Congresswoman Barbara Lee from Oakland, and the Campaign for a New American Policy on Iran for organizing today's event.

This call in campaign is just one of the ways we are sending a clears message to President Bush that Congress is not going to step aside while he expands the occupation of Iraq into Iran.

It's essential that we ensure that the same President who manipulated his way into Iraq isn't allowed to double down and get us involved in another bloody quagmire in Iran.

We are not going to step aside because we realize that an attack against Iran would have devastating consequences for our nation, for the region, and for the world.

Iran would retaliate against our troops in Iraq, against our allies and interests throughout the region.

Oil would spike, threatening our economy here at home. And at the end of the day, our strategic interests would be poorly served - we would have accomplished nothing but further strengthening the pro-nuclear regime in Iran, while weakening our influence and security in the region.

No member of Congress condones the actions of Iran from the bigotry and denial of the Holocaust to its nuclear ambitions. These actions are unacceptable, and we must join with the world community in confronting the government of Iran on these, and other issues.

However, as the bi-partisan Iraq Study Commission has called for, the solution is not through a military offensive, but through a vigorous diplomatic one.

We must stand with our international partners and work with international organizations to confront the Iranian government head on. Negotiating with one's enemies isn't a sign of weakness, and military force can never be the first option.

Lynn Woolsey But we must recognize that any negotiations must come from a position of strength, and the longer that we remain bogged down in Iraq, the weaker we become. Our occupation has emboldened our enemies, and alienated our friends. Bringing our troops home from Iraq will not only help stabilize that country, but the region as a whole. And ultimately, this will strengthen our hand in any direct negotiations with Tehran.

Negotiating isn't just the best choice for this situation, it's the only choice.

And today's event shows just how easy it is - all you have to do is pick up the phone.

Related links:

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA): U.S. Policy on Iran Has Failed

Barack Obama Strongly Condemns Iran's Violence Against Protestors

Congresswoman Barbara Lee: Negotiate Unconditionally With Iran

MOSSADEGH t-shirts - "If I sit silently, I have sinned"

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