Public Comment

The Politically Multi-Faceted Joe Lieberman

By Rizwan A. Rahmani
Thursday August 28, 2008 - 09:36:00 AM

When it comes to party politics, Joseph Lieberman is neither a donkey nor an elephant: He is a politician of a genus that is quite a conundrum. He is more of a platypus, doing a dance of policies that is hewn together by very contradictory political allegiances, and it is duplicitous at best. Once upon a time, he was a Democratic senator from Connecticut, who was also a vice presidential candidate on the Gore ticket. While he ran on the Democratic ticket, he very shrewdly kept his Connecticut senatorial bid alive. After the so called failed ticket of Al Gore, he served his term as the senator from Connecticut (he won his bid). Then suddenly he found himself lost in a primary by a challenger who was a newcomer, and was against the war in Iraq. Then the senator did a political do-over and shed his Democratic skin faster than you could say Connecticut, and turned around and ran as an independent: so much for staying true to your political ideals. It was the sort of political chameleonic act that should have alarmed the voters of the state, and should have raised eyebrows in terms of what he really stood for. 

But by joining the terror chorus of the Bushies, he shrilled forth in unison the fear mantra of the neocons with a pitch that had discordant component of Islam-o-phobia which verged on myopic and hateful, he somehow weaseled out a win as an independent. He was suddenly a true believer of the war and its policies promulgated by the Bush and Cheney conglomerate, and agreed totally with this president. Albeit some of his former party members partially came along with him cowering under populist sentiments of the time. 

I am curious as to who Sen. Lieberman really represents? He certainly doesn’t speak for the Democrats on most foreign policy issues, and he doesn’t seem to have any altruistic allegiances to United States or the Republicans. If anything, he is a staunch supporter of Israel, and the Republican candidate John McCain. He is pleased to be his surrogate and coach him (tell McCain exactly what he wants him to say) on foreign policy issues rather overtly on camera; policies that mostly interest the senator is Middle East and the interest of Israel in the region. Which explains his support of McCain: McCain has been a hawk on the war in Iraq, and sings a distasteful Beach Boys parody about bombing Iran. 

After John Hagee, the controversial pastor, whose support John McCain openly sought, commented about Hitler and the Jews, McCain had the good sense to denounce the pastor finally. But Sen. Lieberman quite curiously still called the pastor a Moses for the Jewish people! The senator takes on his former Democratic Party comrades to defend McCain’s stance on Iraq and Iran, and he is now going to speak at RNC convention a la Zell Miller? He is rumored to be McCain’s possible VP candidate for his unwavering support of the senior senator from Arizona. 

Iran is a tiny midge on the radar screen of United States’ security concerns. All intelligence estimates by the CIA indicate that it is about four to six years away from achieving any viable nuclear weapon. But the same report also found that Iran had stopped pursuing its nuclear ambition in 2003. If Iran did manage to produce a nuclear warhead, it has no means of delivery that betters 1,240 miles by best estimates—which may threaten its neighbors and possibly Israel. However, Iran has been also deliberately exaggerating its own capabilities to thwart any notion of preemptive strike by Israel or the United States. But if you have been listening to the neocons (McCain) and Joseph Lieberman, Iran is a grave threat to United States and civilization as a whole! The senator has been also passing some spurious intelligence report in front of the senate that certain IEDs were Iranian made and were being used to kill Americans, hoping that United States will take the bait and bomb Iran preemptively (Seymour Hersh and Norman Podhoretz egging on alongside) without considering a diplomatic option. There has been no definitive proof of any such involvement; these IEDs were made from parts that are easily available in black market, and anyone with a little knowledge of explosives can put them together. 

A lack of diplomatic recourse has already costed us about 500 billion dollars. United States military is overstretched, and its coffers are virtually emptied, and there is no hope it will get full anytime soon. It is not in its best interest to start another war, let alone with Iran. Iraq may not have been the cake walk the Neocons predicted and duped this administration into believing. But Iran will certainly be a tougher adversary, not to mention the cost of such a war plus the cost in goodwill and human lives. United States cannot afford to wage a war or sully its image any further than it already has in that part of the world. But to Joe Lieberman, that is the least of United States’ problem. So again, whose interest the senator is really representing? 


Rizwan A. Rahmani is an Oakland