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Lieberman Urges Obama to Speak with Greater Clarity on Iran

"It is time to retire our ambiguous mantra."

12:00 AM, Sep 29, 2010 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
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THE WEEKLY STANDARD has obtained excerpts from the prepared text of Sen. Joe Lieberman’s speech, “The Future of American Power in the Middle East,” to be delivered Wednesday at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, D.C. It should cause quite a stir.

Lieberman Urges Obama to Speak with Greater Clarity on Iran

Here is what Lieberman will say: 

“Some have suggested that we should simply learn to live with a nuclear Iran. In my judgment, that would be a grave mistake. And as one Arab leader I recently spoke with pointed out, how could anyone count on the United States to go to war to defend them against a nuclear-armed Iran, if we were unwilling to go to war to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran? Simply put, having tried and failed to stop Iran’s nuclear breakout, our country will be a poor position to contain its consequences.”

“It would also be a failure of U.S. leadership if this situation reaches the point where the Israelis decide to attempt a unilateral strike. If military action must come, the United States is in the strongest position to confront Iran and manage the regional consequences. This is not a responsibility we should outsource. We can and should coordinate with our many allies who share our interest in stopping a nuclear Iran, but we cannot delegate our global responsibilities to them.”

“The single most important test of American power in the Middle East today is whether we succeed or fail in stopping Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons capability, and how we fare on that test will surely affect our standing in the rest of the world.”

“It is time to retire our ambiguous mantra about all options remaining on the table. Our message to our friends and enemies in the region needs to become clearer: namely, that we will prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability -- by peaceful means if we possibly can, but with military force if we absolutely must.”

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