There is a fierce battle going on in Washington, with progressive and pro-diplomacy organizations facing off against pro-Israel organizations to prevent a veto-proof vote to kill President Obama's deal with Iran.
These anti-deal organizations are joined by a number of hawkish figures whose last great foreign policy foray was America's last diplomatic catastrophe: the Iraq war. Here are 10 Iraq war supporters now trying to kill our best chance for a just peace with Iran:
- George W. Bush: The president who invaded Iraq has apparently learned nothing from the experience, arguing in April that Obama negotiating with Iran was “naive.”
- Bill Kristol: Kristol, a long-time GOP apparatchik who today is a board member of the anti-deal Emergency Committee for Israel, was one of the biggest proponents of the Iraq war. “We will, in fact, be greeted as liberators,” he said in March 2003. From his perch at The Weekly Standard, Kristol has asked lawmakers to “kill the deal.”
- David Frum: Frum was a Bush administration speechwriter who coined the term “Axis of Evil” to describe the governments of Iraq, Iran and North Korea, in order to justify the war push. Today, Frum not only opposes the Iran deal but has suggested that Obama is engaged in antisemitic rhetoric for calling out lobbyists who are trying to sink the agreement.
- Lindsey Graham: Graham said war with Iraq was the “only reasonable option”; today he says the deal is like throwing a “can of gasoline” on a fire.
- John McCain: Graham's fellow senator McCain said Iraq was “the right war for the right reasons” as he offered full-throated backing to the adventure. McCain mocks Obama's diplomatic effort, saying the Iran agreement is an attempt by the Obama administration to seek “nirvana."
- Dick Cheney: Cheney, who represents the warmongering arm of the warmongering Republican Party, was a mastermind of the Iraq war. He has claimed the deal would put us closer to nuclear war than at any time since World War II, and plans to give an address against the agreement next month.
- Joe Lieberman: The former Democratic vice presidential candidate who turned against his own party over the Iraq war has stepped up to lead so-called United Against Nuclear Iran, after the last chairman of the group stepped down because he decided to support the deal.
- Benjamin Netanyahu: The Prime Minister of Israel was outside the government in 2002, but he was still called to testify, telling lawmakers he had no doubts about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. He is now claiming diplomacy with Iran threatens the entire world.
- Eli Lake: Lake was a reporter for UPI, arguing about the threat of fantasy Iraqi WMD. Today, Lake is a one-man propaganda operation at Bloomberg View, claiming that Obama is practicing the “politics of fear” in order to achieve peace, rather than the war Lake supported.
- AIPAC: The American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the main pro-Israel lobbying group, lobbied on behalf of the Iraq war. Today, it is engaged in a no-holds-barred fight to kill the Iran deal, with the donors it has arrayed into an outside group pledging to spend as much as $40 million.
The irony of all this is that the Iraq war set up the diplomatic arrangements we are finalizing today. The war in Iraq expanded Iranian influence, and the West's negotiations with Iran are partly a result of a nuclear program that was ramped up in the wake of U.S. wars with Iran's neighbors. There is also added pressure to deal with Iran on the mutual interest of containing ISIS, which would likely never have emerged but for the Iraq war. The nuclear deal is simply an attempt to clean up the mess made by the Iraq war architects themselves.