Friday, February 16, 2007

Bill Richardson on Iran

Matthew Yglesias has a post up lauding Bill Richardson's petition on Iran. He had the same positive reaction I did when I got the notice in my ebag.

If you click through to the post you'll notice a reference to The Table. Yglesias is appending the Richardson petition to the end of a debate on the national blogs about whether we should leave the possibility of an attack "on the table" when discussing the Iran situation.

The debate started with a TPM Cafe post by Ken Baer in which he argued that promising to swear off force in Iran shouldn't be a litmus test. The core of Baer's argument was:

    The reason why Obama, Clinton, and Edwards are all refusing to take the military option off the table is because there is no credible expert on Iran, nonproliferation, or any combination of the two who would advise them to do so.
Baer has been around poltics and blogging long enough to know that if you grandly pronounce that something is "always" or "never," you are asking for a haymaker. Ezra Klein saw Baer drop his gloves and took the easy shot, and it was on. The national "Expert" bloggers picked it up and you can now find posts all over the blogosphere about it.

Which takes me back to the petition. As Yglesias points out, it finesses the "table" question, but put the emphasis where it needs to be -- in favor of diplomacy and pulling out of the apparent glide path to another war. After the preamble, here's the meat of the thing:
    I demand this administration start direct diplomacy with Iran immediately and stop the irresponsible aggression.

    This administration has stubbornly refused to pursue real, honest diplomacy in Iran and engage our allies around the world to help negotiate a solution. Instead, they are pursuing a strategy of non-negotiation and threats of possible US military action. We are clear and united - we want negotiations now and no unauthorized and unwarranted attacks in Iran.
Whether you like Richardson or not in the prez sweeps (as it happens, I quixotically support him), the petition is the best netroots effort I've yet seen on Iran.