When five American soldiers were killed at an Iraqi government building in Karbala in January, Democratic Sens. Chris Dodd and John Kerry erupted in outrage. They both knew one of the soldiers killed, a talented West Point grad. According to The Washington Post, his loss "radicalized Dodd, energized Kerry and girded the ever-more confrontational stance of Democrats in the Senate."
It turned out that Iran's Quds Force helped carry out the attack, providing training to the Shiite group responsible for it. So, the Iranians had effectively killed those Americans, but Dodd and Kerry have yet to become notably energized or radicalized about counter-acting Iran's malign influence in Iraq.
Democrats angered at American casualties in Iraq can't summon more than pro forma denunciations of one of the main forces responsible for them. It's the Iran exception: Because our intelligence on Saddam Hussein's weapons was flawed and the Iraq War devilishly hard, Iran has practically carte blanche from half the American political spectrum to develop a nuclear weapon, kill Americans in Iraq, pledge to wipe a nearby country off the map, arm dangerous militants throughout the region and take Westerners hostage.
These Iranian depredations usually evoke a steely Democratic resolve -- to oppose whatever measures that the Bush administration might be contemplating in response. Sen. Dodd, a Democratic candidate for president (if you hadn't noticed), wrote President Bush a letter a few days ago complaining about "increasingly bellicose public statements by United States officials." What was this reckless saber rattling?
It's hard to know. U.S. military officials have said that three-quarters of the attacks on our troops in Baghdad have been launched by Iranian-linked Shia militiamen. Maybe they are supposed to let these acts of war pass unremarked? Meanwhile, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack has been saying that "we're working on the elements of a resolution" for further sanctions on Iran, pending "ongoing discussions."
Scary stuff, no? It's hardly the equivalent of "Death to America," which Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad shouts at rallies in Iran.
Asymmetrical Politics: Republicans Act Like an Unruly Mob, Democrats Like a Regimented Army | Michael Barone