Sen. Joseph Lieberman termed Iran's training of Iraqi insurgents "an act of war" in a Florida appearance Wednesday evening on behalf of Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign.
The independent Democrat from Connecticut spoke at length about the threats facing both the state of Israel and the United States during a town hall meeting at the Palm Beach Synagogue in South Florida, describing McCain as ready to face global dangers as commander-in-chief from his first day in office.
Lieberman said that by loosing its elite Kuds revolutionary force to train extremists to fight in Iraq, the Iranian regime has "been responsible for the murder of hundreds of American soldiers in Iraq." "This is really an act of war," Lieberman added, "A proxy act of war."
Citing the threat of terrorism and Iran's nuclear ambitions, Lieberman praised McCain's experience, saying it had given him "good judgment in war and in peace." Lieberman said McCain is an "idealistic realist" who understands that when confronting al-Qaida and Iran's extremist leaders, "You can not sweet talk them into being reasonable, you can't give them a warm embrace and think they're suddenly going to become our friends."
In an obvious reference to Sen. Barack Obama's plan to negotiate readily with foreign despots, Lieberman said McCain would "never be so confused as to think you can sit down with our enemies without preconditions, unless it will really benefit ourselves." He added that Americans must understand that Iran is the No. 1 challenge to American foreign policy.
In reference to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Lieberman said, "History should have taught us that when we hear a leader of a state make statements so extreme as to seem almost unbelievable, we should take that seriously." Ahmadinejad, he said, regularly leads the Iranian masses in chants of "Death to America."
"We've got to take that seriously," Lieberman said, "because he means it seriously." Early in his remarks, Lieberman drew applause after he announced that former Israeli cabinet minister Natan Sharansky had endorsed McCain.
Asked later if he agreed with Sharansky that an Obama presidency was "a risk" to Israel, Lieberman told Newsmax: "I guess I'd say it affirmatively: A McCain presidency will be good for the state of Israel."
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