The administration has presented the negotiations with Iran as a choice between peacefully preventing a nuclear Iran and going to war with the Islamic Republic.
President Barack Obama cast the nuclear agreement with Iran as a rebuke of the Iraq war on Tuesday as he stepped up his efforts to sell the deal to skeptics in Congress and to the American public.
In a muscular speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Pittsburgh, Obama cast critics of his diplomatic approach as the same kind of misguided war-mongers who pushed for an invasion of Iraq during George W. Bush’s presidency.
“We’re hearing the echoes of some of the same policies and mindset that we’ve heard in the past,” Obama said. His loudest critics, he added, are “the same folks who were so quick to go to war in Iraq and said it would take a few months.”
The administration has presented the negotiations with Iran as a choice between peacefully preventing a nuclear Iran and going to war with the Islamic Republic, but Obama appeared to take the argument a step further to question the credibility of his opponents.
“I believe there’s a smarter, more responsible way,” Obama said.
“We’ve done the hard and patient work” of diplomacy, he added, “instead of chest-beating which rejects the idea of even talking to our adversaries.”
While the critics Obama referred to are largely Republicans, his pitch comes as the White House is working to make sure it has the support of enough congressional Democrats to sustain a presidential veto.
In the 2008 election, Obama’s objection to the Iraq war helped him win the Democratic primary against Hillary Clinton, who as a U.S. senator had voted to authorize the invasion. She has since expressed deep regret for the vote.