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Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace told Shepard Smith the White House was “flabbergasted” when it learned House Speaker John Boehner had invited Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak before Congress.
Chris Wallace BLASTS 'Dicey Politics' Of Netanyahu Sneaking In To Address Congress
Even Fox News is outraged at Boehner and Netanyahu's plan to undermine Obama
Fox News is not exactly known as an ally of the Obama administration, especially when it comes to disputes between Obama and House Speaker John Boehner, or disputes between Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Yet two prominent Fox News hosts, Chris Wallace and Shepherd Smith, harshly criticized Boehner and Netanyahu on Friday for secretly arranging a Netanyahu speech to Congress that is transparently aimed at undermining President Obama, and set up without the White House's knowledge.
The White House, State Department, and many foreign policy observers, including prominent former US ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk, expressed outrage over the move. And, in a sign of just how many lines Boehner and Netanyahu crossed, so did the two Fox News hosts.
Posted by Segami | Tue Mar 3, 2015, 02:41 PM (2 replies)
One of the defining precepts of the American Republic from its earliest days to today has been that the president of the United States represents the country in its dealings with the world. It is a view which the Supreme Court unambiguously endorsed in 1936 in United States v. Curtiss-Wright Export Corp:
"In this vast external realm, with its important, complicated, delicate and manifold problems, the President alone has the power to speak or listen as a representative of the nation. He makes treaties with the advice and consent of the Senate; but he alone negotiates. Into the field of negotiation the Senate cannot intrude, and Congress itself is powerless to invade it. As Marshall said in his great argument of March 7, 1800, in the House of Representatives, 'The President is the sole organ of the nation in its external relations, and its sole representative with foreign nations.'"
This consensus, respected by both parties for much of American history, is why John Boehner's sly decision to offer Benjamin Netanyahu a congressional platform to attack President Obama's negotiations with Iran may represent a watershed moment both for the Republican Party and American support for Israel. It's unclear whether the invitation says more about Republicans' confusion about who precisely they've been sent to Washington to represent, or more about the weakening influence of the conservative pro-Israel group AIPAC as pro-peace, pro-Israel groups like J Street and Jewish Voice for Peace have come on the scene. What seems clear is that when even Chris Wallace of Fox News is " target="_blank">calling the Netanyahu-Boehner manoeuvre behind President Obama's back "wicked," then something has gone very wrong with the Republican sense of the national interest.
Netanyahu's speech may be evidence of hubris run amok on his part, but it is also a vivid illustration of the pervasive and destructive rise of partisanship in American politics over the last few decades. Even as the centre ground vanished on contentious domestic issues, there was at least the idea that the country should speak with one voice on foreign policy. Boehner's invitation to Netanyahu has taken a sledgehammer to that consensus.
Posted by Segami | Tue Mar 3, 2015, 02:31 PM (1 replies)
"...This man from a foreign government walked into the United States legislative Chamber and tried to takeover U.S. Foreign Policy...."
"...He said you should trust me and not your president on this......I am the man you should trust,..I am your true leader on this question of U.S. geo-politics. To protect yourself, you must listen to me and not to this president..."
"...Startling situation,...to allow someone to come in, knowing that was going to be their message in the Chamber of the U.S Congress. This was a decision made by Boehner and certainly complied to by Netanyahu and his Ambassador Dermer. They went into the U.S. Congress to take over U.S. Foreign Policy today from the president. It's a remarkable day when the leaders of the opposition in Congress allowed this to happen..."
"...Think it through....What country in the world would let a foreign leader come in and attempt to rest from the president, control of U.S. Foreign Policy...."
"...This was a takeover attempt by Netanyahu with his complying American partners to take American Foreign Policy out of the hands of the president...."
YOU GO TWEETY!.............CALL IT AS YOU SEE IT........
Posted by Segami | Tue Mar 3, 2015, 01:55 PM (61 replies)
Maybe I missed the post somewhere but I can't find a single quote or statement issued outlining her position on Netanyahu's Historic Speech breach.
If someone has a link, please post!
Posted by Segami | Tue Mar 3, 2015, 07:06 AM (22 replies)
In the lead-up to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s controversial speech before a joint session of Congress Tuesday, White House officials continued to point to what they see as politically divisive and diplomatically damaging theater. President Obama called it a “mistake” for the prime minister to speak before Congress so close to the March 17 elections in Israel. “It makes it look like we are taking sides...it is a distraction from what should be our focus,” Obama said in an interview with Reuters Monday. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said the president probably won’t even watch the speech. “I haven’t looked at the president’s schedule for tomorrow,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters Monday. “I doubt that he will spend his whole time watching the speech.”
Obama Says Talks Include a 10-Year Iran Nuclear Deal
Netanyahu was invited by House Republican leadership to address a joint session of Congress Tuesday, where he will speak out against President Obama’s plan to seek a nuclear weapons deal with Iran. The White House has said the partisanship resulting from the invitation would be “destructive” to the US/Israeli relationship. Earnest warned Netanyahu not to divulge any top secret information about the negotiations that the U.S. may have shared with Israelis, who have received detailed briefings on the negotiations. “Releasing that information would betray the trust that exists between two allies,” Earnest said. He accused Israel of trying to “cherry pick” negative pieces of information gleaned from those briefings in an attempt to undermine the process.
Speaking Monday at a conference in Washington, D.C., hosted by the largest U.S. pro-Israel lobby, AIPAC, Netanyahu insisted his speech “is not intended to show any disrespect to President Obama” and that the Israeli alliance with the U.S. is stronger than ever. “Ladies and gentlemen, the purpose of my address to Congress tomorrow is to speak up about a potential deal with Iran that could threaten the survival of Israel.” Speaking at that same conference later in the day, National Security Advisor Susan Rice said abandoning the talks in favor of immediate sanctions would not stop Iran from producing weapons. Sanctions have not stopped Iran in the past, she said.
And on Sunday, Secretary of State John Kerry said the negotiations with Iran have actually benefited Israel. “Israel is safer today because of the interim agreement that we created,” he said on ABC’s "This Week with George Stephanopoulos." “The 20 percent enriched uranium has been reduced to zero. We have stopped the centrifuge production. We are inspecting inside of their facilities. We have stopped the Arak plutonium reactor in its tracks.” Kerry warned that Netanyahu’s speech runs the risk of becoming a “political football.” Samantha Power, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations -- and the administration’s choice to speak directly before Netanyahu at AIPAC -- also warned about playing politics. “This partnership should never be politicized,” Power said. “The bond between the United States and Israel is still a national commitment. It should never be a partisan matter."
Posted by Segami | Tue Mar 3, 2015, 06:32 AM (3 replies)
Noam Chomsky, an institute professor emeritus at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a world-renowned political commentator and philosopher, issued a stern warning against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — his strategic mission to derail the president’s plan is not for the safety and survival of Israel – but the regional dominance of war-hungry Netanyahu. Chomsky said:
“For both Prime Minister Netanyahu and the hawks in Congress, mostly Republican, the primary goal is to undermine any potential negotiation that might settle whatever issue there is with Iran. They have a common interest in ensuring there is no regional force that can serve as any kind of deterrent to Israeli and U.S. violence, the major violence in the region.”
The famous linguist and anarcho-syndicalist sat down for an interview with Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman and Aaron Mate and delivered a major blow to the Israeli Prime Minister and the Republicans in Congress. Here are some of the highlights from his interview:
“I don’t think anyone with a grey cell functioning thinks that they Iran would ever conceivably use a nuclear weapon, or even try to. The country would be obliterated in 15 seconds. But they might provide a deterrent of sorts. And the U.S. and Israel certainly don’t want to tolerate that. They are the forces that carry out regular violence and aggression in the region and don’t want any impediment to that.”
“Iran is under extremely close surveillance. U.S. satellite surveillance knows everything that’s going on in Iran. If Iran even began to load a missile—that is, to bring a missile near a weapon—the country would probably be wiped out. And whatever you think about the clerics, the Guardian Council and so on, there’s no indication that they’re suicidal.”
“And for the Republicans in Congress, there’s another interest—namely, to undermine anything that Obama, you know, the entity Christ, might try to do. So that’s a separate issue there. The Republicans stopped being an ordinary parliamentary party some years ago. They were described, I think accurately, by Norman Ornstein, the very respected conservative political analyst, American Enterprise Institute; he said the party has become a radical insurgency which has abandoned any commitment to parliamentary democracy. And their goal for the last years has simply been to undermine anything that Obama might do, in an effort to regain power and serve their primary constituency, which is the very wealthy and the corporate sector.”
There seem to be a lot of contrasts between the Republicans who want to “regain power and serve their primary constituency” and Benjamin Netanyahu – all they want is power. Netanyahu is famous for his fear mongering propaganda that Iran has the intent to wipe the Jewish people off the face of the planet. Yet Iran, who is a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, does not have a nuclear bomb. But guess who does have nuclear weapons and is not a signatory? Israel. Netanyahu’s hatred of the Palestinian Muslims (which he is trying to distract us from using Iran) resonates as over four million stateless Palestinians living in Israel have no vote in the active politics. Meanwhile, in big bad Iran, Jewish Iranians do have a vote, and even have Jewish representation. And here I thought Iran hated the Jews. That’s what Bibi has been telling us all long.
“Israel has had nuclear weapons for probably 50 years or 40 years. They have, estimates are, maybe 100, 200 nuclear weapons. And they are an aggressive state. Israel has invaded Lebanon five times. It’s carrying out an illegal occupation that carries out brutal attacks like Gaza last summer. And they have nuclear weapons. But the main story is that if—incidentally, the Mossad analysis corresponds to U.S. intelligence analysis. They don’t know if Iran is developing nuclear weapons. But I think the crucial fact is that even if they were, what would it mean? It would be just as U.S. intelligence analyzes it: It would be part of a deterrent strategy. They couldn’t use a nuclear weapon. They couldn’t even threaten to use it. Israel, on the other hand, can; has, in fact, threatened the use of nuclear weapons a number of times.”
Posted by Segami | Tue Mar 3, 2015, 05:55 AM (21 replies)
RE-WRITING HISTORY........NICE TRY BUT NO CIGAR...
“There's a lot of sympathy for that view in the pragmatic-wing of the party,” he added.
Gabe Horwitz, director of Third Way’s economic program, said moderates have been arguing the case for rebranding the Democratic Party around “the middle class and middle-class prosperity.”
“In the last election, Democrats, as a party, offered a message of fairness. Voters responded, and they responded really negatively,” Horwitz said. “Democrats offered fairness, and voters wanted prosperity and growth.”
Posted by Segami | Mon Mar 2, 2015, 09:09 PM (11 replies)
Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) has joined eleven more Democrats in announcing that they won’t be attending Netanyahu’s speech to Congress. The total of Democrats who are not attending the speech has jumped to 53. In a statement, Sen. Franken said, “This has unfortunately become a partisan spectacle, both because of the impending Israeli election and because it was done without consulting the Administration. I’d be uncomfortable being part of an event that I don’t believe should be happening. I’m confident that, once this episode is over, we can reaffirm our strong tradition of bipartisan support for Israel.”
There are still dozens of House and Senate Democrats who have not made up their minds about attending the speech. If your member of Congress or Senators is not on the list below there is still time to contact them and express your position. Netanyahu’s speech has become a partisan affair, as the attempt to disrespect the president has backfired on both Boehner and Netanyahu as Democrats are staying away by the dozens.
Here is the fully updated list via The Hill of those who will not be attending:(UPDATED)
Rep. Karen Bass (Calif.) — In a statement, Bass said that she would be in Los Angeles for a city council election. “My support for a strong U.S.-Israel relationship has been consistent during my entire time in elected office, and that support will only continue in the years to come. Support for Israel has traditionally been a non-partisan issue, and I want it to remain so,” she said. "Unfortunately, Speaker Boehner mishandled inviting Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak to Congress. Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech is now marred with controversy. Prime Minister Netanyahu has been provided with other options to talk with members of Congress, but he has turned them down to do the public speech. It is truly sad that Speaker Boehner and Prime Minister Netanyahu have chosen to play partisan and divisive politics.”
Rep. Earl Blumenauer (Ore.) — Wrote a Jan. 29 column in The Huffington Post explaining his decision, saying the Constitution “vests the responsibility for foreign affairs in the president.”
Rep. Corrine Brown (Fla.)
Rep. G.K. Butterfield (N.C.) — The head of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) focused on Boehner undermining Obama in a statement and emphasized he's not urging a boycott.
Rep. Lois Capps (Calif.) — Told constituent in a letter posted to Facebook that she is skipping the speech.
Rep. Andre Carson (Ind.)
Rep. Katherine Clark (Mass.)
Rep. Lacy Clay (Mo.) will skip the speech, his office confirmed Monday.
Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (Mo.) will not attend, though he emphasized that he almost never attends the joint-session speeches.
Rep. James Clyburn (S.C.) — Clyburn is the highest-ranking Democratic leader to say he’ll skip the speech.
Rep. Steve Cohen (Tenn.) — “After deliberation, I have decided I cannot in good conscience attend the Prime Minister’s speech. My decision not to attend is not a reflection of my support for Israel and its continued existence as a state and home for the Jewish people. I have always strongly supported Israel and I always will,” said Cohen in a statement.
Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.) — "As a fierce supporter of Israel, I am disappointed in Speaker Boehner's efforts to drag Prime Minister Netanyahu into the GOP's endless efforts to undermine President Obama," she said in a statement.
Rep. John Conyers (Mich.)
Rep. Danny Davis (Ill.) will skip the speech, his office confirmed Monday.
Rep. Peter DeFazio (Ore.)
Rep. Diana DeGette (Colo.)
Rep. Lloyd Doggett (Texas) — "A partisan approach with our critical ally, Israel, is a grave mistake," he said in a statement.
Rep. Donna Edwards (Md.)
Rep. Keith Ellison (Minn.) — He is head of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC), a member of the CBC and the first Muslim in Congress.
Rep. Chaka Fattah (Pa.)
Rep. Marcia Fudge (Ohio)
Rep. Raúl Grijalva (Ariz.) — Grijalva is a co-chairman of the CPC.
Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (Ill.) — A spokesman told the Chicago Sun-Times that Gutierrez has a "strong" record on Israel but called the speech "a stunt."
Rep. Denny Heck (Wash.)
Rep. Ruben Hinojosa (Texas)
Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (Texas) — "The Congresswoman has no plans to attend the speech at this time," a spokeswoman said.
Rep. Marcy Kaptur (Ohio)
Rep. Rick Larsen (Wash.)
Rep. Barbara Lee (Calif.) — A member of the CBC and former head of the CPC.
Rep. John Lewis (Ga.) — His office confirmed he’s not going but emphasized he's not organizing a formal boycott
Rep. Zoe Lofgren (Calif.) — “I am disappointed Speaker Boehner chose to irresponsibly interject politics into what has long been a strong and bipartisan relationship between the United States and Israel. As President Obama has noted, it is inappropriate for a Head of State to address Congress just two weeks ahead of their election. I agree that Congress should not be used as a prop in Israeli election campaigns, so I intend to watch the speech on TV in my office.”
Rep. Betty McCollum (Minn.): "In my view Mr. Netanyahu’s speech before Congress is nothing more than a campaign event hosted by Speaker Boehner and paid for by the American people," McCollum said in a statement."
Rep. Jim McDermott (Wash.) — “I do not intend to attend the speech of Bibi,” he said in an email to a Seattle newspaper.
Reps. Jim McGovern (Mass.) — Told MassLive.com the “timing and circumstances of this speech are deeply troubling.”
Rep. Jerry McNerney (Calif.) — “Rep. McNerney is not planning to attend the speech. He’s got several previously planned commitments for that day.”
Rep. Gregory Meeks (N.Y.) — A CBC member.
Rep. Gwen Moore (Wis.)
Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D.C.)
Rep. Beto O'Rourke (Texas)
Rep. Chellie Pingree (Maine)
Rep. David Price (N.C.) — "Speaker Boehner should never have extended the invitation, given the proximity of the speech to Israel's national elections and the fact that delicate international negotiations, which the Prime Minister wishes to upend, are hanging in the balance.”
Rep. Charles Rangel (N.Y.) — "I'm offended as an American," he said on MSNBC.
Rep. Cedric Richmond (La.)
Rep. Jan Schakowsky (Ill.): Said she won’t attend but is “anguished” that Boehner’s invitation could weaken support for Israel in Congress.
Rep. Bennie Thompson (Miss.)
Rep. Mike Thompson (Calif.)
Rep. John Yarmuth (Ky.) — "We know what he is going to say," the Jewish lawmaker said in a statement.
Sen. Al Franken (Minn.) — “This has unfortunately become a partisan spectacle, both because of the impending Israeli election and because it was done without consulting the Administration,” said Sen. Franken in a statement. “I’d be uncomfortable being part of an event that I don’t believe should be happening. I’m confident that, once this episode is over, we can reaffirm our strong tradition of bipartisan support for Israel.”
Sen. Tim Kaine (Va.) — “There is no reason to schedule this speech before Israeli voters go to the polls on March 17 and choose their own leadership," Kasine said in a statement.
Sen. Patrick Leahy (Vt.) — Leahy called it a "tawdry and high-handed stunt," according to a Vermont newspaper.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) — Sanders, who caucuses with Democrats, said it’s “wrong” that Obama wasn’t consulted about the speech.
Sen. Brian Schatz (Hawaii) — “The U.S.-Israel relationship is too important to be overshadowed by partisan politics," said Schatz in a statement. "I am disappointed in the Republican leadership’s invitation of Prime Minister Netanyahu to address a joint session of Congress with the apparent purpose of undermining President Obama’s foreign policy prerogatives.”
Sen. Martin Heinrich (N.M.) — “I intend to watch his speech about Iran from my office, but I have strong objections to using the floor of the United State Congress as a stage for his election campaign — or anyone's for that matter," Heinrich said in a statement.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) — Warren is "deeply concerned" about the prospect of a nuclear Iran but said Speaker Boehner's actions "have made Tuesday’s event more political."
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.) — “I’m concerned that behind it was a mischievous effort to manipulate domestic politics in both countries, which should not be the terms of engagement between friendly allies,” he said in a statement to local station WPRI.
Posted by Segami | Mon Mar 2, 2015, 08:35 PM (22 replies)
His Kennedy assassination lie is proven by a recording of O'Reilly himself. Why Fox's strategy may suddenly change
Writers and advocates on the left have long catalogued the exaggerations, meltdowns and many stumbles of Fox’s Bill O’Reilly, to show that the guy who runs the No-Spin Zone is frequently unfair and relentlessly unbalanced. But now O’Reilly has a different sort of watchdog in CNN media reporter Brian Stelter, host of “Reliable Sources” – and Stelter is attracting more company. Oh sure, the Fox bully dismisses Stelter — along with his critics at Mother Jones, Media Matters and, for that matter, Salon — as just another left-winger out to get him. But that charge won’t stick. The bright, earnest, hardworking former New York Times reporter isn’t known for his ideological crusading; he goes after MSNBC, not just Fox. But when Stelter finds an important story, he digs in. The CNN host just spent his second straight Sunday on the O’Reilly mess, this time advancing the story about what has become the most damning and incontestable charge against the Fox host: that he lied about personally hearing the suicide of a mysterious friend of Kennedy assassin Lee Harvey Oswald, in Palm Beach, Florida, back in 1977, just as congressional investigators were closing in on the source. O’Reilly told the lie in his book “Killing Kennedy” as well as on the air at Fox. In his book, O’Reilly wrote of tracking George de Mohrenschildt, who’d lived in Minsk and became friends with Oswald and his wife, Marina, in Dallas, after they returned from a stay in the Russian city. Kennedy assassination researchers believe de Mohrenschildt was a CIA asset, and he’s implicated in a lot of theories about the real motive for Kennedy’s murder. O’Reilly doesn’t dig into that story, but he tells a dramatic tale of his search for the Oswald associate:
As the reporter knocked on the door of de Mohrenschildt’s daughter’s home, he heard the shotgun blast that marked the suicide of the Russian, assuring that his relationship with Lee Harvey Oswald would never be fully understood.
By the way, that reporter’s name is Bill O’Reilly.
There’s no evidence O’Reilly was anywhere near the shooting. In fact, two years ago Jefferson Morley obtained a tape of a conversation between O’Reilly and congressional investigator Gaetan Fonzi, which proves he wasn’t there. Morley, a former Washington Post and Salon editor, posted the tape on his site JFKFacts.org, a clearinghouse for assassination news. But it wasn’t easy to hear. After Media Matters surfaced Morley’s reporting, CNN obtained a much more audible version of the taped conversation from Fonzi’s widow. It proves O’Reilly wasn’t on the scene when de Mohrenschildt died. You can hear Fonzi tell O’Reilly “he committed suicide,” as O’Reilly asks when and how (“they say he shot himself). The Dallas-based reporter wraps the conversation by saying, “I’m comin’ down there tomorrow, I’m comin’ down to Florida,” and as he discusses grabbing a flight, it’s clear he wasn’t anywhere close. “Bill O’Reilly did not hear a gunshot from 1,200 miles away,” Morley told Stelter Sunday morning. The journalist and JFK assassination investigator took his findings to Fox News two years ago, he said, but got no reply. Since Media Matters revived the Morley story, Fox has referred all questions to O’Reilly’s publisher, which is mildly interesting, since on the other charges Roger Ailes has staunchly stood behind his anchor. The Kennedy lie is different from the other charges against O’Reilly – although as the number of challenged O’Reilly claims mount, it’s possible to wonder how much more reporters have yet to uncover. Let’s take them in order.
When it comes to reporting on his exaggerations and falsehoods about his time covering the Falklands War and guerrilla uprisings in El Salvador, there is at least some confusion over the real story. Although it’s clear O’Reilly didn’t come close to combat in the Falklands as he claimed, he’s been able to produce enough conflicting accounts about the Buenos Aires riot that he did cover to at least cloud the charges against him. Likewise, he obviously, even ludicrously exaggerated the danger he saw reporting in El Salvador, but you have to sort through different versions of different war scenes to get the truth. O’Reilly’s claims that he witnessed the murder of nuns in El Salvador – “I saw nuns get shot in the back of the head,” he said more than once – were debunked by Media Matters too. But the Fox host told Mediaite, one of his go-to defenders, that he was referring to seeing photos of the murdered nuns, not the actual murders. “No one could possibly take that segment as reporting on El Salvador,” O’Reilly sputtered. Critics widely mocked him, but he seems to be getting away with that one too. Then former colleagues came forward in the Guardian to refute O’Reilly’s heroic accounts of his reporting on the 1992 Los Angeles riots. O’Reilly claimed “concrete was raining down on us” and “we were attacked by protesters,” but journalists on the scene with him say they faced no such violence, though a camera was smashed by an angry resident. Jon Swaine reported:
Two of the team said the man was angered specifically by O’Reilly behaving disrespectfully after arriving at the smoking remains of his neighbourhood in a limousine, whose driver at one point began polishing the vehicle. O’Reilly is said to have shouted at the man and asked him: “Don’t you know who I am?”
Posted by Segami | Mon Mar 2, 2015, 07:25 PM (4 replies)
"...Israel’s prime minister is in Washington to build American support, bolster his re-election campaign, and (clandestinely) push for war on Iran. He should be careful what he wishes for...."
So Bibi Netanyahu did not back down, and he’s here now in the United States, and he’s giving the speech Tuesday. In doing so, he has forced a true low point in U.S.-Israel relations. As has been often observed, he’s turning Israel into a partisan issue—up to somewhere around a quarter of congressional Democrats are refusing to attend the speech. That’s a crack, a big one. If he remains prime minister after the March 17 elections, the fissures between Netanyahu’s government and Barack Obama and the Democrats will only widen. Congressional support for Israel is due for a reconsideration. As Scott McConnell wrote last month in The American Conservative (an anti-neocon magazine), Congress “does not come close to representing the views of the American people” on Israel, either with respect to Iran or the occupation. McConnell cites all the requisite poll numbers that make the case.
Now, Congress can go a long time without representing American public opinion. On certain big-money issues like banking, that’s all Congress does. But on most issues, Congress at least has to act like it’s listening to the American people, and on foreign policy questions in particular, Congress, and for that matter the president, can’t usually go where the American people don’t want to go. Obama probably wanted to drop a smattering of bombs on Syria in 2013, but public opinion was dead set against it. And remember how the Bush administration had to work public opinion in 2002 and 2003 to make sure the lies about Saddam Husssein’s nuclear ambitions got support levels up to 60 percent or so before it launched the war. So one of these days, in two years or five or six, congressional fealty to Israel will cease being so bipartisan and reflexive—and that will be entirely an outcome of Netanyahu (and John Boehner’s and Ron Dermer’s and AIPAC’s) making. But all that is just politics. Netanyahu is creating a much bigger problem here. Ultimately, he wants war with Iran. And American neoconservatives want it, too. Few of them will say so (although some do—see below). But that’s what they want, and we need to be clear about it.
Think about it. What is the alternative to negotiating with Iran? Well, there is only one: not negotiating with Iran. And what are the possible courses of action under that option? At the end of the day, there are two. Number one, let Iran do what it wants. Number two, ultimately, be willing to start a war to block Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Knowing the neocons’ world view as I’m sure you do, how willing do you think they’d be to let Iran do what it wants? Correct. Not very. That leaves war. There is the step of tougher sanctions as a middle course, but sanctions, even crippling ones, don’t usually change a regime’s behavior. So the clear implication of the anti-negotiation position is war—with a country of 77 million people, a huge army, and formidable wealth. As a point of comparison, Iraq in 2003 had about a third of Iran’s population. As noted above, not many on the right are going to be honest enough to speak openly of war. The Republican presidential candidates, for example, don’t want the American public to think they’re crazy, so they won’t admit this—although interestingly, Rick Santorum became, I believe, the first Republican candidate to call for up to 10,000 U.S. combat troops on the ground to fight the so-called Islamic State.
With regard to Iran, the candidates hide behind the usual euphemisms. But a few war-makers are coming out of the closet. Matt Welch of Reason noted last week that on a panel at CPAC, both John Bolton and new Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton spoke openly of the desire for regime change in Iran. Bolton said U.S. policy toward Iran should be “overthrow of the ayatollahs.” Cotton added that we need regime change and “replacement with a pro-Western regime.” Where is Netanyahu on this? Every indication he’s given us is that he’s on the Bolton-Cotton team. I don’t doubt that the prime minister sincerely believes that a nuclear-armed Islamic Republic would be catastrophic for Israel, and we should not dismiss that concern. No opponent of the neoconservative approach should be foolish enough to think that we can trust Iran. Israel has good reason to be worried. (I will, however, mention here Israel’s own 100-odd nuclear warheads, just on principle, because they always go unmentioned in columns like these.) So Netanyahu wants, at the very least, a bombing campaign. But you know as well as I do that most of the leading experts say Iran’s centrifuge capacities are now too numerous and too geographically disparate for a bombing campaign of the usual scope to be very effective. That means a bombing campaign of unusual scope.
Posted by Segami | Mon Mar 2, 2015, 07:47 AM (10 replies)