Lobbying for War
(AntiWar.com) -- by Philip Giraldi --
There has been considerable discussion of the meaning, or lack thereof, of the apparent difference of opinion between the United States and Israel over both the desirability and the possible timing of going to war with Iran. Those Americans who still revere the Constitution and the advice of the Founding Fathers should rightly be appalled that a war is even being considered on behalf of a small client state with which the United States has no treaty obliging such intervention. War with Iran would undoubtedly follow the usual pattern, being authorized by the White House without the constitutionally mandated declaration of war by Congress and likely developing out of an evolving situation in which Israel is being given a free pass to initiate the conflict.
That the United States is in such a parlous condition is directly due to the effective work of Israel’s principal lobby in Washington, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), which has just completed its annual convention. Consider what AIPAC and its friends in Congress and the media have accomplished: Understanding that the truth about Iran would not support their case, they have completely skewed the narrative about the threat posed by that country. Iran has no nuclear weapon, has not made a decision to acquire one, and may not even have the technical ability or financial resources to do so even if its government decides to move in that direction. Yet, AIPAC has succeeded in convincing the American public that Iran is already a nuclear power and is somehow a threat to the United States, all despite the fact that Iran, far from being an aggressor, has been on the receiving end of covert operations run by Washington and Tel Aviv that have killed scores of Iranians. President Barack Obama has unhesitatingly endorsed the AIPAC line, emphasizing in his speech to that organization on March 4 that Iran is a security problem for the United States and the entire world, an elaboration straight out of Israel’s playbook that was noted approvingly by no less than Tom Friedman of The New York Times. Friedman asks “whether he [Obama] is the most pro-Israel president in history or just one of the most.”
AIPAC has also been effective in lining up Capitol Hill in its support. One third of Congress attended the AIPAC conference, and a number of individual legislators have been actively promoting the lobby’s line. Sen. Carl Levin is now calling for a military blockade of Iran, a clear act of war. Thirty-two senators, including Lindsey Graham, John McCain, and Joe Lieberman, are supporting legislation that will essentially authorize taking military action against Iran because it has the “capability” to create a nuclear weapon, a line that has already been crossed by Tehran as well as by other states in the region, including Turkey, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia. Why pick on Iran? Because that is what Israel wants (Israel, one might add, has, unlike Iran, attacked a number of its neighbors in recent years). Israel also possesses its own secret nuclear arsenal, giving it a combination of political recklessness and potentially cataclysmic military power that apparently causes no heartburn in Congress...
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who repeatedly and hyperbolically calls Iran a threat to the whole world, has the whip hand in the relationship and he knows it, even if Obama thinks that he might have contrived some wiggle room. Steve Clemons correctly describes it as “the emotional and political leverage that Netanyahu has engineered over Obama.” Ironically, it creates one of those exceedingly rare moments in which one might wish for the return of George W. Bush. Bush, for all his manifest failings, told Israel not to attack Iran, and the Israelis respected or feared him enough to desist.
Or, to make the same point in another way, if Israel attacks Iran next week and Iran retaliates, a virtual certainty, then the United States will inevitably become involved in the conflict, with Congress and the media leading the charge, just as they did against Iraq. On March 9, 86 Republican members of Congress demonstrated how it will work, sending a letter to Obama pledging “unwavering support” for Israel and concluding that the White House must “make our offer of support and assistance to Israel crystal clear if Israel finds it necessary to take action against Iran.” So Israel is empowered to make the decision whether America goes to war or not, at least for those 86 Republicans, who would almost certainly be joined by numerous Democrats. Given that reality, if someone can come up with an alternative scenario in which automatic American involvement does not take place, it has yet to be explained plausibly. Will Obama simply refuse to play? In an election year? Not likely. Many are convinced the war is coming, including White House senior staff.
So what can the rest of us do when the war comes? Very little. The only man who can conceivably stop it, President Obama, is clearly thinking of timing. If the fighting starts too soon and goes sour, which it will, he will lose the presidency. If it happens just before elections, he can pitch in to help brave little Israel and ride to victory as the latest in America’s unforgettable series of wartime presidents. If there is no war at all, Obama wins because he kept the peace. So the timing must be right if there is a war, and this is another thing that the Israelis understand. They and AIPAC can make or break Obama, and the president can do little to derail the process. Will Bibi want to continue with the man he dislikes and distrusts in the White House or will he feel more comfortable with Mitt Romney, a man who has already stuffed his foreign policy team with the same neoconservative Israel-firsters who brought about Iraq and who genuinely do have Netanyahu’s back come hell or high water? Stay tuned...MORE...LINK
Giraldi: "...if someone can come up with an alternative scenario in which automatic American involvement does not take place, it has yet to be explained plausibly."
Chris Moore comments:
If Obama starts a war too soon, he's likely finished as president. Millions of Dem voters will sit on their hands come election day.
If he doesn't start a war, and runs as the "responsible" president who is not going to further bog the U.S. down in the Middle East, and who is going to keep the price of oil at a level that isn't going to destroy the economy, he likely gets re-elected.
The smart play for the Obama admin is to sit tight, stall the Israelis and the Israel-firsters, get re-elected, and then he never has to kowtow to Netanyahu again.
If Obama gets wind that Israel is going to bomb Iran, he should go all out for diplomacy, and portray any Israeli attack as a rogue operation that goes against his administration's diplomatic policy.
If Israel bombs anyway, and is retaliated against, so what? Iran can't do much damage. It knows its hands are tied.
End result: Israel bombs a non-existend nuclear program, is slapped back a bit, and the whole thing fizzles.
The absolute biggest mistake would be to let the Israelis and Israel-firsters draw the U.S. into a big war, which is exactly what they are trying to do. NOT getting getting drawn into a big war by this self-serving clique is the best way to make it irrelevant.
The vast majority of the U.S. does not want a war with Iran. I don't think Obama and many Dems want a war with Iran. There are large factions even on the Right who don't want a war with Iran because they know what it will do to the price of oil.
The main people in the U.S. pushing war with Iran are the powerful Israel lobby, neolib-neocon Israel-firsters, their media, and perhaps some factions of the military-industrial complex. (The unthinking evangelical Zionist and Judeophile libera Zionist useful idiot types are just along for the ride.)
Obama is essentially being squeezed by the clever, string-puller sociopaths and their money (most of which was stolen or "earned" unethically via corruption and "legal" racketeering).
Just as with Obama, the absolute dumbest move Iran itself could make would be to let a tiny, scheming cabal (one without the majority of Americans behind it) bait it into a big war.
Under that scenario, no one wins, except maybe the cabal, and probably not even them, ultimately.
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