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AIPAC, Congress and Iraq

 

A couple of interesting tidbits appear on the “new this week” section on the website of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee:

“Take Action! Urge Bush to Approve $200 Million to Israel A $29 billion homeland security bill that recently passed in Congress with strong bi-partisan support includes $200 million in anti-terror aid for Israel. These funds would provide vital additional resources to help Israel fight its war on terror and protect its population from future conflicts in the region. Since Israel’s allocation was added to the bill by congressional appropriators, President Bush must designate the $200 million for Israel as an “emergency” in order for Israel to receive the funding. Urge President Bush to approve the “emergency” designation of the money for Israel’s war on terror.”

Emergency! Quite the loaded word to use, given the current “2 Weeks to Judaism” program being used to convert and import converts to said faith from the Andean mountains. One imagines that if there were such an “emergency” worthy of our President’s notice in a foreign country, said foreign government would do what is logical in wartime and curtail immigration rather than encourage new folks to move in and settle the land of those who had been on it for centuries. One wonders if those proselytizing are up front at all about what goes on — the checkpoints, the bombs dropped on residences from US made aircraft, the complete perversion of Yahweh’s message in the service of geopolitical objectives.

But I digress. No one wants to discuss God except for the so-called “congressional appropriators”, a gaggle of rubberstampers who occasionally shuffle out of their chambers en masse to expound their solidarity for one linkage of God and the destruction of his creation or another. And speaking of rubber stamps, another item from the website of America’s Pro-Israel lobby.

“In a vote of 95-3, the Senate last week passed the fiscal year 2003 Defense Appropriations bill, which provides substantial funding for U.S.-Israel strategic cooperation. The Arrow Missile Defense Program received $80 million above the administration’s request for a total of $146 million. Additional funding includes the following: $23.5 million for the Mobile Tactical High Energy Laser (MTHEL); $64.9 million for the Litening II Targeting Pod; $35 million for Bradley Reactive Armor Tiles; $22 million for the Hunter Unmanned Aerial Vehicle; and $20 million for the Improved Tactical Air-Launched Decoy (ITALD). Learn more about these defense programs by visiting our interactive strategic showroom.”

Leaving aside the absurdity of a phrase like “interactive strategic showroom”, I’d like to focus on one other aspect of this vote. Ninety-five to three. That’s the kind of result that used to be disparaged in the US press when it would pop out of some rogue state’s parliament. Of course, back when middle-class folks read and mothers stayed home to raise their children, folks in the “mainstream” may have questioned numbers like that, as they would’ve questioned the inhumanity of some of the phrases that come out of the White House to justify their use and dealing of “weapons of mass destruction.”

Only in the United States would we accept wars being given names as glib as those given to mixed drinks in an ersatz Irish theme bar. Take your pick of either of these euphemisms being bandied about on the cable channels, describing a US floorshow in Iraq: “Afghan Redux”, which suggests an earthily intoxicating blend of subdued flavors and “Desert Storm Lite”, a Kahluaesque concoction that gets you crunked up — but not at the expense of your girlish figure. “Infinite Justice” has come and gone, way back in the rearview mirror as we mutely watch the military-industrial complex and the relevant lobbies and moral compasses “game plan” the war on Iraq. Meanwhile, there are those among us who accept formulations like “We have to hunt down every terrorist to prove how much we love freedom” as evidence of serious thought from the self-styled born-again Christian who quotes Black Sabbath lyrics in moments of levity. The leader of the free world.

Elementary logic suggests that if people should be punished for transgressions against others that can be proven, then the burden of proof rests with the party who accepts the burden of imposition of his moral code. The US Government, who proclaims its moral superiority with every propaganda instrument available to it, enjoys the benefits of imposing its moral code but rejects the burden of proof of its claims. We speak of invading Iraq as almost an afterthought, under the pretext of the possibility that Iraq may someday possess weapons of mass destruction. The underlying claim is that a nation’s sovereignty is at the will of the United States government, which makes one feel swell if he somehow accepts people like Richard Perle and John Negroponte as products of a vibrant representative democracy.

And there apparently are people who accept those very claims, and others besides. The State Department’s contention that Iraq didn’t in fact “gas its own people” in 1988 was taken seriously during the Herbert Walker era but is now remembered solely by members of the lunatic fringe like Jude Wanniski. The constant reshuffling of historical facts in favor of the present policy makes us understand that the phrase “The End of History” was actually prescriptive, intended to create a population with no idea of what their representatives are doing on their behalf.

Why is it so important to go into Iraq to install Ahmed Chalabi or someone of his unctuous ilk as leader? The answer to that question seems obvious, if one examines the relationship between Israel and Iraq in the same context as that of others historically where a weaker state accepted protection from the US, which sought to counteract the growth of a regional power and to consolidate its global domination. Given the extent to which the US Government has socialized the costs of Israel’s existence, we should be able to understand who benefits from the dehumanization of Palestinians and the lurid, unsubstantiated “details” about Iraqi atrocities. The people who benefit are those who deal in death and its implements, and we can choose to deal with that question honestly only when we understand that Israel’s use to the US is like that of any other “cop on the beat”, intended to counteract any pretensions toward actual national sovereignty in the region.

The destruction of Iraq, the turmoil on the “Arab Street”, the desolation of a people held in lockdown and exile for generations; all these are part of the “game plan” for a cycle of plunder, where the plunderers are too gutless even to call the process by anything close to its proper name. Appropriators, indeed.

Anthony Gancarski is the author of Unfortunate Incidents and currently a student at Gonzaga Law School in Spokane, Washington.

 

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ANTHONY GANCARSKI is a regular CounterPunch columnist. He can be reached at Anthony.Gancarski@attbi.com

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