As the United States Congress debates whether or not to accept an agreement that the U.S. and five other nations reached with Iran, regulating that nation’s nuclear program, the media keeps a less-than-rapt public informed. Each day, news pundits first speculate on how this or that senator may vote, and then when some senator announces his or her position, it is tallied up as a ‘yes’ or ‘no’, and a victory or defeat for President Barack Obama.
As all this takes place, some odd but revealing statements have been made. Let us first look at just two, both from Democrats, one from a senator voting for the deal, and one who opposes it, and see what they tells us.
Colorado Senator Michael Bennett, in endorsing the deal, made this astonishing statement: “Our primary objectives are to prevent Iran from having a nuclear weapon, make sure Israel is safe and, if possible, avoid another war in the Middle East.”
As this writer is wont to do, let us break this statement down to its component parts. We will look at Mr. Bennett’s ‘primary objectives’.
“Prevent Iran from having a nuclear weapon”. Well, the fewer nuclear weapons in the world, the better. But why are some countries allowed to have them, and others not? The only nation in the world ever to have used nuclear weapons, the U.S., has a large stockpile, and has done nothing to reduce it. Please note that the U.S. has been at war with one country or another for most of its long and bloody history, so the fact that it has nuclear weapons is certainly a great risk to the world. Former President Richard Nixon is said to have considered using nuclear weapons in Vietnam. Why is Iran being singled out as not allowed to have such weapons when the U.S. can have them?
“Make sure Israel is safe”. See how quickly we get to the crux of the matter? Israel’s safety, for Mr. Bennett, is of paramount importance. And if Iran were to develop nuclear weapons, then Israel wouldn’t be the only Middle East country with them.
There is always so much concern about Israel’s safety! Does the U.S. not care about the safety and security of other Middle Eastern nations? We know that Iraq’s security is not of any interest to the U.S., or it wouldn’t have destabilized Iraq by invading it in 2003. And with Israel assassinating Iran’s nuclear scientists, there can’t be too much concern about that nation’s internal security.
And what about Palestine? Israel increasingly steals Palestinian land, but no U.S. politician ever talks about the national security of Palestine.
U.S. spokespeople always proclaim that Israel is the U.S.’s only ally in the Middle East. Perhaps if the U.S. would stop bombing the men, women and children of other Middle Eastern countries, and would be a little more equitable in its foreign aid distribution (currently, Israel gets more foreign aid from the U.S. than all other countries combined), it might find that it suddenly would have more friends in the Middle East. It has been said that before the bloody, murderous and genocidal establishment of Israel in 1948, the U.S. had no enemies in the Middle East.
Why, then, might Mr. Bennett be so concerned about Israel? Could it be the $108,766.00 in donations from Israeli lobbies that he received between 2009 and 2015? Perhaps we will dismiss that notion, and say that Mr. Bennett is a statesman, rising above such petty things as campaign contributions, and only doing what he feels, in his heart of hearts, is best for the U.S. citizenry, come what may. When pigs fly.
“If possible, avoid another war in the Middle East.” So, as an afterthought, after concerns about Israel’s security have been addressed, perhaps avoiding a war isn’t such a bad idea. This is not the usual U.S. way; diplomacy isn’t high on the list of characteristics held by most of Congress. There isn’t a lot of muscle-flexing and chest-thumping involved in diplomacy, and what’s a little blood of U.S. citizens, and lots of it of foreign citizens, when such macho displays of power are to be demonstrated?
Now, to the opposition. Democratic Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland, who greatly distrusts Iran, said this: “There cannot be respect for a country that actively foments regional instability, advocates for Israel’s destruction, kills the innocent and shouts ‘Death to America.’” Again, we will look at the component parts.
Mr. Cardin is critical of nations that
1 ‘Actively foment regional instability’. The U.S. is causing untold suffering and ‘regional instability’ through drone strikes and support for repressive regimes or rebel groups throughout the region. One would like to hear Mr. Cardin oppose such active fomenting of regional instability.
2 ‘Advocate for Israel’s destruction’. Once again, Israel is foremost in the mind of another senator, as he looks at the nuclear agreement with Iran. Israel, of course, acts to destroy Palestine with full U.S. support, but that, as mentioned above, isn’t a concern.
Between 2009 and 2015, Mr. Cardin received $241,293.00 from Israeli lobbies. We will wonder again if this, perhaps, didn’t factor in strongly in Mr. Cardin’s deliberations.
As might be expected, the multitudinous Republican presidential candidate wannabes were universally opposed to the agreement. Oddly (not!), Israel was a major factor in their criticisms. The following are just a few of their comments.
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker: “The deal rewards the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism with a massive financial windfall, which Iran will use to further threaten our interests and key allies, especially Israel.” No, Mr. Walker, by any objective means, it is the U.S., not Iran, that is the world’s leading state sponsor of terror.
Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee: “As president, I will stand with Israel and keep all options on the table, including military force, to topple the terrorist Iranian regime.” It sounds as if Mr. Huckabee wants ‘regime change’: when have we heard this before? Oh yes, that was President George W. Bush’s mantra when he sent soldiers in to ‘fix’ Iraq. We all know how well that turned out. Mr. Huckabee further said: “A threat to Israel is a threat to America.” No, it simply is not. Also, preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons doesn’t seem to constitute a threat to any nation, with the possible exception of Iran.
Senator Lindsay Graham weighed in with these pearls of wisdom: “You’ve put Israel in the worst possible box. This will be a death over time sentence to Israel if they don’t push back.” It is interesting to note that between 2009 and 2015, Mr. Graham received $286,350.00 from Israeli lobbies.
It is no secret where this great anxiety for Israel originates; money talks in the U.S., and Israeli lobby groups speak loudly. What is disturbing is how it takes precedence over every other concern, to the point where elected officials are willing to wage war to protect an apartheid nation, censured more by the United Nations than any other country on the planet. This is the nation whose interests the U.S. puts front and center, before its own. This is the nation that receives billions of dollars in U.S. aid annually, as U.S. cities decay. This is the nation for which the U.S. will jeopardize the lives of its young citizens, by disdaining diplomacy and using war as the dominant means of ‘leading’ in the world.
That leading politicians so blatantly state their adoration for Israel should give every U.S. citizen cause for concern. It is time for justice and human rights to be enshrined as the hallmarks of U.S. foreign policy. As that has never been the case, it will be difficult to introduce it now. But it must be done; the world has suffered for too long because of the U.S.