The bill sponsored by Senator Lindsey Graham
commits the US to support Israel militarily and diplomatically should Israel attack Iran. As Robert Naiman points out in his Huffington Post article
, this is quite different from present US policy which is to distance itself from any Israeli attack. This bill is also being advanced just as there are ongoing talks with Iran over its nuclear program.
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC)
reputed to be one of the most powerful lobbying groups in Washington is promoting this bill. When it comes to supporting Israel there is bipartisanship among Senators of quite varied views. Republican Lindsey Graham is an unabashed supporter of Israel who worked hard to stop Chuck Hagel from being appointed as US Minister of Defense because of his criticism of Israel.
a California Democrat is a liberal Senator who voted against the Iraq war, but when it comes to supporting a motion that would commit the US going to war to support Israel she is eager to join in with her Republican opponent Graham. Senator, Ron Wyden
, a Democrat from Oregon, also voted against the Iraq war although he also supported denying the right of habeas corpus to enemy combatants again joining with Graham. Now he is joining with him again in supporting Israel.
An Iran policy expert,
Gary Sick noted:
"Initiating a war is the gravest step any nation can take. This legislation would effectively entrust that decision to a regional state. Such a decision is an American sovereign responsibility. It cannot be outsourced."
The AIPAC/Graham bill also misrepresents US policy, claiming to "reiterate" that policy which is "to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon capability and to take such action as may be necessary to implement this policy." The stated goal of US policy is to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons not the capability of producing nuclear weapons. Israel has long wanted the US to adopt its own policy but has never been able to pressure the US into doing so. Now it manages to commit the US to that policy through this resolution.
Israel has constantly urged the US to make reaching this "capability" a red line. However, the claim that Iran has this capability could no doubt be made whenever Israel was ready to and wanted to attack Iran.
that if asked why they were supporting pro-war legislation Boxer and Wyden might say:
"Oh, don't worry your pretty little heads about it, this is just a non-binding resolution, it's not a binding commitment to go to war."
While technically they are correct, Naiman admits, they are committing the US to a policy that will make war more likely. It certainly gives some comfort and support to Israel and will encourage Israel to attack Iran if it feels that is necessary to stop its nuclear program. The obvious reason that they support the bill is that they want to show support for Israel. Naiman points out that seven senators who voted against the Iraq war have not co-sponsored the AIPC bill.
More may sign on before the vote, as AIPAC lobbyists will be out in force on Tuesday March 5th to persuade even more Senators, liberal, moderate, anti-war, or whatever that to be patriotic Americans they should support what Israel wants.