"It Doesn't Get Any Worse Than That, Ray"
By William A. Cook
Ray Suarez (PBS News Hour Reporter, October 2, 2007): "You're saying
that the national legislature of this country, rather than doing the
will of the citizens of the United States, passed that Iran
resolution, sanctioning the Republican Guard, because of the
American-Israeli Political Action Committee?"
Mike Gravel (Democratic Presidential Candidate): "Wait a second.
They'll (sic) be some information coming out about how this thing was
drafted. So the answer is yes, the short answer. ... This is what's at
stake with this resolution. And it's the height of immorality,
irresponsibility, and the United States Senate, with the Democrats in
charge, voted for the passage of this resolution. It doesn't get any
worse than that, Ray.".
In asking his question, Ray Suarez implies that our Senators
capitulated to the desires of AIPAC, knowing their vote negated the
expressed will of the American people. Gravel, once a Senator from
Alaska during the Vietnam War period, answers unhesitatingly, "yes,"
the short answer is yes. The obvious follow-up question would appear
to be: "Why do you think that our Senators would vote against the
expressed wishes of their constituents in favor of a special interest
lobby?" It was never asked. Fortunately, Sy Hersh, in an interview
with Amy Goodman that same day, responded to a question posed by
Goodman, a question drawn from a Gravel criticism of Hillary Clinton
for having voted for this resolution. Goodman pointed to the 76 votes
in favor, both Republican and Democrat, asking Hersh to respond to
Gravel's critique: "This is fantasy land," Gravel commented, "We're
talking about ending the war. My God, we're just starting a war right
today. There was a vote in the Senate today. Joe Lieberman, who
authored the Iraq resolution, has authored another resolution, and it
is essentially a fig leaf to let George Bush go to war with Iran. And
I want to congratulate Biden for voting against it, Dodd for voting
against it, and I'm ashamed of you, Hillary, for voting for it. You're
not going to get another shot at this, because what's happened, if
this war ensues, we invade, and they're looking for an excuse to do
it." Goodman's question is simple enough, why would 76 senators vote
for such a resolution. Hersh's response: "Money. A lot of the Jewish
money from New York. Come on, let's not kid about it. A significant
percentage of Jewish money, and many leading American Jews support the
Israeli position that Iran is an existential threat. And I think it is
as simple as that. ... That's American politics circa 2007."
Gravel understands the consequences of giving Cheney and Bush the
freedom to attack Iran's Republican Guard as a terrorist organization
rather than as the legally constituted military of the state existing
to protect the citizens of that state. They need no act of Congress to
attack a terrorist organization and, citing the Encarta encyclopedia
description of terrorism, "These violent acts are committed by
non-governmental groups or individuals that is by those who are
neither part of or officially serving in the military forces ...,"
they have defanged the definition of terrorism as it cannot be applied
to a nation state. Cheney and Bush are now free to invade Iran to wipe
out the terrorist organization harbored by that country. Why pretend
that an established arm of the government of Iran is a terrorist
organization when the opposite is so evident? Because Cheney and Bush
and their Neo-con/AIPAC alliance have not been able to convince the
American people of the threat to the US should Iran eventually acquire
nuclear capability. The Kyl-Lieberman resolution gives this
administration license to attack Iran using the original resolution
passed by the Congress for the invasion of Afghanistan since Iran now
harbors terrorists that threaten America.
How serious is this possibility we might ask. Newsweek carried an
article in the October 1 issue about Israel's "secret" raid on Syria.
In it, Sam Gardiner, a former Air Force Colonel, seen as an expert in
simulation of military exercises, makes this observation: "Even if
Israel goes it alone (attacks Iran's nuclear facilities), we will be
blamed (the United States). Hence we would see retaliation against
U.S. interests." In short, the United States is tied to Israel and its
interests by an umbilical cord that determines how and when we go to
war and with whom. Iran is Israel's primary nemesis as well as its
primary target. The "mysterious raid deep in Syria" magnifies this
point; only the media control created by "a nearly impenetrable wall
of silence around the operation" has kept the American public from
understanding the potential consequences of the Kyl-Lieberman
resolution that passed October 2, only a month after Israel's "raid."
Should Syria have responded to this unwarranted aggression by a
missile or bomb attack on Israel, the U.S. Congress would have been
forced to determine how to respond. With the Kyl-Lieberman resolution
in place, only Bush has to respond by citing the Iranian terrorist
organization's ties to Syria and especially to Hezbollah. A threat to
Israel is a threat to the U.S.
It is this reality that makes the recent study by Mearsheimer and Walt
so dangerous to the Israeli lobbies, especially AIPAC. Indeed, they
define AIPAC by encompassing the multitude of Jewish lobbies under
that umbrella while adding in non-Jewish Neo-cons, Christian
evangelicals of the far right and other sympathizers.
Gravel's awareness of this threat as expressed to PBS represents the
rare occurrence when the reality of our total support for Israel's
interests is aired in public. An objective consideration of the "raid"
of September 6, 2007 by the Israeli Air Force against Syria as it
would have been reported in the American press had it been Syria
attacking Israel would not have been headlined "The Whispers of War."
Indeed that report did not focus on Israel's disregard for
international law or its consequences, but rather on how Israel can
deliver nuclear or standard bombs as far as Iran. It went further to
turn this unprovoked operation to Israel's cause by noting how that
state's very existence is threatened by one atomic bomb, thus
presenting Israel as the potential victim not the perpetrator of an
action contrary to the United Nations' charter. Had Syria attacked
Israel, the explosiveness of such an unprovoked and uncalled for
attack against an innocent country would have made front page
headlines and the cover of all our news magazines. Yet Israel's
unprovoked and uncalled for attack on Syria is presented in U.S. News
as "Israel takes a swipe at Syria," hardly an item that would make the
American people aware that they were at risk for their ally's illegal
action against a neighbor. And as if that were not enough, the
significance of one nation bombing another without provocation becomes
only the 10% hike in Ehud Olmert's ratings as opposed to the death and
destruction caused by this illegal action with an accompanying photo,
not of the death and destruction, but of Olmert giving blood for his
countrymen. No outcry follows this despicable behavior by the Teflon
state not from the United States, not from the United Nations, not
from the EU, not from NATO. Only silence.
Consider for example the consequences of Israel using its United
States' gifts of nuclear bunker buster bombs on Syria or Iran, both
possible scenarios as this "raid" ( the name of an insect repellent)
makes clear: "... huge amounts of radioactive material will be lofted
into the air to contaminate the people of Iran and surrounding
countries ... This fallout will induce cancers, leukemia, and genetic
disease in these populations for years to come, both a medical
catastrophe and a war crime of immense proportions,"(Dr. Helen
Caldicott, Nuclear Power Is Not the Answer.) No outcry, only silence. Why?
What does AIPAC's control of our Congress mean for the American
people? Arguably, that influence propelled the U.S. into war against
Iraq with its inevitable consequences in death, destruction and debt
leaving the nation bereft of a resolution; it has solidified
perception around the world that Israel's defiance of the UN
resolutions demanding that it obey international law regarding right
of return for Palestinians and return of occupied territory is not
just condoned by the U.S. but is the policy of the U.S., making the
United States a co-partner in international crime; it has made
Israel's illegal treatment of the Palestinians in its indiscriminate
killing of children and women, in its use of extrajudicial
assassination, in its imprisonment of a whole people resulting in
extreme poverty, malnutrition, and disease, in its total control of
the lives of these people who have no recourse to overcome the
occupation since they have no means to do so, practices condoned by
the United States, and turned the U.S. from a compassionate and
morally responsible nation to one that is amoral and hypocritical;
and, in absolute despair, it has placed America on the thresh hold of
one more devastating war against a people that has done nothing
against the United States, has not occupied another nation's
territory, has not invaded another nation, and has signed the nuclear
non-proliferation treaty, all actions that are diametrically opposed
to those of our client state, Israel. Such is the sell out by our
representatives of their constituents as they grovel, unlike Mike
Gravel, before the insidious lobby that controls our fate. No outcry,
only silence. Why?
Ultimately the question comes back to why those 76 senators voted for
a resolution that "wipes the desires of the American people off the
map," to borrow an intentionally falsified and reiterated translation
of the Iranian President's message to his people. But those 76 are not
alone. Virtually everyone of our representatives are subservient to
the same lobbies, passing on average 100 resolutions per year
favorable to Israel and written by the lobbyists, obsequiously fawning
before AIPAC's annual meeting where its very existence is touted as of
"significant benefit for both the United States and Israel," and where
no one dares to question or criticize the state of Israel lest they
suffer the fate of those who have, and lose their seats in Congress.
This one might argue is coercion. Can it be documented? One need only
research the congressional and senate races that put Paul Findley,
Cynthia McKenny, Charles Percy and the few other renegades that dared
to be critical of Israel out of their positions. "The handful of
members of Congress who have been critical of Israel over the last 40
years have been publicly chastised with a figurative dunce cap or,
worse, lost their seats to AIPAC-backed opponents" (NewsMax.com, May
1, 2006. "Israel the Third Rail of American Foreign Policy," Arnaud de
Borchgrava, Editor at large of the Washington Times).
Interestingly, the United States defines terrorism (18 USC 2331) as
"violent acts or acts dangerous to human life that ... appear to be
intended (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to
influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion;
(iii) to affect the conduct of a government by assassination or
kidnaping." Could one not make a case that our Congress in its total
support for Israeli policies regardless of their negative impact on
the country and its disregard for the expressed desires of its
citizens as the Kyl-Lieberman resolution demonstrates is "influenced"
by "intimidation and coercion" by these lobbies? Add to this reality
the influence they wield in our media where they limit the perception
of the public to the lies and mythologies they present that justifies
the actions of the Israeli state, and the pervasiveness of the lobbies
prevents the American people from controlling their own destinies.
Does that not make them terrorists residing on K street in our
Isn't it obvious today that the direction of America's policies
regarding Iran, and our almost certain to be pre-emptive invasion of
this nation on behalf of Israel, is directed by the same coterie of
men who pushed us into the disastrous war against Iraq -- Podhoretz,
Wurmser, Perle, Feith, Crystal, Kagan, Krauthammer, Abrams and others
too numerous to mention, the hounds of war that find no guilt in
sending the sons and daughters of others to fight the wars they wage
so eloquently in their heads as they sit in front of their computers
guiding to their deaths those they never met.
The Hounds of War are gathered round
To forge the battle plan,
They pat each other on the back,
And grasp their fellow's hand.
To battle stations they disperse
To carry on the fray,
These warriors of the word sublime
That makes us weep or pray.
They swing behind the keyboard now
That spits out their deceit;
Their goal, the end they desire,
That makes their life complete.
These victors suffer no regrets
As they pen brilliant epithets,
And so they ply their lonely craft,
And carve another's epitaph.
William Cook is a professor of English at the University of La Verne
in southern California and author of Tracking Depception: Bush's
Mideast Policy. He can be reached at: cookb @ ULV.EDU
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