Members of the Senate are presently debating a bill which would authorize the granting of an effective “blank check” for military support to Israel, in the event that the country decides to take military action against Iran. The move, brought to the Senate by Senators Mark Kirk (R – Illinois) and Robert Menendez (D – New Jersey) is said to be tied closely with recent campaign spending by AIPAC, the American Israeli Political Action Committee. If passed, S. 1881 would effectively obligate the US to follow Israel’s lead in any war or attack against Iran they may see fit to launch.
The move comes on the run up to a new round of negotiations in Geneva over the Iranian nuclear program. With Iran having already made it clear that any votes on sanctions during the talks will cause them to leave the table, this move by AIPAC and their allies in the Senate is making many very nervous, causing a majority of Senate Democrats to challenge the powerful lobby and oppose the bill.
Numerous Republicans of a more neoconservative variety are reported to be expressing tepid support however, causing a natural wonder if the Bush-era cowboy diplomacy theme might not still be very much alive and well within much of the GOP. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney states that the President has sworn to veto S. 1881 should it cross his desk. Within the bill itself, the troublesome passages come after lengthy demands for sanctions and the threat of sanctions, reading,
[box type=”shadow”](4) the imposition of sanctions under this Act, including sanctions on exports of petroleum from Iran, is triggered by violations by Iran of any interim or final agreement regarding its nuclear program, failure to reach a final agreement in a discernible time frame, or the breach of other conditions described in section 301; (5) if the Government of Israel is compelled to take military action in legitimate self-defense against Iran’s nuclear weapon program, the United States Government should stand with Israel and provide, in accordance with the law of the United States and the constitutional responsibility of Congress to authorize the use of military force, diplomatic, military, and economic support to the Government of Israel in its defense of its territory, people, and existence; (6) the United States should continue to impose sanctions on the Government of Iran and its terrorist proxies for their continuing sponsorship of terrorism; and (7) the United States should continue to impose sanctions on the Government of Iran for– (A) its ongoing abuses of human rights; and (B) its actions in support of Bashar al-Assad in Syria.[/box]
It would seem that even after a decade of war, many in the Senate remain enthusiastic about the next war drummed up on rhetoric and posturing. In citing everything from nuclear weapons concerns (amid coming negotiations on the very subject,) to terrorism and Syria, this latest attempt at interest driven saber rattling is reminiscent of previous instances where terrorist and presumed weapons of mass destruction drove the nation to war. A quick look to Maplight shows that among AIPAC’s top campaign donations, both Menendez and Kirk are among their top recipients, rubbing shoulders with other notable war hawks like John McCain and Mitch McConnell.
Though the American people are by and large very weary of war, it does seem as though the Senate has found a second wind for it at the behest of foreign interests, further proving that the myth of peace through superior firepower is one that many in elected office clearly have yet to learn is utter nonsense.