Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Is AIPAC pulling the strings?

Juan Cole:
    Of the four senators among the Democratic candidates, only Hillary Clinton voted for the non-binding Kyl-Lieberman resolution on Sept. 26. The Kyl-Lieberman resolution, which passed 76-to-22, with 29 Democrats voting in favor, says, "the United States should designate Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps as a foreign terrorist organization ... and place the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps on the list of Specially Designated Global Terrorists." Jim Lobe, among the best journalists covering neoconservatism in Washington, wrote that unnamed "Capitol Hill sources" told him that the resolution was crafted by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. Investigative reporter Seymour Hersh of the New Yorker, interviewed on "Democracy Now," concurred that the amendment was pushed by the Israel lobby.

    It would be unprecedented to declare a military force of a state to be a "terrorist" organization, and illogical, since the formal definition of terrorism is that it is committed by non-state actors. It would also endanger U.S. troops, who might well be designated terrorists by some foreign governments. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said Sunday that she would not allow a similar resolution to be brought up for a vote in the House of Representatives, telling ABC's "This Week," "This has never happened before, that a Congress should determine one piece of someone's military is [a threat]."


    The Iraq problem is so intractable that bringing it up with voters is dangerous, since they will then ask about policy prescriptions, and most experts agree that the U.S. has no good options. Iran, in contrast, looms as a vague sort of threat on the horizon and politicians can therefore pull out of their tool kits their favorite instrument -- speaking hypothetically without committing to a particular course of action. The problem, as Chris Dodd and Barack Obama saw so clearly, is that in attempting to change the conversation to Iran, American politicians and their morbidly aggressive constituents may be vastly widening the quagmire, playing Katrina to the Middle East's New Orleans.

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