Share on Google Plus Share on Twitter Share on Facebook 9 Share on LinkedIn Share on PInterest Share on Fark! Share on Reddit Share on StumbleUpon Tell A Friend 8 (17 Shares)  
Printer Friendly Page Save As Favorite View Favorites View Article Stats   27 comments

OpEdNews Op Eds

Does AIPAC want war?

By (about the author)     Permalink       (Page 1 of 2 pages)
Related Topic(s): ; ; ; ; ; , Add Tags Add to My Group(s)

Must Read 2   Supported 2   News 1  
View Ratings | Rate It

opednews.com Headlined to H1 2/19/12

Become a Fan
  (4 fans)
This article cross-posted from Al Jazeera

If a bill pushed by Lieberman passes, it could give the US "political authorization for military force" against Iran


[GALLO/GETTY]

For all it has done to promote confrontation between the United States and Iran, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee has worked to avoid the public perception that AIPAC is openly promoting war. In AIPAC's public documents, the emphasis has always been on tougher sanctions. (If you make sanctions "tough" enough -- an effective embargo -- that is an act of war, but it is still at one remove from saying that the US should start bombing.)

But a new Senate effort to move the goal posts of US policy to declare it "unacceptable" for Iran to develop a nuclear weapons capability -- not a nuclear weapon, but the technical capacity to create one -- gives AIPAC the opportunity to make a choice which all can observe. If the Lieberman resolution becomes an ask for AIPAC lobbyists at the March AIPAC policy conference, then the world will know: AIPAC is lobbying Congress for war with Iran.

Sponsors of the Lieberman resolution deny that it is an "authorization for military force," and in a legal, technical sense, they are absolutely correct: it is not a legal authorization for military force. But it is an attempt to enact a political authorization for military force. It is an attempt to pressure the administration politically to move forward the tripwire for war, to a place indistinguishable from the status quo that exists today. If successful, this political move would make it impossible for the administration to pursue meaningful diplomatic engagement with Iran, shutting down the most plausible alternative to war.

The first "resolved" paragraph of the Lieberman resolution affirms that it is a "vital national interest" of the United States to prevent Iran from acquiring a "nuclear weapons capability."

The phrase "vital national interest" is a "term of art." It means something that the US should be willing to go to war for. Recall the debate over whether the US military intervention in Libya was a "vital national interest" of the United States (which Defence Secretary Robert Gates said it wasn't.) It was a debate over whether the bar was met to justify the United States going to war.

The resolution seeks to establish as US policy that a nuclear weapons capability -- not acquisition of a nuclear weapon, but the technical capacity to create one -- is a "red line" for the United States. If the US were to announce to Iran that achieving "nuclear weapons capability" is a red line for the US, the US would be saying that it is ready to attack Iran with military force in order to try to prevent Iran from crossing this "line" to achieve "nuclear weapons capability."

And this is reportedly being openly discussed by the bill's sponsors.

Senators from both parties said Thursday that a diplomatic solution was still the goal and they believed the sanctions on Iran were working, but that a containment strategy was less preferable than a military strike on Iranian nuclear facilities if all else fails.

So, what the Senators are reportedly saying is that if "all else fails" -- that is, if diplomacy and sanctions appear to be "failing" to prevent Iran from achieving a nuclear weapons capability -- according to these Senators, that's what "failure" would be -- then they want war. That's not a legal "authorization of force," but it is a political one. 

And it is not a political authorization of force in some far-off future. It is a political authorization of force today.

"Nuclear weapons capability" is a fuzzy term with no legal definition. But Joe Lieberman, a principal author of the bill, has said what he thinks this term means:

"To me, nuclear weapons capability means that they are capable of breaking out and producing a nuclear weapon -- in other words, that they have all the components necessary to do that," Lieberman said. "It's a standard that is higher than saying 'The red line is when they actually have nuclear weapons'."

But many experts think that Iran already has the "components" necessary for "breaking out."

On Thursday, Anthony Cordesman of the Centre for Strategic and International Studies was quoted saying that the November report from the International Atomic Energy Agency "basically laid out the fact that Iran now has every element of technology needed to make a fission weapon."

Next Page  1  |  2

 

http://www.justforeignpolicy.org

Robert Naiman is Senior Policy Analyst at Just Foreign Policy. Naiman has worked as a policy analyst and researcher at the Center for Economic and Policy Research and Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch. He has masters degrees in economics and (more...)
 

Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Writers Guidelines

Contact Author Contact Editor View Authors' Articles

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Does AIPAC want war?

An Anti-War Candidate Announces for President

Kucinich to Introduce Gaza Ceasefire Resolution - Who Will Co-sponsor?

Reset: Stephen Kinzer's Vision of a New U.S. Relationship with Turkey and Iran

Amnesty vs. AIPAC: Senate to Consider AIPAC Resolution Endorsing War in Gaza

The New York Times misleading public on Iran

Comments

The time limit for entering new comments on this article has expired.

This limit can be removed. Our paid membership program is designed to give you many benefits, such as removing this time limit. To learn more, please click here.

Comments: Expand   Shrink   Hide  
23 people are discussing this page, with 27 comments
To view all comments:
Expand Comments
(Or you can set your preferences to show all comments, always)

Old men proposing wars they will never fight in de... by Amanda Lang on Sunday, Feb 19, 2012 at 12:58:53 PM
    It's amazing the amount of power the... by myklsamu on Sunday, Feb 19, 2012 at 1:15:50 PM
The United States has supported Israel since its b... by John Shriver on Sunday, Feb 19, 2012 at 3:36:07 PM
Is there any way to object to the relationship bet... by Eric Arthur Blair on Sunday, Feb 19, 2012 at 1:27:27 PM
Israel  is a country and to investigate it an... by Mark Sashine on Sunday, Feb 19, 2012 at 1:50:29 PM
Israel is located in a Semitic land, but true Semi... by Richard Pietrasz on Sunday, Feb 19, 2012 at 6:50:43 PM
The reasonsoning that justifies an attack against ... by Rafe Pilgrim on Sunday, Feb 19, 2012 at 1:55:44 PM
There is more justification for invading Israel.&n... by Dennis Kaiser on Sunday, Feb 19, 2012 at 2:33:25 PM
I'm sick to death of the US giving Israel carte bl... by macdon1 on Sunday, Feb 19, 2012 at 2:52:25 PM
Genocide of Americans to steal their land was US p... by Richard Pietrasz on Sunday, Feb 19, 2012 at 7:03:16 PM
A new US military buildup in the Middle East has ... by Janet Loughrey on Sunday, Feb 19, 2012 at 2:30:57 PM
NO! AIPAC does NOT want war. AIPAC wants Iran to b... by Leslie Piper on Sunday, Feb 19, 2012 at 2:51:59 PM
When Israel has nuclear weapons and does not sign ... by crispy on Sunday, Feb 19, 2012 at 5:32:33 PM
Israel, and AIPAC, loves war.  Israel was fou... by Richard Pietrasz on Sunday, Feb 19, 2012 at 7:11:51 PM
subject to the priorities of religious windbags. I... by John Sanchez Jr. on Monday, Feb 20, 2012 at 8:19:17 AM
We go to war with Iran or the Iranians will b... by Patrick McGean on Sunday, Feb 19, 2012 at 3:00:50 PM
Lieberman, who is well known to favor Israel's ext... by crispy on Sunday, Feb 19, 2012 at 5:17:25 PM
During ALL collapses of the diverse Empires in Hum... by Arend Rietkerk on Sunday, Feb 19, 2012 at 6:16:44 PM
We have to admit at a certain point that the Unite... by aberamsay on Sunday, Feb 19, 2012 at 9:57:48 PM
"Does AIPAC want war?"Could've been written countl... by Dar Gary on Sunday, Feb 19, 2012 at 10:45:40 PM
Does AIPAC want war? Sure does and when has i... by syed mahdi on Monday, Feb 20, 2012 at 1:12:46 AM
Anyone who supports the Lieberman bill is declari... by Michael Dewey on Monday, Feb 20, 2012 at 4:48:22 AM
The "jewishdatabase" website estimates that the po... by Miriam Eldridge on Monday, Feb 20, 2012 at 12:57:03 PM
Would someone please explain to me... by Herbert Calhoun on Monday, Feb 20, 2012 at 5:03:43 PM
that all the Christian fanatics in this country wi... by Joe Vignolo on Tuesday, Feb 21, 2012 at 11:34:41 AM
That they are dead wrong both both them wishes. &n... by Michael Dewey on Tuesday, Feb 21, 2012 at 12:24:38 PM
and the rest of America's ISRAEL firsters are all ... by Archie on Tuesday, Feb 21, 2012 at 10:07:01 PM