Wednesday, September 26, 2007

A Senate Gone Mad

The Senate this week has voted positively, and bi-partisanly on two proposals which, taken together, suggest that a kind of insanity has taken over Congress.

First, it voted to uphold a resolution introduced by Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden, that would divide Iraq into three semi-autonomous regions. There would be a Shiite region, a Sunni region, and a Kurdish region. The measure passed by a whopping 75-23 vote. Thankfully, the resolution is nonbinding. This means it has no force, but the vote is such a capitulation to the ethnic/sectarian rivalry that has consumed Iraq since the United States invasion that it essentially says, ‘Fine, you guys want to fight, we’ll separate you.’ And it essentially means: ‘You are no longer a united nation. You are now three tribes who cannot be trusted to live together.’ Of course, the fact that Sunni and Shia lived side by side, intermingled and intermarried, and generally prided themselves on being simply Iraqis before the United States destroyed their country and created sectarianism, is not mentioned in the resolution.

Be that as it may, our first question should be, "Who benefits?" As far as I can see, the plan would benefit mainly Israel. For from the very beginning, the chief instigator of the American attack on Iraq, and its chief beneficiary, was Israel. This was because Israel feared Iraq more than any other neighbor as a powerful Arab nation. And Israel has made clear over many many years that the one thing it will not abide is a powerful nation, other than itself, in the Middle East. To split Iraq into three separate regions, therefore, fits Israel’s overall design perfectly. Divide and conquer is and always has been its chief strategy. And of course, dividing and conquering is also the classic strategy of every empire, including the current American one.

That Israel cannot abide a powerful neighbor is also behind the second move in this week’s Senatorial clown show—-the move on Wednesday approving the nonbinding resolution to make U.S. policy one that "combats, contains, and rolls back the violent activities and destabilizing influence inside Iraq of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran, its foreign facilitators such as Lebanese Hezbollah, and its indigenous Iraqi proxies." The measure was proposed by the reigning war mongers in the Senate, Jon Kyl of Arizona and Joe Lieberman of Connecticut. The Senate approved the measure by an equally large 76-22 majority.

And again we must ask, are these people mad? This is precisely the type of resolution that can be interpreted by our current Bomber-in-Chief as the authority he needs to launch the pre-emptive attack on Iran that many have been predicting.

And again, it is Israel which stands to benefit—-at least in the short run. For once again, we have a nation, Iran, which has grown powerful because of the ongoing American fiasco in Iraq, and which now can be characterized as a direct threat to Israel’s existence (an Israel, it should be noted, armed to the teeth with hundreds of nuclear weapons and no inspections because it simply refused to sign the Non-proliferation Treaty). Democrat (at least putatively) Lieberman and Republican Kyl, and increasingly the Bush Administration, not to mention the Israeli government, have been propagandizing about that "growing nuclear threat" for months now. And the accusations resemble nothing so much as the similarly dire warnings about Iraqi nuclear threats to the U.S. and its "allies" (i.e. Israel) before the bloody American invasion in 2003.

The truth of the matter is that no one has yet produced a shred of actionable evidence that Iran is building nuclear weapons, or arming Iraqis, or planning to invade Israel. If anyone had such evidence, it surely would have been produced before now. The whole thing is preposterous. Not to mention dangerous. As Senator Jim Webb of Virginia said on Wednesday in his statement opposing the resolution:

"This proposal … is Dick Cheney’s fondest pipe dream. It’s not a prescription for success. At best, it’s a deliberate attempt to divert attention from a failed diplomatic policy. At worst, it could be read as a back-door method of … gaining congressional validation for action without one hearing or without serious debate."

In other words, another invasion, to divert attention from the first one, could seem reasonable to the madmen in the White House. Now, with the Senate unable to agree on any way forward in Iraq, it apparently seems reasonable to no less than 76 Senators as well. Nevermind that an attack on Iran could ignite a regional holocaust. Nevermind that Iran is a sovereign nation, with a democratically elected president (one more legitimately elected than our own.) Nevermind that Iranian forces have invaded no one, attacked no one, whereas the United States is knee-deep in an illegal invasion and occupation that has killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and destroyed a country. The Senate, including dozens of Democrats, overwhelmingly approved the measure.

A Senate gone mad. How else can one interpret such psychotic dithering while Rome burns?

Lawrence DiStasi

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