Monday, February 4, 2013

'One Dumb Thing'

"Chuck Hagel, President Obama's nominee to be secretary of defense, faced sharp and sometimes angry questioning from fellow Republicans... at a contentious confirmation hearing on Thursday that focused on his past statements on Iran, the influence of pro-Israel organizations in Washington and the Iraq war... One of the most hostile questioners was Senator [Lindsey] Graham of South Carolina, who told Mr Hagel to 'name one dumb thing we've been goaded into doing because of the pressure from the Israeli or Jewish lobby.' Mr Hagel, who in 2006 said that the 'Jewish lobby' intimidates Congress, could not." (Hagel has rough outing before ex-colleagues, Elizabeth Bumiller, The New York Times, 31/1/13)

Just "one dumb thing we've been goaded into doing because of the pressure from the Israeli lobby," eh?

No problem. How about this:

"On Friday night, the Senate passed by a 90-1 vote an AIPAC [American Israel Public Affairs Committee] drafted a resolution telling the president that containment of a nuclear Iran is not an option. If Iran passes Binyamin Netanyahu's 'red line', the United States must go to war. As a US President, Barack Obama opposes automatic wars. He wants to keep all his options open. But the Senate gets its orders from AIPAC and AIPAC gets its orders from Netanyahu..." (AIPAC salutes itself for senate passage of its Iran War Bill 90-1,, 24/9/12)

Senator Graham, I should add, was instrumental in passing this Israel lobby-authored 'lets-go-to-war-again-for-Israel' bill. As AIPAC's press release of 23/9/12 put it:

"AIPAC praises the efforts of Sens. Graham (R-SC), Lieberman (I-CT) and Casey (D-PA), as well as the additional cosponsors, to get this resolution passed." (ibid)

So why does Senator Graham do such dumb things? Does it just come naturally? Well no, not exactly. Fact is, guys like Senator Graham need a little coaching, at least initially. Perhaps Harry Lonsdale's experience can shed some light on the matter:

"Harry Lonsdale, the Democratic candidate who ran unsuccessfully against Senator Mark Hatfield (R-OR) in 1990, has described his own visit to AIPAC headquarters during that campaign. 'The word that I was pro-Israel got around,' he writes. 'I found myself invited to AIPAC in Washington, DC, fairly early in the campaign, for 'discussions'. It was an experience I will never forget. It wasn't enough that I was pro-Israel. I was given a list of vital topics and quizzed (read grilled) for my specific opinion on each. Actually, I was told what my opinion must be, and exactly what words I was to use to express those opinions in public... Shortly after that encounter at AIPAC, I was sent a list of American supporters of Israel... that I was free to call for campaign contributions. I called; they gave, from Florida to Alaska.'" (quoted in The Israel Lobby & US Foreign Policy, John Mearsheimer & Stephen Walt, 2007 p 155)

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