Wednesday, July 22, 2009

House Committee Detached from Iran Reality

Today's House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on Iran showcased some reasoned thinking but unfortunately many of the old Neo-con delusions were exhibited by both congressmen and panelists. Four of the six panelists were from Neo-con interventionist think tanks (the American Enterprise Institute, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, the Foundation for the Defense of Democracy, and the Hoover Institute). Most of the panelists, especially those from the Neo-con think tanks, recommended harsh sanctions on Iran, criticized the administrations approach as being too soft, and repeated the misleading conception that an Iranian bomb would be intolerable. As CNI has said, there is no reason a nuclear Iran could not be contained and deterred and that a nuclear Iran is no more of threat than a nuclear Pakistan, India, or North Korea, let alone nuclear Russia or China.

The effect of the Israel Lobby in warping American thinking was evident, with many congressmen voicing their support of Israel. Rep. John Boozman (R-AR) said he supports Israel "100%", Rep. Dan Burton (R-IN) was concerned that Iran would bomb Israel as soon as it had nuclear weapons, despite Israel's nuclear stockpile, and Representative Scott said Iran's nuclear programs and stance towards Israel are what concern the US. It should be clear: Iranian nukes would threaten Israel because it would no longer have the complete military domination over here neighbors that her nuclear stockpile now ensures (which is the reason that Iran wants one). Iranian nuclear weapons would be easily deterred by our overwhelming global nuclear superiority. With sound diplomacy we could also secure our allies, as we have done since the Soviets tested their first nuclear weapon in 1948.

Perhaps just as disheartening as the Israel-first stance of the members was their evident lack of knowledge of the Middle East, including by Rep. Burton, ranking Republican, who noted many Iranians have warm feelings towards American and even "dress like us." We are in great trouble of our elected leaders think wearing blue jeans equals broad support for American polices and practices. Rep. David Scott's (D-GA) question, as to whether the protests meant Iranians were opposed to Ahmadinejad's attitudes towards Israel revealed a man hopeless clueless as to popular attitudes in the Muslim world. Unless we have better analysis and understanding of the Middle East, we will doomed to continue our failed policies that have brought about our present troubles.