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S.RES.65: The Backdoor to War with Iran

NIAC opposes S.Res.65 measure because it makes war more likely and distorts the existing U.S. policy regarding the decision to go to war.

On February 28, 2013, Senators Lindsey Graham and Robert Menendez introduced S.Res.65, "A resolution strongly supporting the full implementation of United States and international sanctions on Iran and urging the President to continue to strengthen enforcement of sanctions legislation." NIAC opposes this measure because it makes war more likely and distorts the existing U.S. policy regarding the decision to go to war.

The final resolved clause of the resolution calls for the U.S. to support Israeli strikes on Iran. Sec.1(8): "urges that, if the Government of Israel is compelled to take military action in self-defense, the United States Government should stand with Israel and provide diplomatic, military, and economic support to the Government of Israel in its defense of its territory, people, and existence."

The fifth resolved clause misstates the U.S. policy of preventing Iranian nuclear weapons acquisition, instead claiming it is to prevent nuclear weapons "capability". Sec.1(5): "reiterates that the policy of the United States is to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon capability and to take such action as may be necessary to implement this policy."

S.Res.65 increases the risk that Israel will strike Iran

This resolution is more than a “green light” or a “rubberstamp” for Israeli strikes on Iran. It calls for the U.S. to commit in advance to providing military, diplomatic and economic support should Netanyahu decide to strike, even if the President and military leaders oppose such a strike.

The resolution makes the U.S. complicit if Israel decides to strike

The measure all but guarantees that the U.S. will be held accountable if Israel launches a preventive war that is opposed by U.S. civilian and military leaders.

Preventive strikes based on Israel’s window is not “self defense”

S.Res.65 states that, if Israel is compelled to take military action in “self-defense”, the U.S. will provide support. However, much like the decision to launch a preventive war on Iraq, “self defense” is being defined by the resolution’s sponsor as “preventive” war on Iran.

This resolution distorts the US redline regarding nuclear weapons “capability”

The President has been firm that it is U.S. policy to “prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon”. But some in Congress want the policy to be to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability—a much more precarious threshold. So, instead of changing the existing policy, this resolution simply misstates it. It "reiterates that the policy of the United States is to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon capability ...” Congress should not be confusing or distorting the United State’s policy, particularly when it could decide whether we go to war.

The U.S. military has warned against publicly supporting Israeli strikes

  • Pentagon warns of dire consequences for U.S. if Israel launches unilateral strikes: a simulation was deliberately revealed by the Pentagon last year in which it was determined that Israeli strikes on Iran would draw in the U.S. and leave hundreds of Americans dead in the immediate aftermath.
  • Joint Chiefs Chairman Martin Dempsey warned against endorsing Israeli strikes: “I don’t want to be complicit if they [Israel] choose to do it.”
  • Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates cautions: “the results of an American or Israeli military strike on Iran could, in my view, prove catastrophic, haunting us for generations in that part of the world… [And] such an attack would make a nuclear –armed Iran inevitable. They would just bury the program deeper and make it more covert.”

S.Res.65 undermines the President's diplomacy

The New York Times editorial board issued a strong rebuke of the resolution: "The nonbinding resolution, promoted by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a lobbying group, would not authorize any specific action, but it would increase political pressure on Mr. Obama by putting Congress on record as backing a military operation initiated by Israel at a time of Israel's choosing. It could also hamper negotiations by playing into Iranian fears that America's true intention is to promote regime change."

The next step is authorization for war

Senator Graham has laid out a phased strategy for starting war with Iran: “You have to build a case,” he explained: First, you rule out containment, then pledge support to Israel, and if that doesn’t work, tell Obama, “Mr. President, here’s authorization.” 

 

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