June 15, 2012

If ECI, AIPAC, and Senate hawks think it’s time to launch a war, they should say so

Yesterday, the Emergency Committee for Israel (ECI) released a new ad (see the J Street response, above) rejecting diplomacy and calling for an immediate “action” with regard to Iran, further adding to the list of pro-war efforts to sabotage diplomacy and limit Obama’s maneuverability at the upcoming Moscow sessions. Although they never directly call for military action, ECI’s efforts to push for war with Iran are increasingly transparent.
The ad implies that an Iran with nuclear capabilities is around the corner, completely ignoring U.S, European and Israeli intelligence reports that say Iran has not decided to build a bomb and is years away from creating a nuclear warhead. Similarly, last week the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) released a memo saying, “Iran has taken advantage of the talks to advance its nuclear program.”
In a Senate letter AIPAC is sponsoring that is circulating in the Senate, Robert Menendez and Roy Blunt demand the most improbable ultimatums for Iran talks and tells President Obama to offer nothing in return, effectively killing any chance to negotiate a deal at Moscow.
However, neither ECI, AIPAC, nor Congressional hawks are directly calling for a war with Iran. A direct declaration of war would invite questions concerning the astonishing costs, the lack of achievable objectives, and why the country is being dragged into another war in the Middle East. In short, it would be political suicide. Instead, they choose the easier route of demanding Iran meet impossible red lines and blaming Iran when their demands are not met. 
As Obama has said, “If some of these folks think that it’s time to launch a war, they should say so. And they should explain to the American people exactly why they would do that and what the consequences would be. Everything else is just talk.” They have rejected diplomacy, but are too cowardly to voice the only other option that they leave on the table- war.
Although many are hopeful for the upcoming nuclear talks, by rejecting diplomacy and insisting on imposing sanctions until Iran agrees to a zero-enrichment deal, Obama is left with almost no non-military options as he walks into the Moscow Session. Iran has already indicated that they would be willing to discuss exporting their supply of 20-percent enriched uranium, but no progress will be made without reciprocity in the form of sanctions relief.  Without Congress giving Obama the political maneuverability he needs, sanctions relief cannot be used as the bargaining tool it was intended to be during the Moscow Session.
However, unlike Obama, the European Union does have the flexibility to delay impending sanctions in exchange for Iran shipping out their supply of 20-percent enriched uranium. With Obama’s hands tied by the war hawks in Congress, it is up to the EU to delay the impending sanctions, or risk escalating the conflict to what Washington war hawks are too afraid to directly bring up: a full-scale war.

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