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Will Israel Decide When America Goes to War?

Ali Gharib has the goods here on the proposed Lindsay Graham-Robert Menendez bill to mandate U.S. support for an Israeli strike on Iran. The resolution states that if Israel is “compelled” to attack Iran, the U.S. should “stand with” Israel and provide diplomatic, military, and economic support. A congressional resolution is not an executive commitment—and presumably the administration can ignore it. A similar bill was drafted in 2011 by House Republicans, and failed to get airborne. This one, spearheaded by Graham, a GOP foreign-policy leader, and the incorruptible Democrat Robert Menendez, has the same intent: to broadcast the falsehood that the U.S. and Israel see the Iranian nuclear issue in exactly the same terms, to counter the White House’s diplomatic efforts to stop Israel from igniting a war. If the resolution fouls efforts to reach a negotiated agreement about Iran’s nuclear program, that would be gravy. (It calls for the U.S to prevent an Iranian nuclear “capability”—which is a more aggressive formulation than Obama’s stated policy of preventing an Iranian “nuclear weapon.”) In spirit and intent, the resolution seeks to limit American options and outsource critical American decisions about war and peace to Israel.

AIPAC, which gathers in Washington for a show of strength this coming week (there will be protests), is reportedly making support for the Graham-Menendez resolution one of its main “asks” when they send lobbyists up to Capitol Hill. During the Hagel confirmation hearings, Graham dared the Nebraskan to name some of the “stupid” things AIPAC makes the Senate do. Hagel didn’t rise to the bait, but he if had, he could  have replied that trying to bind the United States to Israeli decisions about bombing Iran would be one of them.

about the author

Scott McConnell is a founding editor of The American Conservative and the author of Ex-Neocon: Dispatches From the Post-9/11 Ideological Wars. Follow him on Twitter at @ScottMcConnell9.

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