Stop a Senate ‘blank check’ to Israel

The Gazette Opinion Staff
Published: March 10 2013 | 12:01 am - Updated: 28 March 2014 | 12:29 pm in
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By Dennis Lamb

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Ali Gharib is a national security reporter for ThinkProgress.org covering U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, particularly Iran.

Gharib’s Feb. 28 post in “The Daily Beast,” titled “Senators press resolution to green-light Israeli attack on Iran,” states that Sen. Lindsay Graham, R-S.C., and Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., plan to introduce a joint resolution declaring U.S. support for an Israeli military strike against Iran’s nuclear program.

In essence, the resolution would pledge full U.S. support of Israel to attack Iran whenever it feels compelled to do so to defend itself — not unlike the unconditional pledge of support German Kaiser Wilhelm II gave to Austro-Hungary for whatever action it deemed necessary to deal with Serbia in 1914. Germany’s pledge to Austro-Hungary became known in history as the “blank check.” The result was World War I.

With the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC, sending thousands of lobbyists to Washington, D.C., last week for AIPAC’s annual conference and to to press for passage of the legislation and the public largely unaware of it, it appears likely to be passed into law.

Readers can find several website articles that outline what an attack on Iran would require. “U.S. Attack on Iran would take hundreds of planes, ships, and missiles,” by Noah Shachtman, is one. “An attack on Iran would be a major, mistaken, war,” by Doug Mataconis, is another.

One line that caught my eye in “Weighing benefits and costs of military action against Iran,” a 31-page study by 28 former officials of the U.S. government and professionals in U.S. national security: “ ... we estimate that the occupation of Iran would require a commitment of resources and personnel greater than what the U.S. has expended over the past 10 years in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars combined.”

What seems clear in reading these studies is that, because of a perceived need to go after the Iranian leadership and destroy Iran’s weaponry and infrastructure, an attack on Iran would entail far more than a limited quick strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities, as most of us have been led to believe.

Osama bin Laden hoped to draw the United States into a war in the Middle East on 9/11 so he could break us economically, as the Afghan Mujahedeen did to the Soviet Union. Why give al-Qaida the last laugh?

End-running the president of the United States and the American public to outsource the decision of whether to attack Iran to another country would be wrong.

I urge readers to call or write to Sens. Tom Harkin and Chuck Grassley of Iowa to ask them to oppose such legislation.

l Dennis Lamb, formerly of Chelsea, retired from the CIA in 2002 after serving 30 years in its directorate of operations as a case officer and as an intelligence analyst. His viewpoint above is personal and not the views of his former employer. Comments: lambden@hotmail.com

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