Sunday, August 2, 2015

Whom to Trust on Iran Deal

I'd love to write something about the overreaction to the killing of Cecil the Lion and the underreaction to the Planned Parenthood "organ donations", but I feel compelled to stick with the story of the Iran agreement.

Two stories attracted my attention and they speak volumes in very different ways about the examination or lack thereof taking place before the Congress. Before I deal with the stories, I must reiterate two fundamentals that are artificially tipping the scales in favor of the agreement's passage.

One, it is a complete bastardization of language to attempt to call this an "agreement". It is a treaty by any definition of the word and the mendacious troika of Kerry-Obama-Moniz should be ashamed of themselves - despite the contents of the treaty itself - to refer to it otherwise. It is a work of artifice intended to circumvent the approval process in place in the Constitution in the same manner that Harry Reid invoked budget reconciliation to insure the passage of Obamacare without a single Republican vote.

Two, Republicans are completely to blame for foresaking their constitutional responsibility by agreeing to pass the ridiculous Corker-Sasse bill which turns on its head the notion of "advice and consent" on treaty approvals. They and their buddies John McCain and Lindsay Graham defended their actions by saying it was the only process to which democrats would agree. What a complete crock. And now they have given Obama the opportunity to veto their potential disapproval of the "agreement", forcing them to find democrats willing to join them in an override. Fat chance. The lot of them - including Kerry-Obama-Moniz - should be impeached for failing to uphold the Constitution.

But back to the two stories. The Guardian, Britain's most openly left newspaper, published a column by Iran's chief nuclear negotiator calling on Israel to give up its nuclear program now that Iran is effectively foresaking its own. Aside from the patently ridiculous claim that Iran's nuclear research is purely for civilian purposes (which is why they bury their facilities beneath mountains and hide them from international inspectors), there is a mysterious fatwa in place that bars the regime from producing nuclear weapons. This is indicative of what the future holds. Iran can cloak itself in a legitimacy conveyed by this agreement and make ludicrous claims that it embraces peace and non-proliferation. It flips on its head what we know to be true. So, c'mon, Israel - it's time to join with "new" Iran and get rid of those pesky nuclear weapons. Death to No One!

Unfortunately, Javad Zarif, despite his comfort with English and his blossoming relation with Kerry and Moniz, is not a moderate. I suppose compared with other Iranian leaders he is, but everything is relative. He has traveled to Lebanon and paid homage to Hizballah killer, Imad Mughniyah, who bears responsibility for numerous assassinations of Jews and Americans. His government effectively funds a shadow government and military in Lebanon through Hizballah and no one issues a condemnation. His government is proudly anti-Semitic, Holocaust-denying and his boss, its leader, appears at speaking engagements carrying an AK-47. We all know this country cannot be trusted, it will not stop exporting violence, but we are sucked in by this American educated Foreign Minister because we want to be. In Obama's case, there was never a moment of hesitation or doubt.

The second story is from Stephen Hayes and Bill Kristol of the Weekly Standard. Whatever you might think of Kristol, Hayes is a superb reporter and seems to have great sources in the intelligence community. They write that there is much evidence, seized from Osama bin Laden's compound, that confirms a substantial relationship existed between Iran and Al Qaeda before and after 9/11. Very little of that information has been released to the public. Like the two secret side deals between the IAEA and Iran that Kerry seems to know little about, aren't we owed some reasonable level of disclosure about these matters before legitimizing this country as a nuclear state and releasing more than $100 billion to them? How could one not conclude that relevant facts are being obscured for the purposes of securing a desired outcome?

I do not deny that much of the attention-getting rhetoric from opponents is rooted in the campaign to succeed Obama. Similarly, those who favor the agreement defend it by spuriously linking it to agreements forged by prior administrations with adversaries. But, as usual, Kerry-Obama-Moniz insured themselves that the opposition would have strong traction by acceding to demands that were unrelated to a nuclear deal; by outsourcing and giving Iran the ability to drag its feet on inspections; and most damning of all, never giving any indication that it would push away to demand a better deal under any circumstances. On what basis do they attack opponents with righteous indignation that they have secured a deal "that makes America safer"?  They cannot assure the American people that they have instituted measures that stop Iranian chicanery because there is doubt even among the negotiators that they have.

This deal is a treaty and should have been considered as such.  But that ship has sailed. At the very least, Congress should insist that there be a full accounting of relevant information and their 60 day
consideration period not begin until all that information is in hand. Like many, I anxiously await any declarative statements from democratic Jewish members of Congress in whose hands the fate of this agreement rests. Do they support Kerry-Obama-Moniz because their devotion to their ideology requires it or do they admit that the agreement embraces too much uncertainty and leaves Iran unrestrained to threaten its neighbors and spread conventional weapons to its proxies?

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