Is the Next Congress For Sale?

You may recall that shortly after taking office as Prime Minister of Israel, Ehud Olmert came to our nation’s capital to pay tribute to his presumptive protector, President George Bush, and to address a joint session of what some cynics have labeled “The Best Congress Money Can Buy.”

On that occasion, Olmert told Congress how grateful Israel is that America “believes in us.”

Why, only the day before, that BCMCB had hurriedly passed the Palestinian Anti-terrorism Act, declaring “it shall be U.S. policy that no U.S. government officer or employee shall negotiate or have substantive contacts with members or official representatives of Hamas” – the political party that had just won 76 of the 132 seats in the Palestinian "parliament" – until it:

  • recognizes Israel’s right to exist;

  • renounces the use of terrorism;

  • dismantles the infrastructure necessary to carry out terrorist acts, including disarming militias and elimination of all terror instruments; and

  • recognizes and accepts all previous Israel-PLO agreements and understandings.

But Hamas wouldn’t comply with the so-called Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act even if it could. And certainly not while undergoing the weekly – almost daily – acts of terrorism visited upon the Palestinians in Gaza by the Israelis before, during and after its most recent war of aggression against Lebanon.

Of course, Israel claimed it was waging a “defensive” war, against Hezbollah, which Israel claims is a terrorist organization, supplied and supported by Iran. As Olmert told that BCMCB last May,

“Iran, the world’s leading sponsor of terror, and a notorious violator of fundamental human rights, stands on the verge of acquiring nuclear weapons. With these weapons, the security of the entire world is put in jeopardy.

We deeply appreciate America’s leadership on this issue and the strong bipartisan conviction that a nuclear-armed Iran is an intolerable threat to the peace and security of the world. It cannot be permitted to materialize.

This Congress has proven its conviction by initiating the Iran Freedom Support Act.”

The stated purpose of the Iran Freedom Support Act is “to hold the current regime in Iran accountable for its threatening behavior.”

Threatening to whom?

Well, according to that BCMCB, to the United States and Israel.

“[E]fforts to bring a halt to the nuclear weapons program of Iran, including steps to end the supply of nuclear components or fuel to Iran, should be intensified, with particular attention focused on the cooperation regarding such program –

(A) between the Government of Iran and the Government of the Russian Federation; and

(B) between the Government of Iran and individuals from China, Malaysia, and Pakistan, including the network of Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan.”

Now it ought to be easy to bring a halt to the Iranian nuclear weapons program, since it doesn’t now exist and never has. That’s a no-brainer.

But bringing to a halt cooperative activities – sanctioned by the Treaty of Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and the Statute of the International Atomic Energy Agency – between Iran and Russia and China would be a violation by the United States of the NPT and of the IAEA Statute.

Consequently, Olmert must have congratulated himself on “Mission Accomplished” a few months later when Bush had his stooge – Bonkers Bolton – veto the Security Council resolution offered by Qatar calling for an immediate cease-fire in Israel’s war of aggression against Lebanon, all the while strong-arming Resolution 1696 though the Council condemning Iran for its IAEA safeguarded nuclear programs, with only Qatar voting against it.

Bolton falsely claimed that UNSCR 1696 had passed because

“Iran has consistently and brazenly defied the international community by continuing its pursuit of nuclear weapons, and the continued intransigence and defiance of the Iranian leadership demands a strong response from this Council.”

And that UNSCR 1696

“also calls upon member states to do what they can to prevent the transfer of resources to Iran’s nuclear and missile programs, and Iran should understand that the United States and others will ensure that the financial transactions associated with its proliferant activities will be impeded as well.”

In other words, Bush, Bolton, Olmert and perhaps that BCMCB expected everyone to immediately impose illegal economic sanctions on Iran and to join Bush’s posse of international pirates (aka Proliferation Security Initiative).

Well, almost no one did.

As Iran’s U.N. representative, Javad Zarif, told the Security Council,

“Iran’s peaceful nuclear program poses no threat to international peace and security, and therefore dealing with this issue in the Security Council is unwarranted and void of any legal basis or practical utility.”

Then comes North Korea – no longer a NPT-signatory, thanks to Bush – to detonate a plutonium-based nuclear explosive device.

Then becomes the situation in Iraq so bad that everyone is afraid to go see how bad it really is.

Then comes the electoral Tsunami of November 7th.

Before all the votes had been counted, Olmert rushed to Washington to meet with the lame-duck Commander-in-Chief of the Global War on Terror and with lame-duck leaders of that BCMCB about “the Iran nuclear threat” and “to review several pressing issues following Israel’s defensive war this past summer against Iran-backed Hezbollah terrorism, as well as the need to stabilize the situation with Palestine.”

Well, Bonkers Bolton – our lame-duck Ambassador to the UN – did subsequently veto a Security Council resolution urging an immediate withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from Gaza and condemning an Israeli attack that killed 19 Palestinian civilians.

But, Olmert is probably not congratulating himself, just yet.

At a joint press conference with Bush, Olmert said Israel and other countries in the area “should be thankful” to the United States and Bush. He said the Iraq war “had a dramatic, positive effect on security and stability in the Middle East”, as well as having strategic importance “from Israel’s perspective” and that of moderate Arab states.

The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that Olmert’s remarks had created a “furor” among Democrat members of the next Congress. Maybe they won’t be so easily bought.

Read more by Gordon Prather

Author: Gordon Prather

Physicist James Gordon Prather has served as a policy implementing official for national security-related technical matters in the Federal Energy Agency, the Energy Research and Development Administration, the Department of Energy, the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Department of the Army. Dr. Prather also served as legislative assistant for national security affairs to U.S. Sen. Henry Bellmon, R-Okla. -- ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee and member of the Senate Energy Committee and Appropriations Committee. Dr. Prather had earlier worked as a nuclear weapons physicist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California and Sandia National Laboratory in New Mexico.