‘Amen Corner’ on Capitol Hill
There was a time when the AIPAC was not as power-wielding as it is today, and thus, there were lawmakers on Capitol Hill that stood their ground for what they considered morally right. But those days are a distant memory now. Having seen how their courageous colleagues have been routed out for simply being critical of the apartheid policies of the pariah state of Israel, there are very few today that are willing to speak out and take the risk, especially in an election year, writes Dr Habib Siddiqui from Pennsylvania
WITH the US presidential election only five months away, Capitol Hill is behaving more and more like a cheer-leading ‘Amen Corner’ for the rogue state of Israel these days than a body of wise lawmakers that care about what is best for the United States and her people. Two weeks ago, the House of Representatives passed a resolution H. Res. 568 that was designed to tie the president’s hands on Iran policy.
The resolution was the usual boilerplate denouncing the Islamic Republic of Iran as a ‘state sponsor of terrorism’ that is on the road to nuclear weapons capability, and ‘urges the President to reaffirm the unacceptability of an Iran with nuclear-weapons capability and opposition to any policy that would rely on containment as an option in response to the Iranian nuclear threat.’ This was like telling the president that any US response to that ‘threat’ other than war was unacceptable.
Just reflect on the audacity of the resolution! Everyone knows that America cannot afford another war now. And these senators on Capitol Hill ought to know better than ordinary Joe, Dick or Harry. Thus, why this madness to rush into another war, and at whose behest? The answer is: AIPAC (the American Israel Public Affairs Committee). The all-powerful pro-Israeli Jewish lobby has been trying hard to push the US to start a war with Iran since the fall of the Shah. It played a vital role for the US’s illegal war against Iraq claiming that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. And now AIPAC’s target has shifted to Iran but its very methodology — the scaremongering tactics mixed with lies and deceptions — has remained virtually the same.
Through its mouthpieces on Capitol Hill (and there are too many of these parrots), back in 2002, just months before the invasion of Iraq, we were told, ‘Saddam Hussein is not far from developing and acquiring the means to strike the United States, our friends and our allies with weapons of mass destruction. Thus, if we do not act now, when?’ [Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), October 9, 2002] And as we know, Ileana, like her many pro-Israeli hawks, was wrong. Now she would like us to believe that ‘The Iranian regime continues to pose an immediate and growing threat to the United States, to our allies, and to the Iranian people. We are running out of time to stop the nightmare of a nuclear weapons-capable Iran from becoming a reality...We must meet our responsibility to the American people and protect the security of our Nation, our allies, and the world from this threat of a nuclear capable Iran.’ (May 15, 2012) Why should America believe her kind?
Ten years ago, Howard Berman (D-CA), another puppet and unabashed supporter of the rogue state of Israel, said, ‘But under today’s circumstances, the best way to give peace a chance and to save the most lives, American and Iraqi, is for America to stand united and for Congress to authorize the President to use force if Saddam does not give up his weapons of mass destruction. Confront Saddam now, or pay a much heavier price later.’ And he misled the country on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. On May 15, Berman said, ‘What better time for this body to send an unambiguous message that Iran must never be allowed to achieve a nuclear weapons capability and that its nuclear weapons program must end once and for all?’
The list of these AIPAC parrots for the state of Israel is too long to waste our time reading about what they said. They can lie without feeling embarrassed.
There was a time when the AIPAC was not as power-wielding as it is today, and thus, there were lawmakers on Capitol Hill that stood their ground for what they considered morally right. But those days are a distant memory now. Having seen how their courageous colleagues have been routed out for simply being critical of the apartheid policies of the pariah state of Israel, there are very few today that are willing to speak out and take the risk, especially in an election year. Over the past three decades, even the realists in the images of George HW Bush-James Baker-Brent Scowcroft and Jimmy Carter-Zbigniew Brzezinski within either of the major two parties have been simply purged out. As recently lamented by political commentator Pat Buchanan, ‘Refuse to toe the neocon line on Israel, and you have no future in the Republican Party.’ Ninety-nine per cent of Congress now votes almost 100 per cent pro-Israel. They live in ‘fear of the Israeli lobby’.
So, I was not too shocked to see that the pro-war Resolution passed in the House with a vote of 401 in favour with only 11 opposing. Amongst the brave ones that voted against this resolution were: Congressmen Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich. Among the nine cowards that decided to abstain were Keith Ellison and John Conyers.
As Nima Shirazi noted, it is better to be a coward than to be in the bloody pocket of AIPAC. Well, that sums it up for all of us as to where Capitol Hill has slid down to in the moral compass. One can only pity these spineless and warmongering members of the ‘Amen Corner’. A sad day indeed for all those who voted them into Capitol Hill!
Dr Habib Siddiqui is a peace and rights activist.
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