Friday, May 18, 2012

Senate GOP Goes Above and Beyond for Israel

Only days after Walter Pincus' must-read piece  in the WaPo about the US going "above and beyond for Israel" by ponying up more money for Israel's Iron Dome defense system, the WaPo reports on how Senate Republicans have blocked passage of a bill intended to strengthen sanctions against Iran.
I have to admit that my heart leaped with my initial take from the article's title - that Senate Democrats had thwarted some GOP initiative.
Silly me.
Turns out it was that Democrat senator Harry Reid, the Senate Majority Leader, who had been trying to shepherd this stronger-sanctions bill through, but who had his efforts thwarted by GOP opponents in what Reid called a classic example of rope-a-dope.  Indeed, as the WaPo report notes, the bill had gotten through committee, with bipartisan support.
The GOP objection?  As reinforced by Three Amigo guy Lindsey Graham's statement, the GOP felt that the bill wasn't harsh enough.  Specifically, they wanted more explicit wording to threaten Iran with a US military strike if Tehran refused to abandon its nuclear program.
WaPo notes:

The Senate legislation would have built on economic sanctions approved by Congress last year to punish banks and businesses that help Iran sell its oil abroad. The proposed measure, known as the Johnson-Shelby bill, also would have imposed penalties on companies or governments that help Iran block Western radio and Internet transmissions or provide it with tear gas and other weapons used against opposition groups.
The congressional debate came amid disclosures of new U.S. assurances to Israel that Washington was prepared to use force against Iran if diplomacy failed. U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro gave the assurances to Israeli leaders on Tuesday in what was billed as a private meeting with Israeli bar association members. A copy of his remarks was shared with news organizations Thursday.
I can only conclude from shenanigans such as these that GOP honchos in the Senate - and their pals in the House, both Red and Blue - would love nothing more than to have the US military bomb Iran back into the Stone Age and then invite Mr. Netanyahu back to D.C. for a victory lap complete with Special Address and standing ovations.
And you can bet that the GOP senators, like Graham, who blocked the Johnson-Shelby bill just saw their campaign coffers swell, courtesy of AIPAC and all those wonderful Jesus-loving (and Rapture-awaiting) Americans who have pledged their troth to CUFI and Pastor Hagee.
Isn't there something in the gospels about "blessed are the peacemakers"?  Just sayin' . . . .

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