Bibi Netanyahu Is to Iran What George Laffer Is to Economics

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Congress, Israel, Obama Administration

That is to say, wrong.

In the address on Tuesday to the United States Congress by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, we witnessed a new peak in the long-running hype over Iran’s nuclear energy program. Yet all his predictions about how close Iran was to acquiring a nuclear bomb have proved baseless.

Despite that, alarmist rhetoric on the theme has been a staple of Mr. Netanyahu’s career. In an interview with the BBC in 1997, he accused Iran of secretly “building a formidable arsenal of ballistic missiles,” predicting that eventually Manhattan would be within range. In 1996, he stood before Congress and urged other nations to join him to prevent Iran from gaining nuclear capability, stressing that “time is running out.” Earlier, as a member of Parliament, in 1992, he predicted that Iran would be able to produce a nuclear weapon within three to five years.

In front of world leaders at the United Nations in September 2012, Mr. Netanyahu escalated his warnings by declaring that Iran could acquire the bomb within a year. It is ironic that in doing so, he apparently disregarded the assessment of his own secret service: A recently revealed document showed that the Mossad, Israel’s intelligence agency, had advised that Iran was “not performing the activity necessary to produce weapons.” The United States intelligence community had reached the same conclusion in its National Intelligence Estimate.

Despite extensive inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency, no evidence has ever been presented to contradict the clear commitment by Iran’s leaders that they would under no circumstances engage in manufacturing, stockpiling and using nuclear weapons. In 2013, for example, only Japan, which has many more nuclear facilities than Iran, was subject to greater agency scrutiny.

Someone else remembered that Bibi told Congress in 2002 that getting rid of Saddam Hussein would have “enormous, positive reverberations on the region.”

Seriously, even Tom Friedman was unconvinced by Bibi’s speech yesterday. There is broad consensus that Netanyahu failed to explain how trashing the White House negotiations would result in anything better. He reminds me of the progressives who were opposed to the Affordable Care Act because they fantasized that trashing it would magically give us single payer.

Jim Newell of Salon called the speech an insult, not just to the White House but to Americans generally.

Where to begin? How about the section in the beginning where Netanyahu, patronizingly, delivers a history of the Iranian regime and its sponsorship of terrorism and insurgency against Americans in the region. Excuse me, but we don’t need to be told, by a foreign leader, how Iran has treated the United States. And then this: “Don’t be fooled. The battle between Iran and ISIS doesn’t turn Iran into a friend of America.” Again, thanks, but we’ll figure out our foreign policy for ourselves.

So a foreign leader stood up in Congress, insulted not just the President but Americans in general, and the mostly Republican audience gave him 26 standing ovations. Why do Republicans hate America?

Fred Kaplan:

The Israeli prime minister pretended to criticize the specific deal that the United States and five other nations are currently negotiating with Iran, but it’s clear from his words that he opposes any deal that falls short of Iran’s total disarmament and regime change. He pretended merely to push for a “better deal,” but he actually was agitating for war.

Wingnuts think all peace agreements are “appeasement”; war is the only “serious” solution. Hence, 26 standing ovations.

It’s appalling that so many members of the U.S. Congress cheer Netanyahu’s every utterance as some holy oracle, seemingly unaware that many senior Israeli security officers dispute his assertions about the urgency of an Iranian nuclear threat—unaware even that he’s increasingly unpopular among his own citizens. It’s downright unseemly that these same members of Congress cheer his condemnation of the P5+1 deal as “a very bad deal”—they stand up, applaud madly, and howl toward the cameras and galleries—without giving their own president and his diplomats a chance to complete and defend the deal themselves.

Anything to give them an excuse to express their raging hatred of President Obama. That’s what’s really going on here. They’d invite the Devil himself to address Congress if he promised some anti-Obama red meat.

Unfortunately, a few Democrats went along with this circus. I want names, and I want them primaried. This crap has got to stop.

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20 Comments

20 Comments

  1. c u n d gulag  •  Mar 4, 2015 @11:01 am

    “Bibi Flew Into the Cuckoo’s Nest.”
    (Previously, “Jew Flew Into the Cuckoo’s Nest” – but I was afraid that might be too offensive).

    The GOP will go to any extreme to embarrass that “Ni-CLANG!!!” in the (former) White (people’s) House.

    I’m waiting for them to extend an invitation to their former heartthrob, Vlad Putin (the Ukrainians in a horrible mess).
    No “mom-jeans” on Vlad. Just khaki shorts below his bare manly-man torso – and if he shows up that way to speak to the House Republicans, their staffs will have to drag in hundreds of fainting couches.
    And, the overnight cleaning crew will have to spend all night cleaning up the mess on the floor, encumbered by their HazMat suits.

  2. Swami  •  Mar 4, 2015 @3:20 pm

    Anything to give them an excuse to express their raging hatred of President Obama. That’s what’s really going on here. They’d invite the Devil himself to address Congress if he promised some anti-Obama red meat.

    Amen! That’s it in a nutshell. One of the things that really bothers me is the overall degradation of decency and civility that exists within the Repuglican ranks. I can understand a robust exchange of ideas that will guide America’s path into the future, but the Repugs have degenerated have into a pack of low life cretins who have no regard for the welfare of the American people.
    I still recoil in horror when I recall Joe Walsh screaming out to Obama at the State of the Union address..”You Lie”. How crude and classless do you have to be before you draw even a mild rebuke from your fellow Repuglican colleagues ? Even Boehner bringing his bar brawling mentality into the Halls of Congress only helps to reduce the esteem our representatives theoretically should be worthy of.
    They’re all a bunch of classless pukes..And the ones who do manage to maintain some civility and decorum should know that they are judged by the company that they keep.

  3. c u n d gulag  •  Mar 4, 2015 @3:36 pm

    Even Boehner bringing his bar brawling mentality…

    Swami,
    I was a bartender for years in NYC, in the East Village, the Lower East Side, and the Alphabet Jungle.
    I was also a bartender in Upstate NY for 7 years.

    And let me assure you, that if John Boehner ever started a bar-brawl, he’d have gotten his tanned ass beaten nine-ways-to-Sunday every time – and that’s not including the guys in the bar!

  4. Swami  •  Mar 4, 2015 @4:02 pm

    No offence to bartenders, gulag. Some of my best friends are bartenders. 🙂

  5. c u n d gulag  •  Mar 4, 2015 @4:24 pm

    No offence taken!

    I as just pointing out that Boehner was, and always will be, the loser in any fight – bar, or otherwise. 🙂

  6. joanr16  •  Mar 4, 2015 @4:36 pm

    Boehner’s like one of those drunks who thinks he’s Jean-Claude van Damme and can take on anybody. He wakes up the next day and wonders why he’s now orange with purple bruises all over.

  7. Ed  •  Mar 4, 2015 @4:48 pm

    Why is everyone so bent out of shape and insulted? Remember when the head of Israel’s Labor Party invited Obama to address the Knesset and he stood there and slammed Netanyahu’s policies and called him a warmonger?

    You don’t remember?

    Come to think of it…

  8. erinyes  •  Mar 4, 2015 @5:17 pm

    The money circle jerk has to stop, the Israel firsters in office need to get the boot, and the tail needs to quit wagging the dog. This issue is beyond insane.

  9. Mike G  •  Mar 4, 2015 @6:01 pm

    Nutanyahoo is to politics what William The Bloody Kristol is to punditry.
    Deliberately, disastrously wrong, over and over.

  10. Swami  •  Mar 4, 2015 @6:05 pm

    If Boehner wonders why he’s orange maybe he should consider looking at the condition of his liver. I’ve been told that cirrhosis of the liver sometimes mimics the symptoms of jaundice but with a stronger hue of orange.

  11. uncledad  •  Mar 4, 2015 @6:23 pm

    “Why do Republicans hate America?”

    Or why do they love Israel? I mean Israel has socialized medicine, gay marriage, mandatory military service, labor unions, public education, liberal welfare policies, no death penalty? The only thing the wingnuts and many in Israel have in common is their fear of all things Muslim and their love of war, I guess that’s enough?

  12. Doug  •  Mar 4, 2015 @10:56 pm

    “War not make one great” Yoda

    I think Bibi is stuck (mentally) in the 6-day war when Israel kicked Egypt’s ass in a preemptive war. I think the neocons of the GOP in Congress are stuck (mentally) in WWII, which none of them fought. The struggles in the minds of BB and the GOP which they revere were real and unavoidable.

    Manufacturing wars that are avoidable is sick. I don’t care that mush about the election in Israel or the delusions of the GOP. But charging headlong into a religious war on a global scale is the height of stupidity.

    OT – Gulag, if you are interested, I may have a paying job doing a translation from Russian to English – a manuscript of a novel my wife wrote.

  13. Bardi  •  Mar 5, 2015 @10:35 am

    Bibi is a Rumsfeld with fossilized memories of many of the myths of the Cold War. Like Reagan’s CIA, actions are interpreted in the ancient context and they stay the course despite negative results to their imaginings. They may be right, in as soon as a thousand years, but I doubt it. Events will always “surprise” them but they will still cleave to conclusions drawn decades ago.

    They blur the distinction between “terror” and detent through mutual destruction, hoping, I guess, to broaden the definitions in order to hasten a pronouncement that they are “right”.

  14. c u n d gulag  •  Mar 5, 2015 @10:48 am

    Doug,
    I’m fluent, but I’ve never translated a book before.
    And much as I’d like to, and am honored that you asked, I’d like to see your wife’s writing get the best possible translation.

    If you’re interested, my cousin Lora Schmailo – a well-known poet and translator in NYC – might be willing to take that on – if she’s got the time. She does a LOT of translation work lately!

    I do look forward to reading it when its done!

    Speaking of which, I have to order maha’s book, now that I’ve got some spare change!I’m also thinking of buying a Nook at B&N tomorrow.
    Any advice or warnings, folks?
    My hands are very arthritic, and I’m finding it harder and harder to hold heavy books in my hands.

  15. c u n d gulag  •  Mar 5, 2015 @10:50 am

    If I buy one, I’ll be a schnook with a Nook! 😉

    maha, which form do you get more royalties from – the book, or an e-book?
    Your book isn’t 800 pages, so I should have no problem reading it.

  16. maha  •  Mar 5, 2015 @11:18 pm

    c u n d gulag — I get a little more from the paperback than from the Kindle edition. It’s a very lightweight book. I have a Kindle and Kindle Fire, and I don’t know how the Fire compares to the Nook, but it’s a tad heavier than a paperback, I think.

  17. Swami  •  Mar 5, 2015 @12:54 pm

    gulag…you can download a free app called kindle for PC. You can save the expense of buying a nook.
    http://download.cnet.com/Kindle-for-PC/3000-20412_4-75185974.html

    Of course if you want to be trendy and do the Nook thing then go for it. The graphics on the Nook is excellent and they are very nice if portability is a prime consideration. I’m a desktop type of guy who prefers a larger screen area due to eye sight issues. So I’m happy with reading kindle books on my PC.

  18. c u n d gulag  •  Mar 5, 2015 @1:35 pm

    Thanks, Swami.
    Good advice!

    I read blogs and comment during the day, but at night, I like to lie on my bed and read – usually fiction, and often history – but my laptop is too heavy for me to carry to bed, even though I have a router.

    I’m going the Nook route, mostly due to the arthritis in my hands and fingers – my thumbs sometimes lock on me, and, it’s still new enough, that it freaks me the hell out!!!

    Also, the Nook allows you to choose your type-face size, which I think will help me, too.

  19. grannyeagle  •  Mar 5, 2015 @6:02 pm

    Gulag: About a year ago I won a Nook playing bingo and I like it fine. I also downloaded an app for Kindle. There are more books available for Kindle cause it’s Amazon and Nook is Barnes & Noble. There are also lots of free books available on both. The Kindle app is free and I’m not sure what a Nook costs. Either way you go, enjoy!!

  20. c u n d gulag  •  Mar 6, 2015 @8:22 am

    Thanks, maha



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