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May 30, 2006

The Best Congress
Money Can Buy


by Gordon Prather

Ehud Olmert – who assumed the office of prime minister of Israel earlier this month – has just addressed a joint session of what some cynics have been referring to lately as "The Best Congress Money Can Buy."

That's the same Congress where House members voted overwhelmingly (361-37) the day before Olmert's address for a law 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 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.

Okay. Congresspersons – on behalf of their constituents – intend to prohibit "negotiations" and "substantive" contact by Americans with the Palestinians.

Well, how about negotiating and/or having substantive contact with the Iranians?

Nothing doing.

After quoting Abraham Lincoln to the effect he had become a "success" because he once had an unnamed friend who "believed" in him, Olmert allowed as how Israel is grateful that America "believes in us."

What makes Olmert think we do?

"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.

"We applaud these efforts."

And well they might.

Because the stated purpose of the Iran Freedom Support Act – which also passed overwhelmingly in the House – is "to hold the current regime in Iran accountable for its threatening behavior."

Threatening to whom?

Well, according to Olmert, the United States and Israel.

"The radical Iranian regime has declared the United States its enemy.

"Its president believes it is his religious duty and his destiny to lead his country in a violent conflict against the infidels. With pride he denies the Jewish Holocaust and speaks brazenly, calling to wipe Israel off the map.

"For us, this is an existential threat. A threat to which we cannot consent.

"But it is not Israel's threat alone. It is a threat to all those committed to stability in the Middle East and the well-being of the world at large."

So, the Iran Freedom Support Act declares that:

"[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."

Wow! Not only can we not have substantive contact with the Iranians; we're supposed to prevent the Russians, Chinese, Malaysians, and Pakistanis from having substantive contact with them, too.

Why do we have to ignore the dozens of resolutions the UN General Assembly passes each year to deal with the real crisis in the Middle East?

And why do we have to subvert the Treaty on Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons and the UN Charter itself to deal with a phony crisis?

Well, according to Olmert, we have no choice.

"Mr. Speaker, our moment is NOW.

"History will judge our generation by the actions we take NOW … by our willingness to stand up for peace and security and freedom, and by our courage to do what is right.

"The international community will be measured not by its intentions but by its results. The international community will be judged by its ability to convince nations and peoples to turn their backs on hatred and zealotry.

"If we don't take Iran's bellicose rhetoric seriously now, we will be forced to take its nuclear aggression seriously later."

That's scary, since Bush has already said that "the prime minister and I shared our concerns about the Iranian regime's nuclear weapons ambitions." And the world already knows how Bush deals with those he deems to have nuclear weapons ambitions.


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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.

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