(Photo: Pete Souza / White House)
In her first appearance before the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, Samantha Power, Obama’s pick for next U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, made clear that she will spend her time in the role much as her predecessor Susan Rice did: acting as Israel’s consummate defender, fear-mongering about Iran, and opposing any move to champion Palestinian human rights or self-determination.
Rice, who has been appointed as Obama’s National Security Adviser, has said repeatedly that the American delegation to the UN “often works in ‘lockstep’ with the Israeli delegation” and spends “an enormous amount of time defending Israel’s right to defend itself and defending Israel’s legitimacy.”
“It’s an issue of utmost and daily concern for the United States,” she declared last year. A few months ago, she reiterated this point, insisting that her role as an apologist for the Israeli government is “a huge part of my work to the United Nations” and that the United States “will not rest in the crucial work of defending Israel’s security and legitimacy every day at the United Nations.”
“America has a special relationship with Israel,” she stated, to the surprise of no one and the consternation of George Washington‘s ghost. “I will stand up for Israel and work tirelessly to defend it,” she promised.
Perhaps her most disturbing comments, however, were about Iran. Shamelessly exploiting the horror of the Holocaust to fear-monger about the Islamic Republic, she declared:
“…within this organization built in the wake of the Holocaust – built in part in order to apply the lessons of the Holocaust – we also see unacceptable bias and attacks against the State of Israel. We see the absurdity of Iran chairing the UN Conference on Disarmament, despite the fact that its continued pursuit of nuclear weapons is a grave threat to international peace and security.”
With this statement, Power, in her eagerness to check off all the buzzword boxes prescribed by AIPAC, directly contradicts the consistent assessment of the United States’ own intelligence community, which has repeatedly concluded that Iran is, in fact, not pursuing a nuclear weapons as it has no nuclear weapons program.
Early last year, an unnamed U.S. intelligence official told the Washington Post that Iran has not decided to pursue nuclear weapons, explaining, “Our belief is that they are reserving judgment on whether to continue with key steps they haven’t taken regarding nuclear weapons.” At the time, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta affirmed this position, admitting, ”Are they trying to develop a nuclear weapon? No.”
Soon thereafter, the New York Times reported, ”Recent assessments by American spy agencies are broadly consistent with a 2007 intelligence finding that concluded that Iran had abandoned its nuclear weapons program years earlier.” This, the paper noted, “remains the consensus view of America’s 16 intelligence agencies.”
Either Samantha Power is an idiot or she’s lying.
In fact, there was a time when Power wasn’t so confident in making such a declarative statement. In a 2008 interview with Miller-McCune, Power noted that she was “not an expert on Iran,” but condemned the “American sabre-rattling” of the George W. Bush administration. “The threats – implicit and explicit – of U.S. military action have united very diverse secular, Islamist and nationalist strands,” she said, adding that American “belligerence” had “backfired.”
When asked specifically about whether she thought “Iran is trying to create nuclear weapons,” Power replied, “It would surprise me if they weren’t, but I don’t know.”
Last year, Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi stated that Iran fully supports the establishment of a NWFZ, but that Israel, and its American backers, presented the ”only obstacle to the creation of such a zone…due to its persistent refusal to join the NPT and to place its nuclear facilities under the IAEA safeguards system.”