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Mainstream press openly addresses Israel lobby’s role in US policy re Syria

Israel/Palestine
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The Israel and lobby angle in the Syrian attack is getting more and more mainstream attention. This is great news, as it suggests that Americans will one day get to debate openly whether supporting a militaristic Jim Crow state is worth American “blood and treasure,” and whether Americans want to talk to Iran under its new leadership or threaten it.

First Jodi Rudoren in the New York Times speaks openly of the lobby’s influence:

At the same time, Israel has a powerful American lobby with bipartisan strength that could be uniquely positioned to help the White House shore up support in Congress.

Yet there were no outward signs on Sunday that Israel would attempt to influence the outcome, and numerous experts on the Israel-American relationship said it would be deeply dangerous to try…

Ari Shavit, a columnist for the left-leaning daily newspaper Haaretz, said that Israel and others in the Middle East were being left with a “feeling of orphans,” wondering “if there is still a reliable parent in Washington who is really committed, who understands what’s going on and who is willing to act.”

“It was not long ago that Jodi Rudoren could not write most of this,” says Ira Glunts. “Times have changed but the power of Israel and lobby is still
unchecked.  The connection between Syria and Israel’s fight with Iran
was clear in this piece.”

Politico also speaks openly of the lobby and of the importance of Jewish members of Congress to Obama’s push– hawkish Jewish Democrats will be needed to validate the attack. (And people used to call me anti-Semitic for openly ascribing influence to powerful Jewish politicians as Jews.) Of course, Iran as a supposed enemy of the United States is central to this worldview.

The Obama administration is using a time-tested pitch to get Congress to back military strikes in Syria: It will help protect Israel…

The administration’s case that intervening benefits Israel will turn on what lawmakers hear from pro-Israel groups in their communities and from the reactions of leading Jewish lawmakers, said a senior House Democratic aide.

The Israel angle “only has a major impact if it’s getting validated from others,” the aide said. “Doesn’t have to be AIPAC writ large, but the local AIPAC lay leaders that the members have personal relationships [with] need to be validating.”

House leaders are likely to use prominent Jewish members who are hawkish on Israel as a bellwether. That group includes Democratic Reps. Henry Waxman of California, Eliot Engel and Steve Israel of New York, Ted Deutch and Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida and Brad Schneider of Illinois. Engel announced on Friday that the administration had convinced him it was appropriate to make punitive strikes against Assad, though he had been pretty clearly in the camp favoring action before that.

As we noted the other day, Politico openly addressed the potential power of the lobby for Obama’s efforts in a piece last week:

The silence [of the lobby] could be a problem for Obama, since the Jewish groups are connected across the political spectrum, wielding influence from the far right to liberal Democrats on issues critical to the Middle East — especially when it comes to the use of military force.

Finally, this was on CNN. Debbie Wasserman Schultz wants a strike on Syria, as a mother and a Jew: “The concept of never again has to mean something.” The Israel angle is not explicit here. But Wasserman Schultz is speaking to Wolf Blitzer, who was also once a strong supporter of Israel. Thanks to Real Clear Politics.

WOLF BLITZER: What happens if the president doesn’t get a positive vote in the House of Representatives? What if he gets rejected there, as David Cameron did in Britain?

REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ (D-FL): Well, I feel confident that our colleagues, my colleagues both on the Republican side of the aisle as well as the Democratic side of the aisle are not going to jeopardize the credibility of the United States. I feel confident that we will have a majority of the House of Representatives and the Senate who will understand and authorize the president to engage in a limited targeted strike that ensures that our national security interests are protected, but also that he respond to atrocities, and exercise the moral leadership that the United States has always led with.

For me as a mother, to see that searing image of babies lined up, murdered by their own government, innocent children. I mean, as a Jew, Wolf, I have to tell you, as a member of Congress who represents one of the largest Holocaust survivor populations in the country, to me, the concept of never again, has to mean something. And the United States, morally, cannot turn the other cheek. Too many leaders of ours have regretted that decision.

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58 Responses

  1. Henry Norr
    Henry Norr
    September 3, 2013, 11:04 am

    >>…Wolf Blitzer, who was also once a strong supporter of Israel…

    Huh?? “once”??? Is there any evidence that he’s changed in that respect? He may no longer be the paid agent he used to be (or maybe he still is), but as far as I know, he’s still a vehement Israel-firster.

    • philweiss
      philweiss
      September 3, 2013, 12:32 pm

      Fair enough Henry, but I haven’t followed him closely and I like to believe that Zionists can cease to be Zionists when they consider the evidence

      • Citizen
        Citizen
        September 3, 2013, 1:08 pm

        I’ve followed Blitzer closely; he’s still a Zionist, not overtly by expression on related issues, but by what he does not say, not only with his questions and commentary, but by never providing context Americans need to hear.

      • Krauss
        Krauss
        September 3, 2013, 2:44 pm

        That’s usually how it works, that’s the Zionist bias of the NYT too.

        But this is not always because of conviction, even if in some instances it is(the jury’s out on Blitzer in my view). Just look at the recent 11 drafts of that NYT article that mentioned AIPAC, which later got scrubbed.
        There’s a lot of pressure from above and at some point a lot of journalists know the boundaries, they self-censor. Sometimes they agree with that censorship, sometimes they don’t.

        I think you overestimate the political autonomy of Blitzer on these issues in the role that he has. Regardless if he’s a strong Zionist or not.

      • W.Jones
        W.Jones
        September 3, 2013, 6:26 pm

        Yes, forgive me for picking a thread, but I assume he is still a strong Zionist. Didn’t he debate Chomsky or Finkelstein once?

        It’s like saying that someone from the civil rights movement was “once” a supporter of black rights, without any evidence that the have changed their view.

      • Ecru
        Ecru
        September 3, 2013, 6:19 pm

        “I like to believe that Zionists can cease to be Zionists when they consider the evidence”

        Not too sure about that. Personally I’ve yet to encounter a Zionist who’s capable of putting their ethno-supremacism aside while looking at the evidence (not many Christian Zionists here in Europe). Instead they deny, excuse and lie rather than admit the truth.

        Now that’s admit to it. I’m well aware that most are fully cognisant of the truth but they just don’t CARE. Unless it’s happening to a Jew they just can’t see the problem, hell most I’ve encountered positively revel in the fact it’s Jews putting the boot in.

      • talknic
        talknic
        September 4, 2013, 6:10 am

        @ Philip Weiss

        “I like to believe that Zionists can cease to be Zionists when they consider the evidence”

        Know of anyone who has?

      • eGuard
        eGuard
        September 4, 2013, 6:40 am

        Last March, when Obama was in Israel, he spread and maintained the “Free Pollard” yell hoax.

        http://mondoweiss.net/2013/03/heckler-jonathan-pollard.html#comment-550888

  2. joemowrey
    joemowrey
    September 3, 2013, 11:08 am

    “Yet there were no outward signs on Sunday that Israel would attempt to influence the outcome, and numerous experts on the Israel-American relationship said it would be deeply dangerous to try…”

    As always, Rudoren, even when she appears to be acknowledging reality, can’t help but then give it a Zionist spin. Suggesting that Israel/the Lobby is not attempting to influence U.S. policy on Syria is kind of like admitting (finally) that the sun does indeed rise in the East, but then saying that the sunlight has no effect on the weather.

    Rudoren is a shill, first and foremost. It’s a shame to see her repeatedly getting so much credibility here at Mondoweiss. Any mention of her at all should only be pointing out her blatant role as a Zionist propagandist.

  3. Balfour
    Balfour
    September 3, 2013, 11:12 am

    M.J. Rosenberg has pointed out that the following two paragraphs originally appeared in the New York Times, only to be edited out in later editions:

    Administration officials said the influential American Israel Public Affairs Committee was already at work pressing for military action against the government of Assad, fearing that if Syria escapes American retribution for its use of chemical weapons, Iran might be emboldened in the future to attack Israel. In the House, the majority leader, Eric Cantor of Virginia, the only Jewish Republican in Congress, has long worked to challenge Democrats’ traditional base among Jews.

    “One administration official, who, like others, declined to be identified discussing White House strategy, called AIPAC “the 800-pound gorilla in the room,” and said its allies in Congress had to be saying, “If the White House is not capable of enforcing this red line” against the catastrophic use of chemical weapons, “we’re in trouble.”

    I guess this information fails to pass the Time’s time-honored promise to publish “All the news that fit to print”.

  4. seafoid
    seafoid
    September 3, 2013, 11:29 am

    “wondering “if there is still a reliable parent in Washington who is really committed, who understands what’s going on”

    Maybe the problem is that too many Americans now actually understand what’s going on

    “For me as a mother, to see that searing image of babies lined up, murdered by their own government, innocent children. I mean, as a Jew, Wolf, I have to tell you, as a member of Congress who represents one of the largest Holocaust survivor populations in the country, to me, the concept of never again, has to mean something.”

    Obviously Gaza is different. The concept of “again and again” is more like it. And where is Debbie Wasserman Schmaltz for the people of the DR Congo?

    • Citizen
      Citizen
      September 3, 2013, 1:15 pm

      @ For Debbie W-S, “never again” only applies to the Jews. Like Israel itself, there’s no generic ethical/moral meaning to be learned from Nuremberg Trials. In this Zionist rendition of those trials, everybody who died fighting Hitler and Imperial Japan died to establish permanent victimhood status for the Jewish people, no matter what the self-styled Jewish state does, right or wrong.

    • radii
      radii
      September 3, 2013, 4:49 pm

      but zionists seek political gain and advantage by being the World’s Official Victims … sharing that status undermines the benefit

      there will be very real political consequences to pay if the U.S. goes ahead with a war on Syria – the American public does not want it by 80%-90% and now the influence of the israeli lobby in all of the “war-on-terror” racket is finally being discussed openly and frankly in many media … the American public does not want more blood and treasure expended for israel’s regional superpower goals

  5. marc b.
    marc b.
    September 3, 2013, 11:29 am

    Engel announced on Friday that the administration had convinced him it was appropriate to make punitive strikes against Assad, though he had been pretty clearly in the camp favoring action before that.

    exactly. as if he had to be convinced of anything. and, again, this about ‘regime change’ as the war cheerleaders make clear. strikes are primarily about ‘strengthening opponents of assad’, crocodile tears about civilian casualties are the veil of fig leaves.

  6. American
    American
    September 3, 2013, 11:31 am

    Jodi Rudoren doesnt do a good job of ‘talking about’ the Lobby imo.

    “At the same time, Israel has a powerful American lobby with bipartisan strength that could be uniquely positioned to help the White House shore up support in Congress.”

    Which should read….Israel has a powerful lobby “in America”….not that it is an ‘American Lobby’. The NRA is a American Lobby, AIPAC is a foreign lobby for a foreign country.

    • hophmi
      hophmi
      September 3, 2013, 11:54 am

      “The NRA is a American Lobby, AIPAC is a foreign lobby for a foreign country.”

      What makes the AIPAC any less American than the NRA? Both are AMERICAN lobbies. They both advocates political positions they believe should be taken by the AMERICAN government.

      • Woody Tanaka
        Woody Tanaka
        September 3, 2013, 12:35 pm

        “What makes the AIPAC any less American than the NRA?”

        The fact that it advocates for policies on behalf of an alien state.

        “Both are AMERICAN lobbies.”

        Nope. The NRA is an American lobby. AIPAC is an American and israeli lobby. That’s why it spends millions to maintain an office in israel to coordinate policy with agents of that foreign government.

        “They both advocates political positions they believe should be taken by the AMERICAN government.”

        Yes, and the NRA does so because it believes that Americans will primarily benefit. AIPAC does so because it believes an alien government and people will primarily benefit.

      • Chu
        Chu
        September 3, 2013, 12:42 pm

        Uh, they’re working to support and prop up a foreign government who is a serial occupier and colonist, one century after colonialism went belly-up. They are a blight of supposed American values, but in this twisted realm of affairs, people often have the short-sightedness of viewing the occupier state as good and determined – at least they did before the internet.

        Pepe Escobar makes a great point about this in a recent Syria interview.

      • hophmi
        hophmi
        September 3, 2013, 1:32 pm

        “Uh, they’re working to support and prop up a foreign government”

        Prop up a foreign government? I don’t think the Israeli government needs propping up, but, again, like many organizations, they advocate a US foreign policy position. Period. Stop denying it, unless you advocate foreign lobby status for every organization that advocates US foreign policy positions.

      • eGuard
        eGuard
        September 3, 2013, 1:04 pm

        hophmi: What makes the AIPAC any less American than the NRA?

        Answer: it’s second letter.

      • hophmi
        hophmi
        September 3, 2013, 1:26 pm

        “Answer: it’s second letter.”

        Nice try, but really, what’s the difference? It’s a lobby that advocates positions for US foreign policy. #thanksforplaying

      • amigo
        amigo
        September 4, 2013, 7:40 am

        “Nice try, but really, what’s the difference? It’s a lobby that advocates positions for US foreign policy. #thanksforplaying” hopknee.

        E guard is not playing with you hoppy.He/She is toying with you.

        Hopmhi, the joke that never stops giving.

      • American
        American
        September 3, 2013, 1:06 pm

        ”What makes the AIPAC any less American than the NRA? Both are AMERICAN lobbies. They both advocates political positions they believe should be taken by the AMERICAN government.’..hoppie

        AIPAC advocates for a Foreign Country’s ‘interest’–not for America’s interest.
        The NRA advocates for *individual citizens rights within the US based on the US constitution*.
        That is the difference.
        That the members of AIPAC may have US citizenship by accident of birth or immigration does not make AIPAC an American Lobby –it is a lobby for the foreign country of Israel made up of the ethnic or religious loyalties or ties of those members to the foreign country of Israel.

        You can advocate for anything you like- call yourself whatever you want, try to rationalize it however you want but it is what it is—–a Lobby for a foreign country by people who happen to have US citizenship.

      • Citizen
        Citizen
        September 3, 2013, 1:17 pm

        In short, the NRA, like AARP, applies only to Americans within American borders, while AIPAC is solely concerned with pursuing the interests of a foreign state.

      • hophmi
        hophmi
        September 3, 2013, 1:29 pm

        “In short, the NRA, like AARP, applies only to Americans within American borders”

        REALLY. So the American weapons industry has no relevance outside of America?

        You’re digging your own grave, Citizen. There are plenty of American organizations that support a pro-Israel US foreign policy, including many without Israel in their title who support a strong US-Israel relationship. Labeling AIPAC as a “foreign lobby” is the intellectual heir to labeling the Jews as a fifth column in the manner of Father Coughlin.

      • American
        American
        September 3, 2013, 2:16 pm

        @ Citizen

        yep, good nutshell.

      • American
        American
        September 3, 2013, 5:29 pm

        ‘You’re digging your own grave, Citizen. There are plenty of American organizations that support a pro-Israel US foreign policy, including many without Israel in their title who support a strong US-Israel relationship. Labeling AIPAC as a “foreign lobby” is the intellectual heir to labeling the Jews as a fifth column in the manner of Father Coughlin.”…hoppie

        I would say you are digging your own grave.
        AIPAC is a fifth column.
        If you think your Anti Semite! ! slur defenses for the I- Lobby will ever trump ‘Traitor and Anti American’ for the US public you are totally ignorant of the American beast.
        Why do you think it is that the one thing the Lobby and Israel have never gotten, and what no President has ever dared to do, even though it would cost us nothing and be no threat to us– is the release of the traitor Pollard?
        You know nothing about the American mind.

      • Ecru
        Ecru
        September 3, 2013, 6:13 pm

        “Labeling AIPAC as a “foreign lobby” is the intellectual heir to labeling the Jews as a fifth column”

        Uhm, in case you missed it many Jews ARE effectively a fifth column in the USA. They put the interests of Israel before those of the USA time and time again and are happy to volunteer for the IDF when they won’t serve in the US military. Sheldon Adelson just leaps to mind. And why are they more loyal to another state than the one in which they were born and raised? Because they can’t get beyond their Bronze Age tribalism and fantasies of Jewish supremacy.

      • Citizen
        Citizen
        September 4, 2013, 6:08 am

        @ hophmi
        No, AIPAC does not represent all Jews, it’s only a fifth column in USA for Zionists acting in what they take to be Israel’s best interests, no matter the cost to America’s best interests. AIPAC itself originally named itself a Zionist organization, but morphed into AIPAC when Bobby Kennedy tried to get it to register as a foreign lobby.

      • traintosiberia
        traintosiberia
        September 3, 2013, 7:32 pm

        NRA will be a foreign lobby if it fights US congress and forces President regarding availability of the gun to the Mexican,Brazilian,Cnadaian,Pakaistani or Timbuktunian gang memebrs urgimg the protection of those gang members who are busy hurting American tourist,buisnessmen,diplomat,financial interest and are violating international laws of all kinds and if NRA in addition tries to remove guns from legal American guns-owners for shipment to those gangs.

    • David Nelson
      David Nelson
      September 3, 2013, 12:30 pm

      I agree, but she is on the defensive with the “American lobby” blurb. She knows more and more Americans are aware that this lobby she speaks of is actually Israeli. But even that couldn’t be said without the bs comment by Ari Shavit:

      “Ari Shavit, a columnist for the left-leaning daily newspaper Haaretz, said that Israel and others in the Middle East were being left with a “feeling of orphans,” wondering “if there is still a reliable parent in Washington who is really committed, who understands what’s going on and who is willing to act.””

      I don’t know about the children in DC, but the adults in the rest of America are wising up to what is really going on in Palestine. We know, and it is not good for Israel and its current projectory.

      I saw waay too much of Bill Kristol extolling the virtues of war over the weekend on MSNBC and CNN. All he wants to do is get the damn war started, confident he is the initial chaos will inevitably lead to Israel’s desired war of aggression against Iran. After his aiding and abetting the Iraq war, why are not he and his neo-con and liberal zionist ideas consigned to the dustbin of history?

  7. iResistDe4iAm
    iResistDe4iAm
    September 3, 2013, 11:36 am

    “And the United States, morally, cannot turn the other cheek.”

    Selective morality is the epitome of immorality.

  8. MHughes976
    MHughes976
    September 3, 2013, 11:45 am

    Well, there is a show of ‘silence’ in that there is no overt cry of ‘Fight this war for Israel!’ On the other hand the joint missile test-firing in the Med is a statement much louder than anything in mere words.

    • Citizen
      Citizen
      September 3, 2013, 1:19 pm

      @ MHughes976
      Yes indeed. That joint missile test-firing says it all. It sure was not a joint exercise with the French.

  9. American
    American
    September 3, 2013, 11:45 am

    ”I mean, as a Jew, Wolf, I have to tell you, as a member of Congress who represents one of the largest Holocaust survivor populations in the country, to me, the concept of never again, has to mean something. And the United States, morally, cannot turn the other cheek. Too many leaders of ours have regretted that decision.”

    I am choking on the Hypocrisy of the Never Again Wasserman Jews.
    They are an insult and offensive to the world.
    Let them go tell it to Palestine.

    • Chu
      Chu
      September 3, 2013, 12:55 pm

      I doubt that Wasserman could ever get elected
      beyond the house seat she currently holds. She’s
      as far from a brilliant stereotype, anytime I watch her drool
      on a media program.

      I think Zionists are running out of first-string players.
      Wasserman or Anthony Weiner, both about
      mid-forties, are political cartoons, embarrassments
      and insulting to the political order. Pay to play politics
      is sending the US into the dark ages. How long will it
      take for the greater majority to recalibrate and vote
      accordingly?

    • hophmi
      hophmi
      September 3, 2013, 1:23 pm

      “I am choking on the Hypocrisy of the Never Again Wasserman Jews.
      They are an insult and offensive to the world.”

      You mean that unless you condemn every human rights violation, you can’t condemn any? #ironic #whatsgoodforthegoose

      • American
        American
        September 3, 2013, 4:50 pm

        hophmi says:
        September 3, 2013 at 1:23 pm
        + Show content
        “I am choking on the Hypocrisy of the Never Again Wasserman Jews.
        They are an insult and offensive to the world.”

        You mean that unless you condemn every human rights violation, you can’t condemn any? #ironic #whatsgoodforthegoose>>>>>>’

        No, what I mean is Jews like Wasserman pulling the Holocaust and Never Again routine as their reason to have the US bomb Israel’s enemies for using chemical weapons while allowing Israel to use chemical weapons on Palestines and defending it..
        She’s a filthy hypocrite.
        How many times do you have to have *hypocrite* explained to you?

      • traintosiberia
        traintosiberia
        September 3, 2013, 7:40 pm

        At least once in a life time , you expect these rogues AIPAC funded traitors to come out and condemn Israeli crime against humanity . At least once. Start with Wolfowitz .He had eyes on Iraq from 1979.

  10. rensanceman
    rensanceman
    September 3, 2013, 11:55 am

    Blitzer a past supporter of Israel???? A former AIPAC employee, Blitzer made an editorial comment when discussing the Syrian issue: ” I believe we should go ahead” ( bomb Syria) . C. Amanpour also revealed her bias expressing the same thoughtless course of action.

  11. Dan Crowther
    Dan Crowther
    September 3, 2013, 12:12 pm

    Hey Phil, forget Wasserman Shultz – you gotta get tape of the Congresswoman from CA that was on right after her, shit man, she was awesome! Janice Hahn…..

  12. irmep
    irmep
    September 3, 2013, 12:12 pm

    Thanks to the Syria Accountability Act, a law courteous of AIPAC and sponsor Eliot L. Engel, most relevant US ties to Syria were cut off in 2003. All room for maneuver and actually getting some perceivable benefit out of the US State Department was simply legislated out of existence.

    So it’s not very credible to suddenly “discover” and then wonder how Israel’s lobby might “help the president in his” initiative. In the big picture, this is not Obama’s initiative, but rather a decades old Israel lobby drive to to ultimately tripwire the U.S. into conflict with Syria and Iran.

    • Citizen
      Citizen
      September 3, 2013, 1:26 pm

      @ irmep
      Nobody in mainstream media ever tells the ordinary Americans that, thanks to AIPAC, there is no diplomatic relations with Iran or Syria, no soft power, only economic sanctions. Said media always makes it look like those two countries are stubborn fanatical haters. It’s disgusting, and deeply injurious to the USA. But very beneficial to Israel.

      • hophmi
        hophmi
        September 3, 2013, 1:31 pm

        “Said media always makes it look like those two countries are stubborn fanatical haters. ”

        I know, it’s like, so hard, when Syrian and Iranian leaders call the US “The Great Satan” and other such epithets, to cast them as friends, isn’t it?

      • Citizen
        Citizen
        September 4, 2013, 6:17 am

        @ hophmi
        Yeah, like when Israeli leaders call Iran and Syria Hitler Reborn–now Kerry’s saying the same thing.

  13. eljay
    eljay
    September 3, 2013, 12:13 pm

    >> ” … For me as a mother, to see that searing image of babies lined up, murdered by their own government, innocent children. I mean, as a Jew, Wolf, I have to tell you, as a member of Congress who represents one of the largest Holocaust survivor populations in the country, to me, the concept of never again, has to mean something. And the United States, morally, cannot turn the other cheek. Too many leaders of ours have regretted that decision.”

    How does she feel “as a mother” seeing searing images of Palestinian babies murdered by her supremacist “Jewish State’s” government?

    How will she feel “as a mother” seeing searing images of Syrian babies murdered – as they inevitably will be – by her other own (American) government?

    Will she say it was “worth it”?

  14. LanceThruster
    LanceThruster
    September 3, 2013, 12:16 pm

    “It was not long ago that Jodi Rudoren could not write most of this,” says Ira Glunts.

    It was not that long ago that Ira Glunts could not mention that Jodi Rudoren could not write most of this.

  15. seafoid
    seafoid
    September 3, 2013, 12:31 pm

    “Debbie Wasserman Schultz wants a strike on Syria, as a mother and a Jew”

    That is so off the wall it goes to a different universe of parody

    • Citizen
      Citizen
      September 3, 2013, 1:31 pm

      @ seafoid
      Wanna take a bet that none of Debbie W-S’s kids or grandkids have served in the US military? She could care less about Dick and Jane or their kids, or grand kids.

  16. ritzl
    ritzl
    September 3, 2013, 12:48 pm

    This excerpt from Rudoren’s article was posted here by someone (apologies). I think it provides the pivot for any discussion on this.

    “It would be a mistake to overplay the Israeli interest,” said Itamar Rabinovich, who was Israel’s ambassador to the United States and also its chief negotiator with Syria in the 1990s. “It’s bad for Israel that the average American gets it into his or her mind that boys are again sent to war for Israel. They have to be sent to war for America.”

    And Wasserman-Shultz is once again overlooking what Israel is actually doing, to make the Holocaust point about what someone has been “three years away” from doing for some 20 years now. Yep, NEVER AGAIN has to apply universally, or it doesn’t apply at all.

    It’s good to see this discussed, even a little. I think that US voters file stuff (endless war and its human and financial cost) away to be used at some political “red line”/Enough! moment. Hardly in need of any convincing, most voters are fully aware of how their self-interest contrasts with Beltway self-interest and are waiting for an avenue of expression. Syria may be it, in every sense.

    Thanks for covering all this.

  17. seafoid
    seafoid
    September 3, 2013, 1:01 pm

    As a Jew and a mother Schmalz said her son was the best evah in grad school. Isn’t that more like it rather than calling for humanitarian bombing?

  18. Kathleen
    Kathleen
    September 3, 2013, 1:41 pm

    Thanks Phil…sharing

    I think a run down of all of Dempsey’s objections, letters etc would have great benefits for readers. Why the hell is Obama ignoring what he thinks?

    • Citizen
      Citizen
      September 4, 2013, 6:18 am

      Dempsey refused to go along with Kerry’s increasingly hyperbolic spiel, equating Syria-Iran with Munich.

  19. DICKERSON3870
    DICKERSON3870
    September 3, 2013, 3:52 pm

    RE: “Well, I feel confident that our colleagues, my colleagues both on the Republican side of the aisle as well as the Democratic side of the aisle are not going to jeopardize the credibility of the United States.” ~ Debbie Wasserman Schultz

    SING IT SPRINGSTEIN: Who will be the last to die for the “credibility of the U.S.” (i.e. our int’l “cred”)*!
    Bruce Springsteen – Last To Die (Milan) [VIDEO, 04:27] – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s_-qAkqj8D8

    * SEE: “We’re Going to War Because We Just Can’t Stop Ourselves”, By Stephen M. Walt, ForeignPolicy.com 8/27/13

    What is most striking about this affair is how Obama seems to have been dragged, reluctantly, into doing something that he clearly didn’t want to do. He probably knows bombing Syria won’t solve anything or move us closer to a political settlement. But he’s been facing a constant drumbeat of pressure from liberal interventionists and other hawks, as well as the disjointed Syrian opposition and some of our allies in the region. He foolishly drew a “red line” a few months back, so now he’s getting taunted with the old canard about the need to “restore U.S. credibility.” This last argument is especially silly: If being willing to use force was the litmus test of a president’s credibility, Obama is in no danger whatsoever. Or has everyone just forgotten about his decision to escalate in Afghanistan, the bombing of Libya, and all those drone strikes?
    More than anything else, Obama reminds me here of George Orwell in his famous essay “Shooting an Elephant.” Orwell recounts how, while serving as a colonial officer in Burma, he was forced to shoot a rogue elephant simply because the local residents expected an official of the British Empire to act this way, even when the animal appeared to pose no further danger. If he didn’t go ahead and dispatch the poor beast, he feared that his prestige and credibility might be diminished. Like Orwell, Obama seems to be sliding toward “doing something” because he feels he simply can’t afford not to.
    Sad, but also revealing.

    ENTIRE COMMENTARY – http://walt.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2013/08/27/obama_orwell_and_shooting_an_elephant

  20. DICKERSON3870
    DICKERSON3870
    September 4, 2013, 3:15 am

    RE: “Mainstream press openly addresses Israel lobby’s role in US policy re Syria”

    TAKE ACTION! ! ! TAKE ACTION! ! ! TAKE ACTION! ! !

    ● FROM RootsAction.org: Prevent an Attack on Syria Now

    If you live in the U.S. and want to email Obama, your senators and representative, expressing opposition to an attack on Syria, please click HERE.

    If you reside outside the United States, you can still sign this petition by clicking HERE.

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