Tuesday, March 03, 2015
A Speech, A Choice And A Challenge
Today, Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu addressed a joint session of congress. A full transcript can be found here.
In spite of threats by certain Democrats to perform a walk out at the beginning of his speech, in the end they lost their nerve and simply stayed home, or sat there and remained polite. That was actually quite fitting, because the majority of congress on both sides of the aisle gave Netanyahu an extremely warm welcome as an old and trusted friend, and greeted what he had to say with ecstatic applause.
Could it be that in their heart of hearts, they too realize what a disaster the proposed nuclear deal with Iran really is?
So what exactly was the message PM Netanyahu came to America to deliver? Admittedly, it surprised me on a couple of counts.
The first part of the speech was designed to show exactly how much the usual suspects in and out of the White House lied when they claimed Netanyahu's intent was 'partisan politics' and 'disrespecting President Obama.' After the usual introductions, he started his speech with a personal greeting to ailing Democrat minority leader Harry Reid. And he underlined the point that partisan politics was not what his speech was about:
The remarkable alliance between Israel and the United States has always been above politics. It must always remain above politics.
Because America and Israel, we share a common destiny, the destiny of promised lands that cherish freedom and offer hope. Israel is grateful for the support of American — of America’s people and of America’s presidents, from Harry Truman to Barack Obama.
And in moving and gracious terms, he thanked America and particularly President Obama for their support of Israel.
Netanyahu then went on to say, simply that he had come because, 'I feel a profound obligation to speak to you about an issue that could well threaten the survival of my country and the future of my people: Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons.'
He then went on to describe the Iranian regime...its fanaticism, its support for terrorism, its often demonstrated hatred for America and its genocidal intentions for Israel and the Jewish people. I personally would have mentioned Iran's complicity in 9/11 along with the other examples he cited, but the point was made that Iran is the world's biggest supporter of Islamist terrorism, and contrary to what the appeasers told us after the Rouhani regime took over, Iran is more aggressive, more imperialistic and more repressive than ever before.
Then came the first surprise for me in the speech:
Don’t be fooled. The battle between Iran and ISIS doesn’t turn Iran into a friend of America.
Iran and ISIS are competing for the crown of militant Islam. One calls itself the Islamic Republic. The other calls itself the Islamic State. Both want to impose a militant Islamic empire first on the region and then on the entire world. They just disagree among themselves who will be the ruler of that empire.
In this deadly game of thrones, there’s no place for America or for Israel, no peace for Christians, Jews or Muslims who don’t share the Islamist medieval creed, no rights for women, no freedom for anyone.
So when it comes to Iran and ISIS, the enemy of your enemy is your enemy.
The difference is that ISIS is armed with butcher knives, captured weapons and YouTube, whereas Iran could soon be armed with intercontinental ballistic missiles and nuclear bombs. We must always remember — I’ll say it one more time — the greatest dangers facing our world is the marriage of militant Islam with nuclear weapons. To defeat ISIS and let Iran get nuclear weapons would be to win the battle, but lose the war. We can’t let that happen.
I doubt President Obama was watching on TV, but if he was, at this point I'm certain he would have shouted a few choice obscenities and thrown something at the screen. Because Bibi Netanyahu just outed the trump card the Iranians are using in these so-called negotiations, and the source of President Obama's real need for a deal at any price, especially one with a 'sunset clause' that expires once he's safely out of office. Iran is the real imminent threat, not IS, as brutal and ultimately dangerous as they are.
Having been the primary cause of IS becoming so powerful, this president and his team were challenged with both hiding that fact from general knowledge and with doing something about it as IS went more and more public with its atrocities. What he's been able to limit this to so far, with the complicity of his media allies, is rhetoric, some airstrikes and a few advisers with orders to concentrate on training and do their best to avoid combat. There's a good reason for that, and it's definitely about partisan politics.
President Obama and the Democrats came to power in 2008 by chanting 'Bush lied, people died',whipping up massive anti-war sentiment and doing their best in congress to sabotage the Iraq war effort over there and over here. the Democratic Party has lurched to the Left, and their base is now solidly anti-war. Putting American boots on the ground, especially after this president's campaign rhetoric about he ' got us out of Bush's illegal war' would be a political fiasco for this president, especially when it comes to his legacy in Left wing academia, whom write this stuff up.
President Obama's solution, simply put, is to let Iran do the dirty work in Iraq in exchange for leaving their nuclear program in place while removing any remaining sanctions. Aside from the Kurds (whose arms and support are being carefully limited so as not to upset Turkey, the corrupt Iraqi Shi'ite government or Iran), the real fighting on the ground against Islamic State in Iraq right now is mostly being done by Iranian armed Shi'ite militias like the Bader Force and Moqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army, back by cadres of of Iranian Revolutionary Guard troops and officers.
That this will ultimately lead to a nuclear armed Iranian controlled bloc stretching from both sides of the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean with all that entails is apparently not a concern for this president.
The speech went on to discus the proposed Iranian nuclear deal and the two dangerous major concessions it entails..leaving Iran's nuclear infrastructure entirely intact, and withdrawing any restrictions after a decade or so. This of course that the Iranians even comply with any restrictions, which would be a first. The Iranians have repeatedly lied about their program, for the simple reason that nuclear weapons has always been what its been about. If Iran simply wanted peaceful nuclear energy, all those centrifuges and facilities like Iran's heavy water reactor at Arak would be unnecessary.
Many countries have nuclear programs for energy and medical uses without enrichment, because enrichment isn't needed for those purposes. It's only necessary if, like Iran, you want nuclear weapons. That's exactly why they kept it quiet for over a decade, and why they bought illicit technology from North Korea and from AQ Kahn and Pakistan. Even today, the IAEA admits that they have no idea what Iran's program is really about, simply because of what they're not allowed to see...like two secret Iranian nuclear facilities in Natanz and Qom the IAEA didn't even know existed until they were outed by Iranian dissidents this week. There's no reason to believe that Iran won't clandestinely violate and agreements it makes on its nuclear capabilities.
Netanyahu also made the point that Iran's IBCM program is not even on the table for negotiation, and that the current proposed deal would lead to massive proliferation in the region by the Sunni regimes. Egypt, as a matter of fact, just signed a deal with Russia for its own nuclear plant.
After spelling out the dangers of what's currently being proposed, Netanyahu surprised me again by going beyond merely identifying the problem (regardless of what President Obama had to say later) but by coming up with peaceful solutions. Netanyahu proposes that America and the West demand that Iran roll back its nuclear program in accordance with the peaceful program they claim they want, stop supporting terrorism, end aggression against neighboring countries and stop the constant threats to destroy Israel. And he also succinctly countered one of the chief arguments used to defend the sort of appeasement we've seen going on :
My friends, what about the argument that there’s no alternative to this deal, that Iran’s nuclear know-how cannot be erased, that its nuclear program is so advanced that the best we can do is delay the inevitable, which is essentially what the proposed deal seeks to do?
Well, nuclear know-how without nuclear infrastructure doesn’t get you very much. A race car driver without a car can’t drive. A pilot without a plan can’t fly. Without thousands of centrifuges, tons of enriched uranium or heavy water facilities, Iran can’t make nuclear weapons.
Iran’s nuclear program can be rolled back well-beyond the current proposal by insisting on a better deal and keeping up the pressure on a very vulnerable regime, especially given the recent collapse in the price of oil.
Now, if Iran threatens to walk away from the table — and this often happens in a Persian bazaar — call their bluff. They’ll be back, because they need the deal a lot more than you do.
And by maintaining the pressure on Iran and on those who do business with Iran, you have the power to make them need it even more.
My friends, for over a year, we’ve been told that no deal is better than a bad deal. Well, this is a bad deal. It’s a very bad deal. We’re better off without it.
Now we’re being told that the only alternative to this bad deal is war. That’s just not true.
The alternative to this bad deal is a much better deal.
A better deal that doesn’t leave Iran with a vast nuclear infrastructure and such a short break-out time. A better deal that keeps the restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program in place until Iran’s aggression ends.
A better deal that won’t give Iran an easy path to the bomb. A better deal that Israel and its neighbors may not like, but with which we could live, literally.
And finally, Netanyahu introduced Nobel Prize winner, noted author and Auschwitz survivor Elie Wiesel, who was sitting in the gallery.
Just imagining what that man's eyes had seen and what his soul had experienced, the things he had been a living witness to was enough to send chills down my spine, especially at this time. And here is what Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu had to say to him...and the challenge to us all that he finished his speech with:
Elie, your life and work inspires to give meaning to the words, “never again.”
And I wish I could promise you, Elie, that the lessons of history have been learned. I can only urge the leaders of the world not to repeat the mistakes of the past.
Not to sacrifice the future for the present; not to ignore aggression in the hopes of gaining an illusory peace.
But I can guarantee you this, the days when the Jewish people remained passive in the face of genocidal enemies, those days are over.
We are no longer scattered among the nations, powerless to defend ourselves. We restored our sovereignty in our ancient home. And the soldiers who defend our home have boundless courage. For the first time in 100 generations, we, the Jewish people, can defend ourselves.
This is why — this is why, as a prime minister of Israel, I can promise you one more thing: Even if Israel has to stand alone, Israel will stand.
But I know that Israel does not stand alone. I know that America stands with Israel.
I know that you stand with Israel.
You stand with Israel, because you know that the story of Israel is not only the story of the Jewish people but of the human spirit that refuses again and again to succumb to history’s horrors.
Facing me right up there in the gallery, overlooking all of us in this (inaudible) chamber is the image of Moses. Moses led our people from slavery to the gates of the Promised Land.
And before the people of Israel entered the land of Israel, Moses gave us a message that has steeled our resolve for thousands of years. I leave you with his message today, (SPEAKING IN HEBREW), “Be strong and resolute, neither fear nor dread them.”
My friends, may Israel and America always stand together, strong and resolute. May we neither fear nor dread the challenges ahead. May we face the future with confidence, strength and hope.
May God bless the state of Israel and may God bless the United States of America.
Tomorrow and the day after are the 13th and 14th of the month of Adar in the Hebrew calender, when observant Jews celebrate the holiday of Purim, when the Jews were delivered from what seemed certain annihilation at the hands of another Persian tyrant, the evil Haman,
The Jews commemorate that when they celebrate Purim, the victory of Queen Esther and Mordecai over the evil Haman, who tried to manipulate the King of Persia into signing on to the murder, enslavement and plunder of every Jew in Persia.
The Megillah, which is read in every synagogue in the world at Purim relates how Queen Esther,wife of the king could have reacted the way a great many people would have, by simply pretending that what was going on didn't concern her,and rationalizing it. Instead, she realized that a threat to her people was a threat to her, even as high up and removed as the King's palace. She risked her life and position to defeat Haman and his evil allies and, along with her brother Mordecai, lead her people to victory.
In many ways, that summarizes what Netanyahu was telling us so eloquently today. A nuclear armed Iran is not just 'Israel's problem' any more than Hitler was just the Jew's problem. The reception Bibi Netanyahu got from most of Congress proves that the majority of Americans aren't blind to that - or to whom their friends are.
If the current proposed deal on Iran's illicit nuclear program goes through, its threat will not be limited to Israel. It will will very quickly extend to America and the West, with horrific consequences. That was what Netanyahu's speech was about, and why he insisted on coming...to talk to the American people and to congress, to remind them of the challenge we face and the choices we must make, sooner or later.
No matter what President Barack Hussein Obama thinks, there's no avoiding that or kicking it down the road for his political convenience.
Res ipsa Loquiter.