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Netanyahu’s speech gets raves — and serious policy questions go unanswered

REUTERS/Gary Cameron
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressing a joint meeting of Congress on Tuesday.

In his speech Tuesday to a joint session of Congress (minus those Democrats who boycotted in protest against the fact that the speech and visit had not been coordinated with the Obama White House), Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that the deal emerging from talks with Iran to forestall the development of an Iranian nuclear arsenal would be a “bad deal,” so bad that no deal would be better.

The talks, between Iran and the so-called “P-5 plus one” (which refers to the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany) have not been concluded. Therefore, there is no actual final deal to assess. But Netanyahu claimed to know enough about the negotiations to conclude that the deal would not prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons and in fact would “all but guarantee” that Iran does acquire nuclear weapons.

The deal is believed to create a 10-year period during which, in exchange for relief from powerful economic sanctions, Iran would agree to allow highly invasive inspections of its nuclear program to ensure that it was not crossing the line into the development of nuclear weapons.

A better deal, Netanyahu said, would require Iran to give up and disassemble its nuclear energy infrastructure, stop expressing its desire to destroy Israel, stop supporting terrorist groups and stop interfering in the affairs of its neighbors.

Instead of being a “farewell to arms,” Netanyahu said, this deal would be a “farewell to arms control.”

The alternative, Netanyahu said, is not war but a much better deal. The idea seems to be to back up from where things stand and go back to many issues that have already been at least tentatively settled and insist on more Iranian concessions. Said Netanyahu:

“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.”

In its immediate aftermath, Netanyahu’s speech received generally rave reviews as to how well-written and well-delivered it was. David Horowitz of the Times of Israel called it “the speech of his life.”

On substance, views were much more mixed.

‘Not one new idea’

The Obama White House characterized the speech as containing “literally not one new idea,” consisting of “all rhetoric but no plan of action” to forestall Iran’s acquisition of nukes. President Obama himself said: “The prime minister didn’t offer any viable alternatives.”

Perhaps not. Or perhaps, when Netanyahu said “Even if Israel has to stand alone, Israel will stand,” he meant to imply however ambiguously that Israel reserves the right to take unilateral military action, perhaps to bomb the facilities housing the Iranian nuclear program, if they United States and its allies seem to be relying on a bad deal that was worse than no deal.

A few comments from journalists and experts before and after the speech:

Charles Krauthammer on Fox News called it “an extraordinary speech” and hailed Netanyahu for that passage just above about Israel’s willingness to act alone. Krauthammer definitely viewed it as a threat to take unilateral military action and added that the standing ovation Netanyahu received after that line would be used to argue that at least the U.S. Congress would support such a course.

On Washingtonpost.com, Paul Waldman challenged Netanyahu’s logic: “To call that position ‘absurd’ is too kind. You don’t have to be some kind of foreign policy whiz to grasp that there’s something weird about arguing that 1) Iran is a nation run by genocidal maniacs; 2) they want nuclear weapons so they can annihilate Israel; and 3) the best way to stop this is to abandon negotiations to limit their nuclear program and just wait to see what they do. But that’s the position Netanyahu and his supporters in the Republican Party are now committed to.”

Before the speech, on CNN, Fareed Zakaria said that for 25 years Netanyahu has been calling Iran’s breakthrough to nuclear weapons “imminent.” For the last 15 years, he said Iran was a year away from getting the bomb — in some cases he said only a few months away, even though Israeli intelligence officials have said they disagreed. Zakaria said Netanyahu needed to give a speech that “feels a little more credible than 25 years of predictions that have been wrong.”

‘Toxic’ relationship

Martin Indyk, a former U.S. ambassador to Israel, said the Netanyahu-Obama relationship was “toxic,” adding “it started out bad and went downhill from there.

In his never-ending quest to elevate the discourse, Rush Limbaugh said: “You look at how Obama has treated and does treat Netanyahu, you would think that Netanyahu was a white policeman from Ferguson, Missouri. … Or that he was one of the cops that choked Eric Garner or he was one of the jurors in the Trayvon Martin case.”

In an interview after the speech, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who, as a recent chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee has plenty of inside knowledge, complained that “what he didn’t say is what would happen if there is no deal.” But Feinstein agreed with Netanyahu that the 10-year term of the likely deal was too short.

As quoted in the Jerusalem Post, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said afterwards that as a friend of Israel, she was near tears during his speech, calling it “an insult to the intelligence of the United States.” She said she was “saddened by the condescension toward our knowledge of the threat posed by Iran.”

The full text of the Netanyahu speech, via the Washington Post, is here.

Comments (97)

  1. Submitted by Nathan Roisen on 03/03/2015 - 05:12 pm.

    Two thoughts

    1) Given the yahoos in Congress, Netanyahu in charge in Israel, and all the instability in the region, Obama’s best foreign policy achievement might very well be keeping us out of *yet another* unwinnable war in the Mideast.
    2) Netanyahu is wrong when he says Iran needs this deal and the West doesn’t. Iran has taken baby steps towards political reform, and a deal that lifts sanctions will legitimize that ongoing process. That is a very, very good thing for the West.

  2. Submitted by John Ellenbecker on 03/03/2015 - 05:35 pm.

    Will Israel give up its nukes in return?

    Just asking.

  3. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 03/03/2015 - 05:38 pm.

    Foreign policy

    Boy, that Mr. Limbaugh is a… um… piece of work, isn’t he? I look forward to his appointment as foreign policy advisor to the Republican campaign for the presidency in 2016.

    • Submitted by Pavel Yankovic on 03/03/2015 - 06:47 pm.

      Rush Limbaugh….

      is an entertainer just like Al Franken. The difference is that Al Franken’s actions impact us directly whereas one can just turn off Rush Limbaugh or change the station.

      • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 03/03/2015 - 07:08 pm.

        No

        First, Franken has an academic background in political science; he actually knows something.
        Second, Franken is an elected representative who is responsible to all citizens, not just to Fox news and its sponsors.

      • Submitted by jason myron on 03/03/2015 - 07:21 pm.

        Well, no…

        actually, Mr. Franken is a United States Senator, duly elected by the people of Minnesota…twice. Maybe you missed it.It was in all the papers.

      • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 03/04/2015 - 08:38 am.

        Denial

        Rush Limbaugh is, Lord help us all, the de facto intellectual leader of the Republican Party. After all, didn’t the Chair of the party have to beg for forgiveness when he said that the buffoon was not in charge of the Republicans?

        It has already been pointed out to you that he is a duly elected United States Senator. You may not like it any more than you cared for his performances in “Bedtime for Bonzo” or “Brother Rat,” but . . . oh, wait, that was that other guy, wasn’t it?

      • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 03/04/2015 - 09:01 am.

        Um, not at all

        Al Franken, as others have already pointed out, has been elected to the Senate twice by the voters of Minnesota. He is highly intelligent, learned, and dedicated. We can thank Senator Franken for all of his excellent work as it relates to the recent FCC ruling on Net Neutrality. He is a fantastic, nose-to-the-grindstone Senator and I am very thankful for his representation… I think MOST Minnesotans are- it’s why Franken beat McFadden by 11 points in a Republican wave year.

        Plus, Al Franken’s jokes are funny.

        • Submitted by tiffany vanvorken on 03/04/2015 - 08:57 pm.

          net neutrality

          this will be a diaster.

          • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 03/05/2015 - 09:43 am.

            Phbbbbt

            Do tell, how will the FCC Ruling on Net Neutrality be a disaster? My guess is you know not of what you speak~ or you work for Comcast.

            • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 03/05/2015 - 12:59 pm.

              The Disaster

              It will work as intended, and Senator Franken will be shown to have been right about the issue. For a conservative, that would be an unmitigated disaster.

    • Submitted by tiffany vanvorken on 03/04/2015 - 08:55 pm.

      i hope.too

      i hope as well.

  4. Submitted by Pavel Yankovic on 03/03/2015 - 05:46 pm.

    It was predictable…..

    that President Barack Hussein Obama would be dismissive of the speech. My question is that why did he read the transcript if he didn’t plan on attending? The fashion statements by representatives McCollum, Ellison and Senator Franken turned out to be a non event. Ms. McCollum’s temper tantrum in the Washington Post is a prime example of irresponsible journalism.

    It appears that Benjamin Netanyahu is the only adult in the room when it comes to world leaders. Is he the only one who can recognize and call out evil?

    • Submitted by Dan Hintz on 03/03/2015 - 07:09 pm.

      Adult

      Netanyahu has been saying the same thing for 25 years. He has zero credibility.

      The adult position would not be to simply call out countries as evil, but to come up with actual practical solutions to deal with that “evil.” Netanyahu’s position is indeed absurd.

  5. Submitted by Ron Gotzman on 03/03/2015 - 07:04 pm.

    Why can’t Obama say this?

    “We must always remember: the greatest danger facing our world is the marriage of militant Islam with nuclear weapons.” Benjamin Netanyahu

  6. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 03/03/2015 - 07:09 pm.

    The speech

    I’m inclined to agree with Nathan Roisen’s leading point.

    The “standing ovation” (Really? A standing ovation for a speaker not invited by the sitting president?) referred to in Charles Krauthammer’s comment makes for nice political theater, but only occurred because the legislators doing the standing are certain that no one they really care about is going to be putting their life on the line should that Israeli unilateral action bring about yet another Middle Eastern war.

    That brings to mind some reading from my youth. As a lad, I read Robert Heinlein with relish. Not just “Stranger In A Strange Land,” but also his other titles, including “Starship Troopers” (Made into a fairly awful shoot-em-up sci-fi potboiler film). One of Heinlein’s concepts, delivered by the instructor in a “Starship Trooper School” course called “History and Moral Philosophy,” was that no one who had not actually served in the armed services should have the franchise and be able to vote.

    Even as a kid, that seemed an extreme position to me, but there’s a corollary that strikes me as eminently sensible. The corollary is that no one who has not actually been in combat, or who does not have living relatives subject to conscription into front-line service, should be able to cast a vote regarding whether or not the nation will go to war.

    Congress is largely made up of wealthy gray eminences and/or ideologues who risk nothing by supporting policies that encourage military action on the part of the United States. The emotional, psychological and physical costs of war are thus borne by a tiny fragment of our population. I’d like to spread that risk more widely, by randomly appointing members of Congress to front-line military service. Let’s say, half of each state’s Congressional delegation will serve, with specific individuals determined by lottery, whenever we send our armed services into harm’s way.

    “But wait!” you might say. “They’re old and in lousy shape, and they’re mostly terrible shots. They’ll probably get killed in the first 5 minutes of a battle.”

    Why yes, that might well happen. And if that came to pass, then those members of Congress might have earned a little respect for their vote to go to war. As it is, when most of Congress risks nothing by voting for war, it’s simply another case of “Let’s you and him fight.” It’s hypocrisy writ large.

    My guess is that jingoistic posturing will diminish considerably if/when those inclined toward it realize that it might be their own life they’re putting on the line.

  7. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 03/03/2015 - 07:13 pm.

    Masada complex

    That’s what Bibi baby has.
    He just threw a temper tantrum and said he’ll hold his breath until he turns blue or Iran gives up its nuclear industry (not just his weapons).
    He knows that Iran might agree to the kind of limitations that Obama is negotiating, but not the unconditional surrender that Netanyahu is proposing.
    He is clearly trying to get us to bomb Iran and destroy all of its hundred plus nuclear facilities. Or at least he’ll sound like it until after the election.

  8. Submitted by Peder DeFor on 03/03/2015 - 07:25 pm.

    Ten Years

    “The deal is believed to create a 10-year period during which, in exchange for relief from powerful economic sanctions, Iran would agree to allow highly invasive inspections of its nuclear program to ensure that it was not crossing the line into the development of nuclear weapons.”

    And if Iran plays games with inspectors, what happens? Anything? Does the clock reset?
    At the completion of ten years, does Iran have free rein to do whatever they want? Just last summer, their Supreme leader likened Israel to a plague and said it should be eliminated. How can they possibly be trusted with nukes? They are certainly right to be worried. If the safety of my people depended on a deal negotiated by John Kerry, I’d be terrified.

    And frankly Madame Pelosi, your line about being near tears and being insulted was *easily* the most condescending thing said today. No people on the planet are threatened as often and as seriously as the Jews. If they think they need to go to extreme measures to protect themselves, well, history has shown that they sometimes have to.

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 03/03/2015 - 08:17 pm.

      Jews

      Of course many of us, both here and in Israel, disagree with Bibi.
      (see ‘Masada Complex’).
      That’s why he was here politicking.

      • Submitted by Peder DeFor on 03/04/2015 - 07:21 am.

        Disagree about what? The framework of the deal? The ten year period? No one is asking you to ‘agree’ with him but maybe you could address his fears?

        And yeah, about the Masada complex, why in the world would Jews around the world fear that some group of people would try and systematically destroy them? Of course they’re edgy about such things! Can anyone blame them?
        Maybe Bibi is completely wrong about Iran getting nukes. Maybe (hopefully!) they never will. But we need to have a little bit more than hope here. We need an active program *keeping* them from developing nukes. That should be the goal of everyone here. That’s much more important than hurt feelings from the Obama team.

    • Submitted by Raj Maddali on 03/03/2015 - 08:47 pm.

      Huh ?

      So we shouldn’t negotiate with Iran because their leadership says nasty things. Wait Peter what about the Israeli leaders like Lieberman and Naftali Bennett. Lieberman wanted to drown Palestinians and Bennett openly calls for apartheid. That’s ok ? Why ? Because Israel is in the Bible ?

      “No people on the planet are threatened as often and as seriously as the Jews. If they think they need to go to extreme measures to protect themselves, well, history has shown that they sometimes have to.” – Gosh Peter, did you ever hear of a people call Palestinians. And ever wonder what happened to their land ?

      • Submitted by Peder DeFor on 03/04/2015 - 07:31 am.

        Negotiate

        I’m sorry, you must have meant this comment for someone else. Nowhere did I say that Iran shouldn’t be negotiated with. Merely that the extremely bellicose statements from their Supreme Leader should give extra caution. And yes, Raj (note correct spelling), I have heard of the Palestinians. I don’t think that their sufferings really compare with the Holocaust. They weren’t herded into death camps to be industrially exterminated.

        Tell you what, if Iran wants to repudiate those statements as an act of good will, that would help things considerably. They could have a representative give a speech at the UN. That person would publicly declare that Iran would not seek to destroy Israel. That speech could be broadcast publicly in Iran as well. They could still oppose Zionism and still seek a two state solution but they would tell the world that attacking Israel was out of the question.
        Any problems with that?

        • Submitted by Raj Maddali on 03/04/2015 - 08:50 am.

          Bellicosity is an excuse

          So Peder according to you , Iran should repudiate, Iran should behave, Iran should do this and that. But Israel need do nothing. Ignore every UN resolution, make stuff up about Iranian nuclear capabilities. All because of the Holocaust, of which Iran had nothing to with, was a greater sin. Somehow that seems like a rather convenient trump card that has run its due course.

          Iranians as judged by the CIA and other intelligence agencies have proven to be rational actors. Netanyahu uses the Holocaust and Iran as endless excuses to continually move the goal posts on the Palestinians or avoid talking about it while continually subjugating them. And all i hear is the immorality
          of the Iranians.

          Three millions Indians died during the Bengal famine. Because Churchill starved them. Indians don’t seem to be haranguing the Brits about it. The world moves on, unless of course its used for political gains.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 03/04/2015 - 08:49 am.

      Condescension?

      Frankly, I find Mr. Netanyahu’s “Persian bazaar” comment to be far more condescending than anything Rep. Pelosi (her correct tile) said.

      There is an anti-Semitic slur used to describe sharp dealing–would that have been appropriate?

  9. Submitted by Joe Musich on 03/03/2015 - 09:35 pm.

    The point made about ….

    Netanyahu having nuclear weapons is unhinging. I wonder if the libearls will ever have political dominance is Israel again ?

  10. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 03/03/2015 - 09:59 pm.

    Apocalypse, everyone.

    Rushing toward the “end times”.

    Jews, Christians, Muslims.

    I’ve always thought that the idea of making the end come is the ultimate form of hubris.

    I wasn’t there in the beginning, so I, master of the universe, should be there when it ends.

    ….Maybe it’s ALWAYS the end of the world. Maybe you’re alive for a while, and then you realize you’re going to die, and that’s such an insane thing to comprehend, you look around for answers and the only answer is that the world must die with you….JESS WALTER, We Live in Water: Stories

  11. Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 03/03/2015 - 10:07 pm.

    Reasonable

    So Mr. Boehner invited Mr. Netanyahu to speak without prior consent of the President… breach of protocol! Shame on the Speaker! However, I assume this does not violate any laws – no one mentioned that. But the President issued an executive order on immigration ignoring the Congress… and it seems that there is a law violation here, at least in theory. Anyone sees hypocrisy here?

    Yes, the deal is not done yet but we all know enough to make a judgment http://news.yahoo.com/iran-nuclear-deal-could-look-022323847.html.

    It is probably true that this speech does not contain new ideas – because the old ones are more than enough. How can anyone guarantee that Iran will “allow highly invasive inspections of its nuclear program?” It has been hiding so many things in the past and still did not come clean with the IAEA. And remember how good Saddam was at hiding stuff and Iran is so much larger. And who will be keeping Iranian uranium? Oh, Russia, our very reliable partner in peace… And of course, in 10 years Iran will be free to do whatever it wants… So the whole deal is a joke no matter how you slice it.

    Now, a quick look at “absurd” Netanyahu statements. Iran is run by genocidal maniacs. Well how would you call people who talk about the ninth Imam and threaten to destroy Israel? They want nuclear weapons to destroy Israel. See the note above. The best way to stop this is to abandon negotiations and wait what they do. Sure, they may come back and then we will get a good deal or they will not come back in which case we can take care of their genocidal maniacs in other way. So what is absurd here?

    What Netanyahu may be wrong about is who wants this deal more. It looks like Obama wants this deal so much that he is ready to abandon any common sense and agree to a deal just to have a deal. And that is dangerous approach to international affairs.

    Mr. Roisen, would you say that Mr. Chamberlain’s best political achievement was to keep Britain out of another world war? I mean for the whole year…

    Mr. Hintz, Netanyahu has been calling Iranian leaders evil for 25 years… Are they better now than they were then? And as North Korea’s example shows, negotiations with evil regimes about their nukes are pointless. So where is the problem?

    Mr. Schoch, by your account, FDR did not have the right to take America into WWII…Neither did Hillary Clinton have the right to vote for Iraq war.
    Mr. Brandon, don’t you think that the Holocaust is a reason enough for Israel to be worried especially considering Iran’s constant calls for its annihilation?

    • Submitted by Dan Hintz on 03/04/2015 - 07:50 am.

      More than that

      It’s not just the fear-mongering that has been going on for 25 years – it’s the claim that Iran’s development of nuclear weapons is imminent.

    • Submitted by Sean Olsen on 03/04/2015 - 08:52 am.

      Other than their bellicose statements, what in the Iranian regime’s actions indicate they are “genocidal maniacs”.? .

      Has Iran invaded anybody in the 35 years the “genocidal maniacs” have been in power? No. Recall, it was Iraq that initiated the Iran-Iraq War. Do they fund terrorists? Yes, but engaging in proxy wars is a long step away from genocidal mania. Practically everyone in the Middle East is engaged in that sort of activity.

      Iran has the industrial capability to create biological or chemical weapons. They have missiles. They have an air force. If they really wanted to pick a fight with Israel, they could have done it long before now.

      (And, how exactly was Saddam “so good” at hiding stuff from the inspectors? As it turns out the inspectors pretty well had Saddam’s capabilities nailed down.)

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 03/04/2015 - 10:00 am.

      As I point out above

      The question is not being worried; it’s about what is the most effective way to deal with the threat in the real world.
      It’s common to call one’s enemies dirty names like “genocidal maniacs” (threat displays are standard primate behavior).
      However, Iran’s leaders have been quite rational over the past 3000 years or so — once the standard woofing is over, they know that a serious attack on Israel would be suicidal for them, and they are not suicidal. That’s why we negotiate.

  12. Submitted by stephen silberfarb on 03/03/2015 - 11:13 pm.

    useful

    Theatrics and childish antics aside, this was a useful exercise in that it brought the issue to the media and the public. Considering the looming negotiation deadlines and the risks involved with an agreement or military action, higher profile and informed debate on this issue is important.

    For now the fireworks are over. Hopefully vigorous debate will take over, frame the issues and clarify the choices. With so much at stake for our country and our allies, we should expect no less.

    • Submitted by Dan Hintz on 03/04/2015 - 07:56 am.

      Useless

      Not sure how anything that came out of Netanyahu’s mouth contributed to informed debate.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 03/05/2015 - 01:02 pm.

      Theatrics and childish antics aside . . .

      . . . .there was nothing. “Theatrics” were the reason for the event. “Childish antics” are business as usual for congressional Republicans.

  13. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 03/04/2015 - 07:46 am.

    The US House of Representatives, so often a mummers parade, occasionally serves as a venue worthy of the founders faith. That being said, I have to go back to Douglas MacArthur’s 1951 speech before congress to find an oratory that compares to Netanyahu’s.

    Agree with him or not, no one can dispute he is an inspiring leader. Surrounded on all sides by enemies sworn to it’s destruction, Israel could never have lasted as long as it has without fearless men and women leading it. The passion and sincerity behind his powerful words, one can be sure, had more than just one weak willed leftist squirming at the brink of tears.

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 03/04/2015 - 10:02 am.

      Is that the speech

      which caused Truman to fire MacArthur to prevent a nuclear attack on China?

      • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 03/04/2015 - 10:56 am.

        It is the speech that put an end to Truman’s hope for re-election.

        • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 03/04/2015 - 11:25 am.

          Believe it or not

          We once had leaders who would do things for the country’s good at the expense of their careers.

        • Submitted by Karen Sandness on 03/04/2015 - 12:30 pm.

          By the time McArthur made his speech,

          Truman was already in his second term, and his first term, starting in 1944, had covered more than two years of what would have been Roosevelt’s fourth term, so he was ineligible to run anyway, because the 22nd Amendment, which imposed term limits on the president, had already been ratified.

          • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 03/04/2015 - 04:21 pm.

            No Karen, you’re wrong. Truman was eligible because he had been grandfathered.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twenty-second_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution

            Historians point to many reasons Truman decided not to run for a third term, but all agree MacAurthur’s speech added to fuel to the belief he was soft on Communism, and hurt him badly.

            • Submitted by Doug Gray on 03/05/2015 - 10:47 am.

              In point of fact

              Truman dropped out of the race for the 1952 Democratic nomination after his embarrassing loss in the New Hampshire primary to Estes Kefauver. Kefauver made his name investigating organized crime, not conducting witch hunts for Communists, and at least one political opponent called him a “fellow traveler.”

              All this of course has nothing to do with the spectacle of a Speaker of the House inviting the head of a foreign government to address a joint session of Congress without as much as informing the Executive Branch (which constitutionally and logically has primary responsibility for foreign policy) about a negotiation between the United States and a third country in the middle of the head of government’s domestic election campaign, which raises questions like those pointed out here.

              But why stop at MacArthur’s stirring rhetoric? What’s the matter with Goldwater or LeMay? What’s McCarthy, chopped liver?

              Personally I prefer reading MacArthur’s cable traffic during the Korean Conflict where he was repeatedly adamant that the Red Army would never wet its feet in the Yalu. What a global strategic genius he was.

              • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 03/05/2015 - 12:33 pm.

                And here I thought I might be the only person who knew who Estes Kefauver was. Wasn’t it Adlai Stevenson who ended up getting the nomination?

                Love the wit on LeMay and McCarthy, too, Doug. We should all be grateful that so many times in our history, cooler heads have prevailed… lest we actually march past Berlin and on to Moscow…

            • Submitted by Logan Foreman on 03/05/2015 - 12:02 pm.

              MacArthur had a history of problems

              Accepting that the U.S. military reports to elected federal govt officials. He also made bad decisions militarily, especially with regard to China. But at that point in American history, the red scare was the rage regardless of the facts.

    • Submitted by jason myron on 03/05/2015 - 06:13 am.

      Well, sure we can dispute his alleged “inspiration.”

      and with considerably less tears than you can imagine from your posted melodramatic reading. Bibi might might make the GOP neocon’s knees weak, but to the rest of the world and by many in his own country, he’s held in less regard.

  14. Submitted by beryl john-knudson on 03/04/2015 - 08:25 am.

    A weak congress still alive?

    At least we know our weak congress is still alive, they-who-have-been-sitting-on-their-hands too long actually stood up and clapped reviving the circulation in their benumbed fingers? And I suppose clapping is good for the circulation.

    Possibly a more rewarding response for those who still attended – with convenient office personnel filling the gaps for those who had the courage to not attend – but weak congress attendees representing few of their back home constituents in the process…would, could have made a far more powerful response if they had stood up, backs to the podium…returning the insult Bibi performed on the President of this nation..rather than honor this hard-core foreign representative… but that would be too much to expect?

    What does assure us of our weak congress…they’re bodies still move but their intellectual capacities are possibly atrophied over time…who do they really represent?

  15. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 03/04/2015 - 08:32 am.

    Whatever…

    First, outside of wonks like us no one cares what Bibi thinks or says in the US House. The news has been all aflutter about his speech but I seriously doubt that more than 50% (if that) of Americans could tell you who Netanhayu actually is. Americans barely pay attention when their own elected officials make speeches in the House, Bibi’s no special draw.

    As far as his speech is concerned, all I can tell you is that the Israeli Prime minister does not nor should he or she, determine US foreign policy objectives or policy. Any suggestion that another nations prime minister knows more about US policy, or is more knowledgeable than our own President, will simply not gain any widespread traction, blowhards like Limbaugh and Krauthammer notwithstanding.

    As for Netanyahu himself; I hate to say it but there’s scant evidence that he’s been a particularly great leader for Israel. Nor does the history of his foreign policy decisions indicate any remarkable talent. Bibi hasn’t managed to put the Palestinian conflict to rest without serious negotiations so I don’t know why anyone would think that the same approach with Iran would be anymore successful. Many have already pointed out the fact that he’s been making these claims about Iran’s nuclear weapons for a quarter century.

    As for Iran, the fact is that Iran was far more helpful in stabalizing Iraq when the civil war broke out than Israel ever was. Today, Iranian’s are committed to defeating ISIS. Sure the hysterical fantasy of Islamic terrorists with nuclear weapons is terrifying, but the most dangerous terrorist are the ones that Iran is fighting, not the one’s they’re alleged to be supporting.

    The fact is that sanctions and inspections work if your goal is arms control. I remind everyone they actually worked in Iraq. The last time we listened to blowhards telling us that arms control wasn’t working we charged into Iraq looking for WMD’s that didn’t exist. However Sanctions and inspections don’t overthrow governments, so if that’s your real objective…

    I hate to say it but I didn’t see any Israeli troops on the ground in Iraq, and I don’t see Bibi offering to join any kind of Coalition to attack or invade Iran. Put simply, the US military is not an instrument of Israeli foreign policy. I think any attempt to pretend otherwise can seriously backfire.

    Finally, regarding Netanyahu’s judgement or lack thereof, aligning himself with hyper-partisan republicans and conservative blowhards in the US is serious blunder… almost stupid. That’s not going to play out in Israel’s best interest for sooooo many reasons.

  16. Submitted by Roy Everson on 03/04/2015 - 09:14 am.

    Well running dry?

    A couple weeks ago Bibi was encouraging European Jews to move to Israel where they would be safer. But since his reelection is no sure thing he must ramp up the fear factor just as fellow neo-cons have been doing here for years. Maybe he should instead encourage Israelis to move to Europe! I sure would.

    Or he might consider offering to dismantle Israel’s illegal nukes in Exchange for some regional arms Control.

    But no, when it comes to maintaining Power the fear mongering is a proven winner. Let’s hope Isreali voters realize the danger of keeping this man in Power. The well of American loyalty is running dry.

  17. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 03/04/2015 - 09:23 am.

    Anyways…

    The link between an Iran with nuclear weapons and Islamic terrorist with nuclear weapons is rhetorical nonsense. IF Iran were to acquire nuclear weapons, it would be doing so on it’s own behalf, for it’s own defense. The idea that Iran would to go all the trouble and expense of developing nuclear weapons only to give them to some terrorist group is simply daft. NO ONE goes to all the trouble of developing nuclear weapons only to turn them over to someone else to use.

    Terrorist are more likely to buy or steal nuclear weapons or nuclear material from Pakistan, or Russian, or even the North Korean’s than they are to receive them as gifts from the Iran. This linkage between Iranian nuclear programs and terrorist nuclear attacks is little more than fear mongering. And again, the last time we let fear mongers make foreign policy we charged into Iraq looking for WMD’s that didn’t exist.

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 03/05/2015 - 09:11 am.

      Right!!

      The nuclear genie got out of the bottle over 50 years ago; anyone who has the cash can buy a nuclear weapon.
      The danger now is not as much established states such as Israel, the United States, Russia or Iran (or even North Korea for all its woofing). They have territory of their own that is at risk for the inevitable retaliation.
      The real danger is ‘terrorists’; non state actors such as ISIL which have no home territory at risk. Also a culture of martyrdom which causes them to accept any risk; even a suicidal one.
      Martyrdom has never been a Persian practice — their brand of Islam is much less radical than some of the cults presently at loose on the Arabian peninsula.

  18. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 03/04/2015 - 09:37 am.

    “As for Iran, the fact is that Iran was far more helpful in stabalizing Iraq when the civil war broke out than Israel ever was.”

    Yikes. And here I thought I’d heard it all.

    • Submitted by Karen Sandness on 03/04/2015 - 12:31 pm.

      So tell me, Tom, what did Israel do

      to help stabilize Iraq after the U.S. invasion?

      • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 03/04/2015 - 03:35 pm.

        Sat on their hands; even though Iraq rained SCUD missiles down on them.

        It might have been the most difficult thing they’ve ever done, but the did it because we (the US) asked them to.

        • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 03/04/2015 - 05:12 pm.

          Actually

          the only missiles that fell on Israeli soil were the Patriots that they tried to shoot at the Scuds.
          Most of the Scuds self destructed in the air.

        • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 03/05/2015 - 01:04 pm.

          Not really

          The Scud missiles rained down in 1991. I’m sure you can find some reason why not intervening in 2003 was the same as refraining from retaliation for something done 12 years earlier.

          • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 03/05/2015 - 03:40 pm.

            Yeah, I don’t know where he’s going with the SCUD issue either. I remember it well in 91, because one of the prevalent jokes amongst the other 5th graders at the time was “Why is Saddam the best player in the NBA?” “Because he’s the only one who can shoot over Jordan.”

            Regardless, SCUDS weren’t used to any effect in 2003.

          • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 03/06/2015 - 02:07 pm.

            RB, Karen asked what Israel did to stabilize the situation after the US invaded Iraq. Desert Storm started on 17 January 1991.

            Israel was attacked by SCUD missiles, and prepared to retaliate. The US led coalition would have crumbled if that had happened, and many other Muslim countries would have joined with Iraq. The fact is that is exactly what Hussein wanted. President Bush asked them to stand down, and they did.

            As always, I’m very happy to set things straight for you.

            • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 03/06/2015 - 03:12 pm.

              Yes, but the question remains

              The original question was in response to your dismissal of the idea that Iran was helping to stabilize the situation in Iraq. That question was, what is Israel doing? Not “What did it do over 20 years ago?” Do you see the difference? Take your time.

              I am aware of what happened in 1991. I am also not confusing it with what is happening now.

    • Submitted by jason myron on 03/04/2015 - 03:09 pm.

      Apparently not

      http://www.e-ir.info/2013/10/07/implications-of-the-iran-iraq-war/

  19. Submitted by Edward Blaise on 03/04/2015 - 11:11 am.

    Hard to believe

    I certainly can find reasons to be more sympathetic to the needs of Israel over Iran; but, as adversaries in the region it is hard to believe that as long as Israel sits on a stock pile of hundreds of nuclear weapons that others in the Mid East will not relentlessly pursue parity with Israel. Iran will simply not give up on this and it is understandable if not agreeable: If you don’t like or get along with your neighbor and your neighbor has the ultimate ability to win the battle, it is human nature to be determined in pursuing an equal basis. Israel knows that we ultimately have their back and they should offer to give up their nuclear weapons in exchange for others in the region to stop their development efforts. Israel’s position of no one else is allowed to have any and while we keep and expand ours is untenable and guarantees endless conflict.

  20. Submitted by Karen Sandness on 03/04/2015 - 12:24 pm.

    In an idea world, no one would have nuclear weapons, but

    I do not blame Iran for wanting them in the current world situation.

    First of all, Iran has not attacked any other country in living memory, although it was the object of an Anglo-American coup that overthrew its democratically elected, secular leader and installed the self-designated “royal” Shah Reza Pahlavi in the 1950s. It was also attacked by Saddam Hussein’s Iraq in the early 1980s, with the explicit support of the Reagan administration. (Saddam Hussein was a good guy as long as he was against Iraq, and the notorious “he gassed his own people” incident took place during that war.)

    Bush identified Iraq, Iran, and North Korea as “the Axis of Evil.” We all know what happened to Iraq, which, as you can see if you look at a map, shares a border with Iran, as do Afghanistan (U.S. troops there), Pakistan (has nukes), and Turkey (U.S. troops there). To the south is the Persian Gulf, patrolled by the U.S. Navy. For all practical purposes, Iran is surrounded.

    Now do a thought experiment. Suppose China conquered Mexico and had troops in Canada and on all the Caribbean Islands, all the while sailing its navy up and down the East and West Coasts. Wouldn’t Americans feel a bit threatened?

    Keep in mind also that Israel has nukes. The Iranian leaders may be strict Shiite Muslims, but they are proud of their 3,000-year heritage and are not out of touch with reality, as the current erratic North Korean leader is. (And even he isn’t stupid enough to attack South Korea, not even with Seoul only a couple of dozen miles from the DMZ.) Why would Iran attack Israel with nukes, knowing that the Israelis could nuke them back and destroy their ancient country and people?

    I have no love for the Iranian government, but they’re mild compared to the Taliban or ISIS, both of which arose in the chaos created by U.S. interventions. I see their wanting the freedom to develop nuclear weapons as a form of life insurance. They simply do not want to be the next Iraq, and who can blame them, given the mess that the U.S. invasion caused?

  21. Submitted by Steve Sundberg on 03/04/2015 - 03:14 pm.

    Presidential term limits

    The 22nd Amendment, restricting the number of terms or years as acting president+election, would not have applied to Truman as the amendment was not ratified until 1951:

    “No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice, and no person who has held the office of President, or acted as President, for more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected President shall be elected to the office of the President more than once. But this article shall not apply to any person holding the office of President when this article was proposed by the Congress, and shall not prevent any person who may be holding the office of President, or acting as President, during the term within which this article becomes operative from holding the office of President or acting as President during the remainder of such term.”

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 03/04/2015 - 05:17 pm.

      More a question

      of a general outranking a captain.
      Eisenhower was not a career Republican politician (he probably would have run for the Dems if they had asked him). But given his WWII reputation he was unbeatable.
      Remember that this was the time of the Cold War and McCarthyism.
      Truman had the odds stacked against him.

      • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 03/05/2015 - 09:23 am.

        Please explain how any of that fits in with the issue at hand; Truman was legally eligible for the ’52 election. Truman definitely had the odds stacked against him, but not the constitution.

        • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 03/05/2015 - 01:46 pm.

          You were the one

          who brought up MacArthur’s 1951 speech.
          I pointed out that MacArthur’s speech was why he was fired.
          You claimed that firing MacArthur was why Truman decided not to run for a third term in 1952.

  22. Submitted by Rich Crose on 03/04/2015 - 07:14 pm.

    Other Guest Ideas

    When is Mr. Boehner going to invite Putin to instruct us on how to deal with the Ukraine? And maybe Syrian president Assad to tell us how to deal with ISIS? Kim Jong-un to teach us about hubris?

    There are a lot of people that can give great speeches before congress.

  23. Submitted by tiffany vanvorken on 03/04/2015 - 08:51 pm.

    thought

    let’s suppose that Cuba continued to state that the US should be wiped off the face of the earth and all Americans should be killed.
    and Cuba was promoton terrorism all around the area.
    Would we want them to have nuclear capability?
    Many ignorant “unafraid” people commenting here.
    What if Iran has the bomb 10 years from now and a terrorist group overthrow the Iranians?

    • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 03/05/2015 - 09:50 am.

      Useless what-ifs

      Or, we could suppose that Cuba is a small island nation 90 miles from Florida that poses no military or strategic threat to the most powerful military in the history of the planet: aka, reality.

      Besides, your doomsday scenario is far more likely to happen in Pakistan than in Iran. Pakistan, as you may be aware, actually HAS nukes, and a terrorist insurgency.

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 03/05/2015 - 10:37 am.

      Strange fantasy

      IF anyone WANTED Iran to have nuclear weapons you might have a point. But since we all agree that the function of our negotiations with Tehran is to prevent them from acquiring nuclear weapons your thought experiment is a swing and a miss.

      Maybe some people can understand why Iran would want nuclear weapons, but I have seen anyone here say they WANT Iran to have nuclear weapons. The debate is how best to prevent a nuclear Iran.

      • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 03/07/2015 - 10:00 am.

        A distincton

        Iran has never said that they want nuclear -weapons-.
        That’s a statement by Netanyahoo and a few Republicans.
        What Iran has said they wanted is a nuclear power generating capability.
        The current US-EU-Iran negotiations are about how to let Iran develop that capacity with an inspection regime that prohibits the manufacture of nuclear weapons.
        Personally, I’d favor eliminating all nuclear weapons in the Middle East. As has been pointed out, that would require Israel to sign the NPT.

  24. Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 03/04/2015 - 10:26 pm.

    Points to consider

    Mr. Hintz, you got to add a little drama to be heard, don’t you? Like “war on women” or “Republicans want us to start a new war…” And can you name a greater danger to the world that militant Islam with nukes? By the way, I wonder if you would find anything Khamenei’s saying to be contributing to informed debate since you don’t think Netanyahu can…

    Mr. Holbrook, Iran and North Korea signed the non-proliferation treaties but that didn’t make them behave better so it’s better not to sign and do nothing wrong than to sign and lie.

    Mr. Olsen, I mentioned the 12th Imam concept for the “maniac” part. As for “genocidal,” the issuing of constant threats qualifies one as such. And publicly supporting terrorists is different from engaging in proxy wars. And they do not want to “pick fight with Israel” – they want to destroy it and they cannot do it now until they get nukes. As for the types of WMD, they intentionally picked nuclear weapons since other types do not guarantee immediate destruction, allow for defense, and would not give political advantage. And do you mean to say that Saddam was always open and welcoming to the UN inspectors?

    Mr. Maddali, have you ever heard of Hamas and its terrorism (and many other related things)? Maybe that is the reason Israel is on defensive all the time? As for Iran, it was hiding its nuclear program and lied about that – isn’t it enough to treat it this way now? By the way, when I say Iran I mean its current government – nothing more, nothing less. I also hope that you can see the difference between the Holocaust when people were intentionally killed for being Jews and Bengal famine when no one was specifically targeted. And Israel is targeted by the UN Human Rights commission more than any country in the world – including Syria, North Korea, Iran….

    Mr. Brandon, we are not talking 3,000 years, we are talking about 30 years… But yes, they are rational, meaning that they understands when it is possible to push and when it is necessary to slow down – all to achieve the main goal of getting nukes. One may say that trying to get nuclear weapons is not rational to begin with but they chose that path and are very rational on the way betting that the world will stand idly by (as they are obviously right). As for their fear of being destroyed by Israel, that is very questionable. One bomb is needed to destroy Israel, maybe two. Way more is necessary to destroy Iran so they can hope to stay away in the mountains… And speaking of suicidal tendencies, isn’t pretty common in the Middle East?

    Now, about the necessity to destroy all 100+ nuclear facilities in Iran. First, they may keep a few – it will take 10-15 years to rebuild the most important to build a bomb; but the main thing is that we are talking about the wrong goal. Regime change will take care of this problem much easier and that would not require bombing hundreds of targets…

    Mr. Udstrand, my guess is that more Americans know who Netanyahu is than who Senator Warren is. We can also dispute who will find a sympathetic audience http://www.politico.com/story/2015/03/benjamin-netanyahu-israel-support-poll-115644.html. Of course it is funny that you make a decision who the great leader for Israel is since you would be upset if Israelis were making decision about Obama’s greatness. And of course no previous Israeli leader ended the conflict with Palestinians (but not through their fault, of course). And again, Netanyahu did not tell America what to do; he just suggested the reasonable course of actions. Iranian nukes are dangerous for the entire world, not just Israel – how can anyone doubt about that? Unless some think that it’s OK if Iran destroys Israel – less problems in the Middle East…

    Saying that Iran was helpful in stabilizing Iraq is… odd to say the least. Sure, they were… for themselves and America fell into the trap and let them have Iraq. Should we be grateful to Iran? Same with ISIS – Iran is helping its ally Iraq, the same it is helping its ally Syria. What can be said for sure is that they are better at helping their allies than America under Obama is.

    I also wonder how you may know that Iran will never give nukes to Hezbollah, for example, to blow up Washington, DC. After all, America is the Great Satan.. And I also want to remind everyone how well sanctions and control worked in North Korea

    Ms. John-Knutson, I believe the demand for tickets to this speech well exceeded the offering… I also wonder how the President was offended: Do you mean that anyone has to always ask him before speaking?

    Mr. Everson, I hope the well of American loyalty will never run dry towards its allies (and that includes ALL allies, not just Israel). But unfortunately, under current president, America did not show much loyalty to anyone… And are you dictating Israel who they should elect?

    Mr. Blaise, Saudi Arabia has not been developing nuclear weapons even though Israel is not its friend. However, it indicated that it will do so if Iran has it. Why do you think they act like that? Maybe because they trust Israel much more than Iran? As for America’s having Israel’s back, that is questionable lately… Look at Egypt and Ukraine…

    Ms. Sandness, sure, you don’t blame Iran and understand it… Israel is surrounded by way worse enemy and you don’t understand it, do you? Bringing up the long Persian history is irrelevant – Iranian government uses it when it is convenient, just like Stalin used the Russian history during WWII even though he despised tsarist Russia. And don’t you see a difference between China being somewhere and America being somewhere? Are these two country equally good (or bad) in your mind?

    Iran is a large country and Israel cannot destroy it even with nukes while Iran can destroy Israel. Iranian leaders may want to risk some counterstrike in order to achieve an ultimate goal of destroying Israel. But, as I said, it is not all about Israel. If Iran has nukes, it will be able to blackmail everyone. Interestingly, if I were trying to justify Iranian nukes, I would use Libya’s example: Kaddafi gave them up (thanks to Bush) and ended up dead (thanks to Obama).

    • Submitted by Raj Maddali on 03/05/2015 - 10:04 am.

      Endless excuses.

      “Mr. Maddali, have you ever heard of Hamas and its terrorism (and many other related things)? Maybe that is the reason Israel is on defensive all the time? As for Iran, it was hiding its nuclear program and lied about that – isn’t it enough to treat it this way now? By the way, when I say Iran I mean its current government – nothing more, nothing less. I also hope that you can see the difference between the Holocaust when people were intentionally killed for being Jews and Bengal famine when no one was specifically targeted. And Israel is targeted by the UN Human Rights commission more than any country in the world – including Syria, North Korea, Iran….”

      Mr Gutman, when you take other peoples land and make excuses to take even more, they are eventually going to fight back. And Israel uses that excuse to take even more land. And in the Bengal Famine Churchill intentionally targeted Indians. And of course when you claim Israel is targeted more in the UNHRC it does not take away the fact that Israel has abused its Palestinian population. The frequency of such targets is just another excuse used by Israel.

      http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2031992,00.html

      “Churchill, as part of the Western war effort, ordered the diversion of food from starving Indians to already well-supplied British soldiers and stockpiles in Britain and elsewhere in Europe, including Greece and Yugoslavia. And he did so with a churlishness that cannot be excused on grounds of policy: Churchill’s only response to a telegram from the government in Delhi about people perishing in the famine was to ask why Gandhi hadn’t died yet.”

    • Submitted by Karen Sandness on 03/05/2015 - 06:47 pm.

      Mr. Guttman: I probably remember more of Israeli history

      as current events than you do, both the good and the bad.

  25. Submitted by beryl john-knudson on 03/05/2015 - 07:24 am.

    …shell game in the half shell?

    If one lines up all one’s political eggs in one basket and all the eggs have no yolks…it only makes one very bad scrambled omelet..ancient proverb

  26. Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 03/05/2015 - 08:55 pm.

    Memories

    Mr. Maddali, the Soviet Union took all Eastern Europe and no one really was fighting back… Morocco occupies Western Sahara as I hope you are aware. In fact, Egypt and Jordan took Gaza and West Bank respectively and no one fought back – why? And Israel would not have taken that land if it were not repeatedly attacked and threatened. As for abusing the Palestinians, don’t you think that Lebanon abuses them by not allowing to work? Or that Hamas abuses them? Palestinians in Israel are freer than in any other Middle East country. I am also glad that you acknowledge that Israel is targeted by UNHRC more often than others… Can you explain this?

    As for Bengal famine, I obviously do not know much about that but your comparison to Holocaust is still unjustifiable by all measures – scale, intent, methods, etc. By the way, you skipped a few of my points…

    Mr. Crose, do you think that Netanyahu is as bad as Assad and Putin – please clarify.

    Ms. Sandness, I don’t understand what your good memory has to do with the topic or my question.

    • Submitted by Raj Maddali on 03/06/2015 - 07:26 am.

      The, They did it excuse.

      “Soviet Union took all Eastern Europe and no one really was fighting back” – Every resident of every eastern european country was and is a full citizen with full equality.

      “Egypt and Jordan took Gaza and West Bank ” – Jordan offered them full citizenship. They did not strip them of their rights and shove them into holding pens. Egypt made clear that it would give up Gaza as soon as the Palestine issue was figured out. None of them starting claiming the land was theirs and build settlements.

      “Israel would not have taken that land if it were not repeatedly attacked and threatened.” – No, Judea and Sameria was always the intent of some of Israel’s founders. Also as a signatory to the UN and Geneva conventions you can’t strip people of their rights. Israel wants to point a finger at Iran but pretend no such obligations exist for its own behavior.

      “Palestinians in Israel are freer than in any other Middle East country. ” – Actually that is false. Most people in every other country have rights to live on their land. However stupid their govt. are. A basic right denied to Palestinians.

      “you acknowledge that Israel is targeted by UNHRC more often than others… Can you explain this?” – Just like the US Congress targets Palestinians.

      ” By the way, you skipped a few of my points…” – State them and i will respond.

      “As for Bengal famine, I obviously do not know much about that but your comparison to Holocaust is still unjustifiable by all measures – scale, intent, methods, etc.” – Being intentionally starved to death is not pleasant. And India does not use that as an excuse. And neither does India use partition to oppress Muslims who stayed back in India. They are equal citizens. Not third class citizens of India.

      “Netanyahu is as bad as Assad and Putin ” – One of them, while oppressing people, claims to be a leader of a free country. Guess who.

      • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 03/06/2015 - 11:10 am.

        Iran is…. Iran not the Soviet Union

        The Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia is irrelevant. Iran is not a superpower, nor have they invaded any other country in the last 100+ years.

        These attempts to compare Middle Eastern or Aftrican countries and leaders with European regimes or leaders like Hitler are little more than historical bait-n-switches. Israel is the biggest super power in the region, and Israel has sent it’s army beyond it’s border’s more than any other country in the region in the last 40s years. Yet no one ever points to Israel and says: “This is just how WWII started!” It would be silly to make such a claim.

  27. Submitted by cory johnson on 03/06/2015 - 08:19 pm.

    So Iran isn’t an aggressor in the Middle East?

    They don’t have to invade another country when they sponsor countless acts of terrorism in the region and beyond the region. Let’s just look the other way while they continue to do this and treat women and homosexuals like garbage.

  28. Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 03/07/2015 - 12:16 am.

    Enough

    Mr. Maddali, do you mean to say that Eastern Europeans did not mind the take over? That Estonians and Latvians were happy to be occupied? Seriously, I am not going to prove that 2×2=4.

    I think both Jordan and Egypt were fully planning on absorbing those territories with Jordan annexing West Bank in 1950 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/West_Bank. And Egypt ruled Gaza as an occupied territory with a military governor http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaza_Strip.

    Israel’s intent is irrelevant (even if it was there) – it did not take Judea and Samaria until after it was attacked. And again, what about Arab’s intent – which was to get rid of Israel.

    Palestinians in Israel do live on their own land. They also have full citizenship which no Arab country except Jordan (after it killed thousands of them in 1970) offered to Palestinians.

    Nowhere it says that people in Bengal were starved on purpose – they were not provided relief but that is different (Britain was fighting a war at that time). Jews were killed because they were Jews. And as I said Palestinians in Israel are full citizens of Israel. By the way, why was Mumbai attacked and by whom?

    And are you saying that UNHRC is targeting Israel as a counterweight to American Congress? The one that gives billions to Palestinians? It is an interesting explanation which I am sure even the UNHRC never came up with…

    The points you skipped: Hamas and its terrorism from Gaza that Israel pulled out and where Hamas was able to build tunnels and weapons despite being in “prison” and Iran’s history of hiding WMD.

    Now your last point that Netanyahu is worse than Assad because he oppresses people the same way as Assad but claims that he leads the free country is so outrageous that I am not going to answer your points anymore because it is obvious that you distort the facts in order to fit your narrative. I honestly thought better of you. I will let the readers see where the facts are.

    Mr. Udstrand, Israel may be the biggest superpower in the region but if Iran has WMD it would be irrelevant. And it did send its army beyond its borders only when it was attacked from those places so it was also the country that was attacked way more than any other country in the region and most likely in the world, too.

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 03/07/2015 - 09:54 am.

      One of many

      possible questions:
      Are Palestinians represented in the Knesset proportionally to their population?

    • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 03/07/2015 - 11:33 am.

      Geez, given all the loaded rhetoric!

      “We will bury you!” Nikita Khrushchev 1956, (To the western world, last check includes USA)
      We should never have spoken another word to the USSR/Russians guys after that, all the deals were pre destined to fail or be bad for western civilization, like the Berlin Wall coming down, the Easter Europe Satellite countries gaining back some level of independence, ending of the Cold War etc.

    • Submitted by Raj Maddali on 03/07/2015 - 02:42 pm.

      Fictional Facts

      Eastern Europeans were not driven out of their homes. All citizens live the same wretched lives. Not a segment. I’m not going to prove 2 is a actual number in the numerical scale either.

      Jordan gave full rights. Egypt was clear it had no intention of holding on to Gaza. But neither of them imprisoned Palestinians.

      Judea and Sameria were after 1967, Israel attacked. Fact.

      Millions of Palestinians are stateless citizens. Fact.

      Churchill diverted food from India. Because they were wretched Indians.
      “Mr Churchill turned down fervent pleas to export food to India citing a shortage of ships – this when shiploads of Australian wheat, for example, would pass by India to be stored for future consumption in Europe.”

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/legacy/thereporters/soutikbiswas/2010/10/how_churchill_starved_india.html

      Mumbai was by Pakistanis. India did not target muslims before, during and after. Because all citizens of India are equal. You can write to past president Abdul Kalam, and check. Abdul Kalam was in charge of Indian missile program. He is muslim. Of Sam Manekshaw (Catholic, Highest General) or General JFR Jacob (Jew, Liberator or West Pakistan) or (General Arora, Liberator of East Pakistan) or …..

      Israel pulled out of Gaza. To make it a prison.

      “Israel told U.S. officials in 2008 it would keep Gaza’s economy “on the brink of collapse” while avoiding a humanitarian crisis, according to U.S. diplomatic cables published by a Norwegian daily on Wednesday.” – Haaretz is an Israeli newspaper

      http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/wikileaks-israel-aimed-to-keep-gaza-economy-on-brink-of-collapse-1.335354

      Regarding Netanyahu, I’m pointing out his blatant hypocrisy. Talks freedom, while oppressing others.

      This is an open board and a free country. I will continue to point out fiction masquerading as fac.t

  29. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 03/07/2015 - 11:06 am.

    Enough indeed

    Enough with the Whack-A-Mole arguments. Iran isn’t the Soviet Union or prewar Germany but it’s aggressive. Israel’s only aggressive because it has to be. Yeah but yeah but yeah but.

    No one is denying Iran’s role in sponsoring terrorism, the question is how do you get a regime to stop sponsoring terrorism. Bibi shows up and offers precisely …… nothing. Despite his decades long record of failure and hyperbole he’s the republican “go to” guy? Make sense, the republicans haven’t produced a successful foreign policy since Nixon went to China and they’ve clearly learned NOTHING from their recent fiasco’s in Afghanistan and Iraq.

    No one is professing any love for Iran but Israel has been in flat out violation of international law and UN resolutions for decades. Extra-judicial executions, collective punishment, illegal occupation, illegal settlements, disastrous invasions of Lebanon. Republican’s complain about Obama’s drone strikes but who do you think those strikes are patterned after? Israel’s been killing people beyond it borders for decades.

    If all this had brought peace and security to Israel you could argue that some of this made sense, but the truth is these polices have created perpetual conflict, they’ve turned conflict into the status quo. These policies have been a disaster for Israel, they’ve turned the PLO into Hamas, they’ve made the problem worse.

    So you want Netanyahu to do for the US what he’s done for Israel? Not so much.

    No, Israel isn’t the only bad actor in the region, but you’re not going yeah-but your way out of history and facts. It’s a complex situation and this attempt to pretend that you can just pick winners and losers or good buys and bad guys is dangerously naive.

  30. Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 03/07/2015 - 04:34 pm.

    Back to basics

    Mr. Brandon, Palestinians have 11% representation in Knesset but with Israeli political and election system it does not provide full picture especially considering that many Palestinians do not vote (even though they can). Now can you tell me how many Palestinians are present in governments of the Arab countries? How many Jews are present there?

    Mr. Wagner, all the things you described happened after the Soviet Union realized that it can’t compete with America militarily. But even that really happened by luck which was Gorbatchev’s coming to power…

    Mr. Udstrand, Iran is not the Soviet Union – so what? It is not a Nazi Germany either – but the current appeasement process is reminiscent of 1938: Peace by all means. When I was in school, that was a sure way to get more bullies. And are you denying that Israel was attacked in 1948? And many times after that? Which other country was a target of so many attacks, both military and terroristic?

    So what is your way of stopping Iran’s support for terrorism? Allowing them to have a nuclear weapons, if not now but in 10 years? And Netanyahu has been re-elected many times despite his “failures” – apparently Israelis do not see it that way; do you think they are stupid? Of course, Nixon’s going to China was a bad decisions so no credit to Republicans here. On the other hand, Mr. Wagner thinks that victory in Cold War was a big (Republican) success. And I hope Republicans will learn something from Iraq and would not try to help Iranians create a democracy there… And all Netanyahu was trying to do is to warn America of making a huge mistake… On the other hand, Obama learned nothing from Carter’s disaster… or Clinton’s letting terrorists prosper in Afghanistan… or bombing Yugoslavia…

    I do not want to make this exchange about Israel and Palestinians (I have already been pulled into this kind of debate here trying to prove obvious things to Mr. Maddali), but it is hard to live in a rough neighborhood where no one is playing by the rules and everyone wants to see you dead (and act accordingly all the time) and most others in town prefer you never existed… By the way, Republicans do not complain about drone use – one of the few things Obama does they do not complain about; it is Democrats who are up in arms… And do you think it was wrong to kill persons who were personally responsible for killing scores of Israelis? What were the alternatives? So no, Israel’s policies allowed it to survive because no policies could achieve peace with your neighbor who wants you dead no matter what and turns down all peace offers.

    And finally, your theory of equivalency (Israel is no better than Hamas, for example) is what perpetuates the conflict in the Middle East. You think that you can make peace with everyone and that is the basis of Obama’s actions (but even Obama understood that he could not make peace with ISIS even though he forced Israel to make peace with Hamas). That is not how the world works because really there are no real examples of lasting agreements with evil regimes like North Korea or Iran…

    • Submitted by Raj Maddali on 03/08/2015 - 08:55 pm.

      Basic facts

      Palestinians by the millions have no vote in the Knesset. The partial representation is for propaganda. Tell me how many western democracies, which Israel claims to emulate, would allow that ? How many Western democracies would have leaders who openly call for Apartheid ?

      It is not appeasement with Iran. It’s rather a leadership in Israel that wishes to use Iran as a bogeyman to divert from its own treatment of Palestinians. Western military’s can shut down Iran in less than a week. And that is appeasement !!!

      Netanyahu told us how wonderful going to war in Iraq would be. Of course it was American blood and treasure. Now hes been telling us for 20+ years that Iran is a year away from going nuclear !!!

      Playing by the rules. Which rules. Oh wait UN Resolutions against Israel are not rules !!! The “rules” are what Israel deems as rules. !!!!

      What perpetuates the conflict is when one side pretends it does not have to follow any rules. Rules are for everybody else.

      Perpetually create an enemy or a threat, to carry on business as usual. More settlements.

  31. Submitted by beryl john-knudson on 03/08/2015 - 10:32 am.

    Who’s on first…either/or?

    Did Goebbels ever speak to Congress?

    Then you could say Bibi is the ‘first’?

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 03/09/2015 - 09:07 am.

      Inappropriate

      I am no fan of Mr. Netanyahu, and think his speech to Congress was a wrongheaded breach of protocol on many levels. At the same time, comparing him, even obliquely, to Goebbels is inflammatory and out of line (for openers, Netanyahu is a democratically-elected head of state).

      • Submitted by beryl john-knudson on 03/09/2015 - 10:06 am.

        Inappropriate?

        If only you had used a different buzz word than “inappropriate” I might have accepted and ignored your play on my comment – thank the gods you didn’t include buzz words like ‘narrative’ and ‘transparent’; same old words that fill rhetorical gaps …my comment was cynical and rightly so from my perspective (lots of those floating around here,eh?)

        I think respect must be earned Bibi or otherwise and on this good morning, I find the historical perspective may be more true than tongue-in-cheek plus… as I observed Bibi’s inflammatory speech, his ‘audience’ clapped? That too can be called ‘inflammatory to wiser constituents?

        One can ignore or suck in and clap at a world speaker who crashed the party but … his insult was not just with Obama but the nation, the people, the congressmen who stood and applauded the insult and virtually imploded their own credibility..

        I in all honesty cannot conform to a gentler view…you may think otherwise; that’s okay…thanks for the comment. beyond that enjoy the weather

      • Submitted by jason myron on 03/09/2015 - 11:54 am.

        I disagree.

        I think a comparison to Goebbels in relation to Netanyahu’s similar use of propaganda is quite apropos. The fact that it was given to a GOP congress that has actually prided itself on slinging as much misinformation towards a clueless electorate as possible, makes the equation even more valid…and frightening.

  32. Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 03/08/2015 - 10:59 am.

    Good and bad

    Mr. Brandon, Palestinians have 11% representation in Knesset but with Israeli political and election system it does not provide full picture especially considering that many Palestinians do not vote (even though they can). Now can you tell me how many Palestinians are present in governments of the Arab countries? How many Jews are present there?

    Mr. Wagner, all the things you described happened after the Soviet Union realized that it can’t compete with America militarily. But even that really happened by luck which was Gorbatchev’s coming to power…

    Mr. Udstrand, Iran is not the Soviet Union – so what? It is not a Nazi Germany either – but the current appeasement process is reminiscent of 1938: Peace by all means. When I was in school, that was a sure way to get more bullies. And are you denying that Israel was attacked in 1948? And many times after that? Which other country was a target of so many attacks, both military and terroristic?

    So what is your way of stopping Iran’s support for terrorism? Allowing them to have a nuclear weapons, if not now but in 10 years? And Netanyahu has been re-elected many times despite his “failures” – apparently Israelis do not see it that way; do you think they are stupid? Of course, Nixon’s going to China was a bad decisions so no credit to Republicans here. On the other hand, Mr. Wagner thinks that victory in Cold War was a big (Republican) success. And I hope Republicans will learn something from Iraq and would not try to help Iranians create a democracy there… And all Netanyahu was trying to do is to warn America of making a huge mistake… On the other hand, Obama learned nothing from Carter’s disaster… or Clinton’s letting terrorists prosper in Afghanistan… or bombing Yugoslavia…

    I do not want to make this exchange about Israel and Palestinians (I have already been pulled into this kind of debate here trying to prove obvious things to Mr. Maddali), but it is hard to live in a rough neighborhood where no one is playing by the rules and everyone wants to see you dead (and act accordingly all the time) and most others in town prefer you never existed… By the way, Republicans do not complain about drone use – one of the few things Obama does they do not complain about; it is Democrats who are up in arms… And do you think it was wrong to kill persons who were personally responsible for killing scores of Israelis? What were the alternatives? So no, Israel’s policies allowed it to survive because no policies could achieve peace with your neighbor who wants you dead no matter what and turns down all peace offers.

    And finally, your theory of equivalency (Israel is no better than Hamas, for example) is what perpetuates the conflict in the Middle East. You think that you can make peace with everyone and that is the basis of Obama’s actions (but even Obama understood that he could not make peace with ISIS even though he forced Israel to make peace with Hamas). That is not how the world works because really there are no real examples of lasting agreements with evil regimes like North Korea or Iran…

  33. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 03/10/2015 - 08:28 am.

    Counter productive rhetoric

    I have to say that I can’t get behind any reference that associates Israel with Nazi Germany, no matter how Oblique. The Nazi’s didn’t invent propaganda, and their agenda set a whole new standard for genocide and violence. If you want to talk about propaganda fine, but there’s no reason to bring Nazi’s into the discussion.

    I have no trouble criticizing Israel, but nothing Israeli leadership has done even begins to approach to the genocidal nature of the Nazi regime. Such comparisons just push buttons that inflame, insult, and outrage… rightfully so. You can’t compare Israel to Nazi Germany and expect to have any kind of constructive dialogue.

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