Is There Even ONE Democratic Senator With The Guts And Wisdom To Ask That The Decision To Make Schumer-As-Leader Be Revisited?
After joining forces with the extreme right to derail the Iran nuclear deal, Chuck Schumer has been widely criticized by progressive groups-- but heartily congratulated by the likes of Tailgunner Ted Cruz and Jeb Bush. Jeb and Cruz love reminding people they're not scientists, although they're loath to admit they will oppose fact-based reality whenever it's in conflict with the GOP's narrow partisan agenda. I doubt whether either of them, or their new ally Schumer, cares that 29 of the nation’s top scientists-- including Nobel laureates, veteran makers of nuclear arms and former White House science advisers, some of the world’s most knowledgeable experts in the fields of nuclear weapons and arms control-- wrote to President Obama on Saturday to praise the Iran deal, calling it innovative and stringent.
Their expertise doesn't fit in with the Schumer-Cruz jihad against peace. The deal, they wrote, "will advance the cause of peace and security in the Middle East and can serve as a guidepost for future nonproliferation agreements."
The body of the letter praises the technical features of the Iran accord and offers tacit rebuttals to recent criticisms on such issues as verification and provisions for investigating what specialists see as evidence of Iran’s past research on nuclear arms.But Schumer and his GOP allies aren't the only ones trying to ramp up another war in the Middle East. Yesterday on CNN, President Obama pointed out:
It also focuses on whether Iran could use the accord as diplomatic cover to pursue nuclear weapons in secret.
The deal’s plan for resolving disputes, the letter says, greatly mitigates “concerns about clandestine activities.” It hails the 24-day cap on Iranian delays to site investigations as “unprecedented,” adding that the agreement “will allow effective challenge inspection for the suspected activities of greatest concern.”
It also welcomes as without precedent the deal’s explicit banning of research on nuclear weapons “rather than only their manufacture,” as established in the 1968 Non-Proliferation Treaty, the top arms-control agreement of the nuclear age.
Inside of Iran, the people most opposed to the deal are the Revolutionary Guard, the Quds Force, hardliners who are implacably opposed to any cooperation with the international community... The reason that Mitch McConnell and the rest of the folks in his caucus who oppose this jumped out and opposed it before they even read it, before it was even posted, is reflective of a ideological commitment not to get a deal done... Nobody has presented a plausible alternative, other than military strikes, to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon.Our old friend journalist Reese Erlich, recently back from another trip to Iran, stirred up some controversy by reporting in USA Today that Iran's Jewish community backs the nuclear deal. "Most Iranian Jews strongly disagree with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's denunciations of the accord... They broadly support the accord in hopes that the U.S. will lift economic sanctions and the economy will improve." The right-wing Breitbart website disputes Erlich's reporting based on... GOP ideology.
Joe Conason, writing for the National Memo last week, made the point that it's not just anti-Obama fanatics inside the U.S.-- GOP candidates, Fox and Schumer-- who oppose peace with Iran.
[W]hile vast throngs of Iranians greeted their government’s negotiators in a joyous welcome, the fanatical reactionaries in the Revolutionary Guard and the paramilitary Basij movement-- which have violently repressed democratic currents in Iran-- could barely control their outrage. Upon reading the terms, a Basij spokesman said last month, “We quickly realized that what we feared…had become a reality. If Iran agrees with this, our nuclear industry will be handcuffed for many years to come.”Since the day Schumer blustered his way into forcing craven Senate Democrats into recognizing him as Harry Reid's heir as Senate Democratic leader, we have been warning that having Wall Street's worst and most avaricious shill in Congress in that position will be catastrophic for the party and the country. This latest odious escapade is not the reason why Democrats should revisit that decision; it's just another in a long series of actions why that decision should never have been made in the first place. I'd like to see some leadership on this by progressive champions like Elizabeth Warren, Sherrod Brown, Bernie Sanders, Brian Schatz, Jeff Merkley... But so far I hear crickets.
Hoping and perhaps praying for a veto by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, their Supreme Leader, the Basijis, the right-wing media in Teheran, and their regime sponsors pointed to “red lines” that the agreement allegedly crossed. “We will never accept it,” said Mohammed Ali Jafari, a high-ranking Revolutionary Guard commander.
Such shrill expressions of frustration should encourage everyone who understands the agreement’s real value. Iran’s “Death to America, Death to Israel” cohort hates this deal-- not only because of its highly restrictive provisions, but because over the long term, it strengthens their democratic opponents and threatens their corrupt control of Iranian society.
In Israel, meanwhile, the alarmist criticism of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu-- a sage whose confident predictions about Iran, Iraq, and almost everything else are reliably, totally wrong-- has obscured support from actual military and intelligence leaders. Like experts in this country and around the world, the best-informed Israelis understand the deal’s imperfections very well-- and support it nevertheless.
“There are no ideal agreements,” declared Ami Ayalon, a military veteran who headed the Israeli Navy and later oversaw the Jewish state’s security service, the Shin Bet. But as Ayalon explained to J.J. Goldberg of the Forward, this agreement is “the best possible alternative from Israel’s point of view, given the other available alternatives”-- including the most likely alternative which is, as Obama explained, another extremely dangerous Mideast war.
Efraim Halevy, who formerly ran the Mossad, Israel’s foreign intelligence service, and later headed its National Security Council, concurs with Ayalon (and Obama). Writing in Yedioth Aharonoth, the national daily published in Tel Aviv, Halevy points out a profound contradiction in Netanyahu’s blustering complaints. Having warned that an Iranian nuclear weapon would pose a unique existential threat to Israel, how can Bibi logically reject the agreement that forestalls any bomb development for at least 15 years and increases the “breakout time” from one month to a year-- even if Iran ultimately violates its commitments?
Such a deal is far preferable to no deal, the ex-Mossad chief insists, although it won’t necessarily dissuade Tehran from making trouble elsewhere. Halevy also emphasizes that no mythical “better” deal would ever win support from Russia and China, Iran’s main weapons suppliers, whose leaders have endorsed this agreement.
In short, both of these top former officials believe the agreement with Iran will enhance their nation’s security-- and contrary to what Fox News Channel’s sages might claim, they represent mainstream opinion in Israel’s military and intelligence circles.
So perhaps we can safely discount the partisan demagogues and feckless opportunists who claim to be protecting the Jewish state from Barack Obama. And when someone like Mike Huckabee-- who memorably escaped military service because of his “flat feet”-- denounces the president for “marching Israelis to the oven door,” let’s remember the sane and serious response of Israel’s most experienced defenders.