By David Swanson
WarIsACrime.org, 9 March 2012
When President George W. Bush was pretending to want to avoid a war on Iraq while constantly pushing laughably bad propaganda to get that war going, we had a feeling he was lying. After all, he was a Republican. But it was after the war was raging away that we came upon things like the Downing Street Minutes and the White House Memo.
Now President Barack Obama is pretending to want to avoid a war on Iran and to want Israel not to start one, while constantly pushing laughably bad propaganda to get that war going. We might suspect a lack of sincerity, given the insistence that Iran put an end to a program that the U.S. government simultaneously says there is no evidence exists, given the increase in free weapons for Israel to $3.1 billion next year, given the ongoing protection of Israel at the U.N. from any accountability for crimes, given the embrace of sanctions highly unlikely to lead to anything other than greater prospects of war, and given Obama's refusal to take openly illegal war “off the table.” We might suspect that peace was not the ultimate goal, except of course that Obama is a Democrat.
However, we now have Wikileaks cables and comments from anonymous officials that served as the basis for a report from the Israeli newspaper Haaretz:
“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu requested the United States approve the sale of advanced refueling aircraft as well as GBU-28 bunker-piercing bombs to Israel during a recent meeting with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, a top U.S. official said on Tuesday. The American official said that U.S. President Barack Obama instructed Panetta to work directly with Defense Minister Ehud Barak on the matter, indicating that the U.S. administration was inclined to look favorably upon the request as soon as possible. During the administration of former U.S. President George Bush, the U.S. refused to sell bunker-penetrating bombs and refueling aircrafts to Israel, as a result of American estimates that Israel would then use them to strike Iran's nuclear facilities. Following Obama's entrance into the White House, however, the United States approves a string of Israeli requests to purchase advance armament. Diplomatic cables exposed by the WikiLeaks website exposed discussion concerning advanced weapons shipments. In one cable which surveyed defense discussions between Israel and the United states that took place on November 2009 it was written that ‘both sides then discussed the upcoming delivery of GBU-28 bunker busting bombs to Israel, noting that the transfer should be handled quietly to avoid any allegations that the USG is helping Israel prepare for a strike against Iran.'”
Why supply Israel with the weapons to attack Iran more forcefully if you don't want Israel to attack Iran? The Israeli newspaper Maariv claims to have the answer. Apparently people in the know are spilling the beans earlier this war cycle:
“The United States offered Israel advanced weaponry in return for it committing not to attack Iran's nuclear facilities this year, Israeli daily Maariv reported on Thursday. Citing unnamed Western diplomats and intelligence sources, the report said that during Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's visit to Washington this week, the US administration offered to supply Israel with advanced bunker-busting bombs and long-range refuelling planes. In return, Israel would agree to put off a possible attack on Iran till 2013, after the US elections in November.”
One point can be little doubted here, namely that this would be the biggest damn story in U.S. “progressive” circles if Obama were a Republican. But even though he isn't, there could conceivably be SOME interest in the fact that a serious news outlet is reporting that Obama has taken steps to facilitate an attack on Iran and to delay it until after his own hoped-for reelection.
Even Reuters has noted this development:
“A front-page article in the Israeli newspaper Ma'ariv on Thursday said Obama had told Netanyahu that Washington would supply Israel with upgraded military equipment in return for assurances that there would be no attack on Iran in 2012.”
Now, the usual handful of progressive Congress members has just introduced a bill that would compel the U.S. government to talk to the government of Iran. Seems sensible enough (even if it frames it as an effort to prevent Iran acquiring a nuclear weapon) . We do ask that much of our children when they become involved in disagreements.
But Congressman John Conyers, one of the cosponsors of that bill, had another trick up his sleeve when Bush was in the White House. Nobody believed him, of course, but for what it was worth, after refusing to impeach Bush for countless offenses, Conyers swore that if Bush attacked Iran, then he Conyers would launch impeachment proceedings. Now, Conyers is back in the minority party in the House, but even minority members can raise the threat of impeachment efforts. And at the moment they could join a member of the majority in doing so. That's because Congressman Walter Jones has introduced H. Con Res 107, which reads:
“Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), That it is the sense of Congress that, except in response to an actual or imminent attack against the territory of the United States, the use of offensive military force by a President without prior and clear authorization of an Act of Congress violates Congress's exclusive power to declare war under article I, section 8, clause 11 of the Constitution and therefore constitutes an impeachable high crime and misdemeanor under article II, section 4 of the Constitution.”
Now, this does not clearly cover an attack with U.S. weapons and advice carried out by another nation, but it does cover the question of U.S. entry into a war started by Israel, even if U.S. troops and bases abroad have been attacked in retaliation. And it covers possible U.S. war making in Syria. And it covers over 100 nations where U.S. Special Forces are now operating. And it covers our current and prospective drone attacks in various parts of the world.
Of course, such an impeachment effort is also treasonous, given Obama's membership in the Democratic Party — unlike the completely non-treasonous acts of openly “legalizing murder,” or lying to the nation about efforts to avoid a war.
David Swanson's books include “War Is A Lie.” He blogs at http://davidswanson.org and http://warisacrime.org and works for the online activist organization http://rootsaction.org. He hosts Talk Nation Radio