June 3, 2008, - 11:11 am

Does McCain Really Understand How to Beat the Iran Threat? A Different Face @ 2-Faced AIPAC

By Debbie Schlussel
We already know that Barack Obama does NOT understand the Iranian threat and that he wants to break pita with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. That’s a foregone conclusion.
But the troubling thing is that the candidate who claims he DOES understand the Iran threat–John McCain–has made some very inconsistent statements on Iran and what he intends to do, and other statements indicating he doesn’t really know what’s going on, that he doesn’t know what American policy has been thus far.
Exhibit A is McCain’s speech, last night, to the annual conference of AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee–the pro-Israel lobby dominated by liberals and self-appointed rich Jewish bullies who constantly pressure Israel to give up–give up land, give up homes, and just give up. AIPAC, itself, has been openly phony and tw-faced on Iran. More on that later.



McCain, AIPAC:

Two-Faced, Wimpy on Iran and Ahmadinejad

Last night and prior to that, McCain said he wants to get tough on Iran. That was the theme of his speech and has been the theme of several of his speeches, lately.
But friends of mine who attended a May 5th Michigan fundraiser with McCain at the home of billionaire Pete Karmanos said McCain was hesitant and not exactly tough on Iran then . . . at least not as tough as Hillary Clinton. That’s troubling. One strong face at AIPAC, another–much weaker–at a Michigan billionaire’s home.
The week before, both Hillary Clinton and columnist Charles Krauthammer said that if Israel is attacked by Iran, we should attack Iran. McCain was asked at the Michigan fundraiser whether he would attack Iran if Israel was attacked. His response was a non-response. At first he hesitated, telling his audience that he needed to think about it for a moment because it’s a tough question and he’s not sure. Then, he gave a non-answer. Not exactly tough on Iran.
Then, last night, at the AIPAC speech, McCain’s new “get tough” on Iran policy was actually more of the same sanctions we’re already imposing and which are having little effect to stop Iran’s nuclear ambitions or Ahmadinejad’s madness.
McCain told the AIPAC audience

he would drastically ramp up financial pressure on Iran’s rulers by targeting the country’s gasoline imports and imposing sanctions against its central bank

This is also AIPAC’s phony public position (while it quietly has worked against clamping down on Iran).
But in an op-ed in today’s Wall Street Journal, Senator Charles Schumer (most of whose politics I abhor, but who is right on Iran) notes that we already boycott Iranian banks, as do European central banks. Schumer calls this “the mildest of economic sanctions.” He claims this “has already produced an economic slowdown, and unrest among Iranians.”
Maybe so. But since we are already doing this, I’m not sure how McCain imposing the same old, same old will get different results. Ahmadinejad is still in power and still striving to achieve his nuclear reality.
McCain also said that he would support AIPAC’s purported policy of

international divestment from companies doing business in Iran, while also seeking more unilateral U.S. sanctions against Iranian state instutitutions, such as the central bank.

Again, see my comments above about how we’re already boycotting Iranian banks, including its central bank.

Sen. McCain said he supported this approach, arguing that “as more people, businesses, pension funds and financial institutions . . . divest from companies donig business with Iran, the radical elite who run that country will become even more unpopular.”

Great, but as Jerusalem Post columnist Caroline Glick pointed out, the group he was speaking to–AIPAC–has been working (despite its public position for divesting from Iran) to stop all legislation around the country aimed at promoting Iranian divestment:

[Ohio State Rep. Josh] Mandel’s initiative received a body blow from an unexpected direction. AIPAC representatives asked him to pare down his bill’s divestment requirements to include only companies that invest more than $20 million in Iran’s oil and gas sector.
Mandel was surprised. Why should companies that invest in Iran’s defense, telecommunications and other sectors be immune from divestment? AIPAC went over his head to Ohio House Speaker Jon Hustead. Hustead amended the bill along AIPAC’s suggested lines.
Mandel’s experience is not unique. . . .
[I]n Texas and California, AIPAC lobbyists led by AIPAC’s policy director Brad Gordon, advocated that divest terror bill sponsors take North Korea and Syria off their bills. As they did in Ohio, they also strongly recommended that divestiture from companies invested in Iran be limited to companies that invest more than $20m. in Iran’s oil and gas sector.
In Texas, AIPAC’s interference so frustrated the bill’s sponsor, State Senator Dan Patrick, that he allowed the initiative to fizzle out. In California, the bill passed into law reflected AIPAC’s view, except that at the insistence of the bill’s sponsor Assemblyman Joel Anderson, it also divested California from companies involved in Iran’s defense and nuclear sectors.
In Florida, AIPAC pre-empted supporters of broad-based terror divestment. It advocated its pared-down, Iran only, oil and gas sector only divestment plan before a broader-based initiative could get off the ground.
Currently, AIPAC is working to pare down bills in Massachusetts, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Georgia.

Too bad McCain doesn’t know this, what AIPAC is really up to, regarding Iran. Too bad, if he does know, that he didn’t have the guts to call this fraudulent group on it. And too bad, he doesn’t know that most of what he’s calling for–limp economic sanctions, we’re already doing . . . to little effect.
If AIPAC’s policy–limiting divestment to those companies who do more than $20 million in biz with Iran and only in gas and oil–is President McCain’s policy, look for Iran to continue chugging along with its nuclear destroy-Israel policy attainment.
Without absolute divestment from Iran, Iran will absolutely win. Remember the oil-for-food “exceptions” for Iraq and how they worked so “well”?
The problem is, as I’ve repeatedly noted on this site, even with our economic boycott of Iran, there are so many loopholes, that we’re still shipping Pepsi and Coke to the Iranians.
Think they’re suffering, when they can get anything they want from America, even Pepsi and Diet Coke?
We must really get tough on Iran and that means not only closing the loopholes, but militarily going in and taking out those weapons, a tough proposal to undertake.
But none of the people running really wants to do it.
All wimps with no heart. So sad that Hillary Clinton was the only real man among them when it came to Iran.
Two-faced (on Iran) John Mccain at two-faced (on Iran and so much else) AIPAC.
Which face will be serving at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue?

6 Responses

Bush decided to do something about Iraq after 10 years of Iraq playing games with the UN security teams searching for wmds, and 10 years of a no fly zone in Iraq where they would take pot shots at American war planes patroling the no fly zone… now look at all grief that Bush is getting for implementing change there.
Its obvious that no new President on the horizon will have the fore-sight to take pre-emptive measures against countries like Iran. And most Americans are so beaten down from negative media coverage that they will not have the resolve for such difficult tasks.
Better to hope that young Iranians will need their Diet Cokes and Hollywood movies like ‘Sex in the city’ and maybe hope that they will like us.

PrincessKaren on June 3, 2008 at 12:06 pm

We don’t have a coherent policy anymore, because we don’t have a country, except in name. There’s not enough unity or national identity left, to stand up to Russia, China, and the diplomatic firestorm that will occur if we use force against Iran. Over 10% of “Americans” weren’t even born here.

John Harper on June 3, 2008 at 12:33 pm

This is a very excellent post. I read the WSJ coverage of McCain this morning & was hoping you would cover it. Although Hillary took a better position, at least on paper than McCain, her position was itself, reactive. Should we wait until Israel is destroyed to attack Iran? Maybe & maybe not, but to broadcast in advance that essentially we would attack after the damage is already done shows weakness.
Of course McCain’s position is a joke, and he is following the despicable practice used for ages by cynical politicians of utilizing Jewish opportunist groups to justify their own lack of effective action.
What about supporting effective Iranian opposition groups in a meaningful and consistent way, or effectively combatting Iranian proxies all over the Mideast? Not a word from any of these candidates, and not a word from most of the groups (or phony conservative magazines) that supposedly represent, or take positions supporting Israel.

c f on June 3, 2008 at 3:39 pm

I should rephrase the “maybe & maybe not” section of my first paragraph to eliminate those words. I just meant to say that we should not rule out attacking Iran pre-emptively; we are ruling out pre-emptive attacks when we say that we would wait until after Israel is attacked to strike Iran.

c f on June 3, 2008 at 4:03 pm

It’s apparent to me that most Americans do not see the great threat posed by Iran. The only thing “voters” see is what the government can give them. People are so stupid in this country that they will “sell” their vote for government “freebies”. Nevermind that there are people out there that want to kill them, as long as they get “their fair share” all will be well. And now we have candidates for President that see this trend and feeding the frenzy by ignoring the bigger problems. God save us all.

you are right on June 4, 2008 at 8:57 am

Two points.
First of all, as far as I am concerned, AIPAC is a worthless organization even for those who share its point of view. I do not remember them ever winning even a single contested vote. I do remember the first President Bush humiliating them with his “I am one little guy” speech when Itzhak Shamir was trying to get loan guarantees.
I agree with you that Iraq was never the threat that Iran was. That is why I was always opposed to going in to Iraq in the first place. Unlike most people who opposed the war in Iraq, my opposition is not based on the fact that we were not justified in going in to Iraq. We were definitely justified. My opposition has always been based on the fact that we should have gone into Iran, and the war in Iraq has made it difficult if not impossible to do anything substantial in Iran.

I_am_me on June 4, 2008 at 5:39 pm

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