Friday, November 15, 2013

Showdown at the Geneva Corral

Does Senator Mark Kirk know whom he is supposed to be representing?

One wonders. After an administration briefing to the Senate Banking Committee, held to persuade members to hold off on new Iran sanctions, Kirk had this to say:

"’It was fairly anti-Israeli. I was supposed to disbelieve everything the Israelis had just told me, and I think the Israelis probably have a pretty good intelligence service.’ He said the Israelis had told him that the ‘total changes proposed set back the program by 24 days.’ A Senate aide familiar with the meeting said that ‘every time anybody would say anything about ‘what would the Israelis say,’ they’d get cut off and Kerry would say, ‘You have to ignore what they’re telling you, stop listening to the Israelis on this. They had no details,’ the aide said. ‘They had no ability to verify anything, to describe anything, to answer basic questions.’"

Why is "what would the Israelis say" the first thing out of Sen. Kirk’s mouth? He is supposed to represent the state of Illinois in the US Senate – not the state of Israel. But you’d never know it from his public pronouncements on this issue. Yes, the Israelis do indeed "have a pretty good intelligence service," one devoted to relentlessly pursuing Israeli interests. Those interests are not always aligned with American policy objectives – indeed, these days the two are rather frequently in conflict. And it is telling that Sen. Kirk doesn’t recognize this, or, if he does, chooses to listen to the Israelis rather than what our own intelligence services have been telling us regarding Iran’s nuclear program.

The official National Intelligence Estimate states "with high confidence" Tehran gave up its weapons program way back in 2003. Yet Sen. Kirk chooses to take the Israeli side in an increasingly public and acrimonious dispute between the government of the United States and a foreign entity with a long history of crying wolf over the alleged imminence of Iranian nukes.

The "details" demanded by Kirk could naturally not be provided by the administration, since revealing the inside dope on sensitive matters in the midst of talks is a sure way to scuttle any hope of success. So this is just disingenuous posturing, along with the requisite boilerplate rhetoric that came pouring out those Senatorial lips as if someone had pressed a button somewhere, unleashing a prerecorded message:

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