AIPAC instructs Congress to support military strikes on Syria

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee has spoken.

However many members of Congress were willing to oppose President Obama’s request for authorization to attack Syria, that number just got slashed by the institutional authority that few in Washington dare challenge: the Israel lobby.

AIPAC urges Congress to grant the President the authority he has requested to protect America’s national security interests and dissuade the Syrian regime’s further use of unconventional weapons. The civilized world cannot tolerate the use of these barbaric weapons, particularly against an innocent civilian population including hundreds of children.

Simply put, barbarism on a mass scale must not be given a free pass.

This is a critical moment when America must also send a forceful message of resolve to Iran and Hezbollah — both of whom have provided direct and extensive military support to Assad. The Syrian regime and its Iranian ally have repeatedly demonstrated that they will not respect civilized norms. That is why America must act, and why we must prevent further proliferation of unconventional weapons in this region.

America’s allies and adversaries are closely watching the outcome of this momentous vote. This critical decision comes at a time when Iran is racing toward obtaining nuclear capability. Failure to approve this resolution would weaken our country’s credibility to prevent the use and proliferation of unconventional weapons and thereby greatly endanger our country’s security and interests and those of our regional allies. AIPAC maintains that it is imperative to adopt the resolution to authorize the use of force, and take a firm stand that the world’s most dangerous regimes cannot obtain and use the most dangerous weapons.

Update: And now, following AIPAC’s lead, the National Jewish Democratic Council has tossed in its own two cents:

In response to clear evidence that the Assad regime used chemical weapons against its own people, the National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC) urges Congress to authorize President Obama to use military force against the government of Syria. As Secretary of State John Kerry said, “this debate is about the world’s red line, it’s about humanity’s red line; and it’s a red line that anyone with a conscience ought to draw.”

NJDC Chairman Marc R. Stanley stated, “We need to be clear about what is at stake here. This is not about choosing sides in Syria’s civil war or starting a war with Syria. This is about deterring the Assad regime from using chemical weapons again. The US should send a message to the world that the use of these horrible weapons is unacceptable and that the consequences of using weapons of mass destruction will always outweigh any perceived benefit.”

The NJDC agrees with President Obama that even if not required by law, debate and approval by Congress will show the world that Americans are united in their commitment to affirm, with force if necessary, that the use of weapons of mass destruction is intolerable. This will send a clear signal to the world that the United States stands by its commitments. Failure to authorize force would encourage even worse abuse of weapons of mass destruction, destabilize the region, and endanger the security of all Americans.

The NJDC applauds Speaker Boehner, Majority Leader Cantor, Minority Leader Pelosi, and Minority Whip Hoyer for stepping forward to back the President’s plan. Furthermore, NJDC urges Americans on all sides of the political spectrum, Democrats and Republicans, liberals, libertarians and conservatives, to contact their elected representatives immediately, and let them know that calibrated military action against Syria is a moral and strategic necessity. The United States is the world’s lone superpower, and with that power comes responsibility.

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10 thoughts on “AIPAC instructs Congress to support military strikes on Syria

  1. Phil Sheehan

    “Simply put, barbarism on a mass scale must not be given a free pass.”

    Can’t help wondering how other Middle-Eastern people might respond to that rule. Canaanites back a few millennia, for instance. Or Palestinians today.

    If we ever have a woman president, do you suppose her name will be Rahab?

  2. delia ruhe

    I was wondering how long it would take for AIPAC to emerge from the shadows on this issue: “And by the way, Congress, while you’re in the neighborhood securing Israel’s permanent hold on the Golan, bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities.”

  3. Paul Woodward

    Steve – If you thought that snippet I took from the JP indicated that they are reluctant to support strikes, that’s incorrect. The editorial backs Obama to the hilt. The Post was chiding Israeli politicians who were critical of Obama’s decision to seek Congressional approval for the attack. The Post, knowing that Obama’s plan will breeze through Congress given that it has the full support of the lobby, also knew that this approach provides useful “democratic” window dressing.

  4. Steve Zerger

    I must admit I’m having trouble following all of these opaque machinations. So do you think the Israeli government wants to preserve a stalemate with a U.S. slap on the hand or do you think they would like the U.S. to go all out and whack nim in a way that would deal Iran a blow but also create more local headaches?

  5. rosemerry

    “The civilized world cannot tolerate the use of these barbaric weapons, particularly against an innocent civilian population including hundreds of children.”
    Is this Israel speaking, following their “Cast Lead” destruction of 1400 people trapped in Gaza? Do the nukes and white phosphorus not count as barbaric?

  6. Paul Woodward

    Israel and the U.S. govt have closely overlapping interests right now. They want to give Assad a slap on the wrists for using CW and they also think CW are safer in his hands than anyone else’s. So, if Obama’s perfectly calibrated attack turns out not to be perfectly calibrated and Assad was to suddenly lose power, everyone in Washington and Jerusalem will start shitting themselves and start running around saying: OMG, how are we going to prevent CW falling into the hands of Al-Nusra?

    The fact that the challenge of propping up Assad now so preoccupies both Iran and Hezbollah, serves Israel perfectly well. No need to change the status quo. At the same time, Obama needs to demonstrate that he’s willing to launch an attack and not just rely on threatening rhetoric, or both the Israelis and the Iranians will think he’s a pushover on the issue of Iran’s nuclear program.

    Another way of describing all this would be to call it: Goldilocks Goes To War. How America demonstrates its talent for making it not too hot and not too cool.

    What could possibly go wrong?!

  7. Steve Zerger

    That could be their thinking, but surely the futility of that approach would be obvious to anyone with any sense. Obama’s cheesy Hamlet act seems entirely in keeping with his character, but it’s hard for me to buy that the Israelis aren’t ready to make a bigger gamble. Who knows, they might end up with another big chunk of northern territory.

  8. Paul Woodward

    Apart from keeping hold of the Golan Heights, there’s no way Israel has any territorial ambitions on Syria. In spite of Israel’s military strength it still has a tiny population compared to the population that surrounds it. It is not and never will be in a position to go and grab other countries.

  9. Steve Zerger

    My last comment was somewhat flippant, although Israel has long coveted the Litani and as they peer into the future of water resources in the region, they must be imagining ways in which that might someday be theirs.

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