Editorial: Heated rhetoric on Iran deal does nothing but enrich the few

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Just when we thought the commentary coming out of the GOP slate of candidates for the 2016 election couldn't get any more despicable than calling Mexicans rapists, up pops Mike Huckabee.

"This president's foreign policy is the most feckless in American history. It is so naive that he would trust the Iranians. By doing so, he will take the Israelis and march them to the door of the oven," Huckabee told Breitbart News.

We were gobsmacked when we read this. Yes, there are reasons to be worried about any deal negotiated between Iran and the United States and five other world powers, but this level of rhetoric, comparing the nuclear deal to a genocide that was conducted by a culture that claimed to be Christian, does no service to the debate on how to best prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

Like many of the other candidates crammed into the GOP's clown car, Huckabee has no realistic chance of receiving the nod to run against whomever the Democrat Party puts up. Huckabee's candidacy, and the majority of the others who have thrown their hats in the ring, is nothing more than a cynical attempt to burnish his brand amongst his base and increase his revenue stream. While in our current economic system, no one should begrudge Huckabee's attempt to make money, we should still be willing to call him and others out on their specious claims and recognize they do nothing to advance the cause of preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

Perhaps Huckabee thinks he's smarter than several ex-officials of the Israeli security establishment, who have claimed he, Netanyahu, and others are all wrong on this issue.

"We need to be calm," Amos Yadlin told Ynet in an online interview. "The agreement isn't good, but Israel can deal with it."

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As Meir Dagan said in 2011, bombing Iran "would mean regional war, and in that case you would have given Iran the best possible reason to continue the nuclear program. The regional challenge that Israel would face would be impossible."

Ami Ayalon, former head of the Shin Bet, told the Daily Beast that Israel's politicians were playing "with fears in a fearful society." Sound familiar?

And five former U.S. ambassadors to Israel have also come out in support of the agreement. "This landmark agreement removes the threat that a nuclear-armed Iran would pose to the region and to Israel specifically. The consequences of rejection are grave: U.S. responsibility for the collapse of the agreement; the inability to hold the P5+1 together for the essential international sanctions regime and such other action that may be required against Iran; and the real possibility that Iran will decide to build a nuclear weapon under significantly reduced or no inspections."

This agreement is also a step forward in getting Iran to renounce certain activities that have made it a pariah around the world. "Iran can't go back to being a legitimate member of the family of nations if it doesn't stop all its activities that are not included in the agreement — its subversive activities, its support of terror groups, weapons proliferation," said Yadlin.

Fareed Zakaria, writing for the Washinton Post, noted if the deal is killed by Congress, within one year, Iran will have more than 25,000 centrifuges, the time it would take to produce a bomb would shrink to mere weeks, and the sanctions against it would crumble. "How is this in America's national interest? Or Israel's? Or Saudi Arabia's?"

Granted, there are plenty of politicians, pundits and big thinkers, backed by their paymasters in the military/industrial complex, who would like to see the deal crumble. After all, look at the trillions of dollars we spent on the Iraq war, billions of which are unaccounted for. There are scads of money to be made anytime the United States wages war on another nation. If Iran is allowed to develop a nuclear bomb, there is no question that Israel will find a way to strike and that action could lead to a conflagration that makes the current upheavals in the Middle East seem petty by comparison. Are we ready to step back into that fray? Or are we willing to let this deal spin out? We choose the latter.


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