Yesterday in the Capital there was an image that Republicans and neo-conservatives have yearned for since George W. Bush lied and fear mongered to take America to war in Iraq. There was their hero, the so-called ‘leader of the free world’ Benjamin Netanyahu standing at the podium. A foreigner stood in the spot where the real president of the United States delivers his annual State of the Union speech with two Republican war-mongers seated directly behind him. Although it was orgasmic for neo-cons and war-hungry conservative Christians, as Representative Steve Cohen (D-TN) said, “It was putting Netanyahu on an equal level with the President of the United States. And that was wrong.”
Cohen was not alone in his disgust for the image of a foreigner playing at being America’s president. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi was furious. When Netanyahu suggested his nation’s relationship with the United States should be above politics, and then declared that, “if Israel has to stand alone, Israel will stand,” Pelosi threw her hands up in exasperation and was visibly incensed.
After Republicans allowed a foreigner to appear as if he was commander in chief giving the state of the union address, Pelosi headed out a different door into the Democratic cloakroom to avoid Netanyahu. She said, “I was near tears throughout the prime minister’s speech — saddened by the insult to the intelligence of the United States.” Pelosi added that she did not appreciate Netanyahu’s “condescension toward our knowledge of the threat posed by Iran and our broader commitment to preventing nuclear proliferation.” What makes Netanyahu and Republicans ‘condescending insult’ even more infuriating and egregious is that he is demanding half-a-billion dollars more from American taxpayers for Israel’s military; more on that later.
To fully comprehend un-American neo-conservatives fealty to a foreigner as if he is America’s leader, an editorial in the conservative National Review declared that “the leader of the free world addressed Congress on Tuesday while the American president is doing everything possible to undermine him. Nobody on the world stage speaks for civilization the way Netanyahu does while Barack Obama babbles about how Christians were such meanies a thousand years ago in the Crusades.” Israel would not exist if not for America, and President Obama has surpassed previous administrations’ support and defense of Israel’s security.
The neo-con used talking points Dick Cheney and Senator John McCain would be proud of. As an aside, war criminal Cheney is meeting with Republican leaders in Congress next week to capitalize on Netanyahu’s attempt to subvert negotiations with Iran. According to the neo-con editorial, the real leader of the free world, America’s President Barack Obama, is “conducting a diplomatic and political assault against Netanyahu of a ferocity rarely seen in the annals of American foreign policy. Obama’s actions are malignant, they pervert American interests, and deprive the entire free world of its single most clarion voice for enlightenment values; Benjamin Netanyahu. Netanyahu, who speaks for America, decency and humaneness, and for vigilance and strength against truly evil adversaries is wise, and Obama is horribly wrong. If the civilized world ignores Netanyahu it will be well-nigh suicidal.”
Netanyahu gave every indication that he would take military action “alone” against Iran to protest any final negotiated agreement between Iran and America. Netanyahu’s solution to stopping Iran’s alleged nuclear ambitions is no diplomacy or negotiations like the Bush administration did. The results were that under President George W. Bush’s policy, Iran’s centrifuges grew from 164 in 2003 to approximately 19,000 centrifuges today. It led Bush officials to eventually concede that “there was no possible way to reach a deal without Iran retaining at least a face-saving amount of enrichment capability” for peaceful purposes. In fact, in the latest round of negotiations the Obama administration successfully reached an interim agreement that has frozen Iran’s nuclear program and rolled back its stockpiles of enriched uranium. Inspectors confirm that Iran is holding up its end of the bargain. Doing nothing but saber rattling and issuing threats of war Netanyahu and Republicans prefer was a monumental failure.
What is absolutely stunning, is that while Netanyahu is condemning the Obama Administration and war-mongering, Republicans are concerned that the spending cuts in their sequester may jeopardize Israel’s demand for hundreds-of-millions of taxpayer dollars for missile defense. Some congressional aides say that cuts in America’s defense budget could complicate Congress’ ability to “honor Israel’s demand for over $475 million in U.S. funding for missile defense” if Congress does not ease or rescind budget caps on the overall level of the U.S. defense budget.
This is an outrage; over $475 million in additional spending for Israel’s military as part of America’s defense budget? After Netanyahu has the temerity to criticize America’s foreign policy and lobby Republicans to thwart diplomatic efforts to protect Israel from an alleged nuclear-armed Iran? It is no wonder Nancy Pelosi was near tears with anger; and insulted.
Last week, Israeli officials asked for an additional $41.2 million for the Iron Dome system which has already received over $1.2 billion in U.S. funding. They also demanded an additional $268 million to develop a long-range defense program and another $165 million for initial procurement of both systems. The founder of the nonprofit Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance said Congress was likely to approve the request, but the funds would have to be taken from other programs. A senior fellow at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation said one possibility was “for Congress to include the Israeli programs in a supplemental request for war funding.” The Koch Congress cannot spend one penny for America’s infrastructure, but for Netanyahu who says he will “act alone” to protest a diplomatic deal with Iran will get tens-of-millions to honor its “request for war funding.”
Republicans have gone too far in allowing the leader of a foreign nation, ally or not, to stand in a place reserved for the President and insult Americans; particularly insinuating that he will ‘act alone’ to protest Obama Administration’s diplomatic negotiations to prevent another Middle East war; all while demanding more money for ‘war funding.’ The President was not impressed with Netanyahu’s speech and told Republicans, and the foreigner, that “the Prime Minister didn’t offer any viable alternatives,” and that “foreign policy runs through the executive branch and the president, not through other channels.”
That simple statement alone rankles neo-conservative warmongers and Republicans who still cannot countenance that the leader of the free world, and America, is Barack Obama; not Benjamin Netanyahu. Despite what un-American conservatives believe, not only does Netanyahu not speak for the civilized world, he does not speak for America and it is damn high time Republicans get that through their dysfunctional heads.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.
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