By now everyone is aware of the Lieberman and US Senate resolution that demands that the US attack Iran, not for making nukes but for merely obtaining the "capability" to do so. This of course is nonsense but at least the media coverage around the resolution has, ironically, accomplished two things:
1- More than ever, AIPAC's role in pushing for aggression against Iran has been further exposed. As you may remember, it was not so long ago that the members of the pro-Israeli lobby worried about that sort of exposure, and sought to push for war whilst also avoiding the appearance of doing so. Well, that time is now well past, as people are starting to clearly point fingers at the pro-Israel lobby for pushing for war:
But if the US goes to war with Iran, that will indeed be a war for Israel, and one that Israel, and its Lobby here engineered, not through some nefarious means, but by playing the political game in Washington and the diplomatic game on the global stage very well...
As a Jew, as an American, as someone who cares deeply for Israel and who also cares about a better future for my child, I have to call this out. I hope you’ll join me.
And we have yet another discordant voices in the American Jewish community popping up too:
Another important element in Iran's sustained resistance to coercive and painful sanctions is anti-colonial nationalism. Practically every Iranian resents the colonial history in which Russia undermined Iran's fledgling constitutional government, the British suppressed Iranian attempts to control their oil resources, the American CIA overthrew the democratically elected Mossadegh government, and an American-supported Iraq made an unprovoked attempt to invade Iran.
Therefore, it comes as no surprise that in repeated polls, the majority of Iranians defend their country's right to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes (link2, link3) , whether or not they approved of President Ahmadinejad, no doubt viewing sanctions as one more attempt at colonial suppression. No popular regime change would alter this view.
These discordant voices within the Jewish community are aligning themselves already with the liberal Jews in the US, who have long been critical of the hyper-right wing turn that AIPAC and friends took. For now, organizations such as J-Street, which posits itself as a liberal alternative to AIPAC, have stayed on the same page as AIPAC when it comes to Iran or Palestine issues, but how much longer can that last remains to be seen especially when the AIPAC crowd does things like cheering for the use of tactical nuclear weapons against Iran.
Naturally the pro-Israeli lobby has to find a way to silence the discordant voices, and make sure "all the ducks are in a row" within the American Jewish community, lest their push for a war becomes a topic of dispute and ultimately fractionalization within the same community. They may be able to accomplish this the same way they coopted the Center for American Progress.
Bottom line is that hype and fearmongering are a useful technique for keeping "the herd" in check but it has a time limit, after which more and more individual members of the herd will start to raise their heads and wonder whether they're being bamboozled or not. Then, you risk losing control of the herd and should have to consider alternative forms of scaremongering (ie a false flag attack?)
2- The media and some pundits are starting to pay attention to the difference between having nukes versus having the "capability" to make nukes. Readers of this blog know that I have long complained that the media don't make this very crucial distinction, and don't pay attention to the "weasel words" used by the US when it accuses Iran of seeking a nuclear weapons "capability", but instead present nuclear "capability" as being the same as seeking nuclear weapons.
Lets remember now: the US accuses Iran of having the "intention to obtain the capability" to make nukes -- something that is not only perfectly legal under the NPT, and is also inevitable because the civilian and military nuclear technology is essentially identical. And as readers know, I've long pointed out that according to the IAEA there are already about 40 countries that already have this theoretical "capability" (that's 1 out of every 4 or 5 nation on the planet.) In fact it can be argued that not only does the NPT not prohibit this "capability", it positively encourages it since the the NPT was meant to encourage the development and distribution of nuclear know-how, "without discrimination" and "to the fullest extent possible".
In fact the first and only official I know of who came close to clarifying this crucial distinction was none other than Colin Powell
“The Iranians are determined to have a nuclear program, ... Notice I did not say a nuclear weapon. But they are determined to have a nuclear program, notwithstanding the last six or seven years of efforts on our part to keep them from having a nuclear program.”
“I don’t see a set of sanctions coming along that would be so detrimental to the Iranians that they are going to stop that program,” Powell said in an interview with Bloomberg special contributor Judy Woodruff. “So ultimately, the solution has to be a negotiated one.”
Of course, it should be pointed out that Powell was able to clarify this because he was retired at the time.
I just want to make two points here: back in 1996 when I first started writing about US-Iran realations and the influence of AIPAC, the mere mention of "the pro-Israeli lobby" was unheard of, and anyone who mentioned it was automatically labelled a conspiracy theorist. Not any more! Also, notice the failure of the American constitional system: during the Iraq war, every single check and balance in the system failed to stop a war based on lies. The US Congress, which is supposed to check the power of the Executive, and jealously guard the war-making power, simply told Bush "Whenever you go to war is fine with us!" and it is happening yet again. Not a single official was ever held to account. Add to that things like the legalization of torture, warrantless surveillance etc., and you see where this country is going.