A day before delegates from AIPAC’s annual convention made their way to Capitol Hill to push pieces of pro-Israel legislation, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) re-introduced a bill that would green-light an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear program.
The resolution’s list of 44 co-sponsors — including GOP Reps. Michele Bachmann (MN), Mike Pence (IN) and Allen West (FL) — tracks closely with last summer’s stalled version, which garnered much support among Gohmert’s colleagues in the Tea Party Caucus. Gohmert’s resolution gives Israel support:
to use all means necessary to confront and eliminate nuclear threats posed by the Islamic Republic of Iran, including the use of military force if no other peaceful solution can be found within reasonable time to protect against such an immediate and existential threat to the State of Israel.
This appears to be a concerted effort to usurp President Obama’s prerogative to have sole provenance over making foreign policy. Obama’s preference in this matter seems clear — members of his administration and military leaders have spoken out against an attack — and he’s reportedly expressed his thoughts to Israel.
Speaking at AIPAC yesterday, Israeli national security analyst Amos Harel told the crowd that Joint Chiefs Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen delivered a message to Israel during a February trip there. Harel characterized Mullen’s message as: “You have a clear red light from us right now, not a green light, not a yellow light, but a red light.”
What’s more, the congressional resolution comes at a time when members of Israel’s security establishment — though notably not Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — are dialing down their rhetoric on Iran.
Recently retired Israeli spy chief Meir Dagan, who is not known as a dove, recently said that the notion of Israel attacking Iran was the “stupidest thing (he had) ever heard.” Dagan warned of widespread regional conflagration — a scenario that would likely include attacks on U.S. forces and interests in the Middle East. His comments caused a flap in Israel and were subsequently defended by several other former heads of Israeli security agencies, some of whom backed his views on attacking the Islamic Republic.