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Madison's Warning and the Israel Lobby

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    Madison s Warning and the Israel Lobby by Michael Scheuer One of the preoccupations of the authors of the American constitution was defining the danger posed
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 4, 2008
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      Madison's Warning and the Israel Lobby
      by Michael Scheuer

      One of the preoccupations of the authors of the American
      constitution was defining the danger posed to the new body politic
      by political, social, and economic factions.

      "By faction," James Madison, the Constitution's father, wrote in the
      justly famous Federalist No. 10, "I understand a number of citizens,
      whether amounting to a majority or a minority, who are united and
      actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adverse
      to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent interests of
      the community."

      Now, one must presume that Mr. Madison never imagined that the two
      houses of the United States Congress and the federal executive
      branch could conceivably combine with what today is called
      a "private interest group" – namely AIPAC – to be exactly the sort
      of faction that would threaten both "the rights of other citizens"
      and "the permanent interests of the community." And yet today, that
      is precisely the spectacle we behold as the Bush administration and
      both houses of Congress – Republicans and Democrats – continue a
      bipartisan, three-decade-old policy of supporting Israel without
      qualm or stint, and without the least concern about what such
      support means for the welfare and security of American citizens and
      their families.

      In the last week, Americans have seen their president, his advisers,
      and their elected representatives behave as a pack of well-groomed
      Pavlovian dogs, while exhibiting equivalent IQ power. Not unlike
      automatons, Mr. Bush and Secretary Rice spoke the traditional
      mantra: "Israel has the right to defend itself." Then, the popularly
      elected protectors of American interests passed resolutions
      repeating that mantra with majorities strikingly similar to those
      Cold War communist rulers could always count on receiving from their
      so-called parliaments. Finally, this two-branch, AIPAC-funded, mid-
      term-election-minded faction agreed on the weekend to very publicly
      dispatch large consignments of U.S.-made precision weapons to fill
      the recently depleted stocks of the Israeli military.

      All of these actions were, of course, played out against a backdrop
      of editorial screeches, claiming "Israel is bravely and nobly
      fighting America's and/or the West's war," from the likes of such
      noted U.S.-interests-be-damned voices as Ann Coulter, Mr. and Mrs.
      Clinton, the Wall Street Journal's editorial page, William Kristol
      and the Weekly Standard's crew of certifiable zanies, and the
      reliably hysterical FrontPageMag.com.

      Well, I think no one – least of all myself – will deny the basic
      truth that Israel has the right to defend itself; indeed, our own
      Constitution captures the spirit of the British jurist Blackstone's
      argument that the right to self-defense is "the first law of
      nature" – advice Washington too often ignores when the need arises
      to protect its own citizens. Moreover, Israel's military campaign in
      Lebanon serves the decidedly useful purpose of graphically
      portraying for Americans the type of war that must be waged when a
      nation has only its intelligence and military services in its self-
      defense tool box. Clearly, Israel has no credible diplomatic, public
      diplomacy, ideological, or economic tools to complement or moderate
      its use of force. This object lesson is particularly pertinent for
      Americans, for the bipartisan faction outlined above is very close
      to putting the United States in the same predicament.

      No, the real question of moment is not the red-herring of Israel's
      right to defend itself, but rather what possible U.S. national
      interest is at stake that requires America to put its security at
      risk on Israel's behalf. National interests, after all, are properly
      defined as that limited number of issues that are life-and-death
      concerns for a country; they are matters of survival. Access to
      energy resources, freedom of the seas, the flourishing of our
      domestic democracy, control of borders, internal security, securing
      the Soviet nuclear arsenal, economic stability – these are definite
      national interests for contemporary America. These are all items
      that we must be prepared to expend time, thought, treasure, and, if
      necessary, lives to ensure.

      Israel, realistically, does not fall into the category of a life-and-
      death national interest. It is, at most, a national emotional
      interest, and therein is the problem. In the past 30 years, and
      especially during the post-Cold War Clinton regime, our definition
      of national interest has expanded to include a lengthy list of nice-
      to-have but unessential ephemera, which are at the moment costing us
      lives and treasure. Forcing Iraq and Afghanistan to reserve
      parliamentary seats for women and efforts to install democracy
      abroad at bayonet point are just two instances of our bipartisan
      governing elites' inability to differentiate national-security from
      national-emotional interests.

      Most Americans, including myself, probably hope that Israel
      eventually proves itself a viable, prosperous, non-theocratic,
      nuclear-armed [You want them nuclear armed?? -WVNS] state.

      But it is not remotely imaginable that Israel is a national-security
      interest of the United States that requires the U.S. government to
      unquestioningly endorse, fund, and arm all Israeli actions and
      thereby earn the same enmity Israel earns from a billion-plus
      Muslims. Indeed, it is painfully clear that such support undermines
      several of the genuine national-security interests listed above:
      namely, the issues of energy, internal security, and – given the
      torrent of bigoted, debate-closing hate speech directed at
      professors Mearsheimer and Walt – the free-speech component of a
      flourishing domestic democracy.

      So, how to explain the extraordinary power of America's tiny but
      dominant pro-Israel faction? In the context of the enduring alliance
      between the executive branch, the Congress, AIPAC, and their media
      acolytes, Alexander Hamilton's warning in Federalist No. 6 that in
      the pursuit of private and selfish interests men are "ambitious,
      vindictive, and rapacious" is a good place to start.

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