The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) leaves a behemoth's footprint in Washington, DC. The mythical largesse of the organization was confirmed recently by the National Journal, which rated it the second most influential lobby, ahead of the AFL-CIO. AIPAC garners its reputation, in large part, because of an adept political team with a knack for attacking any politician who dares to utter criticism of US-Israel policy. AIPAC has also been credited with successfully pushing America into war with Iraq, a charge their members now dismiss as outlandish (AIPAC's former Director, Tomas Dine, joined the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq and Richard Perle has touted that the Iraq invasion would never have occurred without AIPAC).
While AIPAC might only have been one of the many who picked up a stick in 2002 to beat the drums of war, AIPAC appears to be among the few who are building a new drum with Iran sketched into the side. The prominence of Iran on AIPAC's agenda proceeds not from President Ahmadinejad's recent promise to "wipe Israel from the map" (which AIPAC attendees quote ad nausea), but instead from a long held belief that the Tehran government provides prodigious support and funding to Hamas and Hezbollah.
Kowtowing to an Israeli fear of Iran, McCain used the AIPAC forum to reinforce his three most dubious and dangerous policy claims. First, that Iran posses an imminent "existential threat" to both Israel and the U.S., despite the recent National Intelligence Estimate stating that 2015 is the earliest Iran could produce a nuclear weapon. Second, that direct presidential talks with adversarial nations render zero substantive benefits. And finally, that passing the kind of sanctions that burdened Iraq for nearly a decade would somehow promote Democracy instead of Totalitarianism in Iran.
The Real News's Aijaz Ahmad deconstructs McCain's speech in a two-part discussion:
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