One week ago, Republicans in the House of Representatives introduced a resolution that would give Israel the green-light to go ahead and attack Iran militarily if it were to acquire nuclear weapons. So far, H.Res.1553, which asserts “Israel’s right to defend Israeli sovereignty”, has been signed by 46 Congressmen or one-third of House Republicans. The resolution, spearheaded by Congressmen Gohmert of Texas, expresses:
Support for the State of Israel’s right to defend Israeli sovereignty, to protect the lives and safety of the Israeli people, and 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.
The bill goes on to lay down its argument. First, it describes the plight of the Jewish people, the Holocaust, and their right to return to their homeland. The “special relationship” between the U.S. and Israel is stressed, as is the fact that the U.S. was the first country noble enough to accept Israel as a state. After this historical background, which is being used as an emotional appeal, the bill proceeds to attack Iran.
The bill adopts an ethical stance, implying that the U.S. is right in acting as a police force. It describes Iran’s history of noncompliance in regards to sanctions against its nuclear program and also quotes some of the deplorable things President Ahmadinejad has said, such as the infamous: “Israel should be wiped off the map.” The use of this kind of rhetoric of existential fear is meant to instill fear in the public, which would justify the use of military action against Iran.
But the one most important thing this bill is lacking, perhaps, is logic. There is no denying Iran’s words and actions. But how credible is Iran? If Iran acquires nuclear weapons, is it feasible to think they would use them? Even Iran is smart enough to recognize the consequences of using nuclear weapons. It is well-known that the purpose of nuclear weapons is not actual use, but rather deterrence and international power and leverage. Israel’s claim of self-defense is futile in this regard. Israel probably fears Iran acquiring nuclear weapons more because it would challenge the nuclear hegemony of Israel in the region, limiting its leverage and ability to act without accountability, as well as shifting the regional balance of power in Iran’s favor.
The House Republicans who signed this bill need to think about the outcomes of what would happen if Iran was attacked militarily. Most likely, a dangerous, regional war would erupt that would also involve the U.S. The legitimacy of Iran’s threats need to be re-examined, as preemptive attacks on Iran could have devastating effects. The difference between mere rhetoric and credible threats need to established.
And the U.S. needs to tone down its own use of rhetoric as well, as is evident in this resolution . Americans need to become more aware of the attempts made by the government to make them think they are in danger, as it allows the U.S. to take any actions it deems fit in the name of security. As Abraham Lincoln once said: “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.”