Secretary of State John Kerry testified before the House Foreign Affairs Committee yesterday. In response to a question posed by Rep. Gerald Connolly, Kerry cast doubt on the adverse judgment rendered by Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the deal in process with Iran. As described by the AP, the terms of the coming deal will put Iran on a glide path to the acquisition of nuclear weapons over a period of years.
Kerry’s response to Connolly did not defend the wisdom of the coming deal on the merits. Kerry’s response did assert that the interim deal has frozen Iran’s nuclear program. Not true.
Rather, Kerry offered a strictly ad hominem response to Netanyahu’s criticism of the coming deal (C-SPAN video below). “The prime minister was profoundly forward-leaning and outspoken about the importance of invading Iraq,” Kerry said. Netanyahu, he added, “may have a judgment that just may not be correct here.”
Iran, however, has been the focus of Netanyahu’s concerns over something like the past 20 years, and his judgment on that score has been amply vindicated. The New York Times reviews Netanyahu’s 2002 testimony in this article today by Robert Mackey. Mackey notes that Netanyahu linked his support for the overthrow of Saddam Hussein with the possibility of inspiring the implosion of the ruling theocracy in neighboring Iran and puts this quote in that context: “It’s not a question of whether Iraq’s regime should be taken out but when should it be taken out; it’s not a question of whether you’d like to see a regime change in Iran but how to achieve it[.]”
If we’re speaking to the credibility of the man, however, John Kerry is probably not the guy to be advancing such an argument. In 2002, when the authorization for the use of military force to depose Saddam Hussein was debated in Congress, Benjamin Netanyahu was not even in office. He was a private citizen. Netanyahu testified to the House Foreign Affairs Committee as a private Israeli citizen.
John Kerry held office as a United States Senator in 2002. Kerry voted in favor of the authorization of the use of military force against Iraq on October 11, 2002, on the basis of the same kind of intelligence Netanyahu relied on for his testimony. Kerry’s ad hominem critique of Netanyahu applies even more so to Kerry himself than to Netanyahu.
By his own purported lights, Kerry’s views should not be taken seriously. He may be right about that, but not because he supported the Iraq war (before he opposed it, of course).
In his dystopian comedy Sleeper, Woody Allen inserted a joke about the devastation that took place “when a man named Albert Shanker got hold of a nuclear warhead.” Shanker was only the politically incorrect leader of a militant teachers’ union.
Now we are to acquiesce in, and facilitate the acquisition of, nuclear weapons by the Islamic Republic of Iran. The mullahs have been at war with the United States since 1979, have a lot of American blood on their hands, and continue to proclaim that the United States is the Great Satan. Who in his right mind, with the best interests of the United States at heart, thinks that relenting in our opposition to the mullahs’ acquisition of nuclear weapons is a good idea?
John Kerry’s testimony betrays the depraved soul of the Obama administration. These people will say anything in a bad cause. Despite its bad faith and misplaced logic, Kerry’s critique of Netanyahu before Congress yesterday warrants the closest consideration.
UPDATE: I have added a link or two and slightly revised this since I originally posted it. As for the terms of the coming deal anticipated in the AP article, Lee Smith provides a brief but useful tour in “Iran as partner.” Charles Krauthammer also provides a tour in “The fatal flaw in the Iran deal.” I don’t think I have read a better background briefing than the BESA Center’s just-published paper “The struggle over the Iranian nuclear program” by Brig. Gen. (res.) Yossi Kupperwasser.