Ben Cardin's Vote to Go to War With Iran
A recent poll by John Zogby Strategies revealed that among likely voters in the upcoming Senate Primary (the "Ben or Jerry" Primary), only 11% knew that Ben Cardin voted against President Obama's nuclear deal with Iran.
When asked "If it turns out the Cardin voted against the deal, and if you became convinced that he did so because he shared Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu's desire to see the United States launch a military attack on Iran's nuclear facilities," how would you react?
In response, 27.9% said, "If the above is true, even if he was great in all other respects, I would never vote for him."
Of course, he is not "great in all other respects," but putting that aside, let me see if I can pick up those 27.9% of Democrats that are likely to vote in the June 26th primary.
First of all, yes, he did vote against the nuclear deal. So did every Republican Senator in Congress; Cardin was one of only 4 Democrats to join them. Not only did he vote against the deal, he published in The Washington Post, an op-ed piece explaining himself, "Senator Ben Cardin: I Will Vote Against the Iran Deal."
Next Question: Was Prime Minister Netanyahu hoping for an American attack on Iran?
Yes. And this too is incontrovertible. First, we know from public remarks from Secretary of State Kerry at the National Cathedral two months ago, that when he was Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Prime Minister Netanyahu was regularly pressing him for an American attack on Iran. Secondly, we know that in the lead up to the Iraq war, Prime Minister Netanyahu published an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal not merely calling for a pre-emptive American attack on Iraq facilities, but for an American invasion to "dismantle Saddam Hussein's regime," a debacle that cost the United States two trillion dollars and unstabilized the Middle East to this day. And the reason was the existence of a possible Iraqi nuclear program. It turned out that that program didn't exist, but with Iran, it clearly did, prior to the deal, and it was highly advanced. Third, we know from published articles by former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, who served as Netanyahu's Defense Minister, that Netanyahu favored an Israeli attack on Iranian nuclear facilities. If you were an Israeli Prime Minister, and you judged that an attack on Iran was a good thing for your country, what would you prefer, an Israeli attack or an American attack?
Next question: Did Cardin know that this was Netanyahu's game plan?
Answer: He was at that time the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, if he didn't know this, he has been asleep, for a very long time.
Next: Did Cardin vote against the Iran deal, knowing that its defeat probably would lead to an American attack (which will probably occur under President Trump)? Well, President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry both said publicly that the alternative to the deal was war. Moreover, if Iran's nuclear program was not stopped by diplomacy, any American President would have to stop it by force. The reason is often not stated publicly. Israel has 200 nuclear weapons. If Iran gets nuclear weapons, then we are talking about nuclear deterrence. While the U.S. and the Soviet Union managed to survive a nuclear catastrophe, nuclear deterrence between a rhetorically wild Iran and a hair-trigger Israel in our post-Holocaust era, will very likely fail. That is, nuclear war.
Finally: Did Cardin actually vote against the Iran Nuclear Deal because he "desired to see an American attack on Iran's nuclear facilities"?
Answer: Possibly. We don't really know, but the other explanations are even more damning. For instance:
- He voted against the deal because he always follows AIPAC's lead, and they follow Netanyahu's lead.
- He voted against the deal, not out of a desire for the attack, but because he was indifferent to it.
- He voted against the deal, because many of his large, AIPAC-oriented, contributors wanted him to.
- He voted against the deal because he has trouble putting two and two together.
The one place that won't give any insight into Cardin's motivation is his Washington Post op-ed, "Why I Will Vote Against the Iran Deal." He tells us that this was “a vote of conscience.” Yet if we examine Cardin’s reasoning, it is all very strange: In discussing the pros and cons, Cardin neglects to mention the extraordinary triumph of the Nuclear Deal: Iran’s agreement to give up its entire stock of medium-enriched uranium and 97% of its stock of low-enriched uranium. This is the very objective that Netanyahu told the world was central two years earlier at the UN. In this omission, Cardin followed the example of Netanyahu when he addressed Congress and urged our elected officials to vote against the deal. Netanyahu too had amazingly and shamelessly neglected to mention the elimination of Iran’s enriched uranium stockpile, the center of his earlier UN address on the danger of Iran’s nuclear program.
For Netanyahu, whose preferred option is a US pre-emptive strike, this omission was manipulation. For Cardin, if he really tried to analyze the merits of the deal, it was a staggering lack of judgment. Whatever the explanation, as the Senate’s leading Democrat on Foreign Relations, Cardin contributed to the disparaging of the accomplishments of the Nuclear Deal and paved the way for Trump’s further dismantling of the deal. And quite possibly, our next Middle East war.
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