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Thursday, June 19, 2008

Paul: Pelosi spiked Iran bill

Congressman Ron Paul charges that Pelosi "deliberately removed" part of a bill, which would have blocked the U.S. from attacking Iran without approval from Congress, at the behest of AIPAC.

by George Dance (Libertarian) Tuesday, June 17, 2008

A one-minute audio clip of Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX) is currently sweeping the blogosphere (with 35 separate stories in less than a week), but so far receiving no notice in the mainstream media. In it, Paul charges that House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) removed a section from a bill passed by Congress, which would have barred the U.S. government from going to war without a congressional vote, at the behest of the "leadership of Israel" and "AIPAC" (the American Israel Public Affairs committee). Paul made the allegation at the Future of Freedom (FFF) conference, 'Restoring the Republic 2008: Foreign Policy and Civil Liberties', earlier this month in Reston Virginia. Paul, who was awarded the FFF's Lifetime Achievement Award on June 6, addressed the conference that day on "A Foreign Policy of Freedom." (His speech, which was recorded by C-SPAN, can be ordered using the link at the end of this article.) The audio excerpt has Paul declaring:
The Democrats finally win the election in 2006, and it was a mandate, the Republicans get thrown out; what's the first act that Pelosi does? There was a supplemental bill that had a bill of ours we had gotten put in, and the bill said -- you shouldn't need a bill like this! -- it said, you can't go to war with Iran without getting approval from Congress. And she removed it, she removed it deliberately. And then, the astounding thing is, they asked her why, and she said the leadership in Israel asked her to. That was in the newspaper, that was in the Washington Post, that she was asked by AIPAC and others not to do that." (1)
A quick search of newspaper accounts of the bill -- which was ultimately vetoed by President Bush -- from that time reveals only one, in the strongly pro-Israel Washington Times, that mentions AIPAC at all:
Last week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi received a smattering of boos when she bad-mouthed the war effort during a speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, and the Democratic leadership, responding to concerns from pro-Israel lawmakers, was forced to strip from a military appopriations measure a provision meant to weaken President Bush's ability to respond to threats from Iran. (2)
However, Paul's allegation is corroborated by a contemporary account (from the Asia Times), which cites a different congressional source:
In March 2007, the US Congress was trying to attach a provision to a Pentagon spending bill that would have required President George W Bush to get congressional approval before attacking Iran. AIPAC was strongly against it - because it viewed the legislation as taking the military option "off the table". The provision was killed. Congressman Dennis Kucinich [D-OH] said this was due to AIPAC. (3)
John Nichols of The Nation also covered the story at the time, as did Patrick Buchanan of The Conservative Voice. Here's Buchanan's take:
If George W. Bush launches a pre-emptive war on Iran, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will bear full moral responsibility for that war. For it was Pelosi who quietly agreed to strip out of the $100 billion funding bill for Iraq a provision that would have required President Bush to seek congressional approval before launching any new war on Iran.... According to John Nichols of The Nation, Pelosi's decision to strip the provision barring Bush from attacking Iran without Congress' approval "sends the worst possible signal to the White House." "The speaker has erred dangerously and dramatically," writes Nichols. Her "disastrous misstep could haunt her and the Congress for years to come."... Nothing in the provision would have prevented Bush, as commander in chief, from responding to an Iranian attack or engaging in hot pursuit of an enemy found in Iraq. Nor would the provision have prevented Bush from threatening Iran. It would simply have required him to come to Congress -- before launching all-out war.... Why did Pelosi capitulate? Answer: She was "under pressure from some conservative members of her caucus, and from lobbyists associated with neoconservative groups that want war with Iran, and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC)," writes Nichols. (4)
Salon reporter Ben Kamiya also mentioned the incident, in his 2007 report on that year's AIPAC conference:
AIPAC showed its true power -- and its continuing ability to steer American Mideast policy in a disastrous direction -- when a group of conservative and pro-Israel Democrats succeeded in removing language from a military appropriations bill that would have required Bush to get congressional approval before using military force against Iran. The pro-Israel lobby's victory on the Iran bill is almost unbelievable. Even after the nation repudiated the Iraq war decisively in the 2006 midterms, even after it has become clear that the Bush administration's Middle East policy is severely unbalanced toward Israel and has damaged America's standing in the world, Congress still cannot bring itself to stand up to the AIPAC line. (5)


(1) "ron paul: nancy pelosi pulled iran bill on orders of israel," You Tube, Jun. 8, 2008. (2) "Foreign policy adrift?", Washington Times, Mar. 18, 2007. (3) Pepe Escobar, "And the winner is ... the Israeli lobby," Asia Times, Jun. 3, 2008. (4) Patrick J. Buchanan, "The AIPAC Girl," The Conservative Voice, Mar. 20, 2007. (5) Gary Kamiya, "Can American Jews unplug the Israel lobby?",, Mar. 20, 2007.

Ron Paul's June 6 FFF speech may be ordered from:

Ron Paul, Stephen Kinzer, Andrew Bacevich, "Foreign Policy and Civil Liberties," C-Span Video Library, June 13, 2008.

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