For a change, we could base actions on rational thought

I wonder how many people recall when Benjamin Netanyahu urged the invasion of Iraq, “guaranteeing” it’d bring “enormous” benefits to the entire Middle East and, maybe, even lead to the downfall of Iran.

Do they also remember that he started saying Iran was “one year away” from acquiring nuclear weapons nearly twenty years ago? And what of the former head of Mossad claiming Mr. Netanyahu lied in his recent speech to Congress? (tinyurl.com/p5wm8qx)

How about the video that’s been going around again, showing him bragging how he sabotaged the Oslo Accords, and how easy it is to manipulate Americans? (tinyurl.com/mckml2j) Suddenly it becomes clear: House Speaker John Boehner invited Bibi not just to foil the efforts of our president, but because they’re brothers in charms: wrongness, deception and prevarication.

And now, evidently worried that their fawning over a foreign leader brought here to derail denuclearization didn’t adequately highlight their venality, 47 Republican senators have sent an unprecedented letter to Iran’s leadership, telling them to think twice about choosing peace. Possibly a felonious violation of the Logan Act and definitely an embarrassing testament to misunderstanding our Constitution and international law, it’s an outrage some might even call treasonous. Oh, but surely there are less-fraught words to describe interference with a president’s constitutional right to negotiate agreements with other countries, even when that interference could lead to war and the death of American citizens. Because we never can have enough wars, real Americans love the occasional invasion, especially when it doesn’t involve their own kids. Better still when they can avoid providing funds to care for returning soldiers. Presidents who fail to understand that don’t love America like you and I do.

Who can know what the reaction would have been from Fox “News” and all the right-wing screamers had Democrats invited the president of France to speak to Congress before George Bush launched his disaster upon the world? Would there have been revulsion at the unpatriotic spectacle of lionizing a foreign leader above our own? Shibboleths about foreign policy and shorelines? Gee, ya think?

I’m a supporter of Israel, an admirer of how they’ve transformed a most god-forsaken and inhospitably arid part of the planet into a fertile dynamo of innovation and invention; and I’m an unequivocal believer in their right to exist. The Six Day War was stunning. In dealings with their neighbors, Israel is in the right more often than in the wrong. But I find this recent congressional side-show of standing-ovational genuflection (Oxymoron? Why not?) shameful on many levels, not the least of which is the fundamental cynicism behind so much of Republican “support” for Israel, which differs from mine by 180 degrees. Mine wants to see it exist as a Jewish state forever; mine is based, in part, in respect for my heritage. Theirs is predicated on a Bible story of the Apocalypse, and a vision of Jesus’ return to the land, heralding the burning of Jews in hell for all eternity if they don’t admit their evilness and convert on the spot. I find it — what’s the word? — creepy.

I keep wondering where the bottom is, how much lower today’s elected Republicans will go. Surely there’s more to come, more attempts to ruin public education, to demonize the poor, to rob future citizens to reward present contributors; more disregard for health care, for the environment, for protection against pollution, unsafe food; more efforts to paint our president as “other,” one who doesn’t understand or love America, in order to distract average voters from an agenda that favors only the already favored.

All I’ve ever wanted from my writing is to get one or two people to accept the possibility, even if they don’t believe it, that criticizing Fox “News” and the current iteration of the party it represents could be based on an honest desire for rationality. In that spirit, what if everyone watched the speech President Obama gave on the Edmund Pettus Bridge, evaluated it free of preconceptions? Examined, honestly, whether the speaker, even if they can’t stand him, understands what America is really about, loves it or not, or deserves the disrespect he gets from our elected Republicans. It’s here: tinyurl.com/m7y4akm.

Sid Schwab is a surgeon and Everett resident. He writes occasionally for The Herald. His email address is columnsid@gmail.com.

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