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Knesset on the Potomac

Senate Resolution 65 from the Foreign Relations Community, introduced by Lindsay Graham and Robert Menendez, has 79 co-sponsors making it likely to pass the full body. With many "Whereas-es" enumerating the sins of Iran, the resolution goes on to expresses full support for Israel (whatever you want, Bibi). Number 8 "urges that, if the Government of Israel is compelled to take military action in self-defense, the United States Government should stand with Israel and provide diplomatic, military, and economic support to the Government of Israel in its defense of its territory, people, and existence."That sounds like, "you start a war, we'll finish it." Except for the next and last line of the resolution: "Nothing in this resolution shall be construed as an authorization for the use of force or a declaration of war."Hmmm?! Does the U.S. Senate continue to recognize Executive authority in declaring war? Or is this a shot across Obama's bow as Benny Gantz, head of the Israeli Defense Forces, announces that Israel can go it alone, especially if he understands that the U.S. Senate will swoop in to help.

About the Author

Margaret O'Brien Steinfels, a former editor of Commonweal, writes frequently in these pages and blogs at dotCommonweal.



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Yeah. China has issued a bunch of those chits to North Korea, too. So when we ask China to rein in North Korea, they ask us to rein in Israel, and then the diplomats get together on a communique to disguise how tied their hands are. Our guys make money doing it. No telling why the Chinese do it.

Could this be challanged to be unconstitutional? Wonder!!!

Only Comngress can declare war, and the War Powers Act requires the President to go to Congress with a report within some time certain after he as ciC commits US resources, so that Congress can authorize the action, short of a delcration of war. So Graham et al are just covering their bases. Or covering soemthing, anyway.What is more troubling is the role a Congresisonal committee asserts as legitimate in making (or at least implying) commitments by U.S. to another nation. Netanyahu knows the U.S. very well (whether he respects us is a different matter), so he will understand that a Senate Resolution has no actual force.Messrs Graham and Menendez and others who vote aye should consult their well-worn copy of The Cost of Discipleship (which I am sure they, like all good Christians, keep near their bed) and look again at Pastor Bonhoeffer's discussion of "cheap grace." This is the political equivalent, and in this matter we have far too close an interface between political action and religion, so the original context is worth their attention, too.Mark

And on another front, gun control, the vote today in the same august body has prompted an angry President Obama to call it "a shameful day in Washington."

Amazing what money can do! Add political strangleholds and you have a perfect recipe for avoiding what needs to be done.

A tiny gem of a piece.Great Title.PSI have often wondered how you get away with such rare integrity. Even Ray Schroth is punished, but not Margaret Steinfels.Thank the Lord!

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