War or Peace? Raise Your Hand

The White House and the U.S. Senate are in a game of chicken. Senate Bill S. 1881, "Nuclear Free Iran Act," now has more than 59 co-sponsors. If it came to the floor, it would pass. The President has said he will veto the bill. Supporters reposte: we will override the veto. The White House has said if these Senators want war with Iran, come out and say so. Senate proponents claims it is an insurance policy against Iranian failure to rid itself of its nuclear program.

What's going on? It depends on who you ask. Tuesday's New York Times offers this: "Behind these positions is a potent mix of political calculations in a midterm election year. Pro-Israel groups like the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or Aipac, have lobbied Congress to ratchet up the pressure on Iran, and many lawmakers are convinced that Tehran is bluffing in its threat to walk away from the talks."

Maybe it's the "blank check" the U.S. has long given Israel. In that case it's Kaiser Wilhelm's doing; as I discuss in my current column.

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

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