Hey, remember a few weeks ago when our old friend Bibi Netanyahu came to town and made a hullabaloo over Iran and "red lines"? Admittedly, much of what the Bibster said to the US media was bluster, but the gist of the "red line" issue was that the "red line" President Obama has set for Iran—meaning, the point at which the military option would become a real option, which Obama set at developing a nuclear weapon—isn't motivation enough for Iran's leaders to bring about a resolution to the conflict over Iran's nuclear program. Nevermind the fact that Netanyahu's analysis of the issue is incredibly flawed—why believe that "red lines" have any bearing on Iran's actions, or that they are what is preventing a diplomatic accord from being struck, when the West has yet to take diplomacy seriously? What the Israeli prime minister wants our president to do is shift his "red line" a bit further down in the timeline, to when Iran is nuclear capable, a term which the PM left conveniently vague. No matter the precise definition, though, under Bibi's "red line", Iran could be bombed even if it has no intention of actually building a nuclear weapon. And that's just plain stupid.
When I sat down to take in the headlines yesterday on the New York Times website, I was not altogether pleased with the paper of record. Admittedly, I am in an almost constant state of perturbance when it comes to the Times; however, their particularly heinous reporting on the Bibi "red line" hullabaloo Friday got my blood up, propelling me to dash off a long letter to the new Public Editor, Margaret Sullivan, from whom I have yet to receive a response. Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting posted an excellent write-up of the affair, so I won't bother doing so here. Suffice it to say that my exasperation level was unusually high.
So imagine my mirth when I came upon the following excerpt in the piece "Israeli leader makes case against Iran on US TV":
Mr. Netanyahu, who also appeared on the CNN program "State of the Union" on Sunday, sought to link the violence [at US embassies in the Middle East] with Iran's nuclear ambitions, arguing that Iran's leaders were driven by the same fanaticism that enraged the protesters. Israel has its own nuclear arsenal, though it has never publicly acknowledged it.
WHAT? Did the New York Times just mention the fact that Israel has nukes!? Oh SNAP! Day-um, hear that, Bibi? Bet that BURNS!
But what could have possibly gotten into the Times to allow such a tawdry fact into their Iran reporting? It's not like a mention was called for by the information preceding it. I think that my reaction to its inclusion was so marked precisely because there doesn't seem to be a compelling reason for the Times to mention the Israeli arsenal at this particular point in the piece.
---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Thu, Jun 10, 2010 at 6:07 PM
Subject: FW: ForeignAffairs: Dear Colleague: Invite P.M. Netanyahu to Address a Joint Session of Congress
From: e-Dear Colleague
Sent: Thursday, June 10, 2010 4:23 PM
Subject: ForeignAffairs: Dear Colleague: Invite P.M. Netanyahu to Address a Joint Session of Congress
Invite P.M. Netanyahu to Address a Joint Session of Congress
From: The Honorable Louie Gohmert
The United States and Israel have a special friendship based on shared values, and together share the common goal of peace and security in the Middle East. Unfortunately, our bond with Israel has shown very public cracks at a crucial time for our close ally.
As Members of Congress, we must provide the world an IMMEDIATE visual image that we still firmly stand with Israel by inviting Prime Minister Netanyahu to address a joint session of Congress. The symbolism of both sides of the aisle standing together applauding the Israeli Prime Minister would be powerful enough to send the message that friends may have disagreements, but they will still stand strongly with each other.
Please join me in sending a letter to our Speaker requesting that Prime Minister Netanyahu be invited. Israel is a sovereign nation that has the right to defend itself, its borders and its ports in the interests of its national security. Reports coming out of Israel indicate that the Gaza flotilla passengers were anything but peace activists.