Homage to Herzliya The Lobby wants war with Iran by Justin Raimondo Asked about a Senate resolution disapproving the "surge" of US troops going into Iraq, Vice President Dick Cheney growled: "It won't stop us." The Senate, the House, the Constitution, the American people voting in an election â nothing and no one in this country can stop the War Party. Are you one of the more than two-thirds of Americans who oppose this war, and totally disapprove of the "surge"? Don't bother seeking redress from your elected representatives in Congress â they long ago abdicated their authority over the military and diplomatic branches of the national security bureaucracy. In 1952, as the Korean war was raging, the Supreme Court stopped Harry Truman when he invoked "national security" in a bid to nationalize the nation's steel mills. Congress was more accommodating. When the dwarfish little haberdasher sent troops to Korea without bothering to consult them, our Solons rolled over and purred, in anticipation of a pat on the stomach. Ever since then, the conduct of American foreign policy has been as far removed from popular control as the decrees of an absolute monarch. Every Congress has ceded more authority to the president â except for a brief, post-Vietnam interregnum â until the people's representatives play only an advisory role when it comes to questions of war and peace. Who, then, controls the foreign policy of this nation? Well, there is the president, who has more power than any Roman Emperor ever dreamed of: Caligula only imagined himself to be Jupiter, while George W. Bush has more than a few thunderbolts in his quiver, and, thanks to our supine Congress, can hurl them at will. There are the president's courtiers, his advisors, his friends and confidantes. As in any royal court, the idea is to get in a position to whisper in the ear of the king, and there are multitudes of lobbyists vying for this spot. In the foreign policy realm, a great many foreign interests compete for American attention and largess. Of all these, the most successful by far has been the Israel lobby, or, as John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt have dubbed it, simply the Lobby â in part, no doubt, because no other foreign interest or pressure group even begins to approach it in terms of Washington clout. The Lobby used to be a forbidden topic, or, at least, one discussed in low whispers, using code words and knowing winks. We weren't supposed to say, at least out loud, that Israel, like every other country of consequence, maintains an active lobby in Washington, one which also happens to be the most organized, well-financed, and powerful pressure group when it comes to foreign policy. This kind of clout is measured, in part, by the single largest foreign aid appropriation, allotted to Israel, $3.5 billion yearly. It is also measured in the campaign contributions coming from what Wesley Clark refers to as "the New York money people." Clark caused an uproar when he told Arianna Huffington why he was so worried about the prospect of war with Iran: "When we asked him what made him so sure the Bush administration was headed in this direction, he replied: âYou just have to read what's in the Israeli press. The Jewish community is divided but there is so much pressure being channeled from the New York money people to the office seekers.'" We have seen no more blogging by Gen. Clark at the Huffington Post, and that's, no doubt, for the same reason I've been banished from the blog where Hollywood vapidity and DNC timidity meet and greet. "At one point," The Huff continues, "Melinda reminded him that she was taking down everything he said (a fact that would have been hard to miss, since she was taking notes on a not-inconspicuous legal pad). His response: 'Yes, I know." For Clark, this is the biggest foreign policy issue facing the US âI'm worried about the surge,' he said. âBut I'm worried about this even more.'" Yes, comrade, we're taking all this down: see you at GPU headquarters. Next stop, the gulag. Tellingly, the usually voluble Arianna, who has an opinion on virtually every subject, had nothing to say about Israel's invasion of Lebanon. Attacked by all the usual suspects, Clark was ably defended by Matt Yglesias. Yglesias, a writer for the American Prospect whose blog is the go-to place for a sober, left-of-center (and pretty consistently noninterventionist) viewpoint, says that everything Clark said is true, and, what's more, everybody knows it's true: "Most major American Jewish organizations cater to the views of extremely wealthy major donors whose political views are well to the right of the bulk of American Jews, one of the most liberal ethnic groups in the country. Furthermore, it's true that major Jewish organizations are trying to push the country into war. And, last, it's true that if you read the Israeli press you'll see that right-wing Israeli politicians are anticipating a military confrontation with Iran." For evidence of the war hysteria now sweeping official Israeli circles, readers of the Israeli (and overseas) press will note the attention paid to the seventh annual Herzliya conference, an event attended by top Israeli â and American â leaders, including a surprising number of would-be occupants of the Oval Office. "There is no doubt that the war drums are beating pretty loudly here in Herzliya," reports Gideon Rachman, the Financial Times foreign correspondent, who was struck by "the number of top Americans who have bothered to come over for the conference." With US officials Gordon England and Nick Burns as the centerpieces, several serious presidential wannabes decorated the podium: Mitt Romney made a personal appearance, with John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, and John Edwards addressing the conference by satellite. "I cannot think of any other country in the world that could summon up this level of American participation for a conference like this," writes Rachman. "Certainly not Britain."[/size][/b] Richard Perle, Jim Woolsey, and nutty Newt Gingrich rounded out the speakers list, adding their own notes of individualized hysteria to the chorus of warmongering. "A lot of these chaps," avers Rachman, "were very prominent in the drive to go to war in Iraq. Now, flushed by their undoubted success there, they are turning their attention to Iran." That anyone, at this date, is advocating another war in the Middle East â this time against a country three times the size of Iraq, with a far larger population, and the will to fight â is astonishing. Yet each of these American politicians â major candidates for the highest office in the land â pledged at Herzliya that we would go to war, if necessary, in order to stop the alleged Iranian drive to acquire nukes. Former (and aspiring) Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu threw out the CIA's assessment of 10 years before Tehran goes nuclear, and substituted his own: 1,000 days. The supposed imminence of an Iranian mushroom cloud looming over the Israeli skyline imparted a certain apocalyptic air to the proceedings, and the American candidates put on quite a show: "US presidential hopefuls Mitt Romney, John Edwards and John McCain, along with Newt Gingrich, were in Israel, seemingly competing to see who can be most strident in defense of the Jewish state during personal or video appearances at the conference here, just north of Tel Aviv.