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Ken Block

Guest View

Former Republican Sen. George Voinovich is quoted as saying, “Republican marching orders were to oppose everything the Obama administration proposed. If (President Obama) was for it, we had to be against it. At a strategy session, (Mitch McConnell) wanted everyone to hold the fort. All he cared about was making sure Obama could never have a clean victory.” Actually Mitch McConnell never made any bones about it that he would be against all Obama proposals. Over at the House, John Boehner pretty much echoed the same litany.

I think many Republicans did not have a problem with that. In fact if they said bomb, they probably didn’t have a problem with that either. However, many Republicans have not felt that that was the way to run a government.

So now in regard to the Iran nuclear deal, are the Republicans against it because Obama supports it? In other words, is it politics as usual or do they really think it is a bad deal? Five countries Russia, China, United Kingdom, France, and Germany have all joined the United States in support of this deal.

The Republican Party is not the same as it was in the Eisenhower years. I used to consider Charles Grassley more of a statesman, but he has changed right a long with the party. Before the Desert Storm War, Iraq invaded Kuwait. The UN imposed sanctions on Iraq, and they retreated from Kuwait. Our administration decided that was not good enough and went to war anyway. Grassley voted against the war. He now follows the pack. He has also gotten feistier, by his rude remark to a Democrat senator as follows: “Put that in your pipe and smoke it.” That is the kind of remark you would expect to take place on a school yard playground.

The scientific community has come out strongly in favor of the deal. More than 340 American rabbis have signed a letter announcing their support of the deal. However, I believe the most important endorsement came from 36 retired generals and admirals. To quote some of their arguments:

“We support the agreement as the most effective means currently available to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. There is no better option to prevent an Iranian nuclear weapon. Military action would be less effective than the deal, assuming it is fully implemented. If the Iranians cheat, our advanced technology, intelligence and the inspections will reveal it, and U.S. military options remain on the table. And if the deal is rejected by America, the Iranians could have a nuclear weapon within a year. The choice is that stark.”

So is Sen. Joni Ernst against it because Obama supports it (politics as usual) or is she really against it? Ernst is to be respected for her service in Iraq. However, I don’t feel her expertise on this deal comes close to measuring up to the expertise of the 36 retired generals and admirals.

Let’s choose Diplomacy over War.

Ken Block is retired and lives in Northwood. He is a former columnist for the Globe Gazette.


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