APN Objections to S. Res. 65

Americans for Peace Now has serious concerns about S. Res. 65, an AIPAC-backed resolution recently introduced in the Senate that has beennicknamed by some the "Backdoor to War" resolution, since it effectively gives a green light for Israeli military action against Iran that, if carried out, would almost certainly require the U.S. to join the fight.

APN is urging Senators to refuse to cosponsor S. Res. 65.

Given the gravity of the issues at stake, APN is urging Senators to also refuse to permit S. Res. 65 to be ramrodded through the Senate according to a timetable defined by AIPAC - or any outside group.

We are urging Senators to instead call for a serious deliberation process, including committee hearings and markups during which concerns about S. Res. 65 can be aired and deficiencies in the resolution can be addressed.

Specific Objections to S. Res. 65

  • S. Res. 65 has been nicknamed by some the "Backdoor to War" resolution. Supporters of S. Res. 65 are quick to point out that the resolution is non-binding and includes a "rule of construction" stating that the measure is not an authorization of the use of force or a declaration of war. This is indeed the case, but is also irrelevant.
  • Nobody is suggesting that the resolution green lights U.S. military action against Iran. Rather, it green lights Israeli military action against Iran that, if carried out, would almost certainly compel the U.S. to join the fight - thus making it a "backdoor" to war. In this respect, the resolution is clear. It seeks to put Senators on the record giving unqualified, unconditional, advance approval for Israeli military action against Iran, including Israeli-defined preventive self-defense. It also represents an implicit vote of no-confidence in the Obama Administration over its efforts to resolve the Iran challenge through sanctions and diplomacy.
  • Those who doubt this interpretation of the legislation would do well to consult the Iran pamphlet circulated at this year's AIPAC Policy Conference entitled "Iran's Nuclear Threat - An American Strategy for Prevention." That pamphlet makes clear that in the context of Iran, Israeli self-defense includes taking preventive military action:

"Should sanctions fail [no definition is provided for what constitutes failure in this context] and Israel feels compelled to undertake defensive military action to stop Iran, the Jewish state must know that it will have the diplomatic, economic, and military support of the United States."

  • It should be recalled that in August 2012, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Martin Dempsey explicitly expressed concerns about an Israeli attack on Iran and his concern that the U.S. not be "complicit if they [Israel] choose to do it." With this resolution, the Senate is being asked to formalize such complicity, in defiance of the Obama Administration's policy and in defiance of the judgment of top U.S. military leaders.
  • In addition, the resolution misrepresents U.S. policy regarding Iran, stating, "the policy of the United States is to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon capability..." [emphasis added]. In fact, the policy of the Obama Administration is to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. This mis-statement of policy reflects the continued effort by AIPAC and others to shift the "red line" with respect to Iran and lower the bar for war. This vague formulation, which has been previously promoted in Congress by AIPAC and others, has once again been left deliberately ambiguous - a self-evidently negligent approach that clearly lowers the bar for war.