I find it necessary to respond to Frederic B. Hill's odious and erroneous op-ed, "Boehner's unwise move" (Jan. 28).
In regard to Mr. Hill's claim that the GOP is no longer the party of national security and "The GOP has not recovered from [the] calamity" of the Bush-Cheney administration, all recent polls tell another story, with the Republicans holding close to a 20 percent lead in favorability on foreign affairs and security. And there was also something called midterm elections in which American voters gave a swift rebuke to Obama policy as the GOP swept the elections. Certainly seems the GOP has "recovered."
Mr. Hill claims that the U.S. shouldn't be "intervening at a delicate time" in Iran negotiations and so close to the Israeli elections. Yet President Clinton met with Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres a month before Israeli elections in 1996. Maybe Mr. Hill believes the U.S. should only host certain Israeli PMs.
Mr. Hill says that Israel should not act to "heighten anti-Israeli feelings," much as the argument goes toward Israel defending itself vs. Hamas in Gaza (while the world ignores homeland defense in the rest of the world, even on the other side of Gaza, as Egypt routinely destroys homes of Gazans for a security buffer). Israel must act to defend itself regardless of world condemnation.
Mr. Hill says that Congress should only act in a role to advise and consent, but this stands in contrast to the president's consistent use of "executive privilege" to take unilateral policy action, regardless of Congressional advice or the desire of the American people.
Mr. Hill scoffs that only Winston Churchill (Mr. Netanyahu's idol, mind you) has addressed Congress as many times as Mr. Netanyahu would if he should speak again in March. I might mention however that much like Mr. Netanyahu, Churchill stood against a world of appeasers of tyranny. The difference is that nowadays we have a president who chooses to appease rather than fight the global threat we face.
Mr. Hill takes multiple pointless and immature pot-shots at Mr. Boehner's level of foreign affairs expertise, while saying Boehner never "served in the military and [has] very little background in strategic affairs." Interesting oversight that our commander-in-chief (who happens to be leading the Iran negotiations) never served in the military and had zero experience in strategic affairs.
But the most troubling points in Mr. Hill's piece are fourfold:
1.That "Iran … has frozen several activities that could yield a bomb." The Joint Plan of Action allows Iran to continue enrichments, as the Iranians have boasted, and have kept the centrifuges spinning. By all accounts, it would only take the Iranians a few weeks to turn their oxidized stock of uranium (as required by the JPOA) back into 3.5 percent enrichment, which is halfway to bomb-grade. Additionally, Iran is allowed to continue developing next-generation centrifuges, thereby even lessening the time to develop a bomb. In fact, even the U.N. recently stated "Iran has vigorously pursued its ambition to obtain nuclear weapons. … No serious indications that Tehran has stopped or abandoned this project or intends to do so were observed."
2.That "if they fail to reach an agreement, there will be plenty of time to add to the sanctions." By most experts' views, this is certainly not the case. Iran would not need much time to assemble weapons-grade uranium at its current pace, and if anything, the U.S. will be in a much tougher negotiating position.
3.The anti-Semitic implication that pro-Israel lobbies are actively buying U.S. political favor (by donating to Sen. Mark Kirk). This is a most virulent and ancient form of anti-Semitism that Mr. Hill would be best-served to retract in print. The implication that Israel lobbies control U.S. policy is revolting and hate-mongering.
4.That "Messrs. Boehner, Kirk, Menendez … are a mirror image of the hard-line faction in Iran that wants to kill the nuclear negotiations and embarrass the most reformist leader Iran has elected in many years, Hassan Rouhani." Mr. Hill might want to investigate the facts. Mr. Rouhani has actually increased political executions, imprisonment of activists, torture of prisoners, persecution of religious, ethnic and sexual minorities and of course, journalists such as Mr. Hill himself. Comparing these American senators to worse than Mr. Rouhani himself is sickening. If anything, Mr. Obama's diplomacy with Iran has resulted in the undoing of actual working policy in regard to Iranian nuclear proliferation. Israel faces an existential threat.
Mr. Hill would be wise to realize that Israel doesn't have the luxury of making a mistake in its dealings with a country that consistently vows its total destruction. Mr. Boehner and the bipartisan sponsors of bills to hit Iran with tougher sanctions understand this fact and have a responsibility to the American people and to the world to act to contain Iran, the world's greatest threat to peace and global stability.
Kenneth S. Friedman, Baltimore