Iran: Time to say “enough, already!”

If your Democratic senator co-sponsors the Kirk-Menendez war-with-Iran bill, ask him or her to back off.

If you’re a constituent of, of contributor to, Mark Begich (Alaska), Michael Bennet (CO), Richard Blumenthal (Conn.), Cory Booker (N.J), Ben Cardin (Md.), Bob Casey Jr. (Pa.), Chris Coons (Del.), Joe Donnelly (Ind.) Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.), Kay Hagan (N.C.), Mary Landrieu (La.), Joe Manchin (W.Va.), Bob Menendez (N.J.), Mark Pryor (Ark.),Charles Schumer (N.Y.), or Mark Warner (Va.), please consider making a phone call or sending a fax or email telling that Senator to back off the lunatic piece of warmongering legislation known as the Kirk-Menendez bill, designed to torpedo the nuclear deal with Iran. As of now, they’re all co-sponsoring it. Please consider making your voice heard especially strongly if you’re Jewish, or have a Jewish-sounding name.

When I see Ben Cardin’s name on the list, I want to weep. As a young political junkie in Baltimore, I admired Cardin intensely. He was a great state legislator and has been a fine Congressman and Senator. And maybe – I hope – his support for the bill is just for show, or for tactical advantage, or because he’s afraid of Sheldon Adelson and the AIPAC goon squad. Surely he must be smart enough to figure out that war with Iran is as much of a losing proposition for Israel – not for Bibi, but for the Zionist project – as it is for the U.S. He, and his weak-kneed colleagues, need to hear from the rest of us, loud and clear.

I don’t think the message needs to be very complex. How about:

Dear Senator X:

President Obama and Secretary Kerry seem to have pulled off a diplomatic miracle by negotiating Iran out of its nuclear-weapons progam. Please refrain from making their job harder.

Very truly yours,

Every Senator’s website has a fax number on it. I’m told that makes a bigger impact that email. But email is better than nothing. (Snailmail is almost worthless; since the anthrax scare, it gets held up forever.) Phone calls are also good. Be direct, but polite and respectful. Don’t give the staffer on the other end of the phone a hard time. If you’ve been a supporter in the past, say so, and say why. And make it clear that this issue is a priority for you.

Update Cory Booker’s co-sponsorship is especially heartbreaking. If, like me, you once looked forward to voting for Booker for President, and if, like me, you’re deeply unhappy about what he just did, you might want to tell him so. Kirsten Gillibrand might be in the same category.

Second update On the other hand, if you’re a Californian you should let DiFi and Boxer know you’re proud of them.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact:

19 thoughts on “Iran: Time to say “enough, already!””

  1. Several of these are up for re-election this year and are considered to be potentially vulnerable. Coincidence?

  2. What in the world did you ever like about Booker so much? The theatrics of his living in a housing development were compelling, but I don’t think he’s ever appeared especially promising as regards policy preferences; about the only policy positions I can remember him taking are actually quite noxious: attempts to demonstrate bipartisanship by bashing teachers’ unions, and (especially) disgusting displays as he attempts to display his abject fealty to the finance industry.

  3. This is truly a bizzzare situation where a bill with no merit has the possibility of getting passed. Also bizarre is that while some Senate Dems have treasonously indicated their willingness to vote for it, it is the Jewish memebers (Sanders, Wyden, Boxer, Feinstein, Levin, Franken) that are holding out.WTF

    1. Perhaps these vulnerable incumbents are not worried about the Jewish vote; maybe they are afraid of the Christian vote.

  4. The list is entirely representatives of heavily Jewish areas (the NY-DC corridor) and conservative states (AK, IN, LA, AR, NC, CO) with Senators up for reelection this year.

    The good news is that by my count, they still don’t have enough votes to override a Obama’s already announced veto – so for the above this is largely a good political move. Look like you are doing something, without really doing anything at all (I’ll assume that John Kerry is adept enough to explain the move to the Iranians sufficiently that they don’t freak out and back out of the deal)

    1. I also really doubt that the Jewish vote is coming into play here. I havn’t seen a single jew besides Bill Kristol supporting this. AIPAC money maybe.

    2. One additional problem it has, and one that I assume is intended by the Senators involved, is that it sends a signal to Iran that there is no point in negotiating because there’s zero chance that the Senate will ratify any agreement that will be made. And while the interim agreement did not require ratification, any final deal will.

  5. Blumenthal: done. Email, but like you said, better than nothing. I went with a rewording of your effort, plus “hey, if I want warmongering I can vote GOP. They’ll give me a tax cut too.”

  6. I agree with Warren Terra–there was never any reason to believe that Cory Booker was anything other than a corporate Democrat, albeit one with some personal charisma. He is nonetheless my Senator, so I sent him the following:

    I am a constituent and a Jew. I wish you would reconsider your position on the Menendez-Kirk bill. It is a counterproductive piece of legislation, intended to foment war, rather than secure peace.

    AIPAC does not represent me, or indeed, most American Jews. It only represents the Netanyahu government and a few wealthy alter kocker Jews with a fierce, but tenuous sense of Jewish identity which can only be expressed by Israel jingoism. This perverted worship of brute strength is very Jewish–I refer you to Lionel Trilling’s essay on Isaac Babel or Norman Podhoretz’s famous essay: “My Negro Problem–and Ours.” It is not one of the things that makes me proud of my people. Please don’t support it.

    1. I like the pair of sentences that start with “AIPAC does not represent me” … Thanks!

  7. Correct me if I’m wrong, but your national recognition is from the assertion that decision-making on domestic drug policy should be informed by facts. And yet, for our foreign policy, you predict we have scored a “diplomatic miracle by negotiating Iran out of its nuclear-weapons progam.” Please, professor, show me the facts that prove this. May I point out that statements like these were also made in the year prior to Pakistan’s and North Korea’s first tests of their nuclear weapons. Until I see your facts, Jewish last name or not, I will continue to strongly urge my Senators to support this bill.

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