Lantos on Fact-Finding Trips

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It may be a little late, but Tom Lantos is weighing in on Congressional fact-finding trips – and he’s not pulling any punches. I think he gets it just right:

San Mateo, CA – In response to the White House’s comments that it would be “unproductive and unhelpful” for members of Congress to visit Iran, Chairman Tom Lantos of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs issued this statement today:
“Members of Congress are not simply potted plants, though the White House apparently would like them to be. Congress plays an important role in determining policy and providing funding for America’s international policies. It is important for us to get first-hand information on these critical issues facing our nation, because as we have unfortunately seen, we cannot rely on the Administration to give us accurate and untainted information.”

— Scott Paul

Comments

16 comments on “Lantos on Fact-Finding Trips

  1. Matthew says:

    AIPAC’s influence would be less if Israel did not help advance the real goal of the US and Europe: Continued foreign domination of the ME. They are the local cop on the beat. Israel’s economic vulnerability is why they are such a close ally. Great nation states only want their “friends” to be dependant. Look how we treat the Europeans now.
    The Arab States, particularly, in the Gulf, and Iran will never be that close to the USA–regardless of what form of government they evolve–because petroleum gives them freedom. Freedom means independence.
    Keep in mind that Olmert was talking to the US government every day while Israel was vandalizing Lebanon last summer. An independent country doesn’t have to do that.

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  2. Doug T says:

    Lantos is wrong. The administration does not want to treat Congress like a potted plant. A potted plant needs care and watering, both of which would keep it alive and divert valuable resources from his cronies.

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  3. Scott Paul says:

    FYI, I got this as a direct press release from the House Foreign Affairs Committee – no specific context.

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  4. retry says:

    > It is important for us to get first-hand
    > information on these critical issues facing our
    > nation, because as we have unfortunately seen,
    > we cannot rely on the Administration to give us
    > accurate and untainted information.”
    Did he just call Bush and Cheney “pathological WMD upsexing, xenophobia sailing, warmongering liars”?
    I distinctly heard the honorable representative Lantos call Cheney: “a deceptive 9/11 wound salting, terror alert faking, split tongued second hand car salesman whose 19% approval rating is not due to people that still trust him but due to the group that lives in fear thinking he might be standing behind them with a loaded shotgun ever since they said that thing about him over the phone”
    And what was that thing about the hairdo and employment of Cheneys mother? A republican saying such a thing must be looking at weeks of airtime!
    Now I see why one wouldn`t want them messing with delicate diplomacy, with that kind of language its world war 3 in not time. This guy makes John Bolton sound like Kofi Anan 😉

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  5. Gadfly says:

    P.S. Also, is it “anti-American” to want better for the United States of America than the ilk of corrupt politicos represented by Bush, Cheney, Rice, Rove and Gonzales?
    Of course, not! Indeed, it is the highest form of patriotism to want men and women of integrity; with stature & probity; and, with a deep understanding of history, economics, U.S. civics and world affairs.
    Some of us would like to see the same for all nations, including Israel. For tragically, Israel like the U.S. has the worst sort of criminal types “in-charge”.
    And, AIPAC should be registered as a foreign agent, for its’ treasonous operatives have collaborated with traitors like Rice to pass-on our classified national security information to a foreign government, Israel– to the detriment of the United States of America.

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  6. Gadfly says:

    Actually, is is NOT anti-Israel to object to AIPAC’s destructive influence upon our foreign policy…
    * Israel’s politicians put the Israeli people first and Israel’s interest first-and-foremost. That’s just fine! However, American politicians should put the American people first and the United States of America’s interests first-and-foremost.
    * If their was AFPAC which became so powerful that France’s interests were put first- or an AUKPAC which became so powerful that the U.K.’s interests were put first- or A*PAC which became so powerful that any other nation *’s interest were put first– then Americans should be concerned also. For each nation pursues its’ own interests– and so too should ours.
    * Whether or not Lantos and/or anybody else (including myself) has ancestors and/or immediate family who were lost in Holocaust is not relevant to a discouse regarding Mideast policy.
    But, hey, don’t let the facts get in the way of bashing those who want a sane foreign policy, which is fair and equitable vis-a-vis both Israel and Arab nations! I’m waiting for the howling using the “anti-semitic” card, habitually brought-out to intimidate those who are disgusted with the neo-con Bushies and the right-wing Israeli aggressions which have not been in either nation’s best interest, for that matter.

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  7. rslux says:

    Wow, the anti-Israel tinfoil hat brigade is out in force today.
    Lantos is the only member of his family to have survived the Holocaust, if you didn’t know. The fact that he decided to come to America after that experience might suggest that America, not Israel, is his first priority.
    But hey, don’t let a few facts get in the way of a good bout of paranoia.

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  8. Carroll says:

    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/847481.html
    “Closed 1967 Senate protocols reveal bids to pressure Israel ”
    By Shmuel Rosner, Haaretz Correspondent and Haaretz Service
    Hundreds of pages released this week by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee contain protocols of closed committee hearings from the seminal year of 1967, including one in which former Senator William J. Fulbright is quoted as saying, “The trouble is they [the Israel lobby] think they have control of the Senate and they can do as they please.”
    During the hearing in question – in June 1967 – the senators of the prestigious committee grilled then-Secretary of State Dean Rusk over the meaning of the looming crisis days before the Six-Day War, and the meaning of Israel’s remarkable victory during the war.
    Former Senator Bourke Hickenlooper of Iowa suggested revoking tax deductible contributions of the United Jewish Appeal as an effort to put pressure on Israel, to which Fulbright responded, “The trouble is they think they have control of the Senate and they can do as they please.”
    When asked by former Senator Stuart Symington of Missouri to clarify his statement, Fulbright said, “I said they know they have control of the Senate politically, and therefore whatever the Secretary tells them, they can laugh at him. They say, ‘Yes, but you don’t control the Senate.'”
    To read an excerpt from the dialogue, click here.
    This coming weekend, Haaretz will publish more anecdotes from the hearings in a longer feature
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Lantos is identified as the person closest to the Israeli Lobby and therefore I always question anything he says..his motives always lie in Israel’s interest, not America’s ..always.
    AIPAC and Israel must be routed from America…if we have to burn DC to the ground to do it. This is another piece of corruption that must end. It has gotten worse and worse over the years. It is killing America.

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  9. David I Lieberman says:

    Good heavens. Could we at least retire the myth that AIPAC’s dire, destructive influence on American policy is some hush-hush secret known only to the obscenely and illegitimately powerful and to the illuminati who discourse with such wisdom and insight (and such courageous anonymity) in the comments sections of political blogs? If it’s truly a secret, it’s got to be the most open secret in the history of secrecy.

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  10. Gadfly says:

    Pissed Off American:–
    Bush, Cheney, Rice & Rove as well as Pelosi are all in AIPAC’s pocket. It takes a rare & courageous politician to speak-out against the neo-fascist spouted by AIPAC.
    And, of course, anyone who dares propose that the interests of the American people should be placed first-and-foremost by American politicians is destroyed by howls of “anti-semitism”, etc. … Ironically, the discourse ignores the fact the Israeli politicians put the Israeli people, first-and-foremost before the American people:– that is what both the Israeli and American politicians have in common, Israel before America.
    However, there is one major difference between Pelosi and Bush/Rice which is important to note:– Pelosi wants us out of Iraq and is not yet beating the war drums to attack Iran. By contrast, the neo-con Bushies refuse to talk sensibly with Iran or Syria. And, the Bush/Rice gang have a long, sordid & squalid track-record of lying us into war.
    It is true that Pelosi ran as fast as her little legs would carry her, after being booed at an AIPAC rally, to strip-out a provision in the war-funding bill which would have demanded that the president seek congressional approval prior to attacking Iran. Not one of Pelosi’s finer moments, I’ll admit.
    But, she is standing-up to Bush. And, we must encourage Congress to hold Bush, Cheney, Rice, Rove & Gonzales accountable for their myriad criminal activities.
    And, the unspoken issue which is brushed-under-the-carpet regarding AIPAC’s undue, destructive influence upon our politicial process- and the fact a foreign country’s interests (i.e. Israel) is placed before that of the American people (who are forced to be mercenaries and impoverished slaves to service the Israeli War Machine) must ultimately be exposed in order that such politicians, Republicans and Democrats alike, who do so, are elected OUT OF OFFICE!

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  11. Linda says:

    Lantos’ comments and his opposition to the failed war strategy are very significant for several reasons:
    1. He is one of the most intelligent and best in the House and very expert on foreign policy.
    2. He is the only Holocaust survivor ever elected to the House and always has been very pro-Israel.
    3. In 10/02, he voted, as did quite a few Democrats, to give Bush authority to use military force in Iraq.
    4. And like most Democrats who did (except Lieberman) he regrets that vote, as this is not the outcome he anticipated.

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  12. Pissed Off American says:

    “Their key concern is that because the neo-cons, AIPAC and Israel want us to fight their nightmarish war with Iran– Bush and Rice must intimidate Pelosi into not, under any circumstances, demonstrating that differences (i.e. over nuclear weapons development) could be reached via sane diplomacy.”
    Read the short article the Scott was quoting, Gadfly. It truly does underscore the fact that Pelosi is not going to stray from the Israeli position on Iran. I think you are wrong to attribute a closer affiliation and subservience to AIPAC to the Bush crew than what Pelosi has. Pelosi is even more in AIPAC’s pocket, as are the other Dem frontrunners, such as Obama, Edwards, and Hillary.

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  13. Gadfly says:

    P.S. Don’t forget that Cheney is also nervous about the value of his Halliburton shares which have soared due to the neo-con Bushies illegal & immoral war upon Iraq. Consider just how much more these war-profiteers (Bush Crime Family, Cheney, Rice, Rove, et. al. Big Oil, Halliburton, Bechtel, Carlyle Group, the Military Industrial Complex [arms manufacturers, defense industry, mercenary security firms, etc.]) will make by launching another illegal & immoral war upon Iran, a nation approximately 4 times the size of Iraq!!!
    And, Bush is delusional enough to believe that he can still salvage his “legacy”. Nauseating!!!

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  14. Pissed Off American says:

    Found it.
    http://tinyurl.com/24wytg
    Pelosi’s statement is particularly telling. It underscores how little of a divide there is between the so called Dem “leadership”, and the Bush camp when it comes to Iran. And in turn, it underscores Israel’s ownership of Pelosi. You would think, after being backstabbed by Ohlmert on the Syria thing, that she would be a little less apt to carry Israel’s water for them. But instead, I guess she “learned her lesson”, and has stepped neatly back in line.

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  15. Gadfly says:

    Lantos is absolutely right and should also cite the long historical precedences of Congressional representatives meeting with world leaders, despite their differences with the policies of the Executive branch.
    Of course, American history is not the strong suit of the neo-con Bushies. Bush, Cheney, Rice, Rove & Gonzales believe in fabricating revisionist history and dreaming-up convoluted versions of history which bear no relation to facts.
    Clearly, Bush who is despised on the world stage and regarded as a superficial and stupid man and Rice who is seen as a “Mommy Dearest”, ineffectual, incompetent and corrupt fashion-victim are jealous that Pelosi had a far more productive meeting in Syria.
    Their key concern is that because the neo-cons, AIPAC and Israel want us to fight their nightmarish war with Iran– Bush and Rice must intimidate Pelosi into not, under any circumstances, demonstrating that differences (i.e. over nuclear weapons development) could be reached via sane diplomacy.
    Bush is sweating it out as his sordid & squalid legacy is being written, predominately with the words “loser”, “corrupt”, “incompetent”, “not terribly bright”. And, Rice is flailing around as she wants to divert attention from having illegally & immorally committed treason by leaking classified national security information to traitors at AIPAC (Rosen & Weissman) who passed it on to the extreme-right-wing lunatics in the Israeli government.

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  16. Pissed Off American says:

    Hey Scott, can ya do me a favor and post the link to where you found Lantos’ comment? I like to be able to put it in context, and figure out who was being spoken too.

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