Congress Acting Quickly

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Congress is moving to pass HR 3783: Countering Iran in the Western Hemisphere. The bill mandates that the State department establish a comprehensive strategy to confront the threat of Iran exercising its influence in Latin America.  When this bill was first introduced the demand was for a study of that threat.  In the intervening months Congress leaped right over the need for analysis, straight to demanding a strategy constructed on some pretty questionable claims.

Noriega, an outspoken proponent of interventionism.

The bill is based almost entirely on the shoddy research of Roger Noriega, working on behalf of one or the other of the many conservative ‘think tanks’ in Washington these days. During his time at the State Department, Noriega was a vocal proponent of: a more restrictive embargo against Cuba; the coup d’etat against President Chavez in Venezuela; and the 2004 coup d’etat against Haitian President Aristide. Since going private sector, he has pumped out a continuous stream of inaccurate, fear mongering reports in favor of United States interference in the hemisphere.

Despite a history of bad decisions and the outlandish claims made in his research, Congress has chosen to swallow the implications of Noriega’s reports whole. Some choice examples include: Hezbollah is running a ring of movie pirates to finance terrorism in Argentine/Hezbollah has established a training base in Nicaragua/A Mexican drug runner with a tattoo in Farsi is undeniable proof that the Iranians are planning an invasion of Texas. It has taken Congress nearly twelve months to do it, but this week it appears that HR 3783 will be delivered to President Obama on voice votes and with only a few small amendments.

The legislation was devised on false information and requests a policy strategy to support a false narrative of fear and aggression. It’s telling that less than a week after a heinous attack in Newtown, and less than two weeks from the so-called fiscal cliff disaster, Congress has mustered its collective will to pass this legislation instead of gun control reform, a fiscal solution to the cliff, or any number of other urgent policy matters that affect the most vulnerable global citizens (ending the War on Drugs, perhaps?).