Overheard on CNN.com: Iran talks spark debate over relations between U.S., Israel


Editor’s note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

The United States and other countries agreed Tuesday to resume negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program. CNN.com readers have been debating not only diplomacy with Iran, but also relations between the United States and Israel. More of our readers seemed to oppose military action against Iran than support it, but there were plenty of nuanced views on the issue.

Obama: Possible Iran talks offer opportunity

We’ve seen some readers who are quite frustrated with Israel.

rojo1284: “I am a conservative, I am tired of Israel behaving like a spoiled child, demanding that America gives it more machine guns, more tanks and more freedom to take whatever they want and oppress whoever they want without consequence. This has to stop. Israel, if you want to start a war, you’re on your own.”

Some said there is less reason to fear Israel than many places in the Middle East.

FromBelow2: “When was the last time Israelis burned the American flag? When was the last time there were protests in Israel with people chanting “Death to America”? Know who your friends are. You can start by figuring out who doesn’t want to kill you.”

This person feared another Iraq war.

SwimLikeaFis: “We need our leaders to work methodically through every issue and every alternative in an effort to avoid war. There is zero trust on both sides. Israel hates Iran; Iran hates Israel. But war is not the answer. WAR IS NOT THE ANSWER. Think in hindsight about Iraq. We rushed to enter and what a disaster it has been. Now we are in the same situation. If only we had waited and tried other means to avoid in Iraq, my brother would not have died on that lonely road near Baghdad.”

Many of our readers over at CNN iReport have been discussing these foreign policy issues as well. iReporter Cliff Olney of Watertown, New York, talked about Israel in a recent video.

‘Israel to keep U.S. ‘out of the loop’ on bombing Iran to protect U.S.? Israel doesn’t care about U.S.’

“Israel doesn’t care,” Olney said. “They don’t care about the United States. They don’t even care about their own people.”

He said he thinks Israel is “manipulating” the U.S. presidential election because of the economy.

Liberty1955: “Let’s not make another mistake over Iran. If the Israelis want to bomb Iran, then they should know they are on their own. We should make clear to Israel that we will not lift a finger to help them should they start this conflict.”

Another iReporter, Mark Ivy of Farmersburg, Indiana, said he disagreed.

k3vsDad: “Israel is not in any way determining our election. The American voters are much more knowledgeable than you ever give credit. There were several people in government who spoke on some of the Sunday talk shows who said with certainty that Iran is moving toward the production of nuclear weaponry. There have been many who have testified as much before Congress. None has said Iran is there yet, but are moving in that direction, but you choose to ignore.”

Other iReporters like Egberto Willies of Kingwood, Texas, and Virgil Edwards of Lexington, Kentucky, also posted videos opposing war with Iran, citing different reasons.

Some of our readers criticized President Obama, saying he needed to make a stronger effort against Iran.

Obama: ‘We have a window of opportunity’ with Iran

Irene Clark: “Not in anyone’s wildest dreams can Iran be trusted. To issue sanctions is futile. Obama attempts to make a pact with the devil and thinks he’ll win. Don’t have to go to war in Iran to destroy their nuclear capability. We have weapons that can eliminate any hope of their development of nuclear weapons, without a single boot touching the ground. … The middle class has never been as bad off as they are under Obama. Never in the history of the country. He has taken hope away and offers government dependency (a broke government) in return. He has been over his head since day one. All he has is a teleprompter to read. What do intelligent people do with a president who has no trustworthiness? VOTE HIM OUT!”

Commenters talked about politicians’ willingness to go to war.

GOP candidates offer strong words on Iran

This commenter criticized Obama for what they said is a willingness to go to war.

GoldenGod: “I think Obama has made it clear that he is prepared to strike. This is not a Republican-owned issue. Get ready for $10-a-gallon gas, which is part of Obama’s plan. Just listen to his energy secretary. They are not concerned about the price of gas, their objective is to force Americans off of oil. Which in a way I agree we need to, but we as a nation are nowhere near ready to. I would prefer an approach to energy independence – we should open more federal lands to exploration with the condition that a percentage of any oil harvested be sold to the government at a fixed reduced price (as part of the land grant) and we use those resources in the USA so it never hits the global market and moderates prices here. Not nationalizing the oil companies like Argentina – just keep our natural resources here!”

Still others said they were worried the Republican presidential candidates would start a war.

jhroot: “You just don’t go into another country with guns a-blazing. Not what we need Rick, Mitt and Newt. I trust Obama on this, there is a lot on his plate with all this nonsense. The GOP would just press the red button and ask questions later. ‘Obama turned his back on Israel,’ just an empty statement to win a vote. Tell us how and what would you do, Rick. Is that all there is, all words and no action plan? It is getting old.”

And then, there was this John Wayne analogy.

WachetAuf: “When I was a child I loved John Wayne movies. I wanted to be John Wayne. When I became an adult, I realized that John Wayne was a fictional character who had no difficult tactical or strategic options to consider. John Wayne did not have to concern himself that he might make an alliance with the wrong cowboy. He knew who the bad guy was because the bad guy always wore a black hat. John Wayne did not need to engage in any form of objective, strategic analysis to know the probable outcome of each step he might take. It was not necessary that he have an end game in mind before he shot the first bad guy. The end game was already worked out for him in a script. I suggest that those who would persuade us that we should do what John Wayne would do, take a second look. It was all fantasy created for children’s entertainment on Saturday afternoon.”

Maybe it’s a party thing, maybe it’s a political thing.

azclimber: “As in most things, it’s easy for those who don’t have to do the job to abuse those who are actually working on the problem. Lest the Republicans and/or Democrats get big heads, that applies to BOTH parties. They are all politicians and, as such, are for sale to the highest bidder and are pandering to every special interest while campaigning. The proof is always in the post-election performance. For Congress, there has been no performance. For the president, I suppose (even though I don’t agree with all his ideas) that he’s trying.”

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