Why The Need To Bomb Iran?

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On Foreign Policy‘s Middle East Channel today, George Washington University professor and Middle East Channel co-editor Marc Lynch has an incisive piece critiquing the recent surge in calls to bomb Iran or allow Israel to do so. While I think Lynch overplays the extent to which this push for war is new (it’s never really gone away), Lynch does an admirable job of demonstrating how different the political situation is in the Middle East compared to when President Obama took office or even at the end of the Bush Administration, and describes particularly well the fact that Iran seems to be getting weaker without any outside attack.
Here are two key paragraphs from the post:

Why is the argument [to bomb Iran] weaker? Mainly because Iran is weaker. If you set aside the hype, it is pretty obvious that for all of the flaws in President Obama’s strategy, Iran today is considerably weaker than it was when he took office. Go back to 2005-07, when the Bush administration was supposedly taking the Iranian threat seriously, with a regional diplomacy focused upon polarizing the region against Iran. In that period, Iranian “soft power” throughout the region rose rapidly, as it seized the mantle of the leader of the “resistance” camp which the U.S. eagerly granted it. Hezbollah and Hamas, viewed in Washington at least as Iranian proxies, were riding high both in their own arenas and in the broader Arab public arena. Iranian allies were in the driver’s seat in Iraq. Arab leaders certainly feared and hated this rising Iranian power, whispering darkly to Bush officials about how badly they wanted the U.S. to confront it and flooding their state-backed media with anti-Iranian propaganda. But this did not translate to the popular level and did little to reverse Iran’s strategic gains. The Bush administration’s polarization strategy was very good to Iran…

…I suspect that the real reason for the new flood of commentary calling for attacks on Iran is simply that hawks hope to pocket their winnings from the long argument over sanctions, such as they are, and now push to the next stage in the confrontation they’ve long demanded. Hopefully, this pressure will not gain immediate traction. Congress can proudly demonstrate their sanctions-passingness, so the artificial Washington timeline should recede for a while. The Pentagon is now working closely with Israel, it’s said, in order to reassure them and prevent their making a unilateral strike, which should hopefully push back another artificial clock. That should buy some time for the administration’s strategy to unfold, for better or for worse. An attack on Iran would still be a disaster, unnecessary and counterproductive, and the White House knows that, and it’s exceedingly unlikely that it will happen anytime soon. But the real risk is that the public discourse about an attack on Iran normalizes the idea and makes it seem plausible, if not inevitable, and that the administration talks itself into a political corner. That shouldn’t be allowed to happen.

Wall Street Journal columnist Bret Stephens, who predicted that Israel would strike during the first six months of this year, offers four reasons to explain why nothing has happened (yet).
— Andrew Lebovich

Comments

40 comments on “Why The Need To Bomb Iran?

  1. Vierect says:

    I don’t think we need to worry so much about it. I say this because Israel is keeping a pretty close eye on Iran and you can bet that when the time comes, they will be all over Iran.

    Reply

  2. nadine says:

    Yes, the media made quite a fuss about Hagee, didn’t they? As I recall, his entire relation with McCain was that he had endorsed him. That was it. But they still insisted McCain disown him. McCain should have told them to go to hell, but McCain is only brave when fighting fellow Republicans.
    This was about the same time as hundreds of Journolist liberal journalists were conspiring to bury the Rev. Wright story. The story of how how “post-racial” Obama sat under a black racist America-damning preacher for 20 years had the power to derail Obama’s candidacy, so it had to go. The Daily Caller has the details, one new juicy bit a day: http://dailycaller.com/
    I’m not normally big on conspiracy theories, but in this case, the evidence is there & they condemn themselves from their own keyboards.
    It’s really humorous to read all the naked Democratic Team Obama strategizing from the soi-disant “objective journalists” on Journolist, esp. from Eric Alterman, author of “What Liberal Media?”

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  3. WigWag says:

    No need to take my word about the CUFI conference, Don Bacon. I posted some links above with video from the conference and I posted a link to the CUFI website.
    Perhaps you would prefer to hear from Pastor Hagee himself; here’s his message to you,
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gMdrG25JiHI

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  4. Don Bacon says:

    WigWag: “In fact, thousands of Christians have converged on Washington, D.C. just this week to urge their Government to deal with Iran.”
    We’ll just have to take her word for it — there is nothing — NOTHING — in the news about this conversion, er convergence which began yesterday, we’re told. I doubt it.
    Meanwhile, I’ll along with my ole bud John McCain regarding these religious wackos.
    May 23, 2008
    STOCKTON

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  5. DonS says:

    “Their second major point will be that the United States should use any means necessary, including military action to stop even a potential Iranian nuclear weapons program. They will be insistent and they are likely to firmly but politely suggest that legislators who fail to make the right call on all of this will be dealt with politically come November.
    “It’s good old American democracy in action to go right along with that “old time religion.” Wigwag)
    . . . and it really doesn’t matter if it will further the terrorist agenda, push the US further towards bankruptcy, undermine a US-centric foreign policy, and place more political power in the hands of rightwing radicals. Does it?
    . . . but there is no ” Israel Lobby”, is there?

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  6. JohnH says:

    “Why do all discussions about Iran degenerate into a discussion about Israel and then Jews?”
    Hmmm-I wonder! It couldn’t possibly have to do with the fact that the Israeli government and largely Jewish neocon agitators are the primary ones trying to goad the US into action?
    But Observer and Wigwag are willfully oblivious to that fact!
    Unfortunately, the entire Jewish community will pay the price, if and when Israel and the neocons get what they want and the result blow back after another fiasco bigger and worse Iraq and Afghanistan.

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  7. WigWag says:

    “Why do all discussions about Iran degenerate into a discussion about Israel and then Jews?” (Observer)
    Good question, “Observer.” It’s really not about Jews at all; actually, it’s mostly about Christians.
    In fact, thousands of Christians have converged on Washington, D.C. just this week to urge their Government to deal with Iran.
    Today should be an interesting day at the CUFI convention. Speakers include: Eliot Abrams, Malcolm Hoenlein, Dennis Praeger and Mort Zuckerman. Tonight is CUFI’s big gala event that will be attended by scores of members of Congress (mostly Republican but not all). More than 4,000 souls should be in attendance to hear Ambassador Michael Oren and Pastor John Hagee discuss Christian support for Israel and urge the Obama Administration to cut Iran down to size. It will be interesting to hear what they have to say.
    Tomorrow, thousands of delegates (all Christian) converge on the Capitol as well as the Dirkson, Hart and Russell Senate Office buildings and the Cannon, Rayburn and Longworth House Office buildings.
    While their message will be unequivocal, much of what they advocate is already accomplished. These delegates will be asking their legislators to stand with Israel but of course they virtually all already do. Their second major point will be that the United States should use any means necessary, including military action to stop even a potential Iranian nuclear weapons program. They will be insistent and they are likely to firmly but politely suggest that legislators who fail to make the right call on all of this will be dealt with politically come November.
    It’s good old American democracy in action to go right along with that “old time religion.”
    For those who might be interested, here’s some “You Tube” video that has come out of the CUFI conference. The interesting part starts at 3:52 into the tape.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uZzK5QL_-OM&feature=channel

    Reply

  8. Observer says:

    Why do all discussions about Iran degenerate into a discussion about Israel and then Jews?

    Reply

  9. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Theres nothing more dangerous than an intelligent monster. There is something grotesquely sinister about a ghoul that has the brains to know better, yet has made the intellectual decision to participate in the attrocities, directly, or through justification.
    Nadine exemplifies this phenomena.

    Reply

  10. DonS says:

    Not much sense trying to reason with the zionist wackos hereabouts, y’all. We know from Wiggie that she is the AIPAC representative to the evangelicals in her area. Enough said. As to Nadine, I can barely stomach her ugly point of view, though some may find her smart, in a automated way.

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  11. nadine says:

    Don, I think you are seriously overweighting the importance of political rhetoric in this case. I think it would be a bad bill, but as I said, this is one chapter in a long running saga. And obviously the orthodox don’t control the Knesset, or they could have passed the bill.

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  12. Don Bacon says:

    nadine,
    You can be pretty thick sometimes. “Over the weekend, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the disagreement over a controversial law that deals with conversion to Judaism could ‘tear apart’ the Jewish people.”
    The Israeli Prime Minister warned that this issue could “tear apart” the Jewish people. Haven’t you noticed? There’s a serious fracture between orthodox Jews, who apparently control the Knesset, and other Jews in the US and Israel. Why isn’t that serious?
    The showdown has now been postponed until October, but October will come — it always does.

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  13. nadine says:

    Don, what am I supposed to have got wrong? That NPR is trying to make out there is some serious crisis in Jewish relations between America and Israel, when there isn’t one? No, I haven’t got it wrong.
    NPR loves to make the most of supposed crises between American Jews and Israel, the better to try to drive a wedge between American Jews and Israel. In this case, there isn’t a crisis at all, since, as I just pointed out, the bill has been tabled.

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  14. nadine says:

    “*John Hagee argues that the land of Palestine does not belong to the Arabs, and that the name “Palestine” (deriving from that of the ancient Philistines) was imposed by the Roman Emperor Hadrian to punish the Jews for their revolt against the Roman Empire.
    *John Hagee maintains there is no Palestinian language, and no historic Palestinian nation, and that most people identifying as Palestinians immigrated from other Arab states.”
    Leaving aside the “does not belong to” statement, which is something that will be settled eventually by war and/or negotiations, do you disagree with either of these statements? They are factually correct. Hadrian did change the name of the province from Judea to Syria Palestina after the Bar Kochba rebellion was suppressed by Rome; and the creation of Palestinian national identity dates to 1967 and afterwards.
    Go look in documents before 1967 and tell me if you can find references to “Palestinians” meaning Arabs of Palestine. Before 1967, they are just called Arabs of Palestine. Because there wasn’t a single word spoken about making a new country called “Palestine” in the West Bank or Gaza while Jordan and Egypt held them.

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  15. Don Bacon says:

    nadine,
    You seriously underestimate the intelligence of TWN readers when you claim not to have got something wrong, when you obviously have got it wrong. Haven’t you noticed?
    And let’s ask WigWag if she still puts her money on Hagee. Maybe she made a mistake. We all do. Here’s her opportunity to bail on that clown.

    Reply

  16. nadine says:

    Meanwhile, The Daily Caller has another great scoop from the Journolist archives: “The very existence of Fox News, meanwhile, sends Journolisters into paroxysms of rage. When Howell Raines charged that the network had a conservative bias, the members of Journolist discussed whether the federal government should shut the channel down.”
    Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2010/07/21/liberal-journalists-suggest-government-shut-down-fox-news/2/#ixzz0uHsP9mzD
    That’s the modern liberal for you: free speech for me, jail time for Fox News. Constitution? What Constitution? They are obviously eying the career path of writers for Pravda in the old USSR as their hope of salvation: since they are writing full-time propaganda for Obama anyway, they want the safety a government paycheck.
    This comes on top of yesterday’s scoop, where Journolist journalists agreed to deflect attention from the Rev. Wright scandal by calling some conservative opinion writers like Karl Rove and Fred Barnes racist. Not on the basis of any evidence, mind you. Just as a diversion to protect the Obama candidacy.
    Good on Tucker Carlson for getting the Journoist archives. I have a feeling there is lot’s of reading pleasure left. Maybe this can prove to independents what conservatives already knew to be true about the MSM.

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  17. Don Bacon says:

    *John Hagee argues that the land of Palestine does not belong to the Arabs, and that the name “Palestine” (deriving from that of the ancient Philistines) was imposed by the Roman Emperor Hadrian to punish the Jews for their revolt against the Roman Empire.
    *John Hagee maintains there is no Palestinian language, and no historic Palestinian nation, and that most people identifying as Palestinians immigrated from other Arab states.
    *John Hagee strongly and vocally supports an American-Israeli pre-emptive military strike on Iran.
    *John Hagee, in 2007, stated that he does not believe in global warming.
    *John Hagee denounces abortion.
    *John Hagee has spoken out against homosexuality and said in 2006 “that there was to be a homosexual parade there [New Orleans] on the Monday that the Katrina came.”
    *John Hagee believes that Catholicism is “A Godless theology of hate that no one dared try to stop for a thousand years produced a harvest of hate.”
    *John Hagee claimed that Adolf Hitler’s antisemitism derived especially from his Catholic background.
    etc.
    The man is sick, and how could anyone support him.

    Reply

  18. nadine says:

    Wigwag, thanks for your take. I can’t see how Meek gets 40% of any vote when the DNC is already throwing him under the bus in favor of Crist. I know Crist is leading the polls now but if ever there was a year for a party-switching, say-anything, political whore to lose, this is the year, and Marco Rubio is an attractive candidate who beat Crist once already. So we’ll just have to wait and see.

    Reply

  19. nadine says:

    Apparently you didn’t follow the many previous chapters of this soap opera. This is a long-running dispute within Israel and between America and Israel: Israel gives too much political power to the (often king-making) orthodox parties, they in turn demand to be gatekeepers of who is a Jew, who converts, who marries, much to the disgust of the 85% of Israelis who are secular and of the American Jewish community, most of which is not Orthodox.
    This conversion bill is just the latest chapter of the saga. BTW, its opponents have got it tabled until the winter session of Knesset.
    So no, I don’t have it wrong.

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  20. Don Bacon says:

    Here’s “Doctor” Hagee preaching for the Washington Summit, July 20-22.
    “The threats to Israel are growing daily. Iran continues to make rapid progress towards its goal of obtaining nuclear weapons.”
    Iran has no such goal.
    Vienna, Aug 10, 2005 IRNA-Iran is a nuclear fuel cycle technology holder, a capability which is exclusively for peaceful purposes, said a statement issued by the Islamic Republic at the emergency meeting of the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna on Tuesday evening. The Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has issued the fatwa (religious decree) that the production, stockpiling, and use of nuclear weapons are forbidden under Islam and that Iran shall never acquire these weapons, it added.
    “And, perhaps most troubling of all, relations between Israel and the United States have reached their lowest point in decades.”
    News report, July 11, 20010:
    Netanyahu: U.S., Israel Alliance Is Not Faltering
    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his meeting in Washington with President Obama should lay “to rest” the idea that the decades-old alliance between their two countries has frayed. “If anyone thought that there was a change of U.S. policy or daylight between Israel and the United States on these questions, I think he did a lot to lay that to rest,” Netanyahu said.
    So “Doctor” Hagee is full of BS. But most of us knew that.
    photo: http://tinyurl.com/3xe4c98

    Reply

  21. Dan Kervick says:

    “… how many Jews vote Republican in November?”
    Jews vote Republican? How is this possible? Didn’t all the Jews in America get one of those “Hey Jews, send us your money!” emails from the White House?
    I think the emails probably reminded them that Obama had presided over a Christian Seder at passover. No doubt they will also inform the community that Malia is going to have a Christian Bat Mitzvah and Joe Biden is going to be the beneficiary of a long overdue Christian Bris.

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  22. WigWag says:

    Wigwag, what’s your prediction for how many Jews vote Republican in November? (Nadine)
    You ask an interesting question, Nadine. I wonder about it myself.
    Of course, most Jews will still vote Democratic; but it all depends on how you cut the cake.
    Remember, Jews are not evenly spread out around the country. Far and away the largest number of Jews lives in New York and they will vote Democratic in overwhelming numbers (probably approaching 90 percent). There are 2 New York senatorial elections this year; Schumer and Gillibrand (special election to fill Hillary’s seat). Both candidates are running essentially unopposed and both are extremely popular with Jews (Schumer is Jewish himself). Andrew Cuomo (Mario’s son) is running for Governor and he is also immensely popular with Jewish voters.
    The states that are more interesting are Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida.
    In Pennsylvania, the race between Toomey and Sestak is very close and could easily be decided by just a percent or two. Had he been nominated, Arlen Specter would have won about 80 percent of the Jewish vote; Sestak can’t expect to do nearly that well. My guess is that Sestak will get 60-70 percent of the Jewish vote; if he doesn’t, he’s toast. Pro-Israel credentials could very well turn out to be the deciding factor in this race. As I mentioned in an earlier comment, Sestak has probably already lost the Christian Zionist vote in Central and Western Pennsylvania; if he doesn’t win by a large enough margin in the Philadelphia suburbs (where many Jews live), it’s hard to see how he can win. Watch for Sestak to spend the next few months kissing every Jewish tuchas he can attach his lips to.
    How Jews will vote in the gubernatorial race between Onorato (D) and Corbett (R) I haven’t a clue.
    In Ohio, the Jewish vote could significantly impact both the Governors and Senatorial race. The Strickland-Kasich race will be close and both candidates are close to the Jewish community. My guess is that Jews will go for Strickland in relatively big numbers; what’s relevant to watch here are the results from the Cleveland suburbs (and to a much lesser extent the Toledo suburbs).
    The Ohio Senatorial race is more interesting; the Republican, Rob Portman, will probably win but his victory isn’t a sure thing. His Democratic opponent, Lee Fisher, is Jewish and I suspect will be very attractive to Jewish voters. Portman probably has a big enough lead that the Jewish vote won’t be determinative.
    Florida is also an interesting case. As you know, we have a 3 way race between Crist, Rubio and Meek. I like Meek very much and plan to vote for him (I’ve also campaigned for him a little and given him money). Under normal circumstances, Meek could expect to do extremely well with the Jewish vote in Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties; but not this year. Obama is so unpopular that the Democrats are poison all over Florida. There’s little Kendrick can do to change that. I think that Crist will get much more of the Jewish vote than Rubio. If forced to make a prediction I would say that Meek gets 40 percent of the Jewish vote; Crist gets 40 percent and Rubio gets 20 percent. If I were a betting man I would bet that Crist will be the next Senator from Florida (even though Steve Clemons doesn’t like the fact that he’s a closeted gay politician).
    In the Florida gubernatorial race, Alex Sink, the Democrat is just the kind of moderate, intelligent and business-like candidate who appeals to Jewish voters. My prediction is that she gets 65 percent of the Jewish vote but loses anyway. None of the potential Republican candidates, especially Bill McCollum will appeal to Jewish voters.
    It should be fun to watch.

    Reply

  23. Don Bacon says:

    Nadine: “Jews always have some fractious controversy going on, haven’t you noticed?”
    NPR:
    “A battle is brewing that is pitting the powerful American Jewish community against some of the leading Jewish figures in Israel.
    “Over the weekend, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the disagreement over a controversial law that deals with conversion to Judaism could “tear apart” the Jewish people.
    “America is a close second to Israel in terms of how many Jews live there. And the U.S. Jewish community is vital in terms of the political, financial and moral support it lends the Jewish state. So when a senior Jewish delegation representing some of the most powerful Jewish groups comes from the U.S. to Jerusalem for an emergency meeting, it’s serious.”//
    It seems like you’ve got it wrong again, haven’t you noticed?

    Reply

  24. nadine says:

    Wigwag, what’s your prediction for how many Jews vote Republican in November?

    Reply

  25. nadine says:

    Israelis Jews always have some fractious controversy going on, haven’t you noticed? But they are united over the threat from Iran.

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  26. JohnH says:

    Wow! Mark Lynch had an epiphany! Iran is not that strong.
    For Lynch’s information, Iran never was that strong. Their whole defense budget is the equivalent of what the US spends in 6 weeks in Afghanistan. The Iranian bogeyman has been inflated out of hot air, mostly, it would appear, because the US needs a bogeyman, now matter how small and weak.
    The problem for US planners is that Iran’s cheap, asymmetric deterrence might be just enough to give the US military a serious black eye. Unlike Iraq and Afghanistan, Iran is not prostrate. That means that Iran might just give the US some heartburn–like severely damaging the Persian Gulf’s oil infrastructure, taking the global economy down with it.
    And then one has yet to talk about the aftermath of an attack. Why are all the Washington geniuses refusing to talk about it? Will it be like Iraq? Afghanistan? Worse?
    The US has shown tremendous destructive capabilities but few constructive ones. And its regime changes have not achieved anything close to positive outcomes.
    So who will serve as the next bogeyman? Chad? Burkina Faso? Moldova? The national security mob has to inflate somebody as a whipping boy, the weaker the better. Massive increases in “defense” budgets depend on it.

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  27. Don Bacon says:

    It’s nice that “thousands of American Christians” are united for Israel, because Israel’s Jews certainly aren’t at the moment, what with this conversion controversy going on. Just as long as those thousands of Christians United for Israel don’t ever expect to become citizens of “the only democracy in the Middle East.”
    Put your money on Hagee? America has produced a hundred religious wackos like “Doctor” Hagee and I wouldn’t give you a plugged nickel for any of them. Neither should you.

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  28. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Then, of course, in contrast to the wackjob Hagee, you have Christians that actually act like, and are, Christians….
    http://mondoweiss.net/2010/07/presbyterians-insist-on-breaking-down-the-walls-in-israelpalestine-despite-pressure-from-the-jewish-community.html
    Presbyterians insist on

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  29. Carroll says:

    Bombing Iran could be just the ticket (if you don’t care about a lot dead people)…if that’s what it takes to get rid of the zionist and Israel.
    Sur,e the American people will suffer for it, but that’s good too, they need a real wake up call. And what it would cost the US in every way would be a hell of a wake up call.

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  30. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “This is the fourth annual conference sponsored by this group founded by Pastor John Hagee”
    Leave it to Wiggie to lionize a religious wackjob. The fact that this deranged piece of shit Hagee is is gaining in popularity, (if it is in fact, a fact) doesn’t bode well for mankind. Its kinda intriguing though, noting how many Jews are now embracing these little mini-me racists like Hagee. Anyone buying into his line of crap is a sick puppy indeed. One wonders what Wiggie woulda done if placed in contact with Charles Manson or Jim Jones while they were recruiting.

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  31. WigWag says:

    It’s interesting to note that over the next four days, thousands of American Christians are converging on Washington, D.C. for the annual convention of “Christians United for Israel” or CUFI. They expect to send representatives to every Senatorial and Congressional office and their main message will be that the United States needs to do whatever it takes to eliminate the possibility that Iran might obtain nuclear weapons. Their emphasis will be on the “whatever it takes” part.
    For those who might be interested, here

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  32. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Why The Need To Bomb Iran?”
    Obama…
    “Because I won’t rest until we do”
    Hillary Clinton…
    “Because of the money my pimps in the arms industry can make, and AIPAC has promised me they’ll use a lubricant”
    Netanyahu…
    “Because I told you to”
    Nadine…
    “Because it is populated by those genetically inferior brown people. Besides, I love the smell of burning Muslims in the morning”
    Satan…
    “Because it may well lead to a third world war, and the prospect of a nuclear holocaust turns me on greatly”
    The citizens of the United States…
    “Because Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Rachel Maddow and MEMRI have told us all about that crazy bastard Acne-aint-he-bad. Don’t ya know he eats Jews for lunch???”

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  33. Don Bacon says:

    nadine: “That’s one reason Saudi Arabia is obviously panicked over the prospect of Iranian nukes.”
    No panic, but some Saudi diplomats have complained that, since 2003, the United States has permitted Iran to gain in influence in the region at the expense of Saudi Arabia and other states with Sunni majorities. Iran

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  34. nadine says:

    “The whole region is over-rated. Why don’t we just cancel all our ME aid programs and alliances, get our soldiers out, maintain cordial but aloof relations with all parties and buy our oil from whomever happens to own it at any given time?” (Dan Kervick)
    Sure, why not? Let all the locals have one big regional war to shake out the new pecking order. I’m sure the rest of the world can find a substitute for Mideast oil while they get their new order together.
    On second thought, there are reasons this doesn’t sound like a great idea to anybody except Iran, which has high hopes of emerging top dog.
    “Iran is not a weak country. It has the capability to sink US warships, close the Strait of Hormuz, create havoc in Iraq and Afghanistan, fire missiles into Israel both from Iran and from Lebanon, jack the price of oil way up, and that’s only a start. ” (Don Bacon)
    Don , Iran is both a weak country with major internal rifts (mullahs vs Green Movement, Persians vs non-Persians, secession movements by various Kurdish, Turks and Arab populations) and a strong one with 75 million people and thousands of years of history, often as the regional ruler.
    Right now Iran is a big country with a big youth bulge and a shaky revolutionary Islamist regime. War is a big temptation to such a regime, which we know from their history has no regard for Iranian life, let alone anybody else’s. There are also a lot of Mahdist millenial nutcases running around their elite, some of whom are true believers in high places. Not the sort you want with their finger on the button.
    Whatever you say about the temptations of war to Obama goes triple for the mullahs. They may be tempted into action by Obama’s provocative displays of American weakness. If you’re inclined to look for signs from Allah, having an American president named “Hussein” who keeps ignoring your affronts and flattering you and begging you to engage with him, might make you think Allah is giving you a big green light. Even if they are not so inclined, they can advertise that they are, and get the whole region to kowtow to them — once they have the nukes.
    That’s one reason Saudi Arabia is obviously panicked over the prospect of Iranian nukes. There are pervasive (though denied) reports that Saudi Arabia is planning to stand down its air defenses to give Israel an air corridor to attack Iran http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/middle_east/article7148555.ece

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  35. Dan Kervick says:

    “Tell the American people that Iran is no real threat to the United States, but Israel and its Zionist operatives always have been and still are a great threat.”
    The whole region is over-rated. Why don’t we just cancel all our ME aid programs and alliances, get our soldiers out, maintain cordial but aloof relations with all parties and buy our oil from whomever happens to own it at any given time?
    We have 437 spy agencies watching all the web sites for terrorist upstarts. I think we have it covered.

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  36. Don Bacon says:

    Lawrence Davidson, professor of history at West Chester University, has some advice for Obama: “Tell the American people that Iran is no real threat to the United States, but Israel and its Zionist operatives always have been and still are a great threat.”
    You mean tell the truth, as Obama has promised to do? “The American people weren’t just failed by a President – they were failed by much of Washington. By a media that too often reported spin instead of facts. . .I will always tell the American people the truth.” — Senator Obama, Oct 2, 2008
    I don’t think that’s a real possibility, especially with an expensive election coming up soon.

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  37. samuelburke says:

    {“Shouldn

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  38. Don Bacon says:

    Marc Lynch’s position that Iran is weaker now is just wrong. The reason for the war talk is because Iran has the US by the short hairs in the Middle East by any measure. Iran is militarily strong and also politically strong with its increasing influence in Iraq, Syria, Turkey, Lebanon and even Afghanistan. Iran also has strong cultural and economic ties with Pakistan, India, China, Malaysia and Japan (Iran’s chief export customer).
    India and China particularly would be upset were anything to happen to its important petroleum supplier particularly when their economies are booming.
    In regards to military attacks, the United States has a recent history of (1) picking on relatively weak countries and (2) losing the ensuing war. (Well, not always. Grenada was tight at first but the US won in the end.)
    Iran is not a weak country. It has the capability to sink US warships, close the Strait of Hormuz, create havoc in Iraq and Afghanistan, fire missiles into Israel both from Iran and from Lebanon, jack the price of oil way up, and that’s only a start. So it won’t happen.
    Obama is currently getting his war-fingers thoroughly burnt in Afghanistan, and while he might benefit from a new military action as a distraction from domestic economic and political woes he’s not the crusader type. He’s more the ‘let’s shift priority from this war to that war and see how it goes’ type. (It hasn’t gone well.) He definitely won’t go against the Admirals who dislike the prospect of their ships being sunk.
    Meanwhile Iran’s chief antagonist Israel is being politically weakened and thoroughly distracted by an intense disagreement over conversion, which is fun to watch. Apparently the Arabs aren’t the only ones discriminated against in Israel — Jews come in various sizes (of civil rights).
    This talk about attacking Iran has gone on for at least five years. Is there a limit?

    Reply

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