In the Arena

Bomb Iran

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It’s interesting that neoconservative wingnuts like Bill Kristol have now taken the flying leap and are publicly supporting war against Iran. Criticizing statements made by Mike Mullen, Kristol says flat out:

Even assuming the degree and kind of “destabilization” would be the same in both the cases of attack and appeasement (which I don’t think would be so), one scenario–attack–leaves Iran without nuclear weapons, at least for now; the other–appeasement–means Iran would have nuclear weapons going forward. Which unstable outcome is less damaging to U.S. interests? I think the answer is pretty clear: An attacked Iran that does not have nukes.

Several problems with this. First, the U.S. military has told both Presidents Bush and Obama that it has no confidence it can find, or destroy, all of Iran’s nuclear sites. So the “Iran without nuclear weapons” option doesn’t exist. (It should be noted that Kristol is exaggerating for effect here–Iran doesn’t have nuclear weapons.) Second, the U.S. military has told both Presidents Bush and Obama that it is unanimously opposed to bombing Iran for the reasons that ADmiral Mullen suggests–it would further destabilize the region, including potential attacks against U.S. troops in Iraq and terrorist attacks on the U.S. homeland, plus another round of Hizballah aggression against Israel.

Finally, I love the way Kristol–who is, as always, more propagandist than thinker–lays out the choices as “attack” ¬†or “appeasement.” The real options here are war or “containment and deterrence.” The latter would seek to isolate Iran in the region, contain any Iranian aggression against its neighbors, and construct a strong anti-Iranian alliance of neighboring states who would be provided with nuclear protection by the United States. This strategy is not new: it won the cold war.

In any case, this latest warmongering represents another major step away from reality by Kristol and Company. It would be dangerous if these folks hadn’t scurried so far away from the mainstream of national security theory.