You see, despite the media selling our last disastrous war in Iraq, they haven’t learned anything. They seem to be applying the same low standards of journalism with respect to Iran- just mindlessly repeating every government talking point and hyping up the threat posed by a nation that hasn’t been involved in a war since the Iran-Iraq War, a war which Iraq initiated. A friend of mine, who happens to be a nuclear physicist, goes ballistic whenever he reads the NYT or Haaretz or Washington Post talking about “enriched uranium” and “highly enriched uranium” without the slightest bit of background about what actually is involved in not only creating the necessary components for a nuclear weapon, but actually getting it to work.
That the exact same arguments that were used to mislead us into war with Iraq, are being used to justify a potential war or military strike on Iran is troubling.
Yes, Iran is a problem. Iran has been a problem since the 1970’s after the U.S.-instilled Shah of Iran, who was a tyrannical dictator, was overthrown. Of course, Iran was mostly obsessed with Iraq until we were nice enough to get rid of their public enemy #1 and create a power vacuum in the region that they could simply step into.
Iran uses a lot of obnoxious, offensive and threatening language about Israel, no doubt about that. But what are the chances that Iran is going to attack an advanced nuclear weapons state that has both 1st and 2nd strike capability? And that’s assuming that Iran’s nuclear scientists stay alive long enough to jury-rig some sort of nuclear weapon.
The fact of the matter is, prevention and containment is really the only good way to contain Iran’s nuclear ambitions. We do it with Pakistan-India and we do it with North Korea.
Israel, of course, is the main source of pressure on the U.S. to attack Iran, assuming Israel doesn’t do it first. Jeffrey Goldberg wrote an oft-cited article in the Atlantic to r
epeat Netanyahu’s talking points map out the dire circumstances faced by Israel and how Israel would likely attack Iran unless the U.S. did so first. For critiques of Goldberg’s piece, check out this article with links to other opinions.
Now, a former CIA veteran says that the Israeli security establishment is increasingly concerned that Israel’s far right-wing Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, just might be crazy enough to attack Iran- In September. The logic goes that if Israel attacks Iran, the U.S. gets dragged into it too.
Of course, the consequences of such an attack are rarely, if ever, discussed. In addition to likely destroying the Iranian opposition movement and strengthening Mahmoud Ahmadinjad, Israel and the U.S. would be making the world a great deal more unsafe for U.S. interests in the region and around the world. Seriously, how many countries in the region do we think we can attack? Attacking Iran would likely serve as a recruiting tool for terrorism.
I bring all this up because I read this article over on HuffPo by Dovid Efune, who is the Director of the Algemeiner Journal and Gershon Jacobson Foundation. Because I don’t know anything about Mr. Efune, I did a brief google search and lo and behold, Mr. Efune is a frequent contributor to Fox News, seems to put himself out as an expert on the political wants and needs of the entire Jewish community and seems to never have met a war in the Middle East that he didn’t like. He’s been running around lately joining the chorus of people claiming, without too much actual evidence, that Obama is going to lose a significant portion of the Jewish vote because he’s been mean to Israel. I looked up the Gershon Jacobson Foundation and their most recent press release is entitled ““The Media and the Silencing of Support for Israel.” Right. There simply aren’t enough pro-Israel voices in the media.
Here is an excerpt from his article:
However the developing picture rapidly coming into focus is that there is a bourgeoning case for the expedient invasion of Iran. Never has there been as much to gain — and as much at stake — and never has there been a more opportune moment as now.
A July 2, Wall Street Journal article, entitled “Iran Funnels New Weapons to Iraq and Afghanistan,” asserts that ‘Iraq has in recent years been a proxy battlefield for the U.S. and Iran,’ adding that ‘Military officials and defense analysts cite Iran as a prime justification for extending the U.S. presence’ in Iraq. The author also notes, as has been documented, that ‘Iran has grown increasingly aggressive in trying to influence the political rebellions across the Middle East and North Africa,’ saying that ‘in recent months, according to U.S. officials, Iran has also increased its intelligence and propaganda activities in Egypt, Bahrain and Yemen.’
Of course the U.S. and the international community have directed significant resources to all of these vital fronts. But it was an active U.S. serviceman expressing his personal thoughts to me this week who said that “we need to go after the head of the snake, and it’s time we stopped chasing shadows in Afghanistan and fought a real war.”
The weak domestic economy brings possible concern over America’s ability to sustain further military efforts, but as David Broder wrote last year in the Washington Post, “Look back at FDR and the Great Depression. What finally resolved that economic crisis? World War II.” He continued, ” With strong Republican support in Congress for challenging Iran’s ambition to become a nuclear power, (President Obama) can spend much of 2011 and 2012 orchestrating a showdown with the mullahs. This will help him politically because the opposition party will be urging him on. And as tensions rise and we accelerate preparations for war, the economy will improve.”
The anti-war movement often uses the slogan ‘bring our troops home,’ insinuating that they may be tired, weary or fed up with the challenges that they have been presented by their country. But they underestimate the mettle of America’s heroes. Soldiers that I have spoken to are insulted by the suggestion, “the U.S. army is all volunteer” one told me, “those who sign up know what they are in for.” Adding regarding Iran, that “a fresh battle against a known enemy would be a good change of pace for us; it’s only the American public that’s tired of the fight for our ideals.”
Make no mistake, it would be a costly battle on many fronts, and possibly the greatest U.S. military challenge since World War II. Consider, however, what is at stake: no less than the future stability of the world order as we know it. The lives, safety, freedom and security of individuals and nations across the globe. If this is indeed the war to end all Middle East wars, we know with certainty that it will not be fought in vain.
I noticed he didn’t mention Israel once, which is a sure sign it’s all about Israel.
But what astonishes me about this article and people like Dovid Efune is the almost lackadaisical disregard they have for American soldiers’ lives and how he minimizes the consequences of such a war with the usual chicken-hawk refrain of “sure, it won’t be easy, blah, blah, blah.” Notice he tries to preempt the charge of being indifferent to the plight of U.S. solders by claiming he has spoken to several who just can’t wait to leave Afghanistan, Libya and Iraq and go to Iran! There certainly may be soldiers who feel this way, but quoting one or two does not an argument make.
I wonder if Mr. Efune will be volunteering his services should we go to war with Iran? I find the coddled, arrogant elitism of these individuals to be beyond offensive. How quaint of them to beat the drums of war from the safe distance of their their think tanks and endowed chairs at places like Yale, Bar Ilan and Harvard. Is the class issue totally lost on these people, or do they just not care?
Who is going to pay for this war? He doesn’t tell us. What will the U.S. do if Iran engages in military retaliation, which they most certainly will? He doesn’t tell us. What happens when Hezbollah and other militant groups in the region join in? He doesn’t tell us. Has Mr. Efune looked at a map of Iran recently? Take a good long look at Iran’s borders and then come back and tell me that war with Iran will work out well for the U.S. and Israel.
Here’s where the rubber meets the road- if you want war with Iran then walk the walk and also call for a draft with no exclusions.
UPDATE: I looked did a little bit of research to see just how many times over the past ten years or so we’ve said Iran is just two years away from a nuclear weapon and here’s what I found:
In 2010 CIA Director Panetta claimed Iran could have a bomb in 2 years?
“In an EXCLUSIVE interview on “This Week,” CIA Director Leon Panetta said if the Iranians chose to pursue making a nuclear weapon, they could have a bomb in two years.
In Iran, “there is a continuing debate right now about whether or not they ought to proceed with a bomb. But they clearly are developing their nuclear capability and that raises concerns,” Panetta said. “Just exactly what are their intentions?”
“We think they have enough low-enriched uranium right now for two weapons,” the CIA Chief said. “They do have to enrich it fully to get there. And we would estimate if they made that decision, it probably would take a year to get there. Probably take another year to develop the kind of weapon delivery system in order to make that viable,” he told host Jake Tapper.”[emphasis added]
Then there is this run-down of all the previous statements by the US and Israel saying exactly the same thing:
[Who said:] “Iran is the center of terrorism, fundamentalism and subversion and is in my view more dangerous than Nazism, because Hitler did not possess a nuclear bomb, whereas the Iranians are trying to perfect a nuclear option.”
Benjamin Netanyahu 2009? Try again. These words were in fact uttered by another Israeli prime minister (and now Israeli president), Shimon Peres, in 1996. Four years earlier, in 1992, he’d predicted that Iran would have a nuclear bomb by 1999.
You can’t accuse the Israelis of not crying wolf. Ehud Barak, now defense minister, said in 1996 that Iran would be producing nuclear weapons by 2004.
The issue today is Iran and, more precisely, what President Barack Obama will make of Netanyahu’s prescription that, the economy aside, Obama’s great mission is “preventing Iran from gaining nuclear weapons” — an eventuality newly inscribed on Israeli calendars as “months” away.
Israel’s nuclear warheads, whose function is presumably deterrence of precisely powers like Iran, go unmentioned, of course.
What’s going on here? Israel, as it has for nearly two decades, is trying to lock in American support and avoid any disadvantageous change in the Middle Eastern balance of power, now overwhelmingly tilted in Jerusalem’s favor, by portraying Iran as a monstrous pariah state bent on imminent nuclear war…
So, Iran should have had a bomb about 10 times over by now.