Thursday, May 31, 2007

WSJ Features NeoCon Call For Attack On Iran

NeoCon Norman Podhoretz was given an entire page in the Wall Street Journal yesterday to declare the urgent need for the United States to attack Iran in a massive air campaign.

A kooky call like this from a longtime shill for Israel could be deservedly ignored save for the august forum in America's top financial newspaper where his propagandizing was accorded a good measure of undeserved credibility.

The Case for Bombing Iran: I hope and pray that President Bush will do it.

Since a ground invasion of Iran must be ruled out for many different reasons, the job would have to be done, if it is to be done at all, by a campaign of air strikes. Furthermore, because Iran's nuclear facilities are dispersed, and because some of them are underground, many sorties and bunker-busting munitions would be required. And because such a campaign is beyond the capabilities of Israel, and the will, let alone the courage, of any of our other allies, it could be carried out only by the United States. Even then, we would probably be unable to get at all the underground facilities, which means that, if Iran were still intent on going nuclear, it would not have to start over again from scratch. But a bombing campaign would without question set back its nuclear program for years to come, and might even lead to the overthrow of the mullahs.

The opponents of bombing--not just the usual suspects but many both here and in Israel who have no illusions about the nature and intentions and potential capabilities of the Iranian regime--disagree that it might end in the overthrow of the mullocracy. On the contrary, they are certain that all Iranians, even the democratic dissidents, would be impelled to rally around the flag. And this is only one of the worst-case scenarios they envisage. To wit: Iran would retaliate by increasing the trouble it is already making for us in Iraq. It would attack Israel with missiles armed with nonnuclear warheads but possibly containing biological or chemical weapons. There would be a vast increase in the price of oil, with catastrophic consequences for every economy in the world, very much including our own. The worldwide outcry against the inevitable civilian casualties would make the anti-Americanism of today look like a lovefest.

I readily admit that it would be foolish to discount any or all of these scenarios. Each of them is, alas, only too plausible. Nevertheless, there is a good response to them, and it is the one given by John McCain. The only thing worse than bombing Iran, McCain has declared, is allowing Iran to get the bomb.

And yet those of us who agree with McCain are left with the question of whether there is still time. If we believe the Iranians, the answer is no. In early April, at Iran's Nuclear Day festivities, Ahmadinejad announced that the point of no return in the nuclearization process had been reached. If this is true, it means that Iran is only a small step away from producing nuclear weapons. But even supposing that Ahmadinejad is bluffing, in order to convince the world that it is already too late to stop him, how long will it take before he actually turns out to have a winning hand?

If we believe the CIA, perhaps as much as 10 years. But CIA estimates have so often been wrong that they are hardly more credible than the boasts of Ahmadinejad. Other estimates by other experts fall within the range of a few months to six years. Which is to say that no one really knows. And because no one really knows, the only prudent--indeed, the only responsible--course is to assume that Ahmadinejad may not be bluffing, or may only be exaggerating a bit, and to strike at him as soon as it is logistically possible.

Podhoretz also states that the Afghanistan and Iraq wars were merely the opening acts of a new way of dealing with the Islamic world:

(T)he military campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq cannot be understood if they are regarded as self-contained wars in their own right. Instead we have to see them as fronts or theaters that have been opened up in the early stages of a protracted global struggle. The same thing is true of Iran. As the currently main center of the Islamofascist ideology against which we have been fighting since 9/11, and as (according to the State Department's latest annual report on the subject) the main sponsor of the terrorism that is Islamofascism's weapon of choice, Iran too is a front in World War IV. Moreover, its effort to build a nuclear arsenal makes it the potentially most dangerous one of all.

Rants such as this -- especially when given the imprimatur of a influential newspaper -- are sure to stoke the emotions of the masses towards the necessity of having to do something about Iran. The goal here is to make action inevitable.

When action is seen as necessary and inevitable, it becomes much easier for policymakers to get away with normally unimaginable conduct.

Like attacking another country in a crackpot scheme of preventive war.


Anonymous Nick Goldwater said...

The tug o' war doth continue.

Izzy and the stateside gimpy warriors were (and are) cornered and desperate, they need an attack - but will they pull off forcing an attack where better minds seem to be prevailing with black ops and backdoor diplomacy...or will they and their kooky antes go down with a whimper?

A comeback ain't outta da books - but then again neither is a mutiny among the highest echelons of the military.

This reminds me of a paper I read way back when:

I notice Israel getting all the more agitated as Iraq plunges and Iran rises - and the U.S. speaks of relative kinetic disengagement...Israel now seeming to throw away more and more opportunities to keep up the facade of civility, opting instead to just letting their brutality vis รก vis Palestine all hang out.

It looks like Izzy be a preparing for yet a massive summer campaign against the occupied territories - and perhaps more. They will not be stood up after the romancing they've been getting from Bush et al for the last 7 years.

But now me but a ramblin'...

5/31/2007 6:05 PM  
Anonymous NG said...

PS ....but like the coups of our past that all fleeted by silently like ships in the night, this potentially pending coup I speak of will also leave little more than perhaps a footnote in some esoteric historiographic essay of the future.

But geez, it sure does smell like bacon's startin' to prance on da skillet, don't it now?

5/31/2007 6:15 PM  
Blogger Effwit said...


Yep, the bacon is starting to sizzle.

Outstanding comments. And interesting link there. The paper rings a bell -- an updated version of the old "Seven Days in May" scenario.

The speculation about action in the occupied territories this Summer is coming along right on schedule.

There is plenty of talk out there that E. Abrams is helpfully orchestrating the Palestinian Civil War.

There are also rumors that Israel is seeking some sort of a peace treaty with Syria, but that the U.S. is trying to nix the initiative.

5/31/2007 6:33 PM  
Blogger DrewL said...

Podhoretz certainly is a PNACing neo-conservative to the nth degree. While it's been ten years since the now infamous PNAC Statement of Principles were published, I often will go back and read them...just to make sure that what I read before is really still there, in black and white, for all to see. And this portion of the document continues to ring true:

"As the 20th century draws to a close, the United States stands as the world's preeminent power. Having led the West to victory in the Cold War, America faces an opportunity and a challenge: Does the United States have the vision to build upon the achievements of past decades? Does the United States have the resolve to shape a new century favorable to American principles and interests?"

It's really pretty chilling - and prophetic - to go back and read the PNAC spew. It certainly explains an awful lot about events of the past 6-7 years. Yet, nobody seems willing to connect the dots and hold people accountable. Strange.

5/31/2007 9:32 PM  
Blogger Effwit said...


The refusal of most Americans to be alarmed at the extent the PNACers hijacked U.S. foreign policy is indeed most strange.

Admittedly, most Americans probably have never heard of PNAC, but even those who are really knowledgeable about international affairs have mainly kept silent about the ulterior motives of the cabal.

The insidious influence of the Israel Lobby has to be a factor.

But the PNACers will be held accountable by circumstances for their actions. Already their grand vision for a "New American Century" has been destroyed by the consequences of the U.S. having followed the PNAC program.

They (and the USA itself) have been terminally discredited. That's why each are now trying to cast blame elsewhere for the fiasco they created.

6/01/2007 7:05 AM  

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