By now you have probably read or at least heard about Jeffrey Goldberg’s cover story for the latest Atlantic. In the story, entitled “Point of No Return,” argues that before next July there is a greater than 50 percent chance that Israel will launch and air strike on Iran in order to eliminate the Islamic Republic’s nuclear threat. It is a long and well researched article that is clearly aiming to normalize the idea of another Middle Eastern war. In essence, though, the article is arguing that because an American attack would be more effective, the US should move militarily to prevent a smaller, and therefore more risky, Israeli strike.
As Alex Kane point out, Goldberg’s piece is not only simply one in a line of war-mongering propaganda pieces, but it is also an example of why we should not ever listen to Goldberg’s calls for war:
Goldberg’s is just the latest in a line of recent stories from neo-conservatives and others on Israel or the U.S. bombing Iran (The Weekly Standard, 7/26/10; The Washington Post, 8/1/10) [I would add Eisenstadt and Crist].
Why anyone would listen to Goldberg or give him space in a magazine to hype up the threat from another Middle Eastern country is beyond comprehension, given Goldberg’s role in printing propaganda about Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction and Iraq’s ties to al-Qaeda (The New Yorker, 3/25/02; 2/10/03; Slate, 10/3/02). That turned out wonderfully, remember?
I will reserve my thoughts on the piece for another post and dedicate this post to the quick and massive response to the Atlantic.
[tweetmeme] – Steve Clemons relives the last days of the last American Administration when President Bush refused to bow to the ”bomber boys” in Washington that were pressing the President to move to war on Iran. If the ideologically motivated Bush realized the perils of a third Middle Eastern war and refused to move on Iran, why would the incrementalist Obama be any different? Clemons also reiterates the possible shifts in global power that could accompany such an unwise attack.
– The Leveretts remind us (twice) that Goldberg was part of the propagandists that led the US into an unnecessary and disastrous war in Iraq and is using ‘flimsy,’ ‘false’ and ‘irresponsible’ arguments to push America into another costly war.
– Walt allows others to discuss why striking Iran is a foolish idea, but instead focuses on (and I suppose contributes to) the normalization of the idea of war against Iran in America. If we keep public debate about a strike on Iran lively and in the headlines, Americans will slowly accept the idea as inevitable.
– Tony Karon wonders why, if all Goldberg says is true, the Israelis and Americans are talking to him. The answer, per Karon, is simply that Goldberg was used as a PR tool by both sides to send various messages to Washington (from Israel), Israel (from Washington), Iran (Washington) and the American public (Washington).
– Glenn Greenwald uses Goldberg’s article as well as his previous forays into war-mongering as proof that Goldberg, when it comes to Israel, is nothing more than a simple propaganda artists dangerously painting assumptions as fact.
– Matt Duss underlines the potential (or, perhaps, likely) catastrophic consequences of an Israeli or American strike as well as dissecting the inability of Israel to unilaterally and quickly take out Iran’s nuclear centers.
– Eli Clifton wonders why Goldberg has any credibility pushing preemptive strikes in the Middle East after his history pushing Iraq and notes, like Karon, that Goldberg is nothing more than a messenger of Israeli desires.
– Woodward sees the article as Israeli blackmail, arguing that the Israelis are forcing Obama to take a more militaristic stance on Iran because an ineffective Israeli strike would be just as damaging to American.
It is also worth nothing that as Goldberg’s article came out, there have also been various reports on the amount of damage that an American strike on Iran would cause. Not only has Iran already dug mass graves for the American soldiers that would inevitably be killed by such a poor decision, American interests all over the region would be threatened by terrorist-style attacks by Iran and its proxies. Iran would also have the ability to attack American targets within Iraq and Afghanistan.
Take a look at some of the responses above as they all make very good points about Goldberg’s piece and what he is really trying to accomplish. Personally, after having the foreign policy debate of the last presidential election based predominantly on withdrawing American troops from the Middle East, I have to wonder how foolish America would be to engage in Iraq 2.0.
Photo from the Nation