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Bomb Iran? Craziest Idea of the Century (So Far) Print E-mail
by Jack Matlock    Fri, Aug 20, 2010, 07:01 PM

Those of us spending our August out in the boonies may have missed the blog frenzy emanating from Washington the past few weeks predicting that Israel is insisting on bombing Iran’s nuclear facilities to remove an “existential threat.”  If the U.S. is not willing to do so, the story line goes, Israel will have to do the job itself. The blog hysteria took wings when the Atlantic magazine published an article by Jeffrey Goldberg in its September issue which portrayed the Netanyahu government as irrationally bent on bombing the Iranian nuclear sites.

Such an action would border on insanity, as, apparently, American military leaders understand. Both the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, it is reported, strongly oppose any U.S. support for an attack on Iran.  The results, in fact, would be disastrous since Iran has the capability to close the Straits of Hormuz to shipping, thus choking off a major portion of oil exported to world markets.

It also would not ensure that Iran will not acquire a nuclear weapons capability.  An attack on Iran would be viewed in most Islamic countries as an attack on Islam.  Under such conditions, the security of Pakistan’s weapons could not be assured.

Therefore, an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities not only would fail to achieve any rational objective, but would actually produce a greater threat than the one it was supposed to eliminate.

Most likely, hard-line Iranian leaders like Ahmadinejad would actually welcome an Israeli attack. It would strengthen their hand against the democratic elements who believe (rightly) that the last election was stolen.  It would allow Ahmadinejad  to rally much of the Islamic world against the U.S. and Israel and greatly increase the threat of terrorist attacks within the U.S.

The resolution now making its way in Congress to encourage an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities is sheer idiocy.  Truly, its sponsors know not what they do! It may seem a cheap bone to throw to ill-informed constituents, but it is truly dangerous.  It just gives more apparent justification in Iran for the necessity of getting hold of the bomb, lest it be invaded like Iraq was (to the delight of the Iranian hard-liners!).

Iran, even with nuclear weapons, does not pose an existential threat to Israel, as fanatics claim.  Iran’s leaders, though unprincipled hoodlums, are not suicidal and Israel’s reported hundred or so nuclear weapons are sufficient to pose an existential threat to Iran.

I do not believe that Bibi Netanyahu is as deranged on this issue as Jeffrey Goldberg pictures him. He is a master manipulator, and I believe that he and his Likud-minded colleagues are using the issue to distract attention from Israeli policies that are making the peace process impossible: the continuation of settlement activity in the West Bank and the illegal isolation of the Gaza strip.  These are policies that make a true settlement with the Palestinians impossible. They are policies that empower Iranian diplomacy in the area, even in Arab countries  which traditionally fear Iranian influence.

The most serious existential threat to a Jewish state in Palestine comes from the policies of the existing Israeli government. All the bru-ha-ha about an alleged “existential threat” from Iran is most likely designed to deflect U.S. and world attention from that fundamental fact.

Among the many comments on this issue, I would recommend in particular those by Gary Milhollin, by Robert Wright in the New York Times Blog, and by Arnaud de Borchgrave.


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Comments (11)add comment
written by Reza Hamidi , August 21, 2010

Great article

written by ElHombre , August 21, 2010

A good article EXCEPT for an important piece of information that should have been included:

"The resolution now making its way in Congress to encourage an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities..."

I presume he's talking about HR 1553. It's sponsored by teabagger Republican idiots including 'terror anchor babies' Gohmert, Michelle 'bats**t insane' Bachmann, and Joe 'I apologize to BP' Barton. It has no chance of going anywhere in a Dem-controlled Congress. So those actually worried about an attack on Iran should keep that foremost in mind this November before voting R.

written by ElHombre , August 21, 2010

Incidentally, I wonder what Wes Riddle thinks about this subject? He's a teabagger. Does he support bombing Iran?

written by Steve Heath , August 21, 2010

Wes may be a Tea pary leader, but he clearly is no Neocon. He can speak for himself, but based on past articles, I am reasonably ceratin Wes Riddle does not support bombing Iran.

Why? Because bombing Iran is insane -just like invading Iraq. Anyone who does not understand this is not fit for public office -at least not in America - maybe in israel where it arguably serves their national interests -but not here.

Unfortunately most of our Congress is either intimidated by AIPAC and the israeli Lobby or the wacko fundamentalist dispensationalists. That's why we need to throw out almost all incumbents -from both parties.

written by tcj59 , August 21, 2010

I believe bombing Iran would be the worst possible event. Just as Saddamn's war with Iran entrenched the present rulers, this would have the same effect.

If Israel really wanted to get the jump on Iran they would resolve the Palestine issue sooner than latter. People with something to lose tend to be more rational in their actions than those locked up in one the world's biggest slums with nothing but fear.

It would be hard to justify Iran's revolutionary existence to it's own people if all they had to fight against was true democracy.

written by ming on mongo , August 22, 2010

In five years, however, I believe that the coming invasion of Iraq will be remembered as an act of profound morality.

written by Persepolis Lives. , August 22, 2010

Unlike the West. Iran DOES NOT forget it's History !
It still to this day,hasn't forgotten how Alexander The Great(Butcher!),Burned down Persepolis over 2,500 Years ago! And even though the ENTIRE Persian Empire was Zoroastrian.Iranians LOVE to remind the rest of the World,they ARE NOT Arabs! and have kept thier Persian heritage,Although it being Islam.
If Isreal TRULY wants to Start World war III ?
Be my guest ! This World is Insane enough as it is !
Why not have Israel,push it OVER the EDGE !
By the way,I'm still waiting for Israel to acknowledge they have over 100 NUKES! Just like President Carter said on C.N.N.
Good Luck to US ALL !

written by rufuslevin , August 22, 2010

Bombing Iran is not as insane as allowing Iran to acquire a nuclear bomb. Then ALL the middle eastern countries will JUST HAVE to have a nuke also...and that is not going to protect the oil flow either.

Letting TRADE and OIL get in the way of world SECURITY is what I call INSANE...and mostly promoted by chickenhawks.

written by carloszaldivar , August 22, 2010

...this is the story of the two options: one take over Iran, or they have to back out their plans.

written by rufuslevin , August 23, 2010

Or...assassination comes to mind....Massad could do that easily.

written by Terrahertz , August 26, 2010

There will be no attack even if Iran goes fully nuclear since Iran is fully capable of defending itself. Iran is twice as large and as populous as Afghanistan and Iraq combined. Besides Saddam and Taliband did not have long range missiles. Nukes are good but the truth Iran already has WMDs such as nerve gas and as readers might know Iran is one of the top countries in the world in biotechnology so they probably have bioweapons too. Closing the hormuz will create a deep depression in west something which under today's condition will be lethal to the capitalist system of the west. Remember if people in west go unemployed and hungry will come to street just like they come out in developing countries and west does not have the luxury of using lethal force on them so the governments will topple or democracy and human rights in west will. That is not all the leverage Iran has. Iran won a war with Israel in 2006. And did you know that Iran intercepts more heroine and opium than the rest of the world combined. Did you know that this opium comes out of watchful eyes of NATO in Afghanistan and NATO is compeletely powerless to stop it. If it were not for Iran and its draconian punishment of smugglers Afghanistan producing 96% of world's opium would have no trouble to supply the entire population of EU. Right now enough dope is not getting to EU thanks to Iran, if Iran changes that policy, I am sure Europeans would be running to Tehran for "negotiations". Lets hope it never comes to that.

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