A featured op-ed in yesterday’s Washington Post is entitled in the printed edition “A Nuclear Iran. Would America Strike to Prevent it?” with the subtitle “Imagining Obama’s response to an Iranian missile crisis.” The authors are Steven Simon and Ray Takeyh, both fellows of the Council on Foreign relations, where leading neocon Max Boot also hangs his hat. The lengthy article explores the ins and outs of building an international consensus and actually taking military action against Iran but it never answers the question “Why?” It does not even attempt to make any case whatsoever that Iran poses a threat against the United States given the fact that Tehran does not appear to have a nuclear weapons program, has agreed to renegotiate a plan to export its uranium for enrichment, and has no track record of attacking any of its neighbors. Where’s the threat, guys, particularly as you’re talking about a war that even you concede might well be prolonged against a “damaged but dangerous adversary.”
It’s truly amazing how people who sit behind a desk at some think tank can contemplate war as if it is some kind of a board game. The scary thing about this type of pseudo-intellectual nonsense is that it builds a consensus that war with Iran is a natural development because it is the right and sensible thing to do. The authors, who, in other circumstances, might reasonably be regarded as knowledgeable, also seem disconnected from reality. At one point they suggest that Obama would have to “connect” with a number of groups to try to sell a policy embracing a new war. One of the groups they identify is Congress, as if America’s legislators would boldly take a stand to resist the rush to war. Presumably Takeyh and Simon have not read current HR 1553, which green lights an Israeli attack on Iran, or any of the other resolutions and legislation that have come out of Congress over the past three years excoriating the Mullahs. Or they could listen to some of the speeches being made by Senators Joe Lieberman, John McCain, Lindsay Graham, and John Kyl. The fact is that there are a lot of very loud and strident voices calling for war with Iran and very few saner folks who are saying “Wait a minute.” I sometimes wonder how the Washington Post and pundits like Takeyh and Simon will explain it if they do get their war and it turns out to be a God-awful disaster for the United States which, predictably, will be the case.