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David Rothkopf’s Fever Dream of U.S.-Israeli “Surgical Strike” Against Iran

Every so often I single out some particularly outrageous piece of hasbarist nonsense to illustrate the vacuousness and delusional nature of the war camp’s strategic thinking.  Often my favorite targets are people like Eli Lake, Tom Friedman or Yossi Melman.  But tonight, Foreign Policy’s (FP) David Rothkopf is in the hot seat for offering us a real humdinger.  He asserts that the U.S. and Israel aren’t far apart regarding Iran at all.  In fact, they’ve agreed to launch a “surgical strike” against its nuclear facilities.

You’ve just got to read this crap to believe someone intelligent actually thought it was worth publishing (since he’s FP’s CEO, he got to decide it was):

…According to a source close to the discussions, the action that participants currently see as most likely is a joint U.S.-Israeli surgical strike targeting Iranian enrichment facilities. The strike might take only “a couple of hours” in the best case and only would involve a “day or two” overall, the source said, and would be conducted by air, using primarily bombers and drone support. Advocates for this approach argue that not only is it likely to be more politically palatable in the United States but, were it to be successful — meaning knocking out enrichment facilities, setting the Iranian nuclear program back many years, and doing so without civilian casualties — it would have regionwide benefits. One advocate asserts it would have a “transformative outcome: saving Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, reanimating the peace process, securing the Gulf, sending an unequivocal message to Russia and China, and assuring American ascendancy in the region for a decade to come.”

If I didn’t know better I’d say that the Israeli who thought up this story and Rothkopf had to be certifiably daft to actually believe what they’re pitching here.  A surgical strike lasting only a few hours that sets Iran’s nuclear program back many years, without civilian casualties; and saving the day for American interests and pumping us full of Viagra before our global competitors.  This is truly nuts.  Even nuttier is that an erstwhile serious foreign policy journal would publish it.

Any strike on Iran lasting a few hours would barely scratch the surface of targets that would be necessary to strike in order to incapacitate Iran’s nuclear program.  Even if the U.S. participated such a short attack would hardly dent Iran’s facilities, let alone set it back “many years.”  Most disgusting is the claim that any attack would not harm civilians.  Clearly Rothkopf hasn’t read Khosrow Semnani’s persuasive study which found that up to 85,000 Iranians would die or be maimed by any such attack.

As for turning the U.S. from Clark Kent into Superman as a result of our chest-beating performance as Middle East he-man, not likely.  An attack on Iran won’t save anything or anyone including Syria, Lebanon, or Iraq.  Those nations will rise or fall based on their own domestic considerations.  The notion that U.S. interventionism can manipulate outcomes that favor U.S. interests is precisely the sort of s&$t that got us into the Middle Eastern messes we’ve been in since 2003.  I do so love the notion that flattening Iran will “reanimate” the peace process.  How?  By persuading the Palestinians that this new dynamic U.S.-Israeli duo might do the same to them if they don’t face the music and dance (to Israel’s tune)?

All this may explain why FP’s managing editor, Blake Hounshell tweeted some especially noxious garbage over the past few days saying that it would be more “morally sound” to kill 2,000 Iranian civilians than it would to starve 75-million Iranians through sanctions.  Only a boss holding views like Rothkopf’s would reward such amorality.  Of course, Hounshell published a fawning tweet today that his boss’ ravings were “very interesting.”  Like peas in a pod.

I know and respect many who publish at FP including Mark Perry and Steve Walt.  They must be blushing at least.

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  • Don't be so sure October 9, 2012, 1:20 AM

    RS: “Clearly Rothkopf hasn’t read Khosrow Semnani’s persuasive study which found that up to 85,000 Iranians would die or be maimed by any such attack.”

    Oh, I’m sure he’s aware of it.

    But it’s the American Way to be dismissive of such predictions, all the better to plow on ahead with a little “shock ‘n’ awe”.

    And when the death toll finally comes to light then he’ll just mutter an insincere “Ooops! Well, at least my heart was in the right place, even if our aim was a little wayward”.

    It happens all too often……

  • Dalvey October 9, 2012, 8:16 PM

    What “peace process” is he talking about? As I recall, the “peace process” was the arrangement whereby Israel pays settlers to squat in the WB, more year after year, and the PA gets to think about the destiny of Palestinian people while suppressing active discontent with Israel. Is it this peace process that will reanimated?

  • dickerson3870 October 10, 2012, 7:59 PM

    RE: “Foreign Policy’s (FP) David Rothkopf is in the hot seat for offering us a real humdinger. He asserts that the U.S. and Israel aren’t far apart regarding Iran at all. In fact, they’ve agreed to launch a ‘surgical strike’ against its nuclear facilities.” ~ R.S.

    • FROM WIKIPEDIA [Foreign Policy]: “. . . On September 29, 2008, The Washington Post Company announced that they had purchased Foreign Policy from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.[2] . . .”
    2. ^ The Washington Post Company Acquires Foreign Policy Magazine September 29, 2008
    SOURCE – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foreign_Policy

    MY COMMENT: ‘Nuff said?!?!

  • dickerson3870 October 13, 2012, 4:50 AM

    RE: “Foreign Policy’s (FP) David Rothkopf is in the hot seat for offering us a real humdinger. He asserts that the U.S. and Israel aren’t far apart regarding Iran at all. In fact, they’ve agreed to launch a ‘surgical strike’ against its nuclear facilities.” ~ R.S.

    GLENN GREENWALD, 10/12/12: “Establishment journalists are creatures of a highly ideological world and often cause ideology to masquerade as neutral fact . . . That Iran is some major national security issue for the US is a concoction of the bipartisan DC class that always needs a scary foreign enemy.”

    SEE: “Martha Raddatz and the Faux Objectivity of Journalists”, By Glenn Greenwald,Guardian.com, 10/12/12
    Establishment journalists are creatures of a highly ideological world and often cause ideology to masquerade as neutral fact.

    [EXCERPTS] . . . The highly questionable assumptions tacitly embedded in the questions Raddatz asked illustrate how this works, as does the questions she pointedly and predictably did not ask. Let’s begin with Iran, where Raddatz posed a series of questions and made numerous observations that she undoubtedly believes are factual but which are laden with all sorts of ideological assumptions. First there is this:

    RADDATZ: Let’s move to Iran. I’d actually like to move to Iran, because there’s really no bigger national security . . .
    • RYAN: Absolutely.
    RADDATZ: . . . this country is facing.

    Ryan’s interruption made it difficult to hear whether Raddatz said that there is “no bigger national security threat the country is facing” or “national security issue”. Either way, the very idea that Iran poses some kind of major “national security” crisis for the US – let alone that there is “really no bigger national security” issue “this country is facing” – is absurd. At the very least, it’s highly debatable. . .
    . . . That Iran is some major national security issue for the US is a concoction of the bipartisan DC class that always needs a scary foreign enemy. The claim is frequently debunked in multiple venues. But because both political parties embrace this highly ideological claim, Raddatz does, too. Indeed, one of the most strictly enforced taboos in establishment journalism is the prohibition on aggressively challenging those views that are shared by the two parties. Doing that makes one fringe, unserious and radical: the opposite of solemn objectivity. . .
    . . . Exactly the same is true of Raddatz’s statements and questions about America’s entitlement programs. Here is the “question” she asked to launch the discussion:

    “Let’s talk about Medicare and entitlements. Both Medicare and Social Security are going broke and taking a larger share of the budget in the process.”

    “Will benefits for Americans under these programs have to change for the programs to survive?”

    That Social Security is “going broke” – a core premise of her question – is, to put it as generously as possible, a claim that is dubious in the extreme. “Factually false” is more apt. This claim lies at the heart of the right-wing and neo-liberal quest to slash entitlement benefits for ordinary Americans – Ryan predictably responded by saying: “Absolutely. Medicare and Social Security are going bankrupt. These are indisputable facts.” – but the claim is baseless. . .
    . . . That Medicare is “going broke” is as dubious and controversial a claim as the one about Social Security. Numerous economists and fact-checking journalists have documented quite clearly why this claim is misleading in the extreme.
    Yet this claim has also become DC orthodoxy. That is because, as the economist Dean Baker has explained, “Social Security and Medicare are hugely important for the security of the non-rich population of the United States,” and “for this reason” many Washington media outlets and think tanks “hate them”.
    Nonetheless, Raddatz announced this assertion as fact. That’s because she’s long embedded in the DC culture that equates its own ideological desires with neutral facts. As a result, the entire discussion on entitlement programs proceeded within this narrow, highly ideological, dubious framework. . .

    ENTIRE COMMENTARY – http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/10/12

    • dickerson3870 October 14, 2012, 2:50 AM

      RE: “That Iran is some major national security issue for the US is a concoction of the bipartisan DC class that always needs a scary foreign enemy.” ~ Glenn Greenwald (from above)

      SEE: “How the Power of Myth Keeps Us Mired in War”, by Ira Chernus, TomDispatch.com, 01/20/11

      [EXCERPT] “. . . White Americans, going back to early colonial times, generally assigned the role of ‘bad guys’ to ‘savages’ lurking in the wilderness beyond the borders of our civilized land. Whether they were redskins, commies, terrorists, or the Taliban, the plot has always remained the same.
      Call it the myth of national security — or, more accurately, national insecurity, since it always tells us who and what to fear.
      It’s been a mighty (and mighty effective) myth. . .”

      SOURCE – http://www.tomdispatch.com/blog/175344/

      P.S. ALSO SEE – “Iranophobia: The Panic of the Hegemons”, by Ira Chernus, Tikkun Magazine, November/December 2010
      LINK – http://www.tikkun.org/nextgen/iranophobia-the-panic-of-the-hegemons-3