Until today, the notion that Aipac wanted a war against Iran seemed plausible, but there was no smoking gun. There is now.
This month, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (its slogan: “ideas, action, impact” appears apt considering the subject of this post), a pro-Israel think-tank closely affiliated with Aipac held a conference with the milquetoasty title, How to Build U.S.-Israeli Coordination on Preventing an Iranian Nuclear Breakout (video here). The money video footage features Patrick Clawson, one of those talking head analysts quoted by every “serious” publication that covers the Iran nuclear issue. His comments are usually pretty middle of the road and conceal the extremism of his views.
But in the video featured above, you get to see those in all their seamy glory. In this comment he talks candidly about how difficult it is to provoke a war when you want one. He further states that the U.S. has been a wuss when it comes to its policy against Iran. Besides sanctions, we need to get down and dirty. Why couldn’t an Iranian submarine simply disappear (Remember the Maine)? And if it did, we’d expect Iran to want to take a few good shots at us in retaliation. Wouldn’t this serve as a terrific pretext for beating the crap out of the nasty mullahs and getting us into the war we really want?
Here’s the transcript of his remarks:
Crisis initiation is really tough. It’s very hard for me to see how the U.S. president can get us to war with Iran. Which leads me to conclude that if compromise does not come that the traditional way that America gets to war is what would be best for U.S. interests.
Some people may believe that Mr. Roosevelt wanted to get us into WWII…He had to wait for Pearl Harbor. Some people might think Mr. Wilson wanted to get us into WWI. He had to wait for the Lusitania episode. Some people might think that Mr. Johnson wanted to send troops to Vietnam. He had to wait for the Gulf of Tonkin episode. We didn’t go to war with Spain until the Maine exploded. And may I point out that Mr. Lincoln did not feel he could call out the federal army until Ft. Sumter was attacked. Which was why he ordered the commander at Ft. Sumter to do exactly that thing which the South Carolinians had said would cause an attack.
So if in fact the Iranians aren’t going to compromise, it would be best if somebody else started the war…One can combine other means of pressure with sanctions. I mentioned that explosion on August 17th [the sabotage of the Fordo electricity lines by MEK-Israeli attack]. We could step up the pressure. I mean look people, Iranian submarines periodically go down. Someday one of them might not come up. Who would know why?
We can do a variety of things if we wish to increase the pressure. I’m not advocating that. But I’m just suggesting that this is not an either-or proposition–that just sanctions has [sic] to succeed…We are in the game of using covert means against the Iranians. We could get nastier at that.
The statement is breathtaking in its way. It mauls American history by claiming that virtually every major war into which we’ve entered we cynically provoked (in truth, there were several that were provoked). Not to mention that Clawson calls on the U.S. to manufacture a causus belli in order to start a war against Iran. These are the pearls of wisdom offered by the D.C. pro-Israel policy elite. These are the sorts of ideas Dennis Ross might’ve been offering to Barack Obama when he still worked for him. Indeed, there are likely others still there whispering lunacies like these into the president’s ear.
Clawson’s ‘partners in crime’ at this conference were David Makowsky and Dennis Ross, the usual suspects when it comes to this sort of banging the war drum but wanting to appear dispassionate and middle of the road while doing so.
H/t to Dick Blakney.