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.