Doctor Science Knows

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Iran and Israel at the Atlantic, Days 6-7

Marc Lynch wrote Striking Iran Is Unwarranted, and It Would Mean Disaster
the whole discussion of an Israeli or American strike against Iran seems to take place in an historical void, as if we have not just lived through the brutal, griding experience of a war chosen and sold on shaky grounds. I would hope that the lessons of Iraq will not be so easily forgotten. When we are presented with claims of a ticking clock approaching midnight, we should recall Colin Powell at the UN and be very suspicious about the alleged urgency and absence of options.

My comments:

I assume that the link to Abrams -- and the fact that he and Dr. Lynch are on the same panel, as though they are equally worth paying attention to -- is due to The Atlantic, not to Dr. Lynch.

Nonetheless, it's worth asking, rather pointedly, why the editors at The Atlantic thought it was worthwhile giving Abrams some of their very valuable space -- especially since he is on the panel with Reuel Mark Gerecht, Patrick Clawson, and Gary Milhollin, all of whom promoted the Iraq War in terms which may now be objectively described as "wrong." Of course, so did Jeffrey Goldberg, so this may be an exercise in "Shape of Earth? Opinions Vary" to soothe Goldberg's feelings.

[arvay wrote:]
It's really worthwhile reading the Israeli press, gives you insight into a nation that is in many ways deeply disturbed. There are still some rational people like Barak, but increasingly -- as many moderates leave for safer places -- the discussion is being taken over by nut jobs.

Frankly, we in the US are also seeing the general political discussion being taken over by nutjobs, and we can hardly blame it on moderates leaving for safer places.

Dr. Lynch's post is IMHO the most substantive contribution we've seen from the panel so far: he presents his insights into history and policy in a way that conveys that he has actual evidence to back him up. His is the first post in this series that strikes me as substantially better than the best of the comments here -- he's either more of an expert, or he's better at conveying his expertise.

I honestly don't understand why the rest of the posts are so "thin" by comparison -- does this reflect a bias or blind spot on the part of The Atlantic, or is The Atlantic honestly reflecting an often glib, slapdash, and morally vacuous policymaking community?

Monday Roundup: Does an Air Strike on Iran Mean War?

[replying to a commenter]
I think you are absolutely right about this:
By Israel bluffing, it sure makes the hardliners in Israeliā€™s government strong. By Iran bluffing, it sure makes Sepah Pasdaran and Mollas strong in the country and in the region.

This is what I call the "Clausewitz-O'Neill Principle":
Wars are started for domestic or local political reasons, to impress friends and enemies within a country, more than to send signals to people in other countries.

Some rhetorical advice: from your sentence structure, I suspect you may not be a native speaker of English. Your paragraphs are too long for easy reading in this format; make them shorter, double-space between them to make them easier to grasp. Your "LISTEN TO ME!" at the end comes across as yelling, online, and rather crazy yelling, at that. Yes, these are desperately serious issues, but it's all the more important for your seriousness to come across calmly, or people won't bother to figure out what you're saying.

Friday Round-Up: If Force Is the Answer, What Is the Question?.

I love the title you chose for this post. What, indeed?

[skamble asked:]
Given Iran's commitment to complete liberation of Palestine, how can we avoid getting nuked?
(1) A nuclear strike on Israel would kill enormous numbers of Palestinians, directly and indirectly. They would be liberated to death.

(2) That's why you have your own nukes already. Anyone in the Mideast who makes a nuclear attack on Israel can expect to see mushroom clouds over their own cities. That's why we've been saying that nuclear weapons are terrible for attack, but great for defense. Israel's nuclear shield is one of the tightest in the world.

Why don't your weapons already give Israel a sense of nuclear security? That's what they're for.

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