First thing to remember is that Israel has the bomb

Arthur Silber is annoyed with a Peter Beinart article that’s supposedly opposed to any war with Iran:

Given the attention it is receiving from those who are nominally opposed to the United States’ foreign policy of criminal, aggressive war and intervention, it is understandable that unwary readers will view Peter Beinart’s article, “The Crazy Rush to Attack Iran,” as strongly opposed to an attack on Iran. And while Beinart’s piece may very superficially appear to oppose such an attack, opposition of this kind is no opposition at all. And it is far worse than that: Beinart accepts the entire framework of those whose warmongering he criticizes, and he thus makes an attack on Iran more likely, not less.

For those of us who paid attention back during the runup to the Wars on Afghanistan and Iraq, this is hardly surprising coming from Beinart, who spent most of it cheerleading for them, as well as policing the bordaries of acceptable dissent. Which is what he’s doing here, as in his very first paragraph he frames in such a way as to concede most of the issue to the supporters of a war:

The debate over whether Israel should attack Iran rests on three basic questions. First, if Iran’s leaders got the bomb, would they use it or give it to people who might? Second, would a strike substantially retard Iran’s nuclear program? Third, if Israel attacks, what will Iran do in response?

This framing is of course completely embraced in the mainstream news media, where the question of whether or not Iran is actually even trying to create a nuclear bomb rarely is asked anymore. Any true opponent of war on Iran therefore needs to go back to this basic question: is Iran actually trying to create nuclear weapons and, as importantly, is this any business of ours as long as Israel, which does have several hundreds nuclear bombs and has had them for decades, isn’t dealt with in the same way? If instead you go by the assumption that Iran is building a bomb and that this is a Matter of Concern, you are already conceding much of the rationale for military action, at best you’re now arguing about tactics. Which is just what Beinart wants of course. Beinart isn’t interested in stopping a war or oposing it, he’s just concerned about seeming to oppose it.

In the meantime the whole issue of an Israeli attack on Iran is as much a giant distraction attempt as it is a real threat. For both Israel and the US having the focus on Iranian misbehaviour and the potential, sadly likely to be disproportionate Israel response, rather than on their own internal problems comes in very handy. It’s a distraction measure and while an attack on Iran can’t be entirely ruled out, it is unlikely to actually happen when the mere threat of it is so useful to both countries. Beinart’s weaselly article is just a small part of it.

One thought on “First thing to remember is that Israel has the bomb

  1. Very true. The question you bring up is hardly ever asked in the media, and I think I know why. Countless intelligence coming out of the US says Iran IS NOT and HAS NO intention of making a nuclear bomb. So if the question was posed, the answer would be a profound “no”. This would damage the propaganda campaign so media doesn’t ask this question.

    The other point about remembering that Israel is the one who has the bomb is a good one. The more and more I delve into this subject the more horrifying it gets. Only today I found out about the Samson Option and others say that Israel has nuclear weapons pointing at London, Paris and Washington which is astounding.

    I’m wondering what you think might happen though, maybe you could do a post giving your opinion on these issues:

    If Iran does get a bomb, does it really spell danger? Bearing in mind Nuclear weapons have been in the possession of Stalin, Moa and Kim Jong-il and have not been used. Also the escalation between Pakistan and India never resulted in a nuclear threat being used.

    If Israel attacks, when will they do it? Maybe they will do it this summer when Obama is in a corner because of 2012 elections and he has no option other than to help. Will it be during the 2012 elections so as to avoid media attention as everyone’s attention will be on the presidency race?

    How will they attack? People are talking about air strikes, but others think it more likely they will use their submarines to get closer to Iran and launch cruise missiles.

    What would the damage be if the radiation is leaked into Iran from an attacked nuclear facility? Will Israel risk these consequences?

    Would love to hear your thoughts on these issues.

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