(To read the rest of our series, “The Case Against War with Iran”, please click here.)
Every now and then, Eric C or I will write a post and the other person will ask, “Who actually argues for this?” With that in mind, today we want to justify our series, “The Case against War with Iran”. We’ve broken down the voices into four areas, the four P’s: people, politicians, pundits and professors.
(A quick note for today’s post: many of the arguments for war with Iran have been debunked or rebutted in the blogosphere. We’re not making the case against war with Iran today; we just want to show how many people are arguing for it.)
As often as we hold Olympic games, Israel threatens to attack Iran, bringing the U.S. along with it. To chart this, I went to Google Insights, and searched for the terms “nuclear weapons Iran” and, more importantly, “war Iran”. In the last two months, Americans have searched for those terms more than at any other time since Google started keeping records (which apparently only goes back to 2004. What gives Google?). The people have heard the war drums banging, and want to find out who wrote the beat.
And according to the Pew Research Center, a majority of Americans already support military action against Iran. A majority also believe the U.S. will “wait too long” to deal with Iran. (Though their questions tend to ignore the issue of “At what cost?”, as I’ll write about next week.) A Quinnipiac poll found similar opinions about Iran as well. If President Obama does decide to go to war, he can point to polls justifying his decision. However, a majority of Americans oppose a military strike on Iran, according to a World Public Opinion poll. Like many issues, the phrasing of the question can change the results, “wait too long” versus “favor a military strike”.
The point is: the American people are not united against war as they are with Afghanistan and were with Iraq. Americans love starting wars, and hating fighting them.
If the American people can hear the drumbeats of war, that must means politicians started banging them. And everyone knows who plays the role of Neil Peart: Republican presidential candidates. Take the words of their three major candidates for president:
If President Obama is reelected, “Iran will have a nuclear weapon and the world will change.” Mitt Romney (Or read his opinion piece on Iran here at The Washington Post.)
"We need to say to the Iranian government, the time is now. You will stop your nuclear production now." Rick Santorum
“The red line is now.” Newt Gingrich
While readers might deride those quotes as standard stump speech fare, campaign fodder for pro-war GOPers, presidential candidates aren’t the only ones in the Republican party banging the drums. Also unleashing epic war drum solos include the John Bonham’s of the political world, Republican Senators and Congressmen.
“There should be no daylight between America and Israel in our assessment of the [Iranian] threat.” Senator John McCain
"We need to make sure that this president is also going to stand by Israel and not allow his administration to somehow speak contrary to what our ally thinks is in its best interest." Representative Eric Cantor
“No greater threat exists to the security of Israel, to the entire region and, indeed, to the United States than a nuclear-armed Iran...The Iranians now face a choice to either meet their international obligations and rejoin the community of nations or violate their international obligations and face the consequences.” Secretary Leon Panetta
“And that is why, four years ago, I made a commitment to the American people and said that we would use all elements of American power to pressure Iran and prevent it from acquiring a nuclear weapon. And that is what we have done.” President Barack Obama
Oh, those last two were Democrats. I guess that makes them “Keith Moon”.
The politicians bang the drums, the people hear, and the pundits turn up the volume. A small sampling from the punditocracy:
“After speaking with many of the Israeli leaders and chiefs of the intelligence and the military, I have come to the conclusion that there is a strong likelihood that Israel will strike Iran during 2012, because Iran is getting too close to what was coined by Minister of Defense Ehud Barak as the zone of immunity.” Ronen Bergman, the senior political and military analyst for Israel’s most widely read daily newspaper.
“The United States should have the legal right to use military force when it removes dangerous threats not just to our security, but to regions and the world -- and that is, I argue, exactly what is posed by the prospect of Iranian nuclear weapons.” John Yoo in National Review. Yep, that John Yoo.
Bill Kristol, Charles Krauthammer, repeatedly and finally, Foreign Policy’s “Shadow Government” blog--again, repeatedly--all chimed in as well.
Our final section covers the thinkers who give the pundits, politicians and people something to talk about: the professors and academics working for think tanks who chime in to say, “Let’s go to war with Iran.” (To finish the tortured analogy, I guess they build the drums?)
- Matthew Kroenig in Foreign Affairs, “Time to Attack Iran”
- Brent J. Talbot in the Journal for International Security Affairs, “Stuxnet and After”
- The Bipartisan Policy Center in Meeting the Challenge: Stopping the Clock
When enough people want war, call for war or threaten war, guess what might happen? War. So we’ve (hopefully) justified the series. On Monday, we start making the case against war with Iran.