Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Irano delenda est

The tune is the same, the words are the same; all that's changed is the audience, which is growing bored and restive.
Netanyahu has made a career out of crusading against Iran. In 1992, as a member of parliament, he predicted that Iran was three to five years away from producing a nuclear weapon, and appealed for its program to be “uprooted by an international front headed by the U.S.” He cited the same time frame three years later, in his  book “Fighting Terrorism.”
Iran was actually more than a decade away from acquiring the technology and expertise to approach the threshold.  “It was not until the 2007 National Intelligence Estimate that American experts concluded that Iran had developed a range of technologies, including uranium enrichment, nuclear-warhead mechanics, and delivery systems, that would give it the option to launch a nuclear-weapons development effort in a relatively short time frame “ ‘if it so chooses,’ ” Daryl Kimball, the executive director of the Arms Control Association, told me today.
Netanyahu has long supported American military intervention. In 2002, he testified before Congress in favor of invading Iraq, and predicted that ousting Saddam Hussein would have “enormous positive reverberations on the region” and ripen Iran for revolt against the theocracy. “It’s not a question of whether you’d like to see a regime change in Iran but how to achieve it,” he said. Today, Iran holds more sway over Iraq than any other country.
Netanyahu has proved himself to be a liar and crook. Possibly also a performance artist, inhabiting the role of a mad clown. But one thing he is not: someone with the best interests of the US in mind. Nor is he someone with the best interests of Israel in mind. He is someone with the interests of his own political survival in mind, and he hopes he can leverage his bomb-bomb-Iran routine into electoral success one more time, something John Boehner saw as enhancing his own political survival. And why not? There's a pretty good track record. For example, in 2002 Karl Rove pushed for war against Iraq to win the mid-term elections.
What schmucks.
If this were a story arc in House of Cards, no one would believe it.

(eta) Charles Pierce reminds us of an earlier chapter in US-Iran-Israel relations, one called 'Iran Contra' in which Netanyahu played a supporting role in arms sales to Iran:
 The president embarks on delicate negotiations with the Islamic Republic of Iran. He allows his aides and underlings to do so because he is firm in his belief that in the presidency resides the sole power to conduct the foreign relations of the United States. A year or so earlier, his deputy national security advisor wrote a memo in which he said that the president "was ready to confront the Congress on the constitutional question of who controls foreign policy." The Office of Legal Counsel in his Department of Justice argues that the president had "far-reaching discretion to act on his own authority in managing the external relations of the country." When these negotiations are uncovered, this is the primary argument presented by the president and his defenders against the angry opposition of the Congress. The president is Ronald Reagan. The negotiations are regarding the exchange of weapons for American hostages, something the president vowed he never would do, and something he already told the country he hadn't done. The deal was facilitated in part by Israeli intelligence operatives, which is no surprise. Israel already agreed to sell Iran $40 million in weapons in a deal that had fallen through. Also, in deciding to sell the arms, the president was inspired partly by a book about combatting terrorism put together by an ambitious Israeli politician named Benjamin Netanyahu.

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