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From the same people who sold you the American calamity in Iraq comes a new offer.  At no cost to you, Israel will bomb Iranian nuclear facilities.  But the special promotion ends this week, after which a regional war with Tehran and its proxies returns to its suggested retail price of an American military quagmire and devastating foreign policy blowback.

That's the deal former American ambassador to the UN John Bolton was pitching on the Fox Business channel Monday.  With Russia set to install nuclear fuel into Iran's Bushehr power plant beginning on August 21, Bolton insisted now is the time for the Israelis to strike:

"Well, unless the Israelis move within the next eight days. Once that uranium, once those fuel rods are very close to the reactor, certainly once they're in the reactor as you say, attacking it means a release of radiation, no question about it. So if Israel's going to do anything against Bushehr it has to move in the next eight days.  If they don't, then as I say something Saddam Hussein wanted but couldn't get, a functioning nuclear reactor -- because the Israelis bombed it in 1981 -- something that Bashar al-Assad in Syria wanted, a functioning nuclear reactor -- until the Israelis bombed it -- couldn't get, the Iranians, sworn enemies of Israel, will have."

Forget for the moment that, as the Wall Street Journal reported, "Senior U.S. officials said the White House consented in recent months to Russia pushing forward with Bushehr in order to gain Moscow's support for a fourth round of United Nations sanctions against Iran, which passed in June."  Forget, too, as State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley did, that Bushehr "does not represent a proliferation risk" and "the fact that Russia is providing fuel is the very model the international community has offered Iran"  And put aside growing evidence, as Joe Klein noted in Time on July 30, that the global sanctions regime imposed on Tehran is having a real impact in Iran.  ("As a result," Klein wrote, "the Administration has been receiving all sorts of feelers--public and, for the first time, private--from the Iranians about resuming the negotiations on the nuclear program.")

Those details won't get in the way of the sweet deal from the men George W. Bush called "the Bomber Boys."  In June, Iraq war cheerleader Bill Kristol argued the blowback from a targeted American strike on the Iranian nuclear infrastructure is "just as likely to be limited," as opposed to the catastrophe envisioned by most analysts.  And now, with the Bushehr plant coming online, his Weekly Standard on Saturday suggestively asked, "Bomb Iran's Bushehr Nuclear Reactor?"  For his part, Kristol's fellow bombardier Charles Krauthammer delighted that "Iran starts feeling heat" just three weeks after proclaiming "the myth of Iran's isolation."

As it turns out, the pace of the neoconservative drumbeat for war has quickened dramatically over the last few weeks.  In his recent cover piece for The Atlantic ("The Point of No Return"), Jeffrey Goldberg wrote:

I have interviewed roughly 40 current and past Israeli decision makers about a military strike, as well as many American and Arab officials. In most of these interviews, I have asked a simple question: what is the percentage chance that Israel will attack the Iranian nuclear program in the near future? Not everyone would answer this question, but a consensus emerged that there is a better than 50 percent chance that Israel will launch a strike by next July.

Ratcheting up the rhetoric, columnist George Will last week favorably compared Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Winston Churchill and echoed Bibi's warning to American policymakers, "You live in Chevy Chase. Don't play with our future."  Then on Sunday, Will parroted Netanyahu's lament that "Israel is not allowed to exercise self-defense" and cautioned:

"If Israel strikes Iran, the world will not be able to say it was not warned."

Of course, the likes of Kristol and Bolton have been warning that Israel and/or the United States should or would strike Iran at any time.  In June 2008, Bill Kristol and Daniel Pipes each suggested President Bush might bomb Tehran's nuclear facilities if he thought Barack Obama was going to win the White House.  That same month, John Bolton predicted the Israelis would "have to make a judgment whether to go during the remainder of President Bush's term in office or wait for his successor."  Then as Israel was bombing Gaza during the fighting in December 2008, Bolton hoped the U.S. would finally hit Tehran, which he said, "I would have done it before this."

In August 2002, President Bush's chief-of-staff Andrew Card explained why the administration was waiting to press its case for war with Iraq.  "From a marketing point of view," the former corporate pitchman insisted, "you don't introduce new products in August."  But for the likes of John Bolton and Bill Kristol, when it comes to Israel actually starting a war against Iran, August is just fine.  What a deal, they argue.  And besides, what could possibly go wrong?

** Crossposted at Perrspectives **

Originally posted to Jon Perr on Tue Aug 17, 2010 at 11:28 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Oh good another "here come the Israelis diary" (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JNEREBEL, jtown, Mets102

    This is a lead article in Haaretz:

    Ex-U.S. diplomat: Israel unlikely to strike Iran nuclear plant

    "Once the fuel rods are inserted into the reactor and attack on the reactor would almost certainly release radiation into the atmosphere, given where Bushehr is located right on the Persian Gulf possibly into the water as well," Bolton said, adding that "from Israel's point of view if they were going to do anything militarily about Bushehr you got a few days until the fuel rods are inserted."

    The former UN envoy also said Israel would not attack the reactor since it was interested in the bigger picture of Iran's nuclear aspirations, saying that Israel has "the rest of Iran's nuclear program, the Iranian enrichment facility and so on to worry about too and I don't think Israel has the luxury to attack in the next few days, wait a few months and attack again."

    In the interview, Bolton also said that the completion of the reactor was a "significant victory for Iran."

    Now Bolton is a conservative doghead but, like they say even a stopped clock is right twice a day. I think this is one of those times.

    "No Groin.... No Krav Maga" - The Simpsons

    by volleyboy1 on Tue Aug 17, 2010 at 11:36:42 AM PDT

    •  Seriously? (7+ / 0-)

      This diary is about American Neo-Cons being jackasses and telling the Israelis to bomb.  The only thing directly about Israel is the single paragraph on Goldberg's article.  Hell it starts out with:

      From the same people who sold you the American calamity in Iraq comes a new offer.

      So unless you're suddenly buying into the idea that Israel is responsible for us attacking Iraq, I don't know how you are justifying your comment.  

      Text "Justice" or "Justicia" to 69866 to get action alerts on federal immigration legislation and campaigns

      by Dexter on Tue Aug 17, 2010 at 11:49:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Just to Be Clear... (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      capelza, elliott, Hedwig, Dexter

      ...I'm not suggesting the Israelis would, should or will bomb Bushehr or any other Iranian nuclear installation.

      All I'm describing is the extent of the neocon fantasy in which Israel, or better yet, the United States does strike Tehran. That media campaign is growing more hyperbolic even as the Obama-led sanctions regime seems to be producing results.

      So, this is not a "here come the Israelis" diary but a "here come the neoconservatives - again" diary.

      •  Fair point... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JNEREBEL, Dexter, Mets102

        It's just that I don't see the Israelis doing this anytime soon. I may be wrong but every week we get some Israel is bombing Iran this month for sure diary. And every month Israel doesn't bomb Iran.

        I have no respect for the Israeli Right but they are too tied up now to open a regional war or beyond. Their civil defense test was a failure. I just don't see this happening at all much less at the current time.

        "No Groin.... No Krav Maga" - The Simpsons

        by volleyboy1 on Tue Aug 17, 2010 at 11:57:17 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I agree with you (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          capelza, volleyboy1

          and we get similar things about the US as well (Sy Hersh), so I don't think you can confine it to one country.  I think the real problem is simply the neo-cons who want to see this happen and are trying to put different scenarios out there in the public sphere to see what kind of support they get.  

          Text "Justice" or "Justicia" to 69866 to get action alerts on federal immigration legislation and campaigns

          by Dexter on Tue Aug 17, 2010 at 12:01:23 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Thanks for the Follow Up (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          capelza, elliott, volleyboy1

          I appreciate the follow up point.  Sorry for seeminbg a little overly sensitive.

          You're right that the large number of stories over the last few years about maneuvers, planned attacks, approvals for use of air space, etc. result in a lot of diaries speculating about when/where/how an attack will take place.

          I want to steer clear of that and focus on the people and propaganda trying to make it a reality.

      •  Professor Walt sums it up best. (0+ / 0-)

        Mainstreaming war with Iran

        As one would expect, Goldberg wrote a rather hysterical negative review of the book when it came out, and he enjoys calling us names and leveling unfounded accusations. It is therefore somewhat surprising that he is now doing his best to demonstrate how right we were.

  •  This is really some insane shit. Do it now!! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    My God these people are beyond crazy.

    Hell no we can't let the repugs win!!!

    by jtown on Tue Aug 17, 2010 at 11:37:03 AM PDT

  •  Seems like the best chance of improving (0+ / 0-)

    relations with Iran is a liberalized Iran.  Its not so far fetched as there are many moderates and liberals there (unlike Saudi Arabia).   Seems like a nuclear armed Iran decreases the chances of a near-future liberalized Iran as they will have more political capital to crush opposition.

    Talk about batshit crazy?  The Iranian government with nukes.

    •  it might also help if US dealt fairly (0+ / 0-)

      with Iran.  It's faux "diplomatic outreach" is all rhetoric, no even-handed performance.

      plus, not sure what this means:  "Seems like a nuclear armed Iran decreases the chances of a near-future liberalized Iran as they will have more political capital to crush opposition."

      Nuclear technology is endorsed by Iranians across the board.  Don't see how it follows logically that "Iran with nukes" gives some undefined "they" the "political capital" to crush some other, equally fuzzy and undefined "they."  

      Are you suggesting that Iran's government as currently configured would drop nuclear bombs on its own people, but a "liberalized" Iranian government would not? If that's the case, how is that "liberalized" government defined, and how likely is it to come into being if US attacks Iran or even if US keeps up sanctions pressure on Iran?  Don't most people react more positively to encouragement -- positive reinforcement -- rather to punishment -- negative reinforcement?

  •  An acquaintance of mine told me, the other day... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kimball Cross, A Voice

    There's a prophecy in the Bible, he said. Where the sorcerer Bil'am is speaking to his king Balak, the final prophecy he gives says that "Great ships from Kittim will afflict Assyria, but they too will be destroyed."

    What, said this fellow, does "great ships" mean? Surely the people of those ancient days knew about ships - so "great ships" must mean ships huge beyond imagination for the folk of 3500 years ago. What would they think of an aircraft carrier? Surely it is a "great ship".

    Also, he said, we generally understand Assyria to be equated with Iran. (Not true, but never mind.) And Kittim is generally assumed to be the Roman Empire. The Romans had plenty of ships, but "great ships"? Not so much, he said. But who are the heirs to Rome? Surely they are the West, he said. And who is the greatest entity of the West? Clearly the USA.

    Thus, he said, the Bible predicts in prophecy - through Bil'am, no hero or beloved seer - that American carrier groups will bombard Iran (that is, "afflict" rather than "destroy"), and then "they too will be destroyed" - that is, the USA will crumble.

    As further evidence of the truth of this, he cited a Talmudic teaching that "Any nation which wishes to become great, must deal with the Jews." What is the reason for America's existence? It is to support Israel. Thus has America become a great nation. When will America crumble? When it ceases to support Israel.

    As further evidence of the impending doom of the country, he points out that the USA is not, in fact, a "nation". What is a "nation", he asks? Surely it is a population bound by common language, culture and territory. The USA was conceived not as a place where order could be maintained, and the collective good advanced, but where every individualist could be... well, an individualist. We have no officially enshrined language or culture, and our sacred soils are concentrated in the northeast - Plymouth Rock and the like.

    (To buttress this, he said: Kosovo, the place the Muslims had just grabbed from the Serbs, was the Serbian equivalent of Plymouth Rock. The Serbs, being a nation, can never give up and let the Muslims have it. And, he said, what was the battle cry of the USSR in the second world war? It wasn't "For Russia!" it was "Slavs fall!" They had Slavic solidarity, because the vast majority of Soviet citizens were Slavs. I didn't say anything about the oppression of non-Slavic peoples.)

    It just went on, and on, and on... It made my head spin. This is what right-wingers actually believe...

    "Getting over" death in the family is like learning to use a prosthetic limb: you can still get around, but it just doesn't work the same.

    by Shaviv on Tue Aug 17, 2010 at 11:44:34 AM PDT

  •  GOP: bomb now; we'll impeach in 2011 (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    capelza, elliott, Kimball Cross

    This is a trap much like Republican SOP concerning legislation before Congress. You know how they play that game. GOP lawmakers say they like a particular bill..except for this or that. When the Democrats remove this or that...we'll support it...except that we won't because our main goal is to water down the bill to the point where it is flacid drivel or a boon to the GOP and their corporate masters.

  •  The reactor at Bushehr is for electric power. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Avenging Angel, capelza, elliott, A Voice

    It is NOT -- I repeat, NOT -- a nuclear weapons factory. It has nothing to do with the alleged Iranian nuclear weapons program.

    Bombing Bushehr will do nothing to retard the progress of the widely suspected Iranian nuclear bomb project.

    Sarah Palin ... speaks truth. It remains to be seen if this nation has enough sanity left to put her in office. -- A RW blogger.

    by Kimball Cross on Tue Aug 17, 2010 at 11:57:54 AM PDT

  •  Where's John McCain when you need him? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kimball Cross

    Join me in a chorus -

    Bomb bomb bomb, bomb-bomb Iran

    Or not. Thankfully John Bolton is nutcase no one listens to anymore. They barely listened to him when he was the UN Ambassador.

    An Iranian nuclear power plant isn't the problem - it's the nuclear enrichment facilities that ARE a problem.

    "When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross." - Sinclair Lewis

    by Dave in AZ on Tue Aug 17, 2010 at 12:01:24 PM PDT

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