‘Daily Beast’ provides platform for ‘warmongering’ on Iran

US Politics
on 15 Comments
Matthew Kroenig
Matthew Kroenig

Eli Lake at the Daily Beast makes the case for war against Iran, citing a supposedly pristine source:

Matthew Kroenig, who served as special adviser on Iran to the Office of the Secretary of Defense between July 2010 and July 2011, offered some of the possible “red lines” for a military strike in a recent Foreign Affairs article he wrote. He argued that the U.S should attack Iran’s facilities if Iran expels international nuclear weapons inspectors, begins enriching its stockpiles of uranium to weapons-grade levels of 90 percent, or installs advanced centrifuges at its main uranium-enrichment facility in Qom.

In an interview with The Daily Beast, Kroenig also noted that Iran announced in 2009 that it was set to construct 10 new uranium enrichment sites. “I doubt they are building ten new sites, but I would be surprised if Iran was not racing to build some secret enrichment facilities,” Kroenig said. “Progress on new facilities would be a major factor in our assessment of Iran’s nuclear program and shape all aspects of our policy towards this including the decision to use force.”

Stephen Walt at Foreign Policy last week, a piece he then graciously allowed Kroenig to respond to):

If you’d like to read a textbook example of war-mongering disguised as “analysis,” I recommend Matthew Kroenig’s forthcoming article in Foreign Affairs, titled “Time to Attack Iran: Why a Strike Is the Least Bad Option.” It is a remarkably poor piece of advocacy, all the more surprising because Kroenig is a smart scholar who has done some good work in the past. It makes one wonder if there’s something peculiar in the D.C. water supply.

There is a simple and time-honored formula for making the case for war, especially preventive war. First, you portray the supposed threat as dire and growing, and then try to convince people that if we don’t act now, horrible things will happen down the road. (Remember Condi Rice’s infamous warnings about Saddam’s “mushroom cloud”?) All this step requires is a bit of imagination and a willingness to assume the worst. Second, you have to persuade readers that the costs and risks of going to war aren’t that great. If you want to sound sophisticated and balanced, you acknowledge that there are counterarguments and risks involved. But then you do your best to shoot down the objections and emphasize all the ways that those risks can be minimized. In short: In Step 1 you adopt a relentlessly gloomy view of the consequences of inaction; in Step 2 you switch to bulletproof optimism about how the war will play out.

Kroenig’s piece follows this blueprint perfectly. He assumes that Iran is hellbent on getting nuclear weapons (not just a latent capability to produce one quickly if needed)…

Read the rest of Walt’s piece at link.

Kroenig worked in both the Bush and the Obama administrations, another one of those golden-thread-in-the-tapestry cases that unites neocons and liberal interventionists. He is an ass’t professor of government at Georgetown. His website here: http://www.matthewkroenig.com/

This post was provided to me by Annie Robbins. Thank you!

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

Other posts by .

Posted In:

15 Responses

  1. bob
    December 29, 2011, 12:07 pm

    This is directly about the AIPAC crafted sanctions. Wheres the news pointing this out for context during this recent coverage?

    Here’s Phil on Dec 08, 2011

    If you want to understand the pressure that Obama is under from the Israel lobby, consider this greasy story: Last week three high Obama officials urged Senators not to pass an amendment to the huge Defense Authorization Act that would apply far stiffer sanctions to Iran’s central bank than the Obama administration wanted. Two of the officials went to the Hill, and said the amendment would send oil prices higher, among other damaging effects.
    But the Senate rebuffed the administration and voted unanimously, 100-0, for the sanctions.

    Why did the Senate put aside appeals from Treasury secretary Tim Geithner, under secretary of the Treasury David Cohen, and Wendy Sherman, #3 at the State Department, all saying that the bill would be bad for business and bad for the U.S.’s efforts to build a coalition on Iran? Why did John Kerry, chairman of Senate Foreign Relations, acknowledge Tim Geithner’s letter against the legislation, and then vote against his president?

    The clear evidence is: because the lobby wanted this amendment and these guys feared for their political lives. AIPAC led the charge. AIPAC rolled the amendment out 3 weeks ago, and then led a letter-writing campaign to US Senators on the amendment, known as Kirk-Menendez (in part for the Senator from AIPAC, Mark Kirk of Illinois). Here’s the AIPAC memo from last month:

    [More in article]

    What about before this?

    2007 Israel, U.S. Jews Intensify Efforts To Isolate Iran
    A renewed push from Jewish organizations for tougher sanctions against Iran is facing tough obstacles in Washington and capitals throughout the world.
    American Jewish groups are aggressively attempting to rally support for isolating Iran until it ends its suspected nuclear weapons program. They are lobbying Congress, reaching out to friendly nations overseas and seeking allies in the United States.

    Malcolm Hoenlein, the executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, is warning that Iran is close to acquiring the knowledge it needs to build nuclear weapons.

    Officials at the Anti-Defamation League have launched a campaign in support of tougher sanctions, and recently pressed the issue in a meeting in Moscow with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Also, the American Jewish Committee has been meeting with foreign leaders, including French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

    In the latest manifestation of the renewed push, delegates to the General Assembly of the United Jewish Communities in Nashville are expected to be asked Monday to vote on a resolution calling on federations and Jewish community relations councils to move on the Iran issue by initiating, coordinating and funding “expanded efforts aimed at both educating and mobilizing the Jewish community as well as partnering with other respected members in the broader community.”

    In the 1990′s Bronfman and AIPAC in 1995 passed their research to the US government demonstrating how U.S. oil companies were Iran’s biggest customers by far. AIPAC worked with Sen D’Amato (Seymour Reich, Chair of of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations called D’Amato “one of the best, if not the very best senator for Israel”) in passing the bill through the Senate.

    AIPAC passed the bill, again, through the senate during the wake of confusion of the 2000 election. Bush, who was still siding with Powell and had not yet kicked him out for the neoconservatives, was furious. Oil companies lost big here and were lobbying to have the sanctions dropped.

    Even during the Iraq war, one of the arguments that was used against the lobby was that the target was, all the while, really was Iran. Now the drums are beat against Iran, and its going to be hard to cover up this 800 lb elephant.

  2. dumvitaestspesest
    December 29, 2011, 12:22 pm

    You want to succeed in what you are doing???
    1.Make sure that brainwashing, daily MSM propaganda is all-mighty and all -powerful. Make sure it is all united in drilling the same stuff in people’s brains.
    2.Make sure that, so called, general public reamins ignorant on valid issues.
    Feed them the irrevelant pop culture junk, make sure they don’t bother with more important issues. Make sure they stay very, very ignorant, indifferent.
    Scare them with a high possiblity of an attack on their country.
    The more scared they are, the more they will cooperate.
    3.Make sure that the opposition is weak, smear the opposition using all available outlets and methods. Lie, manipulate, make up staff. It does not matter.
    The opposition is the enemy of the Power, and needs to be destroyed.

  3. American
    December 29, 2011, 12:23 pm

    Kroenig is being groomed and grooming himself as one of the next generation of neo/zio/cons who will wander in and out of influential think tanks and adms.

  4. tommy
    December 29, 2011, 1:33 pm

    It is unfortunate Iraqis have not brought justice to America’s rulers who advocated for and then perpetrated the invasion of Iraq. It is even worse that Americans have not sought justice for president W. Bush and the war pigs in his cabinet. Perhaps if these criminals had been charged with the crimes they are associated with, one would not have to threaten bringing criminal charges against the next generation of war pigs wanting to bomb Iran. Sooner or later these criminals will be held to account for their crimes, and it will most likely be for the next round of unlawfulness they are planning, which should worry Mr. Kroenig.

  5. Annie Robbins
    December 29, 2011, 2:35 pm

    gee, with the daily beast/eli lake offering up neocon war mongering who needs to check out frontpagemag. it’s like a one stop shop for the lobby. first josh block and now this. i am so over voices like Kroenig’s. the only time it serves mentioning them is when you’re dressing them down! kudos to walt. kroenig’s just a younger face on kagan or abrams or one of those generic kristols. they are all the same, a neocon is a neocon is a neocon. war war war. i am sick of it!

    • libra
      December 30, 2011, 8:28 pm

      Annie: “kroenig’s just a younger face on kagan or abrams or one of those generic kristols. they are all the same, a neocon is a neocon is a neocon. war war war.”

      And like Kagan, you need to check up on who he’s marrying (or perhaps married by now) to fully see how this cabal works.

  6. Annie Robbins
    December 29, 2011, 2:36 pm

    oh, and phil is too kind. i didn’t ‘provide’ the piece.. i just sent him a bunch of links and ranted like i always do


  7. BillM
    December 29, 2011, 3:02 pm

    It’s fascinating to watch the story being puffed up, back and forth between Israeli and American media and commenters, each citing each other as proof of the serious buzz about a war with Iran. It’s an impressive push.

    Meanwhile, Frum takes it up a notch and plays the ultimate card – Iran was behind 9/11:


    the Iranian government, along with the terrorist group Hezbollah (the self-proclaimed “party of god”), provided material and direct support to al Qaeda in its attacks of September 11, 2001.

    • Shingo
      December 30, 2011, 6:29 am

      Have you read the comments in reposnse to Frum’s piece BillM? Frum is getting smacked so badly, I almost feel sorry for him. They’re not only shredding his BS, they are even making fun of him.

      There’s not a single comment that agrees with Frum.

      It seems that these chickenhawk neocons are frantically trying to gee up the US public for another war, and the public is laughing at them.

  8. Dan Crowther
    December 29, 2011, 4:54 pm

    Rational person to Matt Kroenig: Is it safe to say you have never in your life been physically involved in “securing america’s interests”
    Kroenig: Yes
    Rational person: Hmm, well maybe you should shut the F up with the war mongering.
    Kroenig: But I went to Georgetown! And Ive lectured at the Kennedy School!
    Rational person: As scary as the People’s Republic of Cambridge might be, Matt – your a chickenhawk. A coward. All you do is intellectualize death and destruction.

    • Woody Tanaka
      December 29, 2011, 5:18 pm


      Please let me say that I really appreciate your contributions to this site.

      • Dan Crowther
        December 29, 2011, 5:59 pm

        cheers woody, the feeling is mutual my brother…..

      • Shingo
        December 30, 2011, 6:26 am

        I second that Woody.

  9. ritzl
    December 30, 2011, 2:07 am

    Good Lord, at this point the conversation should just stop at “preventative” [war], in Walt’s phrasing (I know he, at least, was being semi-sarcastic). Do we not know by now that “easy in, impossible out?” is the absolute operative dynamic. How many million (++++) death wars do we need in recent memory to make that a political “don’t go there?”

    A “preventative” war is by any known measure, is still an inextricable, long-term, and costly WAR. It doesn’t matter whether we attack them first or they attack us first. Best we wait for them to attack us/the US (they absolutely will NOT, and even if they did we’d live on and shop, to a diminishing extent), worst case, before optionally expending so much [middle American] blood and [$Trillion] treasure, and destroying the world economy.

    “Preventative” in the case of Iran, means war for Israel, and people like Walt should just say it straight out. We’re getting to that level of openness in the conversation.

Leave a Reply