NYT Magazine cover
Two days ago the New York Times Magazine published a landmark in warmongering journalism, a huge article predicting and justifying an Israeli attack on Iran, written by Israeli journalist Ronen Bergman. Last night I went to dinner with a friend who knows nothing about these issues but who said she was sickened to read it. What follows are a number of others expressing similar outrage.
First from a smart friend:
The enormous article by Ronen Bergman in the Sunday Times magazine is a shocker. The cover, title and artwork all push the attack like crazy; the article itself is more sober–but he’s had impressive access to all the Israeli leaders and ends by making Jeffrey Goldberg’s 2010 prediction, only this time for 2012: Israel WILL attack before the end of the year. The recent piece by Ethan Bronner, very weird for the front page, assuring Americans that Israel was satisfied that the repercussions of an attack would be bearable–was really hype for this magazine article. All published to make the attack normal. To deflate in advance any anger from American military or the administration.
Here is the ad for it on the front page, bottom right of Sunday’s paper: “For the first time since the Iranian nuclear threat emerged, the conditions for an Israeli assault have been met. With all other options for containment exhausted, will Israel attack Iran. And when?”
So… Bill Keller’s weird little piece “Bomb Bomb Bomb Iran” was actually positioning him on the skeptical far left of the talk at the Times high command.
From our own Matthew Taylor, “Megalomania on high:”
The Times piece cheerleading for Israel to attack Iran dropped in print. And the main graphic pull-quote:
“At the end of the day, when the military command looks up, it sees us — the minister of defense and the prime minister. When we look up, we see nothing but the sky above us.” – Ehud Barak
In the Jewish religion, Yahweh is not just “the one and only true G-d,” he resides in the sky.
Gary Sick describes the piece as sensationalist and misleading:
Will Israel Really Attack Iran? The real answer is no, they will not. But you would never figure that out by reading the New York Times.
The sensationalist article in the Sunday New York Times Magazine (Jan. 29) adds to the hysteria surrounding U.S. and Israeli relations with Iran. Ronen Bergman, a columnist with the leading Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, concludes that Israel will probably attack Iran this year.
He draws this fearful conclusion after recounting his discussions with key Israeli military and intelligence officials, present and former, who describe to him in great detail: (1) why Israel is incapable of conducting such an attack; (2) why such a foolhardy action would fail to stop Iran’s nuclear program; and (3) why it would actually leave the situation far worse than it is now.
Not only is his conclusion at odds with virtually everything he produces as evidence, but there are some omissions in his analysis that regrettably have become predictably routine in talking about the Iranian nuclear program…
Leon Hadar at the National Interest says that Obama may no longer be able to write the script on the American encounter with Iran. In his view, the Republican candidates and Israel seem to be driving this train:
Will the administration give Israel a green light to attack Iran, or has it vetoed such a move? Is the White House hoping to create an environment conducive to U.S. military action, or is it applying diplomatic brinkmanship that could bring about a peaceful resolution?
This kind of policy opaqueness and injecting a lot of “noise” into the process can provide a strategic advantage over foreign adversaries. From that perspective, what is perceived as a sense of confusion in the Obama administration may be a sort of psychological warfare against Iran (“We cannot control Israel”) and diplomatic pressure on China and Russia (“Support sanctions or Israel will strike”)….
Obama’s lack of transparency has a major downside. The White House believes that it is writing the script for this diplomatic production. But some of the main actors may not be willing to read the lines assigned to them and could try to write a different ending.
Neither the current Israeli government nor the Republican presidential candidate will support a deal with Iran that would be acceptable to the regime there. So much for the proposal by Turkey and Brazil that Iran send uranium abroad for enrichment or a step-by-step process advanced by Russia that calls for confidence-building and transparency measures by Tehran. Any sign that Obama was even considering these or similar ideas as a basis for negotiations with Iran would ignite a storm of protest by Benjamin Netanyahu and his Republican pals.
Two comments from Times readers, near the top of the comment pile, express cynical skepticism:
So Israel wants to lure the US into yet another war?
They’ll do what they want whether or not the United States agrees with it. We should let them know that if they attack Iran, they’re on their own. Israel should get no support from the US, either tactical or financial. We have our own problems.. Any assistance the United States gives Israel can only be in its best interests not ours.
But of course, that won’t happen. Israel would never attack Iran without knowing, it will be supported by our politicians, who play to the vested interests here who put Israel’s interests above that of the United States.
Which begs the question of this ally of ours; exactly how many Israeli soldiers fought with the “coalition forces” in Iran and Afghanistan? Zero, of course.