Neocons in Washington Post: Military strike on Iran would ‘calm nerves in the region’

The Washington Post seems to think that the United States is not in enough overseas wars. It runs a piece by Matthew Kroenig and Jamie Fly urging us to pursue the military option with Iran. “On Iran, it’s time for Obama to set clear lines for military action.” The excerpt below includes the shocking claim in my headline.

Jamie Fly is at the neoconservative Foreign Policy Initiative. Its board consists of four directors, Robert Kagan, Bill Kristol, Dan Senor and Eric Edelman. A lot of robust diversity there! Looks like a front organization.

Kroenig is at the Council on Foreign Relations and worked in the Obama Defense Department– so much for change you can believe in. Probably a Lester Crown play, the Obama supporter who is militant on Iran. Steve Walt took Kroenig’s argument for war apart last December as a “textbook example of war-mongering disguised as ‘analysis’”:

let’s be crystal clear about what Kroenig is advocating here. He is openly calling for preventive war against Iran, even though the United States has no authorization from the U.N. Security Council, it is not clear that Iran is actively developing nuclear weapons, and Iran has not attacked us or any of our allies – ever. He is therefore openly calling for his country to violate international law. He is calmly advocating a course of action that will inevitably kill a significant number of people, including civilians, some of whom probably despise the clerical regime (and with good reason). And Kroenig is willing to have their deaths on his conscience on the basis of a series of unsupported assertions, almost all of them subject to serious doubt.

Here are Kroenig and Fly in the Washington Post:

The Obama administration has articulated only one bright red line: building nuclear weapons. But if we wait until Iran turns the final screws on a nuclear device, we probably will be too late. The administration’s pledge to use force if necessary also rings hollow if Iran is allowed to make significant progress in all the other areas required for a weapon.

The United States can strike Iran’s nuclear facilities to prevent Iran from making weapons-grade uranium, but once it has the fissile material, the game is over….

Washington has a spectrum of viable military options, including a limited strike against a few key nuclear facilities, as well as a broader bombing campaign that could destroy the Iranian military and destabilize the regime. The response could be commensurate to the seriousness of Iran’s transgressions.

This proactive approach should help calm nerves in the region about Obama’s mettle, and could forestall Israel from taking matters into its own hands.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.
Posted in Iran, Israel Lobby, Media, Middle East, Neocons, US Policy in the Middle East, US Politics

{ 33 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. constant pressure. no pause after aipac’s ‘capabilities’ legislation passed last week.

    this neocon pressure is EXACTLY how and we entered iraq and wapo deserves a lashing for shoveling this crap out to the american public.

    kroenig’s article last fall was humped to kingdom come. by eli lake, by goldberg…just on and on and on.

  2. seafoid says:

    One U.S. veteran attempts suicide every 80 minutes

    link to dailymail.co.uk

    Israel is simply not worth one American fingernail.

  3. American says:

    Kroenig is a particulary replusive little ass, he ‘s an neocon intern being groomed by the old neo/zio/cons to be the next generation.

  4. flyod says:

    i don’t think bombing will work. better to send a 2 man ground invasion force of kroenig and fly.

  5. MarkF says:

    “This proactive approach should help calm nerves in the region about Obama’s mettle..”

    Good catch Phil, because as we know, nothing calms nerves over Obama’s “meddle” like an outbreak of war. They must have been laughing when they wrote that line. It has to be a case of putting something so ludicrous into an op-ed and knowing people will take it seriously. “Ooh, ooh, Fly, check out this line I just came up with – we HAVE to use this in the op-ed piece. ”

    Not that it hurts the Post, but I canceled my subscription. Not going to buy it until they can Hiatt.

  6. Yes, that Iraq war has really calmed the nerves of the hundreds of thousands dead and disfigured, not to mention the thousands of US vets with amputations. And those Afghanistan families who were bombed by drones, their nerves are shredded beyond calm now. The Gazans nerves must be calmer since the Israelis attacked them violently and put them under lock and key. And all so some people can feel the machismo of their ‘mettle’.

    What hideous, warped minds actually think like this? Oh yes, the entire neocon, aipac funded bunch of cowards who never suffer the effects of their warmongering, but daily seek new ways to prostrate themselves before the Emperor Yahoo and his messianic delusions. Newspaper editors and owners buy this blatant crap and serve it up? Unbelievable.

    Translation of last phrase: Americans will have to suffer in order that Israelis don’t have to and can continue their lives pampered by the US taxpayer.

  7. Don says:

    I’d like to know how Georgetown University (a Jesuit institution) seems to find faculty members like this (Mathew Kroenig…assistant professor of Government at Georgetown University).

    How does a Catholic Jesuit university justify faculty members who advocate preemptive war? Absolutely appalling…at least to this Catholic.

  8. seanmcbride says:

    At some point doesn’t it become essential to point out that Robert Kagan, William Kristol, Dan Senor and Eric Edelman are all Jewish Likud Zionists? And that the FPI (Foreign Policy Initiative) is one of dozens of Israeli and Likud Zionist front groups that work in coordination to manipulate American foreign policy on behalf of the Israeli government?

    I count at least four Israeli front groups founded by William Kristol:

    1. ECI (Emergency Committee for Israel)
    2. FPI (Foreign Policy Initiative)
    3. Keep America Safe
    4. PNAC (Project for the New American Century)

    And the Washington Post, which was once a mainstream liberal American newspaper, has itself morphed into an Israeli and Likud Zionist front group. It’s core agenda: all war all the time on behalf of Greater Israel. The Washington Post, along with the New York Times and Fox News, was one of the key ringleaders of the Iraq War.

    William Kristol’s full list of affiliations:

    1. ABC News
    2. AEI (American Enterprise Institute)
    3. Bilderberg Group
    4. CLI (Committee for the Liberation of Iraq)
    5. Commentary
    6. ECI (Emergency Committee for Israel)
    7. FDD (Foundation for the Defense of Democracies)
    8. Federalist Society
    9. Fox News
    10. Keep America Safe
    11. Manhattan Institute
    12. Middle East Forum
    13. New York Times
    14. PNAC
    15. Shalem Center
    16. Washington Post
    17. Weekly Standard

    And I am sure there are other important affiliations I’ve overlooked. All of these organizations are coordinated components of the Israel lobby.

    I am betting that the role of Israeli influence in American politics is going to develop into one of the biggest controversies in American history. Does anyone care to bet against me? John Mearsheimer’s and Stephen Walt’s book on the subject is just a small taste of what is to come on this front, especially when all the costs of neoconservative policies have been tabulated and understood by Americans. Relentless neocon warmongering and agitation for a domestic police state regime may well succeed in taking down America.

    Keep in mind that Mitt Romney has surrounded himself with the same neoconservative ideologues who drove the Bush/Cheney administration into the ditch.

    • Kathleen says:

      “which was once a mainstream liberal American newspaper” only on certain issues. Never on the I/P issue or other middle east issues. Hawks…solid hawks.

      This is an interesting article about the Wapo

      “How Two Jewish Publishers Who Privately Opposed Zionism Folded
      By Staff 1/06/07 12:53pm
      In her 1997 autobiography, the late Katharine Graham of the Washington Post described her father as an assimilating Jew who didn’t talk about his Jewishness to his Episcopal-church-going children. He was “involved in Jewish charities, causes, and international issues.

      “He was not a Zionist, however, believing strongly that he was an American citizen first and foremost.”

      That’s odd. Her father, the financier Eugene I. Meyer Jr., who bought the Washington Post in the 1930s, is a figure in Zionist history. Behind the scenes, Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis turned to Meyer again and again for money to support the Jewish settlement in Palestine. Meyer met with Brandeis’s Zionist klatches, personally lobbied his friend FDR on their account, and agreed to head the University Zionist society—an organization to build support among Jews on campus (per Brandeis’s letters, edited by Melvin Urofsky and David W. Levy, and Peter Grose’s Israel in the Mind of America).

      So was Katharine Graham lying about her father?

      Well, no. Despite Meyer’s support, even Brandeis conceded late in life that “his heart was never in Zionism and he did this largely on my account.” So Meyer was merely tithing—to something he didn’t believe in. This speaks to an interesting feature of the Israel lobby: It has long counted on support from assimilationist Jews who were lukewarm on the idea but went along under pressure from their nationalist Jewish friends.

      Consider Meyer’s counterpart at the NYT: former publisher Arthur Hays Sulzberger. When Sulzberger died in 1968, the Times obit was emphatic about his views. “[Jewishness] was to him a religion, not a nationality. He did not believe Jews to be a race or a people, and, like Mr. Ochs [his father-in-law], was deeply opposed to the Zionism movement…”

      Deeply opposed. Successful assimilating German Jews like Sulzberger and Meyer loved America. They were becoming big deals in the land of opportunity, they didn’t quite see the point of Zionism—though they knew that Eastern European Jews who had fled pogroms were excited by it.

      Sulzberger flirted with public declarations of his anti-Zionism. According to Thomas Kolsky’s splendid history, Jews Against Zionism, in the 1940s, Sulzberger helped draft the mission statement of the anti-Zionist Jewish organization, the American Council for Judaism—which opposed “all philosophies that stress the racialism, the nationalism and the homelessness of the Jews, as injurious to their interests.” Wow.

      But in the end Sulzberger dithered and didn’t sign on publicly. He wanted to, he told the Reform rabbis who headed the group. But till it got a big following, he just couldn’t do so. It would hurt the integrity of the newspaper. Chicken.

      Besides, the nascent Israel lobby was already on the Times’ case, accusing it of being “a transmission belt for anti-Zionist propaganda.” This ticked Sulzberger off. He said the viciousness of the Zionists’ attacks were a big reason he had converted to anti-Zionism!

      What is my point? Here are two powerful Jews, one a non-Zionist, the other anti-, controlling two of the most important newspapers, and both are afraid to express their views. Some may call that professionalism, I call it abdication: they were holding back on a central issue of the time. The publishers of the New Republic and the New York Sun and Commentary would never cheat their readers of their views of Israel, that’s their raison d’etre.

      Why didn’t these men express their views? I think they were ashamed of their assimilation. And they were outplayed by the nationalists in their community. Kolsky says that the Zionists beat the anti-Zionists not on the issues, but by outsmarting them. They put them on the defensive by saying they were unrepresentative or “self-hating.” They allowed them to piously play by the rules—no lobbying! the anti-Zionists declared— while the Zionists were working the White House. Give them credit. Today the Israel lobby works the cloakrooms and paints anyone who criticizes the intimacy of the U.S.-Israel relationship as an anti-Semite; and liberal Jews sigh and walk away.

      Lately Richard Cohen of the Washington Post admitted regretfully that the creation of Israel was a “mistake.” Sixty years ago a group of Reform anti-Zionist Jews were saying just that: that a Jewish state was an anachronism, it would result in endless violence in the Middle East, and would require support from Jews here, which would make those Jews confused about their allegiance. The two publishers evidently shared many of these views but couldn’t take a stand.

      So what was the position of liberal assimilating Jews in the Zionist movement? Just what Stokely Carmichael said the position of women was in the black power movement: prone”

      • seanmcbride says:

        I think a major turning point in the editorial policy of the New York Times towards Zionism and Israel came when Arthur Ochs “Punch” Sulzberger appointed two militant pro-Israel activists to the op-ed page of the New York Times during the same era — A.M. Rosenthal and William Safire. Ever since that editorial decision, the New York Times has been predominately a neoconservative publication and still is — not quite as nakedly so as the Washington Post, which is basically a propaganda arm of Likud, but the overall bias is unmistakable. That is why the New York Times played a lead role in spearheading the Iraq War.

        Overall the fortunes and reputations of both newspapers have plummeted during recent decades. One can easily envision a future in which they disappear entirely. They have fallen behind the curve of history in several important ways.

  9. Kroenig and Fly:

    The Obama administration has articulated only one bright red line: building nuclear weapons. But if we wait until Iran turns the final screws on a nuclear device, we probably will be too late.

    Condoleeza Rice (another professor) before the Iraq war:

    The problem here is that there will always be some uncertainty about how quickly Saddam can acquire nuclear weapons. But we don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.

    They really need a new script – or a new profession.

  10. Dan Crowther says:

    This proactive approach should help calm nerves in the region about Obama’s mettle, and could forestall Israel from taking matters into its own hands.
    ——————————————
    These are the “Pro’s” according to these dickheads. Obama gets to look tough, and we (the US) get to save Israeli lives – lives that would only be in jeopardy due to the actions of Israel’s supremely assholic government.

    I shouldnt even comment on posts like this – every time I read drivel like this latest from Koenig and Fly, I want to make the short walk over to the Kennedy School and smack some future key board warriors around…. How about that for a “pre-emptive strike?”

    • Kathleen says:

      I still like Zbigniew’s comments “Zbigniew Brzezinski, the former national security adviser to U.S. President Jimmy Carter, said on Sunday that U.S. forces should forcibly prevent the Israel Air Force from reaching Iran to strike its nuclear facilities.

      In an interview with news Web site the Daily Beast, Brzezinski said that the U.S. forces were “not exactly impotent little babies,” saying that Israel forces have “to fly over our airspace in Iraq. Are we just going to sit there and watch?”

      When asked what should the United States do in case Israeli jets fly over Iraq anyway, the former national security advisor said the United States would “have to be serious about denying them that right.”

      “That means a denial where you aren’t just saying it. If they fly over, you go up and confront them,” Brzezinski said, adding that Israeli fighters would then “have the choice of turning back or not.”

      Spot on

  11. OT – View of Israel by American Jews with Norm Finkelstein

  12. Kathleen says:

    Walt “He is openly calling for preventive war against Iran, even though the United States has no authorization from the U.N. Security Council, it is not clear that Iran is actively developing nuclear weapons, and Iran has not attacked us or any of our allies — ever. He is therefore openly calling for his country to violate international law.”

    No hard proof that Iran has a nuclear weapons program, no hesitation to violate international law. Nothing new out of these warmongers.

    Interesting how the Washington Post is more than willing to promote these inflammatory articles based on unsubstantiated claims. Bob Woodward associate editor of the wapo and his willingness to go along with the “groupthink” in the run up to the invasion of Iraq. Woodwards persistent efforts to undermine the Plame investigation and trial “much ado about nothing” Knowing he knew a great deal about the outing of Plame during his efforts to undermine that investigation.

    His blown up role in the Watergate scandal all the while be led by the nose by Felt. The questions about what the real agenda was for taking out Nixon. He has been riding that wave for a long time.

    And Wapo’s willingness to promote an unnecessary strike on Iran based on cherry picked intelligence. Woodward needs to be deeply investigated.

    • @Kathleen

      Woodward needs to be deeply investigated.

      Exactly right, Kathleen. What Nixon resigned for (knowledge of the burglary), is so relatively tiny compared to the crimes of Bush and Obama (and also Bush 1 and Clinton), and yet is so much more prominent in American minds. The media giveth and the media taketh away.

  13. Kathleen says:

    An important read over at Race for Iran
    DID OBAMA TAKE THE MILITARY OPTION AGAINST IRAN OFF THE TABLE?

    “U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro, whose relationship with President Obama dates back to Obama’s days in the Senate, made headlines this week with his statement, in an address to Israel’s bar association, that America’s military option against Iran is “not just available,” but “ready. The necessary planning has been done to ensure that it’s ready,” see here. Commenting on these remarks, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said today, see here,

    “Let me just make clear that Ambassador Shapiro’s comments were designed to reflect completely what the President has said all along, which is that even as we move forward with the P5+1 discussions with Iran and hope that we can settle these issues through diplomacy, that we nonetheless take no option off the table.”

    Against these remarks by Ambassador Shapiro and Ms. Nuland, we juxtapose one of the more striking pieces of commentary we have read since last month’s nuclear talks in Istanbul between the Islamic Republic and the P5+1 countries—an article from Mehdi Mohammadi, published in Kayhan. Mohammadi has written important and insightful pieces in the past. We provide below an English translation, titled “What Did Not Take Place,” below. For the original text, see here.

    Mohammadi’s analysis is especially interesting with regard to the U.S. military option against Iran. In the middle of his analysis, he also makes an arresting factual claim: that President Obama, “in a letter written to Iran this past winter, announced openly that the military option from his country’s perspective is not on the table.”

    –Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett

    What Did Not Take Place

    By Mehdi Mohammadi, domestic political analyst and contributor to Kayhan

    A useful way of truly understanding what took place in the Istanbul talks [in April] is to analyze these talks through the lens of “what did not take place.”

    From about six months before these negotiations and with the memories of the Istanbul I talks still on the Westerner’s minds, the primary concern of the P5+1 was that of how to force Iran to end its perseverance and to adjust its strategic calculus.

    First of all, the most immediate issue for the United States and Israel was to halt Iranian uranium enrichment from progressing any further than where it currently stood. Therefore, a wave of “semi-hard power” operations in the form of cyber attacks, assassinating nuclear scientists, restricting the imports of certain materials and components to Iran, and most important of all, the cutting off what the Americans call the “source of funding” for the nuclear program has been undertaken. However, if we use the criterion of the expansion of installations and the amount of nuclear materials produced by Iran as a measure for the acceleration or deceleration of Iran’s nuclear program, these operations have achieved none of their goals. Scientists have been assassinated, but this affair has only convinced other scientists that they must work harder and take revenge for their martyrs. Cyber attacks were carried out against nuclear facilities but the only result was that not only did Iranian specialists learn defensive technological skills, but they quickly became capable of carrying out widespread cyber attacks in enemy territory. The sanctions prompted Iranian producers to search for new methods and in a short time this lead to self-reliance in certain areas which prior to the sanctions were dependent on imports. The financial resource for Iran’s nuclear program has not been cut off, since the increased oil revenue due to the psychological effect of the sanctions – keep in mind that the oil sanctions neither from Europe nor America have been enacted so far and it is all talk until now — has been much greater than the effect of the tiny amount of reduction Iranian oil exports have experienced.”

    • Rusty Pipes says:

      Did you catch the interview of Fawas Gerges on today’s Diane Rehm Show? There was actually a little decent discussion about Obama and I/P

      • Kathleen says:

        did not…thanks will listen. The Rehm team has not focused on the I/P issue for some time. Never even whisper about events in the Friday international hour. Diane has allowed lots of guest to repeat unsubstantiated claims about Iran the last five or so years. Pathetic. Never even questions sources etc?

  14. seanmcbride says:

    It’s all about Israel and the Israel lobby — the relentless agitation for war never stops.

    # Jamie Fly; categories
    1. AEI member (American Enterprise Institute)
    2. American University B.A.
    3. biological weapons expert
    4. Bush 43 administration member
    5. CFR member (Council on Foreign Relations)
    6. chemical weapons expert
    7. Claremont Institute member
    8. Commentary writer
    9. Common Sense Society board member
    10. Foreign Affairs writer
    11. Foreign Policy writer
    12. FPI executive director (Foreign Policy Initiative)
    13. FPI member (Foreign Policy Initiative)
    14. Georgetown University M.A.
    15. Hamilton Society board member
    16. IISS member (International Institute for Strategic Studies)
    17. Iran War ringleader
    18. Marco Rubio supporter
    19. National Review writer
    20. neoconservative
    21. NSC member (National Security Council)
    22. nuclear weapons expert
    23. pro-Israel activist
    24. RNC member (Republican National Committee)
    25. Ron Paul opponent
    26. Washington Post writer
    27. Weekly Standard writer
    28. WINEP member (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
    29. World Bank member

    # Jamie Fly; neoconservative affiliations
    1. AEI (American Enterprise Institute)
    2. Commentary
    3. FPI (Foreign Policy Initiative)
    4. Iran War ringleaders
    5. National Review
    6. Washington Post
    7. Weekly Standard
    8. WINEP (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)

    Re: Jamie Fly’s pro-Israel political agenda:

    BEGIN ARTICLE
    TITLE It’s time for President Obama to stop pressuring Israel and instead, pressure Tehran, says FPI Executive Director Jamie Fly
    AUTHOR Jamie Fly
    ORGANIZATION Foreign Policy Initiative
    DATE March 5, 2012
    URL link to foreignpolicyi.org
    BEGIN QUOTE
    Speaking to The Washington Post in advance of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s visit to Washington this week, an unnamed senior Obama administration official said, “We’re trying to make the decision to attack as hard as possible for Israel.”

    This encapsulates the president’s dangerously misguided policy toward one of America’s closest allies. Rather than reassuring Israel in a time of growing uncertainty, the Obama administration is attempting to make life difficult for Israel’s government.
    END QUOTE
    END ARTICLE

    There is never any rational discussion among neocons like Jamie Fly, William Kristol and Robert Kagan of the financial and political costs for Americans of their never-ending wars for Israel — no reasonable cost/benefit analysis whatever. The more mistakes they make, the more frenetic they become in doubling down on their bad and failed policies. They are messianic ideologues, not pragmatic foreign policy analysts. So where does it all end?

  15. Meanwhile back in Israel, NuttyYahoo continues to try to sabotage the P5+1 talks:

    link to ynetnews.com

    Netanyahu reiterated his demand that Iran halts all uranium enrichment, saying that it is necessary to “remove enriched nuclear material from the country and dismantle the underground nuclear facilities near Qom.

    Surprisingly, Ehud Barak is quoted as agreeing to the P5+1 position:

    link to israelnationalnews.com

    Defense Minister Ehud Barak says Israel would accept an Iranian reduction in nuclear enrichment to 3.5 percent in accordance with a proposal by the P5+1.

    It seems, that Fordow is still in play, and the P5+1 are on Israel’s side on this:

    Sources say the P5+1 will demand Tehran stop enriching uranium to 20 percent; move all 20 percent enriched uranium out of the country; and stop all nuclear activity at Fordow.

    Maybe these are flexible positions, but it doesn’t sound that way:

    In exchange, the P5+1 will aid Iran in operating a small reactor that can be used for medical research isotopes, and will not push for further U.N. sanctions.

    However, the P5+1 is not expected to ease the European Union embargo on Iranian oil set to go into effect July 1 — which analysts say is key for Tehran.

    The embargo will reduce Iran’s already impacted oil exports by 500,000 barrels a day — and will likely remain in place until Tehran not only reaches an agreement, but demonstrates compliance with it.

    The G8 countries over the weekend said they have no intention to give Iran what is most important to it without a suitable agreement in place.

    It remains to be seen if Iran will shutdown Fordow – I personally doubt it. The carrot being offered is not to impose additional sanctions – not to decrease the ones in place.

    I wouldn’t accept this bargain if I was Iran – which is as it is intended.

    • Kathleen says:

      The Leverets have had quite a few pieces up about how Brazil and I forget the other nation who offered to do the enriching for peaceful purposes for Iran but that this deal was turned down by other nations.

      amazing to think that a nation who signed the NPT and has the legal right to enrich uranium up to 20% is being asked by Israel (who we know refuses to sign the NPT)to give up enrichment all together which they have the legal right to. So absurd

  16. Citizen says:

    So what’s new? Google the specifics of HR 4133. Seems Israel is the only US state with 100 senators, rather than just 2. Hard to believe, especially in these economic and presidential campaign times, that our mainstream media is not giving this information to the American people. Only two members of the House voted against this legislation passed on quickie vote; of those two, only one spoke up in public against it: Ron Paul: link to veteranstoday.com
    Note in the article how the Washington Post treated passage of HR 4133. Apparently nobody else even bothered to mention it.

  17. dbroncos says:

    Marcus Braucholi is Editor in Chief at Wapo. Some of his earliest assignments as a teen age journalist included a column in the Daily Camera (Boulder, CO) called “Pet of the Week” about animals up for adoption at the SPCA. His politics are liberal, if I understand him correctly. Where does that pedigree show up on Wapo’s opinion pages? – Nowhere. His ass is in someone else’s briefcase.

    • Kathleen says:

      ” His politics are liberal” but when it comes to the I/P issue over the decades so many have taken a hard turn to the radical right when it comes to Israel.

  18. calm whose nerves? the nerves of right wing off-the-rails zionists who help run an international MIC endless conflict paradigm (that also supports the western banking system in its drive to crush any systems outside the fold of in-debt nations beholden to corporate and central banking dictates)?

    average israelis would not have nerves calmed as missiles hit dimona or tel aviv even. maybe they mean it would calm the nerves of the many iranians who would end up dead….. nerves that don’t even fire anymore are calm i suppose….. hell, it may “calm the nerves” of many people all over the region, not just iranians.