Quote of the Day: The War Party Is Working Hard to Make Iran Look Like a Victim


Jeffrey Goldberg:

It would be quite an achievement to allow Iran, the world’s foremost state sponsor of terrorism, to play the role of injured party in this drama. But the Senate is poised to do just that.

Goldberg is talking about the possibility that the Senate will pass a sanctions bill against Iran just as the Iranians have finally agreed to come to the table and negotiate an agreement to dismantle their nuclear program. As Goldberg says, this makes sense only if you’re hellbent on a military strike against Iran and flatly eager to sabotage anything that might lead to a peaceful settlement. It’s hard to believe that this is the position of the entire Republican Party as well as a pretty good chunk of the Democratic Party, but apparently it is. It’s especially hard to believe given the realities of what it would accomplish:

While it could set back (though not destroy) Iran’s nuclear program, it could also lead to the complete collapse of whatever sanctions remained in place. In addition, it could unify the Iranian people behind their country’s unelected leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei — a particularly perverse outcome. And in some ways, an attack would justify Iran’s paranoia and pursuit of nuclear weapons: After all, the regime could somewhat plausibly argue, post-attack, that it needs to defend itself against further aggression. A military campaign should be considered only when everything else has failed, and Iran is at the very cusp of gaining a deliverable nuclear weapon.

….So why support negotiations? First: They just might work. I haven’t met many experts who put the chance of success at zero. Second: If the U.S. decides one day that it must destroy Iran’s nuclear facilities, it must do so with broad international support. The only way to build that support is to absolutely exhaust all other options. Which means pursuing, in a time-limited, sober-minded, but earnest and assiduous way, a peaceful settlement.

This is exactly right. As it happens, I doubt that we’ll be able to reach a final deal with the Iranians. In the end, I think Iran’s hawks have too much influence and just won’t be willing to give up their nuclear ambitions. What we’ll do then is anyone’s guess. But as Goldberg says, even if you’re a hawk who favors a military strike, surely you’re also in favor of demonstrating to the world that we did everything humanly possible to avoid it. What possible reason could you have for feeling differently?

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest