From the Department of Unintended Irony

By Daniel Luban

National Review‘s Rich Lowry:

A major irony in Bush’s policy is that Iran appears to be much better primed than Iraq for a transition to democratic government (although Iraq is managing it anyway). It hasn’t been devastated by sanctions and war the way Iraq was; its faux elections let people at least exercise their democratic muscles; and the country has a relatively well-developed civil society. [my emphasis]

Just give it some time, Rich!

More seriously, Lowry’s comment does cut to the core contradiction of the neocon position on Iran. The same people who so self-righteously hold themselves up as champions of the slain Neda and protectors of innocent Iranians want nothing more than to ramp up sanctions (which, as Fred Kagan forthrightly admitted, will have the immediate effect of killing innocent Iranians) followed in all likelihood by military strikes (the destructive effects of which should need no explanation.) The fact that war with Iran would likely consolidate the hardliners’ power and snuff out the opposition similarly does not seem to factor into the thinking of these courageous defenders of the Iranian people.

Daniel Luban

Daniel Luban is a postdoctoral associate at Yale University. He holds a PhD in politics from the University of Chicago and was formerly a correspondent in the Washington bureau of Inter Press Service.



  1. You hit the nail on the head. However, the key decision makers who would determine whether to strike Iran eventually or not — Obama and the Chiefs — are likely to remain opposed. The rising over the stolen election is on the wane, and within days, I expect, everyone except the hard core neocons will have moved on to the next story.

    You may have noticed that things are heating up a bit in Iraq. I predict that by this fall all the talking heads will be a-blathering about a big spike in violence in Iraq, perhaps even renewed civil war. That will make the public even less willing than it is now to put up with any nonsense over Iran.

    We need to shift the discussion to what Israel may do about Iran. If Obama remains popular in the U.S., they are not likely to hazard a strike. But if Obama’s popularity tanks, you can bet the farm (well, maybe only the barn) that American ordnance will be delivered by Israeli pilots on Natanz and any other spot in Iran the Israelis consider “vital.”

  2. Daniel you ignorant slut, they want to Liberate IRAN not it’s people. The people want money for Iran and it’s resources. I don’t know why you fail to understand this simple imperative.

    Goodness grief, someone need to explain capitalism, bringing raw materials to market, also market development and the like. We’re talking Free Iran, not Iranians.

  3. The Neocons and Netanyahu got what they wanted: Ahmadinejad can continue to be their favourite enemy. And now, after stealing the elections and lacking somewhat in legitimation, he may crave that the USA and Israel might give the Theocratic regime new patriotic energy – in bombing the nation.
    In case Ahmadinejad has won the current power struggle he may be eager to provoke such bombing. (I suppose China would bail him out if the attacks were to go too far for the regime.)

  4. The U.S. position on Iran is pretty good for irony all by its lonesome – something noted in Iran when Obama mentioned improved relations. After threatening nuclear attack, I suppose everything else is small potatoes. Nevertheless, mistranslating Ahmadinejad’s speeches have been great fun for years – something Spiegel noted and almost everybody forgot.
    I thought the WMD noise by Cheney’s official department of disinformation would have blown up after 2 CIA rebuttals. Never mind. The whole proposition is insane and ridiculous. Positing the same people who put real WMD in Cuba – a reaction to US putting them in Turkey : Cuban Missile Crisis – and are currently pissed over siting them in Eastern Europe – as providing the means via fusion not fission tech for Iran to become a nuclear danger despite signing agreement against nuke weapons tech…the whole thing screws with my mind that leads to hilarity…except people believe something incredibly inane!
    Russia’s note that an attack on Iran will be considered as an attack on Russia is dissed as ‘Not credible’.
    Holy sheepshit. They actually have the means. Iran…no way.
    What is right with this scenario ?

  5. I cannot believe anyone would consider an attack on Bushehr by the U.S. or Israel a smart idea, or even a possibility. The Israelis and the Neocons are touting the successful Israeli attacks on Osiraq (Iraq) and a pile of rocks in Syria as proof that an attack, with or without the U.S. is ‘doable’. This may be more wet dreaming, or it may be ‘on the table’. However, Osiraq and Syria were construction sites. The Bushehr reactor, which is due to go online later this year, is already stocked with eighty-two tons of enriched Uranium. If the containment is breached, by bunker buster bomb(s), Middle Eastern oil will be inaccessible for 700 million years and Israel will be visible from space, as it will glow in the dark.

    But, hey, what’s my opinion worth? I just happen to share this planet with these dumb assess.

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