In response to a worrying trend in U.S. politics, Lobe Log publishes Iran Hawk Watch every Friday. Our posts highlight militaristic commentary and confrontational policy recommendations about Iran from a variety of sources including news articles, think tanks and pundits.
*This week’s must-read is Trevor Thrall’s “Support for Whacking Iran: Who Needs Propaganda?” in the National Interest.
Mainstream Media and Pundits:
Matthew Kroenig in the Christian Science Monitor: The online publication of the Georgetown assistant professor’s “Time to Attack Iran” in Foreign Affairs was met with several critical responses that demolished Kroenig’s pro-war argument, most notably by Stephen Walt and Paul Pillar. But Kroenig’s claims continue to be referenced, mainly by right-wing news publications, or in the case of the Christian Science Monitor, with an entire article slot given to Kroenig to rehash his original piece into “5 reasons to attack Iran”.
Past and Present U.S. Officials and Politicians:
Tom Ridge in Fox News: George W. Bush’s Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge says that the U.S. should “publicly support” the Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MEK) and “regime change in Iran”. Ridge erroneously implies that the MEK, which has killed U.S. and Iranian citizens and is a U.S.-designated foreign terrorist organization, is Iran’s “democratic opposition”. But as many journalists and analysts have pointed out, the group’s leadership has no support among the vast majority of Iranians—pro-regime or not. Ridge is nevertheless one of several former U.S. officials who continue to make misleading claims about the group, which has spent millions through its affiliates on speaking fees for it well-known advocators. In response to the barrage of pieces like this one that were published at the peak of the MEK’s 2011 campaigning, I produced this compilation of articles exposing it for what it is (most of which were written by people opposed to the current Iranian government).
Side note: Last year, Georgetown law professor David Cole wondered out loud whether Ridge and other former officials committed a federal crime by endorsing a U.S.-designated terrorist organization.
KT McFarland in Fox News: Earlier this month a slight drama ensued over a changing Washington Post headline that initially contained the words “Iran” and “regime collapse” in it. The Post had published an article that made it appear like the Obama administration was pursuing regime change in Iran through sanctions instead of a “dual-track approach”. Hours after the article’s publication, the Post revised it three times to disavow that assumption. Whatever went on behind closed doors at the Post over that article is a mystery, but one thing is certain, Iranian regime change is still being endorsed in certain influential circles, particularly among Republicans. Case in point: here is Kathleen Troia ‘KT’ McFarland, who worked in the Nixon, Ford and Reagan administrations and now serves on the advisory board of the hawkish Foundation for Defense of Democracies, advising President Obama to use “Option C” on Iran, described by her as
…using Western resolve, Arab cooperation and Western technological advances to stress the Iranian economy to the point that it collapses and the Iranian people bring about regime change on their own.
James Woolsey on WorldNetDaily Radio: Eli Clifton of Think Progress reports that former CIA director and pro-Israel hawk James Woolsey (who has also vocally supported the Iranian exile terrorist group, the Mujahideen-e Khalq), told a right wing radio station that “anything that is related to the thugs that are oppressing the Iranian people” were “fair game” for attacks if Iran moves to close the Strait of Hormuz”. See Woolsey’s expanded pro-war argument from last week here.