Goldberg’s Bogus ‘Ticking Clock’ on Iran

My latest, posted on TomDispatch:

America’s march to a disastrous war in Iraq began in the media, where an unprovoked U.S. invasion of an Arab country was introduced as a legitimate policy option, then debated as a prudent and necessary one. Now, a similarly flawed media conversation on Iran is gaining momentum.

Last month, TIME’s Joe Klein warned that Obama administration sources had told him bombing Iran’s nuclear facilities was “back on the table.” In an interview with CNN, former CIA director Admiral Mike Hayden next spoke of an “inexorable” dynamic toward confrontation, claiming that bombing was a more viable option for the Obama administration than it had been for George W. Bush. The pièce de résistance in the most recent drum roll of bomb-Iran alerts, however, came from Jeffrey Goldberg in the Atlantic Monthly. A journalist influential in U.S. pro-Israeli circles, he also has access to Israel’s corridors of power. Because sanctions were unlikely to force Iran to back down on its uranium enrichment project, Goldberg invited readers to believe that there was a more than even chance Israel would launch a military strike on the country by next summer.

His piece, which sparked considerable debate in both the blogosphere and the traditional media, was certainly an odd one. After all, despite the dramatics he deployed, including vivid descriptions of the Israeli battle plan, and his tendency to paint Iran as a new Auschwitz, he also made clear that many of his top Israeli sources simply didn’t believe Iran would launch nuclear weapons against Israel, even if it acquired them.

Nonetheless, Goldberg warned, absent an Iranian white flag soon, Israel would indeed launch that war in summer 2011, and it, in turn, was guaranteed to plunge the region into chaos. The message: the Obama administration better do more to confront Iran or Israel will act crazy.

It’s not lost on many of his progressive critics that, when it came to supporting a prospective invasion of Iraq back in 2002, Goldberg proved effective in lobbying liberal America, especially through his reports of “evidence” linking Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda. Then and now, he presents himself as an interlocutor who has no point of view. In his most recent Atlantic piece, he professed a “profound, paralyzing ambivalence” on the question of a military strike on Iran and subsequently, in radio interviews, claimed to be “personally opposed” to military action.

His piece, however, conveniently skipped over the obvious inconsistencies in what his Israeli sources were telling him. In addition, he excluded perspectives from Israeli leaders that might have challenged his narrative in which an embattled Jewish state feels it has no alternative but to launch a quixotic military strike. Such an attack, as he presented it, would have limited hope of doing more than briefly setting back the Iranian nuclear program, perhaps at catastrophic cost, and so Israeli leaders would act only because they believe the “goyim” won’t stop another Auschwitz. Or as my friend Paul Woodward, editor of the War in Context website, so brilliantly summed up the Israeli message to America: “You must do what we can’t, because if you don’t, we will.”

Goldberg insists that he is merely initiating a debate about how to tackle Iran and that debate is already underway on his terms — that is, like its Iraq War predecessor, based on a fabricated sense of crisis and arbitrary deadlines.

To read the complete piece, click here

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50 Responses to Goldberg’s Bogus ‘Ticking Clock’ on Iran

  1. Dick abroad says:

    (This may not be the place for my comment, but… ) Someone has to blow the whistle on this Iran-the-terrible scam, and isolate Israel with its sadomacho fantasies. But in a way that will convince the American public that radical surgery is called for. A job for the President in principle, but Obama is no Eisenhower and the political costs would be certain and horrendous. Besides, I’m not sure he realizes what’s going on here.(Rahm Emanuel?)Petraeus is the one with the stature and popularity to pull it off. We know how he feels about our manipulation by Israel, even though he was obliged to backpedal after his report in March. But the prospect of being sucked into another morass in the ME – especially in view of his present assignment – ought to clinch it. Whatever his political ambitions, he would have to weigh them against his sense of military duty and the hope for political gain in smoking out(neutralizing?) the neocons and hyper-Zionists. To say nothing of heading off another senseless war. Someone should have a quiet talk with the General.

  2. Lou says:

    Israel is going to keep playing with fire until it gets burned. What Israeli’s/Zionists fail to remember is that, historically, there has been latent antisemitism. (I’m not coping the Zionist line that makes any criticism of Israel “antisemitic, I’m talking about history of pogroms directed at Jews).

    If Israel keeps pushing the envelop and in fact attacks Iran, the economic calamity that results world wide, (from the oil market uncertainty let alone the potential closing of the Straits of Hormuz) will be such that it results in a severe blow back against Israel. And if the pain is felt deeply enough, Israel would be delusional to believe that some countries won’t institute pogroms, including European ones who were behind the ones in the 19th century.

    If Israel and supporters of Israel are concerned about her survival, they’d get off this propaganda, threatening Iran noise and try to repair it’s world image. An image that is worsening year after year.

    Israel needs to stop believing that the world is behind her cause. In fact recent US polling shows a decline in support

  3. Ken Jopp says:

    I agree totally with Lou. Israel is digging it’s own
    grave. Israel has to abandon the colonialist enterprise for a future of international inclusion,
    and for the sake of it’s own future and progeny.

  4. David says:

    Amazing post…..worth reading it and sharing on facebook…

  5. (This may not be the place for my comment, but… ) Someone has to blow the whistle on this Iran-the-terrible scam, and isolate Israel with its sadomacho fantasies. But in a way that will convince the American public that radical surgery is called for. A job for the President in principle, but Obama is no Eisenhower and the political costs would be certain and horrendous. Besides, I’m not sure he realizes what’s going on here.(Rahm Emanuel?)Petraeus is the one with the stature and popularity to pull it off. We know how he feels about our manipulation by Israel, even though he was obliged to backpedal after his report in March. But the prospect of being sucked into another morass in the ME – especially in view of his present assignment – ought to clinch it. Whatever his political ambitions, he would have to weigh them against his sense of military duty and the hope for political gain in smoking out(neutralizing?) the neocons and hyper-Zionists. To say nothing of heading off another senseless war. Someone should have a quiet talk with the General.

  6. Scott Gael says:

    Why cant people just live in peace and harmony? The world would surely be a better place then.

  7. Is it important to have war? Why we have to experienced it?

  8. Ray Rolbert says:

    great job . i realy like is article

  9. Chris says:

    Benny Morris said the same thing a few months ago. –>http://menso.wordpress.com/2010/05/05/iran-is-nazi-germany-and-other-fairy-tales/

    These people and their fear and nonsense are going to get everyone killed.

  10. Creating a sense of urgency with deadlines, bogus intell, etc. Hmm, where have I seen this before?

  11. SMS Spy says:

    Yeah Israel is digging it’s owngrave. Israel has to abandon the colonialist enterprise for a future of international inclusion, and for the sake of it’s own future and progeny.!!

  12. milkla says:

    We know how he feels about our manipulation by Israel

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  15. Creating a sense of urgency with deadlines, bogus intell, etc. Hmm, where have I seen this before?

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  17. jgarbuz says:

    Mr. Goldberg, nor Ahmadinejad, nor Erdogan, nor Obama, nor Karl Marx, et al. If there is no God of Israel, Israel will disappear or perish eventually anyway not matter what. But if there is such a thing as a God of Israel, then all the threats and all the rumors will come to nought! Realpolitik will prove to be Falsepolitik!

    That the Jewish state exists at all, is a miracle. Even the old Russian socialist, Ben Gurion, once stated, to the effect, that those who do not believe in miracles in the Land of Israel are not realists!

  18. great post i like it. thanks

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