Thursday, June 11, 2009

More War-mongering from Mr. Bolton

Today's Wall Street Journal has another essay from Bush-era UN rep John Bolton, assessing Iran's possible responses to an Israeli attack to eliminate those nuclear weapons that he and his ilk are oh-so-sure Iran is going to poise at Israel's neck. All in all, says he, the benefits of an attack outweigh the risks. But two things in particular stand out in his essay, at least for me, in terms of effects he either ignores or is clueless about:

  1. He makes no mention at all of the human cost of an Israeli attack or of the counter-measures Iran might take. Several people have noted in this regard the possibility of radioactive fallout that would kill thousands of Iranians, as well as people downwind outside Iran. I guess in Bolton's calculations, if Israel is at risk, then all those lives are expendable.
  2. He notes that leaders of many of the Arab countries in the region might applaud an Israeli attack on Iran. Yet several of them are on the record as opposing it. And perhaps more to the point here is the probable reaction from their people - many of whom qualify as "subjects" who have no great love for their regimes. An Israeli attack would certainly cause widespread protests against the Mubarak regime in Egypt, King Abdullah in Lebanon, the Saudi regime (and don't forget that Saudi Arabia's oil regions have predominantly Shiite populations who have been recently chafing at the restrictions imposed by the Wahhabi Sunni regime of the Saudi family. Lebanon would likely come apart at its already very loosened seams. As might Pakistan.
Make no mistake about it: An Israeli attack on Iran would be catastrophic. It's both sad and appalling that a man who once was one of the more public faces of US foreign policy would be calling for one.

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