Neo-Con Renews Call to Bomb Iran in NY Times Op-Ed

They’re baaaack..

Having disappeared under a rock after being exposed as frauds during Iraq on a scale matched only by the Wizard of Oz, the neo-con foreign policy lug nuts are sticking their heads out again, looking for a shadow by calling for renewing a policy that totally destroyed America’s moral, ethical and political standing in the world, especially among Moslems: Launch another pre-emptive strike in the Middle East.

T’was the night before Christmas when Dr. Alan J. Kuperman, director of the Nuclear Proliferation Prevention Program at the University of Texas-Austin, penned an Op-Ed in The New York Times urging President Obama to bomb, bomb, bomb Iran in a pre-emptive strike to end its nuclear enrichment programme. Never mind that authoritative sources that actually know what they’re talking about, ranging from UN inspectors to the CIA to noted Middle East authority Dr. Juan Cole, say there’s no evidence that Iran wants anything more than to enhance its electrical generating capacity and, possibly, have a stand-by ability to make nuclear bombs in an emergency the same way Japan has such capacity. Phooey, snorts Dr. Kuperman: Drop bombs tonight, insisting “The sooner the United States takes action, the better.”

Sure, why not? The Cheney Doctrine worked so well the last time America shot itself in the foot following it so let’s try again and to hell with any repercussions.

“Iran could retaliate by aiding America’s opponents in Iraq and Afghanistan, but it does that anyway,” Dr. Kuperman writes dismissively. He’s equally dismissive of history.

Blasé About Facts
In fact, Tehran has been quietly cooperating with the US since 2001 by ensuring Afghan insurgents don’t flee into Iran and trying – unsuccessfully – to stem the flow of option out of Afghanistan. Moreover, the Islamic Republic didn’t start meddling in Iraq to assist various Shiite factions until Civil War broke out with Sunni’s during the US-tolerated ethnic cleansing of Baghdad. In any event, Sunni’s and Shiites have been fighting with each other since sometime around 700, long before there was an Iraqi or Iranian state, more than a full millennia before the US was even created and some 1,900 years before Bush charged head first into Iraq.

You’d think an academic such as Dr. Kuperman wouldn’t be quite so blasé about facts.

In what amounts to a throwaway line, Dr. Kuperman concedes that “bombing might not work” before going on to argue, essentially, “So what?”

For evidence, he reaches back 30 years to cite Israel’s 1981 attack on Iraq’s Osirak reactor. Dr. Kuperman claims it deterred Saddam Hussein from further pursuit of nuclear weapons, “a fact that eluded American intelligence until after the 2003 invasion.”

Still Cherrypicking Facts
What history books does this guy read?

Saddam Hussein didn’t rebuild Osirak because he needed money for his Army to fight a war with Iran. Then, UN sanctions effectively cut him off from funds, supplies and equipment to build any nuclear capability, civilian or military, even if he wanted to do so. Moreover, it’s been well-documented that intelligence agencies in London, Berlin and Washington knew full well that Iraq had no nuclear, chemical or biological weapons long before the 2003 invasion; it’s just that Bush and Cheney cherry-picked the information they revealed to the UN, Congress and the American people.

Indeed, just a few weeks ago, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair admitted on BBC’s Newsnight he knew in 2003 there weren’t any such horrors waiting in Baghdad when he tag-teamed with Bush to invade Iraq.

If Dr. Kuperman wants to cherry-pick facts, as his fellow neo-con’s did all during the Iraq folly, you’d think he would have learned by now to at least pick those that are true.

Not content with one bombing run, Kuperman proclaims “Iran’s atomic sites might need to be bombed more than once to persuade Tehran to abandon its pursuit of nuclear weapons.”


Tehran will just sit there and take it, of course, before crying “Uncle.” They won’t fire off a few missiles at Israel, Turkey and US bases in Iraq and Afghanistan. They won’t flood either country with arms or maybe even troops. And the Iranian dissident movement won’t collapse, supporting its nation when the US attacks.

The saddest thing about Kuperman is that the Times gave him serious space in a supposedly serious newspaper to spout the same discredited nonsense that got us into a mess in the Middle East at the same time President Obama is trying to extricate the world from the chaos unleashed the last time the neo-con war mongers had their way.

Peace on earth and all of that.

Charley James

The Progressive Curmudgeon

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  1. Josh Keppelmann says

    I just came home after six months of living and studying in Israel where I realized that the government there has no more interest in reaching a peace deal with the Palestinians than Sarah Palin has in telling the truth. For people like this Kuperman to argue that the US should bomb Iran is as mad as Israel electing a far rightwing government. Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman is a racist, a total loose cannon as Juan Cole describes him, but he is what the current government is all about. The entire government is dedicated to obstructing Obama’s peace process, and arguing for launching another war in the Middle East is insanity that feeds into the madness that grips Jerusalem. I am proud of my Jewish heritage and always thought Israel deserved a special place in history. Now, I’m not so sure any more. But I certainly don’t want it to end up in ashes and ruin which would be the result of a US strike against Iran.

  2. Charley James says

    @Kellor –

    Assuming for a moment your anecdote is true, two things come to mind.

    First, what does Keith Olbermann’s tipping practices or ego have to do with the article, his politics or his ability as a news commentator.

    Second, if the tip was so meager, why didn’t you top it up as you were leaving the table?


    • keller says


      1st. You suggested that a comparison to KO was a “compliment and high praise” your words, not mine.

      2nd The tipper wasn’t the issue, the audacity of his bul)$)$% is and was the issue. As an admitted person who sticks up for the workin man, the way he treated workin men was appalling. And yes, I laid a 20 on the bill after your idol left. In retropsect I should have called him on it, loudly, but I’m a conservative type person.

      3rd You’re a cherry picker, I’m a cherry picker, Bush, Cheney and their minions were cherry pickers, the hope & change crowd are cherry pickers (especially the puppets masters Rahm, Val and David), Al Qaeda and the Taliban are cherry pickers as well as the entire world, individually or society wise.

      Your article cherry picked the cherry pickers to prove what point? That your cherry picking of the cherry pickers who have been cherry picked by other cherry pickers is better than their cherry picking???

      It is boring and circular.


      P.S Is that a bomb in your tighty whities or are just happy to see me?

  3. Jake Millerman says

    I can’t believe that armchair generals commanding from the safety of their academic fortresses are still trying to convince people that war at any price is a serious foreign policy option. Where has Kuperman been the last 40 years? Hiding in the library?

    Fella, there are times when war is necessary and this ain’t one of them. Iran is a country tearing itself apart right now: There are violent clashes with security services in cities all over the country and on a major holy day. The official inflation rate is 15% and the unofficial rate is much higher. The regime is losing more and more credibility every day with a growing number of people. Want to put a stop to that? Have the entire country unite if the USA attacks. Reformists will become hard-liners overnight and any hope for changing the country will come to a screeching halt.

    Joe Weinstein, kudos indeed to Charley James for “his adhering to high principles” and his sense of how the world actually works. America lost its principles when it invaded Iraq; Pres. Obama and Sec. Clinton are trying to return to the “high principles” that used to govern American foreign policy – exceptions being when the CIA overthrew a democratically elected government in Tehran during the 1950s and installed the dictatorial Shah. (among many other US-engineered coups).

    As a Jew and as an American, I can see no one’s best national security interests being served by an unprovoked attack on Iran: Not ours, not Israel’s, not the Middle East, not the world.

  4. Rabbi Steven Shapiro says

    People such as Kuperman and some of the comments for this article are at odds with what American Jews as a whole believe, according to a poll conducted for “” which is a pro-Israeli, pro-Middle East peace organization established to counter the influence of AIPAC.

    In a March 23, 2009, news release, J Street reported:

    “When given the fundamental choice of whether the U.S. should militarily attack Iran if they are on the verge of developing nuclear weapons, Jews are split evenly 41%-40%. … There is a similar 39%-37% result when asked to choose between direct negotiations that provide Iran incentives to abandon their nuclear weapons program and sanctions that force Iran to choose between nuclear weapons and international isolation.”

    Attacking Iran is not seen as a viable option – not for America or for American Jews.

  5. keller says


    You are an idiot.

    You cherry pick supposed cherry pickers. Just as Olberman does. Dun dun……..dun dun…..DUN DUN…. Find a solution before you dismiss the thinkers. This is what makes people like yous so infuriating, you call B&((& but you have nothing to counter.


    • Charley James says

      Au contraire, Kelly; I did propose a solution. Letting the Obama Administration continue to maneuver quietly through diplomatic channels in dealing with Iran. But thank you for comparing me to Keith Olbermann; I take it as high praise and a sincere complement.


      • keller says

        brilliant counter, maintain the status quo….hmmmmmmmmm then what is the point of writing an opinion piece????

        As for DoucheBag Olbermann, other than a higher paycheck why would you take that as a complimentary comparison? That person is only obsessed with one thing, his ego. Met him a year ago, had a drink with him and one of his lackey’s, he is a complete EYEDEEOT and a bad tipper. When one claims their beliefs lean towards helping the lower/middle class and one leaves a $1 tip on a $68 bar bill in Manhattan to a waiter who works his ass off, nuff said and the hypocrisy is not implied, it hangs in the air like stale smoke.


  6. says

    Kudos to James (and Commentator Whitcomb) for adhering to high principles and not being diverted by pesky specifics.

    For Mr James, all blasting of specific targets – at least if by Americans in the Near East – either never accomplishes much or else is inherently immoral and always – no matter the particulars – equates to blowing meritorious people indiscriminately to bits and – most horribly – will inevitably lower this country’s ‘moral standing’ among inherently meritorious people.

    To be sure, the Osirak bombing in practice utterly disrupted Saddam’s schedule, and (for the reasons James cites) that’s all that was needed to prevent Saddam’s actual obtaining of nukes. However, as James takes pains to explain to us, the more important and higher principle is that in theory the blast didn’t later ‘deter’ Saddam. And because it didn’t, Kuperman has been shown to be wrong in one particular, and therefore – as James’ principled logic deduces – Kuperman’s proposed policy must automatically be mistaken, especially because he can be labeled ‘neocon’.

    Another important principle is that there is no evidence that Iran’s Dr A wants a bomb per se, just the ability to rapidly deploy one in case of need. That’s apparently all that Hitler wanted, and for the same highly principled and benign genocidal reasons: in case of need – namely the need to kill all Jews or anyhow destroy Zionist entities.

    (Don’t get me wrong. Dr A apparently has nothing personally against Jews like me, just Zionist entities and their inhabitants; destroying individual Jews overseas Dr A leaves to his ‘Defense’ minister, who coordinated the Buenos Aires bombings, and closer to home to his clients like Hamas and Hezbollah. Dr A also leaves to others the blasting of Iraqis and Americans in Iraq – namely to Al Qaida based in his client state Syria.)

    As James notes, realism demands a look at the bad consequences if decisive action is taken against Iran. Yes, although unfortunately realism also demands a look at the possibility of worse and more abiding consequences if such action is not taken.

    But of course, judgment as to relative good or evil of practical consequences should be based on higher principles.

    And James’ principles are lofty ones. Evidently for him – as for Obama in Cairo (though maybe not now) – all regimes are equally entitled to nukes. After all, as Iran’s Dr A has suggested, how can we have a fair universal nuclear disarmament without Iran too – in right and fact – first having nukes of its own to disarm?

    In particular, whether a regime should be tolerated having nukes has nothing to do with whether or not it is democratic or human-rights abiding or even whether or not it threaten any of their neighbors or issues fatwas against non-citizen authors.

    As James in effect reminds us, we are, after all, progressive people for whom desirable but expendable human rights or democracy must take second place behind higher and unquestioned principles such as the inherent equality of all regimes and the right of all regimes to nuclear parity.

    • Charley James says

      Mr. Weinstein,

      Thank you for reading my article and taking a moment to comment. I need to respond.

      First of all, you create your own tautology by writing sarcastically that “whether a regime should be tolerated having nukes has nothing to do with whether or not it is democratic or human-rights abiding or even whether or not it threaten any of their neighbors.” Using your argument, the US should be at war with China, North Korea and Pakistan, all of which have nuclear weapons, none of which are democratic or human rights-abiding, and two of which – the PRK and Pakistan – have threatened their neighbors.

      Moreover, the violent crackdowns in Iran on reformist protesters is on a par with the Chinese government’s action against Uighers in its Southwestern proviences. So let’s not try taking the moral high ground here, Sir.

      Moreover, I did not rest my point on Dr. Kuperman being wrong only on one account – a 30-year old attack by Israel on Iraq. Rather, I linked his so-called supporting evidence to the same rationale espoused by neo-con “think tanks” such as the American Enterprise Institute that launched the Iraq war which, history will show, was as destructive to the United States – financially and politically as well as in terms of lives lost needlessly and its moral standing – as was Iraq’s war on Iran or, in a broader historical context, Rome’s overextension of its empire in foolish and foolhardy wars.

      Finally, although I happen to agree with the sources I cited (and link to), it is not me suggesting that Iran only wants a stand-by capability to manufacture nukes but independent authorities such as Dr. Juan Cole at the University of Michigan and the UN nuclear agency. By contrast, no independent analysts – other than at neo-con think tanks, and we know how good they are at their jobs – believe that Iran has any serious intention of building bombs.

      As a postscript, Dr. Cole (who speaks and reads fluent Farsi, among other Middle Eastern languages) has written repeatedly that “Dr. A” never threatened Israel or the Israeli state but the much more nebulous “Zionism.” He blames the brouha over Dr. A’s alleged statement by media mistranslations of what Iranian leaders said, a fact backed up by the State Dept.’s own Open Source translations of his speeches.

      The United States has had a wrong-headed Iran policy for more than 35 years and bombing its nuclear facilities will only exacerbate and continue this foreign policy disaster.


  7. Roger Whitcomb says

    @ TL Winslow …

    One could well say the same thing about Christian nations having nuclear weapons based on their history including the Crusades, the Inquisition and Hiroshima – among other examples.

    It stikes me that Mr. James’ point is three-fold, and all of which you (and Kuperman) missed in your rush to nuke Tehran:

    First, the neo-con strategy of blowing to bits anyone the US does not like is a policy that failed disastrously. We tried it, it doesn’t work. Just look at the mess Bush & Friends unleashed in Iraq.

    Second, there is no evidence whatsoever that Iran actually wants an atom bomb. What it may want is the ability to develop a bomb rapidly in the event of a national danger, which is exactly what Japan already has.

    Third, in some cases Kuperman distorts and in other cases ignores the reality of what is likely to happen if the US or anyone else tries bombing Iran’s nuclear facilities.

    Mr. Winslow, haven’t you and your ilk done enough damage for one generation?

  8. says

    All Westerners would be alarmed at the thought of Iran getting nukes if they were conversant with the 1400-year horror show history of Islam, particularly its launch and rise in the 7th cent. with the command to all true believers to constantly war with infidels and spread the territory ruled by Sharia by force, killing or enslaving all who resist. Iran is run by so-called fundamentalist Muslims to whom these commands have not expired, sorry. Catch up fast on Islam’s history from square one free with the Historyscoper, click the url to get started and see for yourself.


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