Anti-Imperialism/Foreign Policy

Hunger For Revenge Behind Demands To Bomb Iran

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Hunger For Revenge Behind Demands To Bomb Iran

We need to put facts over feelings

Leighton Woodhouse, Michael Shellenberger, and Alex Gutentag
Oct 27

A young Iranian boy wearing a Palestinian scarf carrying a rifle and a Palestinian flag while taking part in a rally protesting the Israeli attacks on Gaza city, at the Palestine square in downtown Tehran, October 20, 2023. (Photo by Morteza Nikoubazl/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Over the last two weeks, we have written of the need to express our outrage and heartache over the horrific atrocities carried out by Hamas against Israelis on October 7 while not losing our heads and engaging in counterproductive behaviors, like demanding the censorship of legal speech or condoning the violation of the Geneva Conventions. We wrote last week in an Editor’s Note about how we lost some readers for saying so. We’re happy to report that many responded by becoming first-time subscribers, and we even heard from one person who had unsubscribed in anger and then re-subscribed after reading our piece. Since then, we have seen many others across the political and ideological spectrum make similar calls for rationality and warning of the dangers of sensationalism and excess emotion, which lead us to do things that would hurt others or ourselves.

But now, some prominent voices in the US are calling for major military escalation in the Middle East, and specifically war with Iran. “We have to hit them hard,” said former Democratic Senator Joe Lieberman on Tuesday on the Fox Business Channel. When asked, “Just to be clear, you think the US should strike Iran right now?” Lieberman replied, “I do because Hamas would not be Hamas without Iran’s support.” Delaware Democrat Chris Coons also called for “striking back” against Iran, and Republican Senator John Thune said, “The message is going to have to be sent…we can’t afford not to act.” Their remarks echoed those of Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who has said that “the real culprit is Iran,” and who warned the Iranian government, “We’re watching you. If this war grows, it’s coming to your backyard. There won’t be two fronts; there will be three.”

Others are calling for the US to try to overthrow Iran’s government. “In truth, Iran will almost certainly get the bomb, and sooner rather than later,” wrote a former CIA officer and a Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations in the Atlantic last week. “The Islamic Republic is already a threshold nuclear state that can quickly enrich uranium to bomb-grade. And so the best bet for neutralizing the menace of a nuclear-armed, virulently anti-American, expansionist, Islamist regime is regime change—or, if that phrase is too disturbing, a gradual but turbulent evolution from theocracy to democracy.”

Indeed, military action against Iranian targets has already begun. Yesterday, the US struck two weapons and ammunition storage facilities in Syria used by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard, in response to “unsuccessful attacks against U.S. personnel in Iraq and Syria by Iranian-backed militia groups,” in Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s words. Austin denies that the strikes are connected to Israel’s war with Hamas.

Watching all of this has made us wonder: does the “Bomb Iran!” crowd have no memory of the disasters they wrought in the Middle East? Have they forgotten the devastating consequences of their advocacy that the United States invade and occupy Afghanistan and Iraq?…

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