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Fear of Nukes and Neocons

We have a highly energized group of Readers Who Comment this morning about John Bolton's suggestion on the op-ed page that "Israel's decision of whether to use military force against Tehran's nuclear weapons program is more urgent than ever. "

Bolton, you will recall, was given a recess appointment by President George W. Bush to be ambassador to the United Nations, where he served from August 2005 until December 2006. He resigned when the Senate would not confirm his permanent nomination to that position.

The first flood of comments were overwhelmingly opposed to Bolton, and to The Washington Post for giving him a platform. The majority of comments at this hour seem to oppose an Israeli strike. But other voices are heard, including several suggesting that it was useful to know what neocons like Bolton are thinking. Some expressed concern that an Israeli attack on Iran would unite the Iranian people at a time when there are clear signs of unrest.

We'll start with jack824, who wrote, "An exhaustive (and sometimes not incorrect) analysis of the current situation but not one scintilla of thought as to what happens after the first bomb drops. This is the same kind of testosterone fueled thinking that brought us Iraq. If you're proposing to go on the offense at least pause to ask 'What then?' "

rlyoung311 said, "The Post ill serves the public interest by publishing the ravings of this war-mongering liar..."

But biswashira wrote, "It is wrong on many counts to criticize Washington Post for bringing thoughts and ideas of John Bolton to us. The fact is inside and outside of US Congress and the White House, there are many powerful forces who really believe in what John Bolton telling us... So, by bringing John Bolton to the reading public, WaPo is providing us a valuable journalistic service..."

antypasa said, "All well and good, except the best publicly available analysis shows that a military strike will not only partially successful in the short run, and at most set back the weapons program by a couple of years. In the meantime, the people will rally around the regime--the opposite of what Bolton imagines in his fantastical wishful thinking. Plus, the entire region will go mad, there will be chaos, and Israel will face immediate attacks on two fronts..."

JimMaclean wrote, "Now that serious cracks are emerging in the Iranian Theocracy for the first time since the revolution, the country rests on a hairspring balance with people from all levels of society demanding real change from the mullahs... The one gilt edged guaranteed way to unite a country behind an unpopular leader is to have a traditional enemy comit an act of war..."

robertholcomb said, "Mr. Bolton is once again oblivious to the law of unintended consequences. His past performance in government was a discredit to our nation. Why is such a narrow minded person given a forum in the Post? Shouldn't newspapers be used to advance truth rather than simplistic neo-con fantasies?"

ordak100 wrote, "...When more than 80% of Iranians go to polls and vote under the existing system, it is no longer a "regime" but a republic, chosen and accepted by the people, for the same people (and not a bunch of neo-cons in America and Israel). But again and since Eisenhower, you people have been saying that Cuba is going to collapse and capitulate.....LOL, LOL...."

JamesMeeker said, "We shouldn't strike Iran, but we should do everything we can (secretly) to make sure that if Iran cannot be stopped any other way, that Israel has every tool available to get it done."

qualquan wrote, "Putting all these neocons on its pages makes me doubt WaPo and [Fred] Hiatt's loyalty to our country. This is really becoming toxic." [Hiatt is the Post's editorial page editor.]

Frigistan said, "Bolton is just a reminder of the Bush nightmare. He's good to keep around though to remind us of where we were. Kinda like that judge letting Charles Manson live to remind everyone what true evil is. Yes Bolton, we despise you that much."

Xavisev suggested that "Neocons are preparing US public opinion to accept a strike by Israel and the possibility of deeper US involvement in their favor."

JaysonB said, "...I would not suppress Bolton' free speech (preferring to bring him up on treason charges) but I question why he always has ready access to the o-ed pages of the Post and the NY Times."

allknowingguy said, "This article is about a potential Israeli strike, not a US attack. John Bolton has no influence on Israel, he is just telling us that an Israeli action just got more likely so don't be surprised..."

But wbgonne wrote, "I really want to know why the Washington Post continually prints opinion pieces by disgraced and discredited Neocons. There are lots of people with thoughtful, intelligent views on foreign policy and they should be heard. We've just endured 8 years of the chest-pounding war-mongerers, who have been proven wrong on everything over and again. Please, WashPo, stop."

We'll close with JoeDon, who said, "It's refreshing to see that this rag has finally added some credible (read "conservative") columnists to it's editorial page..."

All comments on this article are here.

By Doug Feaver  |  July 2, 2009; 8:00 AM ET
 | Tags: Bolton, Iran, Israel  
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I do not swallow the line that the WP giving war-mongering ratbags space allows the public to see them for what they are.People all over the world have already seen more than enough-Iraq on a lie a day[hey that could be the header for an article in Lonely Planet] or how about Afghanistan:the garrison view,or Pakistan: a droneseye tour.Seriously though,these people have shown themselves to be lethally dangerous and should be facing war crimes trials,not fomenting war against yet another boogyman creation of the nuclear armed terrorist state Israel.

Posted by: Robzview | July 5, 2009 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Bolton was right about North Korea and Iran is traveling the exact same path.

North Korea basically spat in the face of the UN and built a bomb. Iran is doing the same thing. Both countries were and are spared harsh sanctions by China and Russia.
N. Korea could be stopped now by China alone. Iran can only be stopped by both China and Russia agreeing to harsh UN sanctions. (Germany might need some persuasion).

Iran will develop a bomb because of the lack of will to stop it. It has "negotiated" for years while building more and more centrifuges to supply its non-functioning nuclear reactor.

It's entirely possible that it will take a violent, world-changing event to change the course of either of these two rogue states and that would be a sad testament to the weakness of the international community.

Posted by: spamsux1 | July 4, 2009 3:35 PM | Report abuse

It is long past time to admit that The United States is dead, and we are ruled by a gangster government in Tel Aviv. If the Air Force and intelligence agencies had cooperated, Vice President Cheney would have launched an attack on Iran in September of 2007. That is what the six missing nuclear armed cruise missiles were for, although most of the bombing would have been conventional. If we attacked Iran, Russia and China threatened to intervene. See "B-52 Nukes Headed for Iran: Air Force refused to fly weapons to Middle East theater," by Wayne Madsen:

Posted by: markoller | July 3, 2009 7:06 PM | Report abuse

Very well-stated analysis of why the neocons failed, Jaxas. One of your best comments ever.

And now John Bolton reveals himself as the truly dangerous, ideologically driven man he is...oblivious to changing realities in the world.

1. Both Bush and Obama oppose a pre-emptive war with Iran.
2. We understand that the world is closer to a long Depression than at any time since 1929. Any invasion would cause Iran to shut down all Gulf oil for many months, pushing us all into just that 2nd Great Depression.
3. Bolton ignores that Iraq has signed a self-defense treaty with Iran. Part of that is neither will support any use of its land, air bases, ports by a 3rd Party attempting to make war on one of the two nations. Nor allow that attacking nation to cross it's airspace. (Since the US controls Iraqi airspace in trust for the Iraqi Gov't, any involvement with Israel in such an attack would make us complicit and both nations would consider the US hostile.
4. Israel has the only WMDs in the region, which include over 200 nukes.
5. America has over 6,000 thermonuclear warheads, about 1800 deliberable anywhere in the world in under an hour. And the neocons try stoking the fear of "America's nuclear obliteration" by Iran??????
6. Outside a few Fundies and neocons, there is NO support for America to launch a sneak attack on Iran. Nor, for that matter, Israel will discover if they are stupid enough to attack...any support for America wrecking it's economy further by backing Israel during the retaliatory oil embargo sure to follow Israel starting a war with Iran - wil may spread to include Iraq, KSA, Syria, and Jordan.

Patrick 3 - "So Israel and the former U.S. are going to create three or four Chernobyls in the middle of the world's primary oil producing region?"

I don't support any attack, but claiming that conventional PGM attacks on Iran's uranium enrichment and research facilities will cause Chernobyls just shows a big ignorance of Uranium, radiation, nuke research, nuke power plants (Bushar would not be a target. It is under IAEA compliance and has hundreds of Russians on site.)

Posted by: ChrisFord1 | July 3, 2009 3:47 AM | Report abuse

It would be interesting to know what criteria are used to select opinion pieces.

Years ago I saw a television biography on Howard Stern - he was offending just about everyone apparently but they kept tuning in to see what he said.

The Washington Post is perhaps one of the two leading newspapers in the United States, perhaps even the English speaking world, the opinions expressed here are going to matter for the democratic discourse but the Washington Post is also, very evidently but the opinion peice selections, also tapping into the commercial aspects of the Howard Stern phenomenon.

Can we please have a little more intelligent discourse good for democracy and a little less Howard Stern - there are themes in play in contemporary America (in Washington) that underpin civilization itself.

Is the rule of law to be upheld or just the rule of men? Are the values of the United States still encapsulated in "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness", or as seems more likely in recent years lies, larceny and the pursuit of political power at any cost.

Citizens of the United States are losing their birthrights and people of the world are losing confidence in the institutions established to stop mass murder (in the form of aggressive invasions) and torture.

If humans can't have confidence in the rule of law (because it is manifestly obvious that their fellows won't or can't uphold the law) then inevitably they start to take it into their own hands.

All over America, all over the world, there must be people questioning whether they can get a fair shake on juries, whether there is any chance that politically elected leaders will keep their word when they take the oath of office.

Heck why wouldn't scoundrels try to use what the complaisant body politic is teaching them about itself?

Posted by: BrettPaatsch1 | July 3, 2009 3:23 AM | Report abuse

At a time when some countries are acting very stupid like Iran and North Korea, America has a leader who is equal in stupidity if not worse.

This world will crumble very soon.

Posted by: spidermean2 | July 3, 2009 3:00 AM | Report abuse

More wag the dog by Bolton.
When do we get our own house in order?
Jobs, Education, Economy?

Posted by: George20 | July 2, 2009 10:32 PM | Report abuse

I can see the fear of nukes but I fail to see the fear of NeoCons. I mean we are letting left-wing socialists completely change our Nation right under our nose and no one seems to fear that. At least not until all the money is depleted and we are all wearing Mao jackets.

Posted by: staterighter | July 2, 2009 9:29 PM | Report abuse

So Israel and the former U.S. are going to create three or four Chernobyls in the middle of the world's primary oil producing region?

All while hoping a pro-Iranian Iraq and a nearly comatose U.S. economy don't come apart at the seams?

Obviously somebody is thinking with their brain stem again.

Posted by: patrick3 | July 2, 2009 7:59 PM | Report abuse

It is unfortunate that a once respected paper, has gotten so blatantly pro Israel. Anyone that has studied the neo con philosophy and their stated agenda, knows that THEY are the real terrorists. They have been manipulating government policy since the Nixon days from positions of power within the government. They came to their pinnacle in the Bush administration, with the likes of Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Pearl, Feith, Libby, Zakim, Zelikow and a host of lesser players, and built the case for war with Iraq, based on information they knew to be false. Their goal is war, and the proliferation of "American might" around the globe. There is no act that they deem to despicable, if it will help achieve their stated goal. If Americans had half a brain, the neo cons are the ones they would be afraid of, not the boogie man they made up, that is, al qaeda.

Posted by: TRACIETHEDOLPHIN | July 2, 2009 7:24 PM | Report abuse

Neocons and WaPo:
Please just try to be honest for once in your life (if you have any vestige of conscience).
How many countries has Iran invaded and how many square feet of land has it expropriated by force to build and expand settlements which we and the entire world condemns?
Why do you not examine with equal zeal nuclear armed nations who have done just that unless you approve such behavior? Does the word fairness has any meaning for you or does it just make you giggle up your sleeve?

Posted by: qualquan | July 2, 2009 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Why don't we all vomit over this Politico story, which explains some of the drivel and inanity in the once respectable Washington Post.

Posted by: LHO39 | July 2, 2009 11:42 AM | Report abuse

We'll close with JoeDon, who said, "It's refreshing to see that this rag has finally added some credible (read "conservative") columnists to it's editorial page..."

which is really ironic considering there's nothing "conservative" about a neo-"con" foreign policy of imperialism.

Posted by: millionea7 | July 2, 2009 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Bolton represents a mindset on the right that is very dangerous to ever arriving at any sort of peace in the world. The neoconservative mindset is rife with romantic, triumphlist notions about America's role in the world and how it should be more active in using its awesome military power to enforce our way of life on other nations.

This of course is not how they frame the question in their rhetoric. And they will energetically deny that it is about using military power to establish American hegemony in the world. But believe me that is the end game they long for.

Add to this a political dimension. Neocons look at war, security, terrorism and instability as political opportunities to re-establish their own political power and control. It does not seem to bother them that the one time they were in a position to implememt that philosophy and did so eagerly. it dod not have staying power.

Why? Because the nations and personalities involved did not react in the ways the neocons had assured us they would. It is a fundamental misreading of human behaviour, national aspirations and history itself.

Posted by: jaxas | July 2, 2009 11:19 AM | Report abuse

One has to wonder if John Bolton thinks that Israel should destroy Iran’s nuclear program, why did his President George W opposed such an Israeli strike? US has its plate still full with other world crisis to add one more by blessing Israeli strike. Instead John Bolton should work for a world-wide treaty ‘to destroy all the nuclear weapons of all the countries bar none and ban not just nuclear tests but design and production of any type of nuclear weapons’ with US taking the lead. Until that happens, this nuclear genie unleashed by US in 1945 will continue to haunt the world.

Posted by: simplesimon33 | July 2, 2009 9:53 AM | Report abuse

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