NYTimes Floats the Case for Attacking Iran

There are so many substantive reasons why Thursday’s op-ed in the New York Times by Alan Kuperman was just awful that one hardly knows where to begin. Fortunately, Marc Lynch and Helena Cobban, among others, have covered most of the ground (except, for example, the environmental and health impacts of an attack on the Bushehr facility, as noted by a recent study by Anthony Cordesman and Abdullah Toukan).

To me, a key question, one that should be addressed to the Public Editor at the Times, is why the newspaper, which has opposed military action against Iran, is devoting such an unusually large amount of space (1500 words) to this argument by this particular author at this time. I would certainly expect something like this on the editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal (which runs John Bolton’s fulminations against Iran on a regular basis) or in the Washington Post (which prefers Gen. Chuck Wald, and former Sens. Chuck Robb and Dan Coats), albeit not at such length.

Kuperman, who served at one time as Sen. Chuck Schumer’s Legislative Director, has recently focused his work almost exclusively on the issue of humanitarian intervention. Among his many scholarly publications, one can discern no discernible expertise on Iran or on the Gulf region in general. (He did publish a letter to the Washington Post in February, 2007, in which he also argued that there was no reason to expect Iran’s reaction to a strike against its nuclear facilities would be any more hard to handle than Iraq’s reaction to the 1981 Israeli attack on the Osirak reactor or to the 1998 U.S. air strikes against military targets in Operation Desert Fox.) The Times notes that he directs the Nuclear Proliferation Prevention Program at the Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law at the University of Texas at Austin (where he was given tenure last year), there doesn’t seem to be much of content to that program, at least judging by the Center’s website and the lack of one for his program. (He also coordinates the Center’s International Security Film Series.) He is currently a fellow at the Wilson Center where his project is to complete a book on “the moral hazard of humanitarian intervention.”

It’s no secret that there has been a major campaign by AIPAC and other groups associated with the so-called “Israel Lobby” to ramp up pressure on Iran, but the focus of the mainstream debate until now has been on the desirability and effectiveness of unilateral and multilateral economic sanctions. All of a sudden, the Times accepts a 1,500-word piece that argues for a U.S. military attack “the sooner ….the better” by someone who has some expertise on nuclear proliferation but none at all on Iran and the Gulf. How does that happen?

UPDATE: The NYT op-ed by Kuperman seems increasingly bizarre given Kuperman’s opposition to a pre-emptive attack on Iraq which he wrote for USA Today Nov 12, 2002. It begs the question of what made him change his views about pre-emptive attacks. It follows

Pre-emption: Should USA punch first? No

By Alan J. Kuperman


Imagine: National security officials tell the president that our adversary possesses rudimentary weapons of mass destruction and is fast developing more sophisticated ones. The enemy already has used military force to occupy neighboring countries. Moreover, he has ruthlessly killed millions of his own people to wipe out domestic opposition.

Hawkish advisers say the only way to stop him from becoming an even greater threat is to attack now — preventively.

I hate to ruin the suspense, but the outcome is already known. The case does not involve Saddam Hussein or George W. Bush. Rather, the adversary was the Soviet Union of the late 1940s. The dictator was Josef Stalin, who occupied Eastern Europe, perpetrated massive purges and ethnic cleansing and was on the verge of adding nuclear weapons. The president contemplating a first strike was Harry Truman.

Fortunately, by rejecting that option, Truman averted World War III. Instead, the USA pursued containment and deterrence policies that protected us until the Soviet’s flawed government imploded.

Perhaps a preventive attack could have averted the Cold War. But the costs would have been so high and the prospects so uncertain that almost no one would advocate such a policy, in retrospect.

President Bush needs to explain what is so different this time around. Last week, after the United Nations ordered a new inspection regime for Iraq, he declared, “If Iraq fails to fully comply, the United States and other nations will disarm Saddam Hussein” by force.

Bush defends his new first-strike policy as a response to the threat that some terrorists aim to attack us with weapons of mass destruction. In this regard, however, Bush’s policy is neither controversial nor novel. When confronting terrorists who cannot be deterred or appeased, and who seek to inflict death and destruction, there is no alternative to pre-emption. Bill Clinton acknowledged this when he pre-emptively tried to assassinate Osama bin Laden and his inner circle in August 1998.

What is new and reckless in the Bush policy is applying this doctrine not only to global terrorists but to a state that has no record of materially supporting them, on the sole ground that the state seeks weapons of mass destruction.

While preventing proliferation is laudable, a first-strike strategy is likely to backfire by:

* Causing the wars it ostensibly seeks to prevent.

* Undermining efforts to prevent state-sponsored terrorists.

* Encouraging other states to launch similar first strikes, with potentially disastrous results.

* Undermining global alliances necessary to ensure U.S. interests, including non-proliferation.

A first-strike posture runs the risk of triggering the very wars it intends to avert. In the 1960s, Harvard’s Thomas Schelling warned that if both sides adopt pre-emption policies, “the reciprocal fear of surprise attack” could cause war even if neither side actually has aggressive intention.

History also teaches that “rogue” leaders can be reined in without risky invasions. In the 1980s, Libya’s Moammar Gadhafi earned a reputation much like that of Saddam today. An international strategy of sanctions, deterrence and interdiction eventually persuaded the Libyan leader to cut loose the terrorists and offer restitution.

Other states also might copy the dangerous American example. The Indian government long has considered attacking Pakistan’s small nuclear force pre-emptively, but has been dissuaded at least in part by U.S. exhortations and fear of international condemnation. Bush’s new policy would undercut both of these incentives.

History’s most fundamental lesson is that military force usually spawns opposition, not compliance. Bush imagines that by smashing Iraq the USA will coerce other aspirants to regional power to abandon their ambitions. Rome had similar visions, as has every momentary hegemony. Nearly all undermined their power by abusing it in that manner.

Even if an attack on Iraq proves a short-term success, it likely would compel other states to band together diplomatically against us. Indeed, it even could encourage some to acquire weapons of mass destruction as their best guarantee against a U.S. attack.

Unfortunately, the only thing Bush’s new pre-emption policy is likely to pre-empt is peace.

Alan Kuperman is assistant professor of international relations at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies in Bologna, Italy.

Kuperman wrote something similar in December 2001, also for USA Today, entitled “Iraq Next Target: Beware of Unintended Costs”:

Author: Jim Lobe

Visit Lobelog.com for the latest news analysis and commentary from Inter Press News Service's Washington bureau chief Jim Lobe.

43 thoughts on “NYTimes Floats the Case for Attacking Iran”

  1. These reckless publication of fictitious scenarios only points out our great lack of understanding of the world and how much this nation and supposedly its intellectuals are away from reality that we face these days. We are feed fiction and we live in a fiction. We think answer to any conflict out there is a war and war will stop other wars. Well let me tell you something. When it comes and bite you in where sun does not shine, you will be in for a very rude awakening.
    You think by bombing Iran and her nuclear facilities that you know their location you will prevent a next war? Well that just would legitimize Iran's drive for A-bomb and maybe a couple of other nations that we don't like, such as Cuba and Venezuela etc, then What? You think the Iranians lived there for 3000 years because they gave to the Romans and the Greeks or the Arabs or the Mongols or the English or the Russians and now us?! Well let me burst your stupidity bubble. What happened in 1953, is something that no Iranian will ever forget or forgive, I would not if it would have happened here. So they had that in the back of their mind when started this and there is no going back now.

  2. C'mon now Jim, the New York Times devoted "an unusually large amount of space" to attacking Iran "at this time" because the NYT is and always was just another quiver in the Jewish Lobby's WW III arsenal for Middle East hegemony. Prior NYT articles were disingenuous in suggesting anything else but Iran’s total annihilation through military prowess.

    Obviously, Israel – a country that could not even defeat the rag-tag Hezbollah in Lebanon – cannot prevail against Iran in any military confrontation without resort to the nuclear option (an unattractive alternative for Israel because of the international fallout, not insufficient bloodlust) or the use of their number one poodle: us.

    Expect the NYT and other Zionist mouthpieces to increasingly demand military intervention to resolve the nuclear stand-off with Iran.

  3. It tells a great deal of how far the New York Times is from America's mainstream that they published something like this on Christmas Eve day. The timing also highlights a very significant difference in religions. When Christ taught virtues such as forgiveness, turning the other cheeck and loving your enemies in the Sermon on the Mount, he time after time repeated the observation: ' it hath been said by those of the old . . . but I say unto you . . . " He clearly thought that his ideas were new and different from Jewish tradition, and he seems to have been right, because those virtues are not in the Old Testament/ Torah. That omission may explain quite a lot.

  4. I don't find NYT's approach surprising at all. I would also suggest that the element of religion – Jew vs. Christian vs. Muslim – is irrelevant. NYT has a constituency and NYT writes for that constituency. In the realm of NYT truth, moral constructs, and rational thinking are tools and not goals. NYT can always go back and do a mea culpa, if and when it is convenient and satisfies the profits and the constituency. In this sense, MSM including NYT acts as an arm of the US government by acting in the interest of the system and the self – not the moral and the just. A resolution of conflict between Iran and the US is bad for business and bad for the clients of NYT. Sorry for being such a cynic but you must remember that "All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others".

    1. Israel was also instigating that debacle supplying Georgian troops with all manner of hi Tech eqpt and even drones. There was a Utube video of a Russian MIG 29 shooting down one of these Israeli UAVs.
      The Russian Army crushed the Georgian Army in 24 hrs and destroyed and captured most of the equipment supplied by US/NATO and Israel. The US response was to whine about the return of their equipment that he Russians confiscated from the thousand odd US Marine and Contractors that were in Georgia when S. Ossetia was attacked .

  5. On the 15th Congress voted for a blockade on Iran. After the holiday the Senate will vote for a blockade on Iran. A blockade is an act of war according to International Law. And what will the Iranian response be ? What about the closure of the Strait of Hormuz ? Bloody fools in Congress and Senate, BLOODY FOOLS.

    1. Closing the Straights as a result of a blockade (An Act of War) will bring about international condemnation, something the Iranians (Persians) being far too accomplished Chess players to attempt.
      However, sinking or damaging one of the aggressor's blockade ships would be acceptable as a means of self defense under UN Article 51. Iran has the military capabilities to do this without much effort. Either by one of their very stealthy Kilo Class diesel subs or Sunburn Anti-Ship Cruise Missile. Would the US or Israel retaliate and escalate into a full blown conflict with Russia and China? That is any body's guess.

  6. What attacking Iran will do is prompt retaliation by Iran with substantial military support by both China and Russia. In fact Russia will most assuredly assist Iran in satellite early warning negating any surprise the US/Israel may be depending on. It is entirely possible, as in the Korean conflict, US aircraft and naval assets may face Iranian aircraft with pilots speaking both Russian and Chinese. The US and the rest of their unholy accomplices know this is more than just a possibility.
    So why the continued threats against Iran when the evidence of nuclear weapons production (Weps of Mass Destruction) is non-existent and no matter what Iran says or does will not satisfy Washington or Tel Aviv.

    Is the US deliberately seeking a confrontation with Russia and China?
    Do these arrogant assholes in Washington believe they can bluff Russia into capitulation or to simply sit back and do nothing allowing the US and Israel start another war as they did in Serbia and Iraq?

    1. Why? The short answer would be $$$$$$, and since BLOODYISRAEL, wants it that's why! Now, shut the f**K up! All war all the time war. War, war, war, war, $$$$$$$$$$$ profiteers, looting, $$$$$$$ Money is the only motive here, that and sucking up to BLOODY ISRAEL. our RULER, our OWNER!!! BLOODYISRAEL wants it!!!! That is ALL, nothing more. Since BLOODYISRAEL conquered the USofBLOODYISRAEL we have to pay obescence to the Great! GAG!!

      1. Mary, Take a deep breath and cut back on your caffeine intake.
        There is more at stake here than just $$$$$$$. The Project for The New American Century is these asshole's blueprint.
        I am convinced they (NeoCons) truly believe they can defeat both Russia and China and occupy Iran to fully close the "Arc of Confict" or whatever their calling it to contain Russia which seems to be the real NeoCon Target.

        1. Thanks for the advise. I never listen because I know BLOODYISRAEL because I'm a liberal Jew. Maybe you should bone up on the latest surge for Empire is called the HELL Pipeline thru all the countries now being 'punished' for saying 'NO; NO; NO; NO !!!!! AND!! It's this HELL Pipeline that will make BLOODYISRAEL an 'Oil power' and join OPEC to undermine everything anyone else tries to do.

          1. Of course much of their financial success may be Israel's business ventures into white slavery, especially in selling children for the World's brothels or possibly the illegal diamond or illicit organ trade made possible by using unwilling Palestinian children as donors, is more than likely the reasons for Israel's financial success in the face of the global meltdown.____That Israel is the mastermind behind our__present sorry situation is of no surprise to those that don't have their heads up their @sses as probably half the moronic citizens in the US have. They will just continue voting for the same republican and democrat candidates that are owned by the Jewish lobby and then wonder why the country is being destroyed by them.

  7. My previous post is also relevant here:
    As I see it, the problem is not Iran’s nuclear projects. The regime’s slow but steady advances in science and technology is unacceptable to the Empire which detests anyone who gradually gains fundamental independent power and dares to stand on its way of dominating the world. ( “..they must be annihilated mercilessly….”)

    The other problem with Iran is they morally and financially support Hezbollah and the Palestinians. . Thanks to the masterwork of the biassed corrupt media (such as NYT, WashPost, WSJ…) the majority of Americans are brainwashed to believe the two are terrorist groups (not as Philip Giraldi says “.. they are the resistant anti-occupation movements…”).

    Consequently I believe, even if any logical, mutually beneficial solution is found for this nuclear hangup, the enemies of Iran will come up with NEW excuses. They, apart from inching towards destroying the Iranian factories have the goal of “changing the regime” and replacing it with a “friendly !” and “democratic!” government.

    1. The "problem" with Iran is that Iran has the "audacity" to think it can do what it wants and not what Washington says. For the hegemonists that is an unpardonable sin.

    2. I don't believe any of the MSM crap demonizing Iran. Not now, not ever!!!! It's all rehashed propaganda from the horror of Iraq. Weapons of Mass Destruction———————————that would be BLOODYIRAEL no doubt. I also don't believe all the demonization of Chavez, either. Petroleum Mafia now has the Propaganda Mafia working for them!

  8. Again I refer to the Project for the New American Century (PNAC) authored by Krystol, Kagan and many of our members of Congress and past administrations. It is the blueprint for NeoCon conquest of the world.

  9. The sooner the NYT goes under, the better. The only recent thing I can credit them with is the 2007 resale by Tishman Speyer Properties of the old New York Times (15 story) Building to Lev Leviev (Africa-Israel diamond magnate & builder of illegal settlements in Judea/Samaria) at the height of the real estate bubble (for three times what the NYT sold it for in 2004). The building (along with others) has lost so much in value since Leviev's 2007 purchase, that his empire is now on the verge of bankruptcy. Well done, NYT (and Tishman Speyer)!

  10. The sooner the NYT goes under, the better. The only recent thing I can credit them with is the 2007 resale by Tishman Speyer Properties of the old New York Times (15 story) Building to Lev Leviev (Africa-Israel diamond magnate & builder of illegal settlements in Judea/Samaria) at the height of the real estate bubble (for three times what the NYT sold it for in 2004). The building (along with others) has lost so much in value since Leviev's 2007 purchase, that his empire is now on the verge of bankruptcy. Well done, NYT (and Tishman Speyer)!

    P.S. FROM WIKIPEDIA: …New York Magazine reported in 2007 that a security company hired by Leviev [at his Angolan mines] had been accused by a local human rights group that year "of participating in practices of 'humiliation, whipping, torture, sexual abuse, and, in some cases, assassinations.'[12] Leviev did not directly respond to the charges, but noted his charitable activities in Angola.[13]…

    1. One of Israel's more profitable business ventures has been the illegal diamond trade with their partners in New York and Washington DC. This has been a well established racket for the Jews for years. Of course our and Europe's law enforcement have turned a blind eye to the barbaric treatment of the poor wretches that dig up these stones for the Jew diamond traders. Even De Beers has been powerless to stop them from these illegal gems entering their market. I am having trouble feeling sorry for De Beers though.

      However, Israel is well diversified as they are the largest exporter of slaves kidnapped from all over Europe and I would suspect even the USA to supply brothels all over the world. It seems like their friends in Kosovo (Albanian Mafia) are partners in the white slaving and the organ selling business.

  11. RE: "There are so many substantive reasons why Thursday’s op-ed in the New York Times by Alan Kuperman was just awful that one hardly knows where to begin…." – Lobe
    MY COMMENT: "Sticks and stones may break our bones, but facts will never sway us." – Neocon Creed (a/k/a 'Team B' Creed)

  12. Israel hates and envies all of its neighbors. Their creative energies go towards scheming and lieing to achieve destruction. Even if they succeed in destroying everyone else and getting all of that wretched land for themselves, where are they going to channel all that hatred and envy that have built up? If there is any justice in this universe, they will fall upon each other.

  13. Only Israel and Israel-First American Jews want this. They want to start WWIII. They should be careful.

    1. That is absolutely true. But the villains here are Americans.. The immoral, cowardly, greedy, U.S. Congress has allowed itself to become a treasonous disgrace to the country they are supposed to represent. Only the U.S. Congress will agree to fetch Bibi's coffee. If Bibi ordered it, the jackals that we elected declare war on any any country in the world (with the exception of China and Russia), and that includes Britain, France, Spain, Germany, etc., etc.
      Our congress has abnegated its responsibilities, sold out the U.S., and will raise the Star of David over the capitol whenever Israel demands it.

      1. Hello William, I believe that the junta of 2000 was a Zionist junta, and that the US became the USofBLOODYISRAEL., and is now an occupied country. Those congress-critters have to swear allegience to BLOODYISRAEL because there's a whole lot of·$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ involved for THEM.!!! I think mid-terms, if not totally stolen, will be a big surprise for the so-called 'incumbents'. I say throw them all out.

  14. I began to read this article about Iran from a seemingly intelligent; and concerned, individual.


    Right away this seemingly concerned individual referred to the Persian Gulf as the "Arab-invented" fake name Gulf. So, I said fcuk it and stopped reading the rest.

    Rather interesting that even those who pretend to be concerned about any upcoming war on Iran still suck up to the despotic Arab dictators and try to enforce the false name of the Persian Gulf.


  15. To all of you who think America is going to attack Iran, I got news for you: it ain't gonna happen. The Iranians are well-equipped to handle a conventional military attack on them. They have state of the art Russian military equipment, which is more than adequate to shoot down scores of all types of American military aircraft as well as sink most of their ships in the immediate area.

    The CIA and Pentagon know very well the losses the American military would suffer if it attacked Iran. And that is certainly one of the two principal reasons the attack has not occurred. The other is paying $7 for a gallon of gas and the resultant total collapse of the American economy.

    Don't be a bit surprised if there are Russian military personnel and perhaps Chinese personnel manning or assisting the Iranian military.

  16. Yes, Jim, the sneaky back-door excuse of supposed 'humanitarianism' seems to be being pushed open, but here's what I would say to the young Iranians:

    Iran is less developed — it has not yet learned how to control its people with the facade of a two-party 'Vichy' government (and media) to better hide its authoritarian impulse.

    Iran apparently also does not have WWF, NASCAR, TV reality shows, or 24×7 'news' coverage of celebrity gate crashers in the palace to more politely distract their citizens from mass protests.

    The ruling-elite Empire here could give some of their more advanced "Brave New World" style 'soft power' PR and control techniques to Ahmadinejad and Iran, so that they would have less need to use the older, Orwellian “1984”, 'hard power' techniques.

    After all, it’s been almost four decades since Kent State and Black Panther control techniques have had to be used on the now-complacent and "Quiet American" populace.

    However, all real Americans left, who have not been distracted or dumbed-down by our own modern, global, sophisticated, two-party, ‘Vichy’ Empire, empathize with the average working-class Iranians and we hope that your fight against the old-style visible elitist Empire in your own country is as successful as our ancestors’ was against the foreign, highly visible ‘red coat’ old-style British Empire that we overthrew.

    Many people in many countries have overcome domestic dictators, and even visible foreign empires, and you will succeed independently, driven by your own frustration, courage, honesty, and solidarity.

    The best we American people can do currently is to try to keep this damn disguised Global Empire from mucking you up. Please have similar empathy as we try to overcome the more guileful Global corporate/financial/militarist Empire that currently has our country (and others) by the throat.

    Alan MacDonald
    Sanford, Maine

  17. So glad to find out that this site is a Zionist sympathizer. You only can say 'nice' things abt. BLOODYISRAEL . It'd sure be nice if BLOODYISRAEL got back some of the violence, and corruption that they dish out.

    1. Where did you find sympathy for Israel? Maybe you did not read my post.

      Israel and the Jewish lobby of Ashkenazi Russian Jews is behind almost all the mess the world is in today. We in the US have become their proxy. If you trace back in history, the Ashkenazi Jews were actually the instigators of the Russian Revolution, the slaughtering of the royal family and the murderous brutality of the Soviet NKVD. Even Stalin couldn't stomach the brutality of the Jewish run NKVD Secret Police.

  18. Notice that almost every article, column or letter urging the US to commit hostile acts against Iran is written by a Jew whose loyalty is to Israel, not America. We cannot allow Israel and their Jewish diaspora to drag us into a disastrous war in Iran the same way they got us into Iraq. We should be dialoguing and trading with Iran, a country that is no threat to us. A war with Iran will destroy the US dollar as well as our fragile economy.The thought of this is insane.

    1. Boy! You got that right! Don't forget Rahmie Emanuel, so close, so much 'influence' and his loyalty is to BLOODYISRAEL without any doubt. The Empire-ists WANT that bloody pipeline that will turn BLOODYISRAEL into an Oil Empire, join OPEC and f**k that up, and on and on rolls the EMPIRE!

  19. An all out attack on the nuclear facilities in Iran, by the U.S. and/or Israel, would be an utter economic disaster not only for the U.S., but indeed the entire world. Iran is not in the same position that Iraq was before the U.S. invasion of several years ago. At the time of the U.S. invasion, Iraq was an economic and military basket case. The U.S. totally owned and controlled Iraqi airspace and Iraq had no credible air defenses. That is not the case with Iran today. They do have a credible air force and they do have credible air defenses. They are also quite capable of shutting down the strait of Hormuz with mines and missles by the sinking of several oil tankers. The closing of the strait of Hormuz would totally destroy what is left of an already reeling U.S. and world economy. (Continued next post)

  20. Only complete madmen would even contemplate a major strike against Iran at this point in time. Come to think of it; based on the fact that both the U.S. and Israeli governments are now presently dominated and controlled by two gangs of criminal elites and certifiable nut jobs; go ahead and assume that an attack on Iran could take place at any moment.

    1. Well Mr. Clemens the Empire-ists are indeed madmen, so, it is already written that the USofBLOODYISRAEL will be the goat and fight it's wars, with American men, American weapons, American 'advisors' just like Viet Nam, the other total FAILURE war.

  21. NYT floats an extension of a Lieberman demand to pre.empy Yemen by doing it to Iran.

    Anyone get the feeling that the planned "A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm". As noted in Wikipedia, and commonly referred to as the "Clean Break" report, which was prepared in 1996 by a study group led by Richard Perle for Benjamin Netanyahu, the then-Prime Minister of Israel.[1] The report explained a new approach to solving Israel's security problems in the Middle East with an emphasis on "Western values". It has since been criticized for advocating an aggressive new policy.
    to protect Israel by US policies.

    According to the report's preamble, it was written by the Study Group on a New Israeli Strategy Toward 2000, which was a part of the Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies. Former United States Assistant Secretary of Defense Richard Perle was the "Study Group Leader", but the final report included ideas from James Colbert, Charles Fairbanks, Jr., Douglas Feith, Robert Loewenberg, David Wurmser, and Meyrav Wurmser.

    At this juncture it has to be admitted that Israel, the Likudniks and neocons in the US are still following Bibi's dreams.

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