The Lies Paving the Way for War With Iran

Unprovoked aggression is reimagined as “preemption” and therefore as self-defense.

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Walter Russell Mead turns reality on its head:

Worse, Iran’s inexorable march toward nuclear weapons [bold mine-DL], combined with its deepening partnership with Russia, is driving the Middle East steadily closer to a war that is likely to engage the U.S.—one that the Biden administration desperately wants to avoid.

The region is getting closer to war, but it is not because of Iran’s “march toward nuclear weapons.” There is no such march. The chief reasons why Iran’s nuclear program has expanded as much as it has are U.S. sanctions and Israeli attacks. Iran isn’t marching toward nuclear weapons, inexorably or otherwise, but if people like Mead get their way that could change.

If there is going to be a war, it will happen because Israel or the U.S. or both together decide to start one against Iran. To the extent that any one set of actors is “driving” the region towards war, it would have to be the ones threatening to launch illegal attacks on another country and conducting military exercises to practice for those attacks. As he often does, Mead gets everything backwards to push his agenda of more and more hawkishness and more catering to regional clients.

Later in the column, Mead makes an even more ridiculous claim:

But the Russian dictator doesn’t need to go that far. Simply by increasing Iranian military capabilities that limit Israel’s ability to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities, Mr. Putin could force Israel into a pre-emptive strike [bold mine-DL] that would set off a regional war.

This is quite something. If Russia provides Iran with the means to defend itself against possible Israeli attack, that would “force” Israel to attack? Apparently aggressors aren’t responsible for their own actions when the aggressor happens to be on the “right” side. It is important to emphasize that any Israeli or U.S.-Israeli strike on Iran would not be pre-emptive, because there would be no imminent threat that is being averted.

The Bush administration caused a lot of damage to the world, and one of the things it did was to damage the way that Americans talk about aggressive warfare. Launching an attack against another country’s nuclear facilities isn’t pre-empting anything. Even if you believe that their government might one day build nuclear weapons, attacking them before they even have a nuclear weapons program is not pre-emption. This is preventive war, and that is nothing but illegal aggression. Attacking another country because you have an irrational fear of the threat they might pose in the distant future is no different than what the U.S. and its allies did to Iraq. The Iraq war was a massive crime, and this would be, too.

Read the rest of the article at SubStack

Daniel Larison is a weekly columnist for and maintains his own site at Eunomia. He is former senior editor at The American Conservative. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

3 thoughts on “The Lies Paving the Way for War With Iran”

  1. Typical propaganda to get people to support a war. Hermann Goering described how to do this from his cell at the Nuremberg trials. You demonize the country you want to attack and falsely accuse them of being a threat to you or attacking you. Nothing new here.

  2. Walter Russell Mead and Netanyahu tell the same lies about Iran threatening peace with WMD’s that Bush, Powell, Rumsfeld & Blair told about Iraq threatening peace with WMD’s and being responsible for 9/11. Iran should have WMD’s to keep its enemies out.
    No nation bombed the US before it bombed Japan.

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