Neoconservative scholar-activist Daniel Pipes has a new article on the leading conservative website National Review Online, in which he suggests that President Obama can “save” his presidency…by bombing Iran.
Writing that “Obama’s attempts to ‘reset’ his presidency will likely fail if he focuses on economics, where he is just one of many players,” Pipes claims that the president “needs a dramatic gesture to change the public perception of him… preferably in an arena where the stakes are high, where he can take charge, and where he can trump expectations”:
Such an opportunity does exist: Obama can give orders for the U.S. military to destroy the Iranian nuclear weapon capacity. [...]
Just as 9/11 caused voters to forget George W. Bush’s meandering early months, a strike on Iranian facilities would dispatch Obama’s feckless first year down the memory hole and transform the domestic political scene. It would sideline health care, prompt Republicans to work with Democrats, make netroots squeal, independents reconsider, and conservatives swoon.
While he’s at it, why doesn’t Pipes claim that bombing Iran would also balance the budget? It’s rare that neoconservatives are so explicit about their cynical view of foreign wars as an instrument of American domestic politics, but Pipes’ argument is about as clear as it gets. Let’s remember, this is the man who George W. Bush nominated in 2003 to the board of the United States Institute of Peace, something which even born-again hawk Christopher Hitchens found to be a joke.
For anyone inclined to believe Pipes’ delusion that airstrikes against Iran’s nuclear facilities would not lead to a wider conflagration, consider Gen. Anthony Zinni’s exploration of the question: “After you’ve dropped those bombs on those hardened facilities, what happens next?” Zinni concluded:
Eventually, if you follow this all the way down, eventually I’m putting boots on the ground somewhere. And like I tell my friends, if you like Iraq and Afghanistan, you’ll love Iran.
As Max Bergmann noted on The Wonk Room, what the right is truly interested in is regime change. “The day after any attack on Iran, there will be immediate calls for more military action, as Iran still might have a fully capable and operational nuclear program. The only way to be sure that Iran isn’t developing a nuclear program, it will be argued, is to launch an invasion that results in the change of regime.”