Former Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh is no dove when it comes to Iran. As recently as last month, Bayh supported attacking Iran’s nuclear facilities. But in a Fox News interview today, he cautioned against the dangers of an Israeli attack and predicted a unilateral Israeli strike would take the United States on a “slippery slope toward war”:
BILL HEMMER: In your view, how real is the possibility of war between Israel and Iran?
EVAN BAYH: I think that’s more of a threat right now than a reality. And the reason for that, Bill, is Israel could launch a single attack against the Iranian nuclear facilities assuming we know where they all are. We know where most of them are but there may be some where we don’t. […]
So the real consequence would be if Israel launched an attack against Iran, the Iranians would probably think we were complicit in that. They would never believe the Israelis did it on their own, even if that were true. The Iranians might then lash out at us. Bomb some of our embassies. Go after our troops in Afghanistan. Unleash Hezbollah against us some places. And that would then confront the United States with the decision that having being attacked by Iran, well of course we aren’t going to sit idly by and let them get away with that. So it could be a slippery slope toward war.
Bayh, who has previously bought into the “martyr state myth” that Iran is a suicidal country, should be familiar with the “slippery slope to war” from his membership in the Iraq-war pushing Committee for the Liberation of Iraq. His latest remarks don’t completely contradict his previous endorsements for the use of U.S. military force against Iran but it does offer a stiff rebuke against the increasingly explicit statements by Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak suggesting Israel is preparing for a unilateral attack.
Admitting that an Israeli attack would almost inevitably result in retaliation against U.S. interests, thereby drawing the U.S. into another war in the Middle East, is an important admission coming from a certifiable Iran hawk.