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A mysterious coalition of conservative Democrats and “lawmakers concerned about the possible impact on Israel” have persuaded the party that it would be a mistake to flex some legislative muscles and make an effort to constrain the Bush administration’s ability to take the country into a war with Iran. Since history has, after all, shown that when granted broad military authority Bush usually uses it wisely as a subtle negotiating tool and with brilliant results. Or something.

To state the obvious, while Israel and the United States are different countries with presumptively different interests, on really big region-wide issues one doesn’t really see a ton of divergence. Insofar as letting a reckless and incompetent administration guided by a blinkered ideology have a free hand to launch a misguided war with Iran is bad for the United States it’s also not going to end well for Israel.

UPDATE: Let me be clearer about the point of convergence. My analysis of the situation is that bombing Iran is not merely a poor policy option all things considered, but is likely to prove very ineffective at delaying Iranian acquisition of a nuclear weapon (physical damage done to the program will be undone by diplomatic damage done to the fairly successful international effort to curb Iranian acquisitions). Insofar as this is correct, we’re not going to be doing Israel any favors by bombing. Obviously, the myth of the Osirak raid has even more power in Israeli politics than in US politics, so Israeli politicians don’t necessarily see it that way, but they’re still mistaken.

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