David Samuels has a piece in Slate that I think illustrates how pathological the practice of journalism can get when editors decide to privilege the idea of running “interesting,” “provocative,” or “counterintuitive” pieces over accurate ones that make a contribution to people’s understanding of the world. If you recall back in 2002 and 2003, there was a school of thought which held that “the road to Jerusalem runs through Baghdad.” In other words, that the solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict and was to be found in an American invasion of Iraq. Samuels is basically resurrecting this “logic” except this time it’s an unprovoked unilateral Israeli military assault on Iran that—through magic—leads to the creation of a Palestinian state.
I’ll even say that I think it would be nice if we were living in the reality Samuels describes. This is a world in which an Israeli attack on Iran is likely to be highly effective at curbing Iran’s nuclear program (which I doubt), a world in which such an attack would be secretly welcomed by the leaders of all the regimes in the region (which I also doubt), and in which Bibi Netanyahu is secretly harboring a desire to strike a major deal with the Palestinian leadership and is just waiting for a moment of strength—such as would result from a successful bombing raid on Iran—to launch it. In the real world, though, just about none of this is true.