Thursday, February 15, 2007

Keeping the Murder Option

Ezra had a good response to Ken Baer, who had suggested that Iran experts are unanimous in their opinion that we should keep the military option on the table in regards to Iran.  Ezra went ahead and demolished that argument by highlighting many experts who clearly did not agree with that.

And I went ahead and wrote a comment on this (which I swear Atrios stole), in which I stated why the whole “off the table” discussion was entirely wrong.  And being short on time, I’ll just reprint what I wrote:

The whole "options" thing is a big game anyhow. Every option is always on the table with every country, always. The question is whether we want to state that it's on the table or not. By doing so, we're sending a very specific signal about what our intentions are. Particularly with the crew in the Whitehouse now, who have clearly proven that even "last resorts" are often the only option they'll choose.

Imagine if someone went around loudly announcing that they will kill anyone who tries to kill them. Sure, that option is always available to them, but it's a fairly hostile message to be sending people. And it's the same thing with Iran. This isn't about real options. This is about messages. And I'd prefer to not send Iran the same message that we sent to Iraq; ie, that we will attack them no matter what they do.

Only the neo-cons believe that diplomacy should begin with explicit threats. But then again, neo-cons are convinced that diplomacy is a fraud. And in their hands, it is.

Getting back from lunch, I realized I had already written about this before.  So I searched my archives and found this post from August 2006: Peaceniks v. Warnicks.  

It was about a column by uber-putz Martin Pertez and his criticism of Ned Lamont for criticizing Lieberman for “keeping the military option on the table” in regards to Iran.  In essence, Peretz was suggesting that Lamont was being simplistic for wanting a nuanced diplomatic solution to dealing with Iran, rather than preferring Lieberman’s complex “kill em all” policy.  

It’s a long post, but a fairly decent one and you might want to visit it if you want a sad reminder on why the wrong man won in Connecticut.  And here we are, six months later, being told yet again why it’s so important to scare Iran.  I’ll leave you with a little piece of advice I wrote in that earlier post.

If anyone ever starts a conversation with you by stating that they retain the right to kill you, you probably should try to end the conversation as quickly as possible.  Oh, and if you’re in a job interview and suggest that you always keep the murder option on the table, you’re probably not getting the job.  But I really shouldn’t have had to tell you that.

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