What do liberal hawks actually want to do regarding Iran?They got burned on Iraq so what do they say about Iran? - As little as possible.
The remarkable thing about the growing liberal hawk literature on Iran is its evasiveness -- the unwillingness to speak in concrete terms of both the threat and proposed remedies. The liberal hawks realize they were too eager in counseling war last time, and their explicit statements in support of invasion have caused them no end of trouble since. This time, they will advocate no such thing. But nor will they eschew it. They will simply criticize those who do take a position.So, "Let's Get Serious". Is bombing Iran a good idea or not. The neocons give as an answer - yes!
knows the Republicans have been clear enough. Norman Podhoretz has written an article entitled "Bomb Iran Now." Bill Kristol has been admirably forthright in preferring military confrontation to a nuclear Iran. (He even advocated a U.S. military strike against Iran as a response to Hezbollah's capture of Israeli soldiers in Lebanon.) And in the last Republican presidential debate, the pertinent question wasn't whether the candidates would bomb Iran to keep it from developing nuclear weapons, but whether they'd engage in a nuclear first-strike to get the job done.And of course we "dovish" progressives say no.
The "dovish" view is that a military campaign against Iran would be a seriously bad idea. It is a view shared by many generals, most foreign policy experts, and, according to some reports, the Joint Chiefs of Staff.So where do the "Liberal Hawks" stand? Who knows, they won't really say.
Liberal hawks seem to dispute that conclusion, but won't quite say why. The danger of Iraq, it turns out, is not that too many liberals overlearned its lessons, but that too many liberals didn't learn them at all -- and instead have merely become more circumspect in their saber-rattling.It was in some part the spinelessness of the Democrats that got us into the debacle in Iraq. That same spinelessness could also result in an even bigger mistake, an attack on Iran.
For those who object to that characterization, and whose public hawkishness is more of an affectation than a real substantive agenda, this is not a time for self-righteous posturing or rhetorical toughness; it is a time for those who do want to prevent war with Iran to, well, oppose war with Iran. That doesn't mean supporting their nuclear ambitions, or developing a misplaced affection for an ugly regime. But it does mean speaking forthrightly about what a catastrophe a military attack would prove to be. Liberals, after all, do not control the government. George W. Bush is still the Commander in Chief. The best liberals can hope for, then, is to influence the discourse and shift the spectrum of opinion deemed "acceptable." But they will be unable to do even that if they refuse to speak clearly.
To get some idea of what catastrophe an attack on Iran could be head over to LewRockwell.com and read
The Horrors of Nuking Iran
The reason the catastrophe will be so immense is because our nuclear missiles will be vaporizing nuclear sites. When these sites are vaporized, all the enriched uranium and plutonium stockpiled there will be shot into the atmosphere as "weaponized" particles, along with the radioactive particles from the warheads themselves.Go read the rest.
These radioactive particles will then be carried eastward by the jet stream and the trade winds across Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the other "stans," to India, China, and Japan – producing what Truman long ago described as "a rain of ruin from the air" the like of which the world has never seen.
For these deadly, life-deforming particles can be absorbed through the skin and inhaled through the lungs. They can also poison all forms of food and water, mother’s milk, and men’s semen. They can even poison people’s tears. Imagine such a thing.
Scott Lemieux gets it right
It's very simple. When it comes to Iran, "liberal hawks" need to either 1)explain in concrete terms what the threat to American interests is and -- this is important! -- what kind of military action can advance American interests and why, or 2)enjoy a delicious frosty mug of shut the fuck up. (And given their recent record of assessing American security interests and the efficacy of military force, perhaps some slinking away in shame would also be in order.)