Iran Drumbeat Watch: Now, on Page 1

Anyone following the news already knows this, but for the record: it's very good to see the NYT running, on page one and above the fold*, an analysis of the reckless agitation for a preemptive military strike on Iran, and of the risks this talk holds for all involved. Lots of people wrote these analyses, after the fact, about the panicky rush-toward-war mentality that preceded the invasion of Iraq in 2003. It is certainly better to start talking about the problem now, when "hey, wait a minute" thoughts can make a difference.

Peter Beinart, in the Daily Beast, weighs in to the same effect.

I am only in internet range for a moment, so no opportunity to lard this up with references, links, and sub-arguments. Therefore I'll make just this blunt point: this war talk is dangerous, it can lead to "Guns of August" consequences, and it is particularly dangerous to have Republican candidates decide that outdoing one another in warlike talk about Iran is good for them or the country.**
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* This is a quaint allusion to the days when news came via "papers," which had a fold across the middle of their front page.

** The Times says about the politics of the issue:

Israel... [JF: more accurately, the most hawkish voices in the Netanyahu administration] views the possibility of an Iranian nuclear weapon as a threat to its very existence and has warned that Iran's nuclear facilities may soon be buried too deep for foreign bombers to reach.

Israel's [JF: Netanyahu's] stance has played out politically in the United States. With the notable exception of Representative Ron Paul of Texas, Republican presidential candidates have kept up a competition in threatening Iran and portraying themselves as protectors of Israel.
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James Fallows is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter. His latest book is China Airborne. More

James Fallows is based in Washington as a national correspondent for The Atlantic. He has worked for the magazine for nearly 30 years and in that time has also lived in Seattle, Berkeley, Austin, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, and Beijing. He was raised in Redlands, California, received his undergraduate degree in American history and literature from Harvard, and received a graduate degree in economics from Oxford as a Rhodes scholar. In addition to working for The Atlantic, he has spent two years as chief White House speechwriter for Jimmy Carter, two years as the editor of US News & World Report, and six months as a program designer at Microsoft. He is an instrument-rated private pilot. He is also now the chair in U.S. media at the U.S. Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, in Australia.

Fallows has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award five times and has won once; he has also won the American Book Award for nonfiction and a N.Y. Emmy award for the documentary series Doing Business in China. He was the founding chairman of the New America Foundation. His recent books Blind Into Baghdad (2006) and Postcards From Tomorrow Square (2009) are based on his writings for The Atlantic. His latest book is China Airborne. He is married to Deborah Fallows, author of the recent book Dreaming in Chinese. They have two married sons.

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