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.**
* 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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