City of Brass

City of Brass

Groundhog Day, Daniel Pipes, and Bombing Iran

Ah, it must be Groundhog Day. In the movie, Bill Murray wakes up every day to the same day, where everything happens over and over again. In real life, conservatives argue for bombing Iran as if the Iraq war or the Green revolution never happened. It’s fitting that today is the day Daniel Pipes is arguing at National Review that it’s time to “destroy Iran’s nuclear weapon capacity” – for Obama’s own sake, of course:

Fourth, if the its strike to taking out Iran’s nuclear facilities and did not attempt any regime change, it would require few “boots on the ground” and entail relatively few casualties, making an attack more politically palatable.


Just as 9/11 caused voters to forget George W. Bush’s meandering early months, a strike on Iranian facilities would dispatch Obama’s feckless first year down the memory hole and transform the domestic political scene. It would sideline health care, prompt Republicans to work with Democrats, and make the netroots squeal, independents reconsider, and conservatives swoon.

OMFG, WTF, and LOL. In essence, Pipes is saying, “Obama, please wag the dog. It will poll well. People will rally around the flag! Also, I hate you but follow my advice I promise it will help.” He’s utterly and completely delusional, to the extent that I literally question his sanity.

The conservative obsession with bombing Iran is hardly new – even John McCain joked about “bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran” instead of reprimanding a questioner who wanted to send an “air mail message to Tehran” during the 2008 campaign. And the love affair with aerial bombardment as foreign policy tool is simply insane. Personally, I’ve argued that the United States should disavow aerial bombardment as analogous to land mines, and while I doubt that Obama will heed my advice I am at least comforted that he sent more troops to Afghanistan. With more troops, there’s less reliance on drone attacks.


It’s astonishing just how wrong in every respect “bombing Iran” is – in its assumptions, in it’s immorality, and it’s actual, demonstrable harm to our own national self-interest. I wonder if Pipes really even believes what he is saying. He’s just a concern troll, making a partisan political attack, whose concern is more about defeating Obama than doing what’s best for our country.

(Let’s review some of Daniel Pipes greatest hits: He called for the US to replace Saddam with a “strongman” because Iraqis can’t handle democracy; was a one-man jihad against genuine moderate muslims like Tariq Ramadan; and bought into the “Obama is a muslim” smear.)

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posted February 2, 2010 at 10:20 pm

I oppose bombing Iran on the eminently defensible grounds that it won’t work due to the dispersion of facilities and hardening that Iran has already applied to its military program. That said, you do realize that the US hasn’t signed on to the land mine treaty. Treating aerial bombardment as analogous to land mines in the US political context is a vote in favor. I don’t think you intended that.
The area denial function of land mines could be replaced by radiological weapons such as neutron bombs but I suspect you’re not in favor of that either. The number of places where we actually need mass area denial is actually quite small but it is not zero. The DMZ between North and South Korea is one such place. Unless you want to increase the temptation for the DPRK to solve its political problems by a mass invasion of the ROK, we do need some sort of area denial weapon that is simple, cheap, and very effective. Unless you have a better answer than invade N. Korea, you seem to be a bit reckless yourself with the US and S. Korean lives tasked to deter an invasion.
Aerial bombardment is another evolving technology, one that probably has more of a future than landmines and one whose principle of growing discrimination I would hope you would support. I expect that the trend towards smaller munitions will continue. The ultimate expression of that trend being an aerially mounted sniper rifle and the equivalent of one-shot-one-kill to take out people who, otherwise, would require the deaths of many innocents to remove. Such weapons on rotary platforms are already out in testing. Fixed wing variants that can fly around the world launched from the US are likely to be available within the decade. If we’re going to continue to war, targeting bad actors with individual bullets without need for a ground invasion is about as good as it gets.
The ultimate solution to the problem of Iran is to help the people of Iran evolve their polity so they pose as much of a threat with any nuclear arms they possess as the French or British do with their nuclear forces. I hope that you share in that solution and I would look forward to hearing about practical steps to progress along those lines.

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Teed Rockwell

posted February 3, 2010 at 12:01 pm

There are many moral reasons for not bombing Iran. But the most obvious practical reason would make us less safe. The current regime is on the verge of collapse. An Attack on Iran would galvanize the people behind the fundamentalists and silence the dissidents. Also, what would we do if another country sent bombers to our soil and destroy American property and lives? We don’t have to speculate about this. It happened on 9/11, and what we did was attack that country. The Iranians would obviously do the same. They would not use standard Military weapons, because we have more of those, so they would resort to Terrorist attacks.
I’m sure you agree with all this, Aziz, but I thought I’d state the obvious.

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Your Name

posted February 3, 2010 at 1:18 pm

Jerk Daniel Pipes has a counterpart at Harvard Divinity School:
Islamophobe Jewish studies professor Jon Levenson.

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posted February 3, 2010 at 8:03 pm

“Personally, I’ve argued that the United States should disavow aerial bombardment as analogous to land mines”
Why am I not surprised?
You are truly an idiot.

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