Ken Baer has an overwrought post up attacking me for suggesting that Democrats should publicly state that Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons will not trigger a military response. Baer, in a graf that reveals his own lack of engagement with the issue, wonders, "And as for those who doubt the strategy of no nukes, no options off the table, my only question is: what is that based on? Again, is there any person with real experience with the Iranians, diplomacy, or nonproliferation who has argued that? If so, let’s hear it. But – to my mind – rightly, the major candidates are listening to seasoned experts on this issue, and are thus sticking with the above formulation of no nuclear Iran, no options off the table."Ezra goes on to list more experts who think attacking, or threatening by not-so-subtle diplospeak to attack, Iran is utterly nuts. Ken Pollack, Scott Ritter, Flynt Leverett - and in a follow-up post Chuck Hagel, Sam Gardiner, Mohammed El-Baradei, Richard Clarke and David Albright.
Well, Matt gets us started off with two, noting that, "Ray Takeyh, Council on Foreign Relations Fellow and author of two books on Iran along with Vali Nasr, another CFR fellow and author of three books on Iran or Shia politics, think we should eschew military threats in favor of engagement. Joseph Cirincione, formerly senior associate and director for nonproliferation at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and currently something or other at the Center for American Progress, thinks there's no military option whatsoever here."
One of Ezra's commenters points up the mindset of exceptionalsim that stands behind the threats and half-threats:
I am sick and tired of people who parrot the talking-point "no options off the table," be it George W. Bush, Condaleeza Rice or even John Edwards. What the f#ck does this mean to any decent American? Can one beltway stenographer -- just once -- ask what the heck these options are?Excellent stuff.
Mr. Bush, are we going to round up a couple million innocent Arabs, throw them on trains, send them to death camps and gas them? Is that a viable option? Is that option on the table or off the table?
Ms. Rice, "some people say" we should nuke Mecca and torture the testicles of all Arab children under the age of 13. Are those options on-or-off the table?
Mr. Edwards, you want to be the next president -- same questions directed to you: How do you feel about death camps and nuking Holy sites and torturing the testicles of infants -- are those options on the table or off the table?
If you can you imagine Wolf Blitzer asking these same questions to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and/or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad about nuking Jerusalem and Manhattan, and either responding, well Wolf, we can't take these options off the table, that would be like a declaration to war. The double-standards are appalling.