The first rule of neoconservativism - if at first you can't incite a war, make sh*t up.
The German magazine Focus had noted neoconservative "journalist" Amir Taheri interview Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. Taheri reported that Olmert told him ""Iran's nuclear program can be thrown back by years in a ten day attack using thousands of Tomahawk cruise missiles." It sounds like something out of the Dick Cheney phrasebook. That quote was repeated uncritically by Rupert Murdoch's Jersusalem Post - which is always keen to create another Israeli conflict with it's neighbours out of whole cloth.
It was also repeated - approvingly - by neocon American figures such as Ed Morrisey this morning. Morrisey writes:
One might ask Olmert why he didn't see this clearly about Syria and Hezbollah last year, when he elected to attack Lebanese targets instead after Hezbollah provoked a war. A ten-day attack with thousands of Tomahawks would have set Bashar Assad back on his rump, and it would have taken all the steam out of Hezbollah by cutting off its political and military lines of communication. It would also have kicked out one of the struts of Iranian power and reach in the Middle East without destabilizing the nominally anti-Syrian government in Beirut.However, Reuters (via ABC News) reveals that the Israeli PM's office categorically denies Olmert said anything of the sort to Taheri.
Maybe Olmert learned a lesson last year, maybe not. At least he's not offering platitudes about the uselessness of any military reaction to the prospect of a nuclear mullahcracy, and what it means for the war on terror.
Olmert's spokeswoman, Miri Eisin, said the prime minister had spoken to the author of the Focus article, but she said Olmert did not make the comments that were attributed to him.Focus magazine's editor told ABC he would now try to contact Taheri about the matter.
Eisin said the meeting was not an interview and was conducted for background purposes, on the understanding it would not be used.
"The prime minister did not say these things," Eisin said.
If Taheri made up Olmert's statement - and the Israelis are adamant he did - it won't be the first time he's created flagrantly inciteful stories out of thin air. Tahiri, a member of the Benador Associates stable of neocon shills which includes Charles Krauthammer and Michael Ledeen, wrote a story last May about Iran insisting on its Jews wearing yellow stars which turned out to be total sh*t too.
Amir Taheri's previous fiction was a well-known sensation at the time, yet neither the Jerusalem Post nor Ed Morrisey saw fit to include Taheri's name in their articles. Anyone with the remotest clue about his background would have heard alarm bells when his name was attached to this new article. Maybe that's why they left it off.
One last note. Morrisey's piece points up something Israel should be wary off. The American neoconservative movement are great friends of Israel as long as they think there's a good chance Israel will deliver their much-wished-for conflict with Iran or Syria. But should Israel take a route that emphasises peace, then it is likely to find these American warmongers are fairweather friends.