Alex Massie

Bombing Iran is Good for the Iranian Soul. Apparently.

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Elliot Abrams, veteran warmonger and neoconservative, reminds us that while there are always those who find themselves fighting the last war there are also those who forget that the last war even happened. Concerned about bombing Iran? You shouldn't be. Why? Well, the Iranians will, probably, like it. Or, as he puts it:

We are not talking about the Americans killing civilians, bombing cities, destroying mosques, hospitals, schools. No, no, no – weʹre talking about nuclear facilities which most Iranians know very little about, have not seen, will not see, some quite well hidden.

So they wake up in the morning and find out that the United States if attacking those facilities and, presumably with some good messaging about why weʹre doing it and why we are not against the people of Iran.

Itʹs not clear to me that the reaction [would be] letʹs go to war with the Americans, but rather, perhaps, how did we get into this mess? Why did those guys, the very unpopular ayatollahs in a country 70 percent of whose population is under the age of 30, why did those old guys get us into this mess. Alas, as Matt Yglesias says, pretty much the entire history of air power contradicts this so-called analysis (since one presumes neither America nor Israel is actually going to lob a first strike nuke onto Tehran). The problem with Abrams and co is not simply that they treat every problem as though it were the same, but that they seem to have no imagination. That is, Abrams clearly cannot imagine how an Iranian might be both opposed to the regime and proud that Iran had a nuclear capability. Yet it is not difficult to imagine how such feelings might exist. Equally, Abrams' lack of empathy makes it impossible for him to imagine how an Iranian might hear the "good messaging" about "why we ae not against the people of Iran" and see these messengers dropping bombs on Iranian territory and conclude that perhaps the Americans do indeed have something against the Iranian people. This is elementary.

But no, let's attack anyway. And, of course, if the attack is unsuccessful then we'll have to bomb again. And again. Pretty soon you'll have a nice little war there and what could possibly go wrong with that?

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

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