Jeffrey Goldberg Pushes for War With Iraq–er, Make That Iran
by Alex Kane
Former Israeli soldier and current writer for the Atlantic Jeffrey Goldberg has a long cover story (9/10) on the “better than 50 percent chance” that Israel will launch air strikes against Iran by next July, with the aim of taking out the alleged nuclear threat from the Islamic Republic. Based on roughly 40 interviews with American, Arab and Israeli officials–some of them anonymously–Goldberg meanders from describing the worst-case scenario for what will happen after Israel attacks Iran to relaying dubious Israeli claims about how Iran is the new Nazi Germany to an analysis of Netanyahu’s relationship with his right-wing 100-year-old father. He does this while assuring readers that he is “not engaging in a thought exercise, or a one-man war game.”
Why anyone would listen to Goldberg or give him space in a magazine to hype up the threat from another Middle Eastern country is beyond comprehension, given Goldberg’s role in printing propaganda about Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction and Iraq’s ties to al-Qaeda (The New Yorker, 3/25/02; 2/10/03; Slate, 10/3/02). That turned out wonderfully, remember?
Ken Silverstein (Harper’s, 6/30/06) is certainly shaking his head–he chronicled Goldberg’s role in pushing for the Iraq War, writing that:
In urging war on Iraq, Goldberg took highly dubious assertions—for example, that Saddam was an irrational madman in control of vast quantities of WMDs and that Iraq and Al Qaeda were deeply in bed together—and essentially asserted them as fact…
Back in late 2003, at a panel discussion hosted by the New School for Social Research, the topic of Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction came up. “Did the CIA simply mess up?” Goldberg asked Paul Wolfowitz. “Did I?” is the question he should have asked.
A lot has already been written about Goldberg’s latest, so here’s a selection of good analysis:
-Iran experts Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett on “the weak case for war with Iran” (Foreign Policy, 8/11/10).
-Jonathan Schwartz (A Tiny Revolution, 8/11/10) argues that Goldberg is “America’s greatest foreign policy propagandist.”
-Glenn Greenwald on why Goldberg’s piece is “exhibit A” on “how propagandists function” (Salon, 8/12/10).
-Eli Clifton on how Goldberg’s article “is part of a campaign to push the Obama administration into authorizing a U.S. military strike rather than having any particularly believable scoops about an impending Israeli attack” (Lobelog, 8/10/10).
-Matt Duss on why an attack on Iran would have a “low likelihood of success” but a “high likelihood of disaster” (Wonk Room, 8/11/10).
-Paul Woodward on how the article is part of a campaign to put the Obama administration in a box to get the U.S. to bomb Iran (War in Context, 8/11/10).
-Tony Karon on Goldberg being willingly used by both U.S. and Israeli officials to “send messages” about both countries’ postures toward Iran (Rootless Cosmopolitan, 8/12/10).