The Buzz

Beating the War Drum, Literally

After more than a decade of war, one might assume that the last thing the American people want is another war in the Middle East. Yet that is exactly what the neoconservative Emergency Committee for Israel (ECI) calls for in its latest ad, which appears to advocate a preventive war against Iran.

The ad, titled “Time to Act,” features the following voiceover, set over the ominous rhythm of beating drums:

President Obama has spent four years talking. Iran has spent four years building. A secret nuclear site. Nuclear fuel near weapons levels. Long-range missiles. Obama is still talking, and Iran has enough fuel for five nuclear bombs. Talking isn’t working. It’s time to act before it’s too late.

This is misleading at best, dangerous at worst. Iran may have “enough fuel for five nuclear bombs,” but it is in the form of low-enriched uranium, and Iran’s facilities are still under IAEA monitoring. This means if they did try to enrich to weapons grade and actually construct nuclear weapons, the overwhelming likelihood is that they would get caught, and there would be at least some lead time to respond. ECI’s ad, in contrast, creates the impression that we might all wake up tomorrow or next month to find five Iranian nuclear weapons.

What exactly it is we are supposed to do is also left undefined. Should we invade and overthrow the Iranian regime? Bomb Tehran’s nuclear facilities? And perhaps continue bombing them every two years if the first attack causes the Iranian people to rally around their regime and redouble their nuclear efforts? ECI doesn’t tell us—neither in its ad nor on its website, which features this ad prominently even as its Iran issue page is curiously empty.

In short, ECI is (literally) beating the drums for another war, loudly proclaiming it is “time to act” without ever explaining what that means, or giving any apparent thought to any of the many negative consequences that might result. Coming from the people who brought us the Iraq War, this is not really surprising. But it is certainly a howler.