Turning the Tables On Netanyahu

In one sense, it is gratifying to see an under-leveraged Benjamin Netanyahu return to Washington to plead the case for U.S. help in an Israeli attack on Iran. After twice flouting the president of the United States, once over the extension of the freeze on settlements in the occupied West Bank in November 2010, and again in May 2011 in rejecting as "indefensible" President Obama's proposal for a solution along the 1967 lines with land swaps, Netanyahu has returned to a position of supplicant. Though the U.S. is unlikely to compel Iran to give up uranium enrichment, a virtual God-given right as considered in Iran, this does not mean that Iran would then be on a straight path to a nuclear weapon and its use against Israel. There is a good chance that the Iranian leadership would not be as crazy as to undertake such an action, and there is a good chance that the United States could detect preparations for such an attack and prevent it. In any event, the United States should stay out of the business of starting unprovoked wars. We have had one disastrous example in the recent past: the American invasion of Iraq in 2003. Just as "he tried to kill mah Daddy" was among the lame pretexts cited for going to war then, so the sequestration of some 50 hostages thirty years ago in Tehran is the major offensive action that can be laid at Iran's doorstep, but it is hardly an adequate pretext for launching an attack on that country now.