The only person who can argue for war AND diplomacy with a straight face

From the stark-raving mad department…John Bolton targets his Israel’s missiles on Iran again. In Boltonland, Iran already has dozens of nuclear weapons pointed at Israel and the United States Chicago, anything short of pre-emptive warfare is “weakness,” and the fact that Iran’s presidential elections are tomorrow — and may actually unseat neocons’ favorite whipping boy — is a reason not for nuance, but for publishing a warmongering op-ed sooner rather than later.

In fact, Bolton crookedly argues that a pre-emptive attack on Iran should actually have occurred under the Bush Administration, which at least did not engage in the kind of “apologetic” outreach that just might undo some of the ill will that a good bombing campaign could generate in the Muslim world. (His answer to the problems that a regional attack on Iran would cause? Unsurprisingly, more bombs!) What is truly unfathomable, though, is that Bolton somehow thinks that we can just attach a nice note of diplomacy alongside the missiles that should rain on Tehran.

Many argue that Israeli military action will cause Iranians to rally in support of the mullahs’ regime and plunge the region into political chaos. To the contrary, a strike accompanied by effective public diplomacy could well turn Iran’s diverse population against an oppressive regime.

Bomb first, negotiate later.

The other strikingly dense aspect of these two sentences is how utterly — but unsurprisingly — Bolton has failed to learn the lessons of Iraq. There is absolutely nothing to back up his blithe assertion that Iranians would most likely “turn against” the regime in the face of an Israeli bombing campaign. The same sort of forecast, equally unsupported by fact, was precipitously used to simply explain away any complicating reactions from Iraqis beyond their relief at the ousting of a tyrant (and one with much, much more blood on his hands than Ahmadinejad). This strategy, of course, proved disastrous in its oversimplification. Millions of Iranians have been rallying during their country’s election campaign, but an unprovoked military assault would only sow disorder and antagonism.