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James Fallows argues that Jeffrey Goldberg’s article in The Atlantic about the prospect of Israel attacking Iran is not actually an endorsement for such an attack, but that “the article hews to a strictly reportorial perspective: this is what the Israeli officials seem to think, this is how American officials might react, this is how Israeli officials might anticipate how the Americans might react, these are the Israeli voices of caution, here are the potential readings and mis-readings on each side.”
Fallows adds that those who believe Goldberg is advocating for war are mainly responding to his byline rather than his argument. “If this new article had appeared under the byline of someone known to have opposed the previous war [against Iraq] and to be skeptical about the next one, I think the same material could be read in the opposite way — as a cautionary revelation of what the Netanyahu government might be preparing to do.”
To which I’d reply, if the article had been written by anyone else I might agree. But Goldberg’s past work as a dishonest advocate for the Iraq War and his long service in support of the Israeli military (literally for a time, when he served in the Israeli Defense Force) makes Fallows’s argument harder to accept. Goldberg has never seen an Israeli military action that he didn’t approve of. Can anyone honestly believe that Goldberg wouldn’t support an Israeli attack on Iran in the event that it came to pass?
Goldberg’s article in The Atlantic is more balanced than his Iraq war “reporting,” which ranked with British propaganda from World War I about German soldiers bayoneting babies, but it’s awfully sympathetic to the Israeli point of view. If Israel does attack Iran, its supporters will surely point to Goldberg’s piece as evidence for why such a strike was necessary, just as President Bush cited Goldberg’s work in making the case for war in Iraq.
More from Ken Silverstein:
Perspective — October 23, 2013, 8:00 am
How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy
Postcard — October 16, 2013, 8:00 am
A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”