Israel lobbyist hints that ‘Pearl Harbor’ may be needed to get US into war with Iran
By Maidhc Ó Cathail
The Passionate Attachment
September 25, 2012
Last Friday, during question time at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy policy forum luncheon on “How to Build US-Israeli Coordination on Preventing an Iranian Nuclear Breakout,” the director of research at the pro-Israel think tank hinted that a Pearl Harbor-type attack might be necessary to get the United States to go to war against the Islamic Republic.
“I frankly think that crisis initiation is really tough,” said Patrick Clawson, who also heads the Washington Institute’s Iran Security Initiative, in response to a question about what would happen if negotiations with Tehran fail. “And it’s very hard for me to see how the United States … uh … President can get us to war with Iran.”
As a consequence, Clawson said he was led to conclude that “the traditional way [that] America gets to war is what would be best for US interests.”
Intriguingly, he went on to recount a series of controversial incidents in American history — the attack on Pearl Harbor, the sinking of the Lusitania, the Gulf of Tonkin incident, and the blowing up of the USS Maine — that US presidents “had to wait for” before taking America to war.
“And may I point out that Mr. Lincoln did not feel he could call out the federal army until Fort Sumter was attacked,” Clawson continued, “which is why he ordered the commander at Fort Sumter to do exactly that thing which the South Carolinians had said would cause an attack.”
“So, if in fact the Iranians aren’t going to compromise,” the Israel lobbyist concluded with a smirk on his face, “it would be best if somebody else started the war.”
Note: Clawson begins his answer around the 1 hour 15 minute mark.
Update: It’s worth noting that op-ed in the Jerusalem Post magazine earlier this year raised the possibility of just such an attack. In a piece entitled “The looming war with Iran,” Avi Perry, who served as an intelligence expert for the Israeli government, confidently predicted:
Iran, just like Nazi Germany in the 1940s, will take the initiative and “help” the US president and the American public make up their mind by making the first move, by attacking a US aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf.
The Iranian attack on an American military vessel will serve as a justification and a pretext for a retaliatory move by the US military against the Iranian regime. The target would not be Iran’s nuclear facilities. The US would retaliate by attacking Iran’s navy, their military installations, missile silos, airfields. The US would target Iran’s ability to retaliate, to close down the Strait of Hormuz. The US would then follow by targeting the regime itself.
Elimination of Iran’s nuclear facilities? Yes. This part would turn out to be the final act, the grand finale. It might have been the major target, had the US initiated the attack. However, under this “Pearl Harbor” scenario, in which Iran had launched a “surprise” attack on the US navy, the US would have the perfect rationalization to finish them off, to put an end to this ugly game.
Unlike the latest attempt at an Iranian revolution, this time the US would not shy away, rather, it would go public, openly calling for the Iranian people to join in with the US in working to overthrow the corrupt Islamic fundamentalist regime. The Iranian people would respond in numbers.
Spring would reemerge, and the Iranian people would join the rest of the Middle East – this time with the direct support of the US.
The greatest irony behind this most significant episode in 2012 is that the Iranian regime would affect their own demise. Attacking the US navy in the open seas is equivalent to carrying out a suicide bombing.