July 20, 2006 9:49AM

If We Bomb Them, They’ll Like Us?

One hesitates to make it all Bill Kristol, all the time around here, but if he keeps offering up fodder of this quality, our hand is going to be forced.

Click here to watch Kristol defend his idea to start a war with Iran by deploying the logic that

the Iranian people dislike their regime. I think they would be — the right use of targeted military force — but especially if political pressure before we use military force — could cause them to reconsider whether they really want to have this regime in power. There are even moderates — they are not wonderful people — but people in the government itself who are probably nervous about Ahmadinejad’s recklessness.

Right, so once the bombs start dropping on Iran's nuclear facilities — some of which are buried deep beneath civilian population centers — the people of Iran will — under bombardment — overthrow the regime for us!

This notwithstanding the fact that even Iranian liberal intellectuals like Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi have warned that Iranians "will defend our country till the last drop of blood.''

This notwithstanding the fact that a recent poll [.pdf] indicates that more than 27 percent of Iranians say that "developing an arsenal of nuclear weapons for defense" should be "the most important long-term goal for the Iranian government."

And this notwithstanding the whole history of the "rally 'round the flag effect," whereby governments facing military crises gain the support of previously conflicted factions in the name of national preservation. Slobodan Milosevic's popularity ticked markedly upward after NATO bombs started dropping on Serbs, to use just one example.

The American public was told before the Iraq war how easy it would be. Kristol's fellow neoconservatives provided endless, just-so explanations for a sort of Rube Goldberg-style regime change where all we needed to do was set the process in motion (remember "shock and awe"?) and the miracle of democratic revolution would take off on its own. We can see where that's gotten us in Iraq.

For Kristol to proffer the notion — with a straight face — that bombing a foreign country is the way for us to get its citizens to overthrow their government is nothing short of astonishing. The neocons have reached a new, dark low in terms of intellectual integrity.

Thanks to Eric Martin for the link.