An important report appeared on Tuesday. The March 20, 2012, New York Times reported on U.S. war exercises that recently took place ("U.S. War Game Sees Perils of Israeli Strike Against Iran"). In the course of the report, the following statement was made:
Officials said that, under the chain of events in the war game, Iran believed that Israel and the United States were partners in any strike against Iranian nuclear sites and therefore considered American military forces in the Persian Gulf as complicit in the attack.In other words, "We can't allow it to appear as if we're working in concert with Israel against Iran, because if and when Israel does attack Iran, we will have no place to hide from the Iranian retaliation."
This is a principle in law known as "estoppel" -- which boils down to the idea that you are guilty along with those you associate with, if you allow them to assert that you are backing them up. And the importance of estoppel is this: if you want to make sure that you are not "estopped" later from asserting your innocence -- that you are not left "holding the bag" -- you need to get out in public NOW and convince the world that you, in fact, stand for something different. No weasel words, no nuance: LOUD AND CLEAR, AGAIN AND AGAIN!
And so we see reports of the U.S. and Israel drawing increasingly clear lines between their positions, the U.S. insisting on diplomacy with Iran during the Obama-Netanyahu meeting, and now Ehud Barak admitting that Israel now knows that the U.S. doesn't back them in an attack any time soon.
This is not to say that the threats against Iran are over -- not by a long shot. It is a small but important step back from the brink.
Were the "No Iran War!" forces -- broadcasting their messages in marches, teach-ins, publications, and social media -- solely responsible for this small step back from war? No -- there were complicated and contradictory forces at work -- but the anti-war movement was certainly a big part of this development and needs to recognize its power.
Is it time to rest? No - it's time to recognize that this is what it feels like to have an impact - and now REALLY turn up the volume!
* * * * *Photo courtesy FJJ
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