Goldberg willing to bet on a “better” chance that Israel will strike Iran

Fox News reports:

Israel has until the weekend to launch a military strike on Iran’s first nuclear plant before the humanitarian risk of an attack becomes too great, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton said Tuesday.

A Russian company is expected to help Iran start loading nuclear fuel into its plant starting on Saturday, after which an attack on the Bushehr reactor could trigger harmful radiation, which Israel wants to avoid, Bolton said. So unless the Israelis act immediately to shut down the facility, it will be too late.

“Once it’s close to the reactor … the risk is when the reactor is attacked, there will be a release of radiation into the air,” Bolton told “It’s most unlikely that they would act militarily after fuel rods are loaded.”

The attack Iran story gets increasingly bizarre. Now we have neocon commentators like Bolton watching the clock as though this was some kind of sporting event and at the same time, presenting Israel as a thoroughly responsible player. While Israel might be willing to destabilize the whole region, it wouldn’t want to risk spreading nuclear fallout into the Gulf. But as Marsha Cohen points out, the risks from fallout would not simply be humanitarian — they would be economic:

Besides the catastrophic human and environmental toll of such an attack, the sea lanes through which much of the world’s oil supplies pass would be endangered.

Iranians know this. In 1980, Iran bombed Iraq’s Osirak nuclear power plant before it contained any radioactive material. Osirak was quickly repaired by the French contractors who built it. Eight months later Osirak was partially destroyed by Israeli jets, aided by Iranian intelligence.

Meanwhile, at The Atlantic, Jeffrey Goldberg and Robin Wright are now placing bets on the likelihood of an attack — not in the next few days, but the coming months.

“By July next year, I’ll wager that neither Israel nor the United States will have bombed Iran,” says Wright.

“I, of course, believe that there is a better than 50 percent chance Israel will strike …Iran by this time next year,” says Goldberg.

Note the phrasing chosen by the man who just a few days ago expressed “profound, paralyzing ambivalence” about whether on attack on Iran would be a good idea. He doesn’t now simply reiterate his expectation that an attack is more likely but that it looks like a “better” than 50 percent chance.

Casually chosen words? Maybe, but if Goldberg was being asked how likely another 9/11 attack might be and he thought it more likely than not to happen, I doubt that he would say there is a better than 50 percent chance of such an attack, would he?

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6 thoughts on “Goldberg willing to bet on a “better” chance that Israel will strike Iran

  1. David

    In all fairness, the “more than 50% chance” theme was in the original article, and Goldblog is apparently sticking to his story — as transparent a piece of spoon-fed hasbara as it is.

  2. Paul Woodward

    Yes, he’s sticking to his story in terms of the odds, but in terms of whether he thinks it would be a good thing, he no longer sounds as ambivalent as he claimed he was — thus the qualitative judgment “better than” rather than the merely quantitative judgment “more than.” See the difference?

  3. Observer

    Jeffrey Goldberg served in the military. The Israeli military, of course. In the run-up to the Iraq war, Goldberg wrote an article in 2002 for The New Yorker, “The Great Terror” about how Iraq and Al-Quaeda were cooperating. The article was totally false but highly influential.

    It’s only fair to assume that his present article promoting an attack on Iran, like his earlier 2002 article promoting war with Iraq, serves to advance Israel’s interests as he sees them. He undoubtedly has contacts and connections with the Israeli ruling circles that the rest of us don’t have. So he may have inside information about Israel’s intentions. That’s a chilling thought. Goldberg is not just predicting an attack on Iran, he’s promoting an attack on Iran.

    On the other hand, Israel has been claiming for a couple of decades that Iran is “just about” to get a nuclear bomb. So Goldberg and Israel may just be bluffing. It’s impossible for an outsider to decide.

  4. Christopher Hoare

    What level of insanity will Goldberg and his Israeli backers go to? The Bushehr plant is a power station — Russian built and to be operated under the full sanction of the IAEA. I feel sure Moscow would not sit idly by while Israel carries out this crime.

    The spokesperson for the Rosatom Nuclear Energy State Corporation, Sergey Novikov says the Bushehr nuclear power plant is harmless.

    “I think it is a very strong signal that international society supports such peaceful projects as Bushehr, because everybody understands that you cannot use a power plant in a hypothetical military program,” Novikov told Russian TV.

    “A nuclear power plant just generates electricity. There are two double-purpose elements – enrichment and spent fuel management. Both of these elements are taken out of Iranian responsibility, because we are going to supply the Bushehr power plant with nuclear fuel.”

  5. estebanfolsom

    -john bolton-

    i feel my voice
    should be heard
    as loud as his
    here it is :

    do not attack anyone for any reason
    the hell you will unleash will be way
    beyond what you might imagine
    and your regret will be endless

    is this really the best we can do ?

    -cumulation of civilization –
    my ass

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