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Barbara Kellerman
Scholar

Barbara Kellerman

Barbara Kellerman is on the faculty of at the Harvard Kennedy School and the author, most recently, of Bad Leadership: What It Is, How It Happens, and Why It Matters and Followership: How Followers are Creating Change and Changing Leaders.

Uprooting Bad Leaders

"Adamant for Drift" was the brilliantly sardonic title of a speech delivered by Winston Churchill to the House of Commons in November 1936. His mission was to warn an apathetic England against Nazi Germany, and particularly against Hitler, whose appetite, Churchill later cautioned, would "grow with eating." In part because his repute at the time was low, Churchill's words were largely dismissed and his warnings widely ignored.

Nothing could be more thoughtless in situations such as these than making facile historical parallels. Similarly, nothing could be more foolish than neglecting history altogether. What, then, have we learned from the past that would enable us in the present to deal more effectively with so menacing an adversary as Mahmoud Ahmadinejad?

First off, Ahmadinejad is no Hitler and Iran is not Nazi Germany. This said, all bad leaders have some things in common, and some bad leaders have more things in common than do others. So while what we have in this case is by no means a man as all-powerful as Hitler, what American policymakers have to contend with is this: The putative leader of a regime guilty of some of the same sins as Nazi Germany.

During the past thirty years, Iran has been a sworn enemy of the United States. During the past five years, Iran has become far more powerful a player than before -- this in a region of critical strategic importance. During the past five years, Iran has sought aggressively to acquire more arms, now including nuclear arms. During the past year (as well as before) Iran oppressed its own dissenters -- many to the point of persecution. Finally, Ahmadinejad has himself, ironically, repeatedly and in no uncertain terms, been a Holocaust denier and Jew-hater. To gild this lily he has spoken openly and frequently of obliterating the state of Israel, of "wiping it off the map."

Words like these matter. As Mein Kampf (Hitler's autobiography published in 1925) made all too clear, they must never be lightly dismissed, certainly not from a man whose finger itches for access to the nuclear trigger. For Americans, for the West, to continue to dither as we have up to now, would be therefore as Churchill would have had it, "adamant in the fact of drift."

What, then, is to be done? What worked in the past and what could work now? The list that follows is not meant to suggest this is other than heavy lifting. Bad leaders are notoriously difficult to uproot, and their behavior is famously difficult to modify. But consider the following (it won't hurt):

First, act now. The longer America and its allies wait to take on this formidable foe, the more difficult the task.

Second, act multilaterally: Forge alliances whenever and wherever possible, with those outside Iran, with individuals and institutions inside Iran, with state actors and non-state actors, with businesses and governments, with those at the highest levels, and with ordinary people.

Third, since these various alliances are of critical importance, see them as different one from the other and treat them accordingly.

Fourth, be prepared to use every weapon in your arsenal, from diplomacy to the threat of, and if necessary the use of, force.

Fifth, use technology to connect to different people in different places. This is the 21st century. Be inventive in how you reach out.

Sixth, never underestimate the power of public opinion, both within Iran and outside it. More than ever before people power plays a political role.

And, in that regard, seventh, give high priority to the loyal opposition, to those large numbers of people inside Iran possibly in a position to provide support.

Eighth, broaden the conversation. Focus not only on the matter immediately at hand -- nuclear weapons -- but on the range of problems that have long been festering.

Finally, do not be delusional, in denial. The problem of Iran, of Ahmadinejad, will not of its own go away. Bad leaders never do. They must be forced to change their ways -- or forced out. To do anything less is to ask for even more trouble in the future than the trouble we have in the present.

By Barbara Kellerman

 |  September 29, 2009; 1:43 PM ET
Category:  Leadership personalities Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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I am surprised at the number of comments attacking Kellerman's position. Are they all so naive about the history of Iran's support for terrorism since 1979 and the threat of Ahmadinejad to wipe Israel off the map? Must we wait until Iran is nuclear armed and unleashes the horror it has repeatedly threatened before responding? There is not one single positive indication from Iran that they will not do as they have threatened. The Russian solution would provide them fissionable material for nuclear power so why must Iran persist if their desires are honestly peaceful, in this quest to make fissionable material? The threat is not just to Israel but to the entire region and to Europe and the US by Iran sponsored terrorism, delivering nuuclear devices.

Posted by: MKelley2 | October 1, 2009 6:17 AM
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Why can't America mind its own business? The Middle East has gone completely insane. Must America follow the Middle East path to craziness? Let them solve their own problems.

Posted by: jimarush | October 1, 2009 5:51 AM
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It is simply amazing how Americans and Israelis are stuck on what happened in Europe 65-70 years ago.

Grow up! It is the 21st century, and America's biggest (self-made) political adversary, the communist China, is your biggest creditor, and Russia is No. 2 or so (in terms of reserves)!

And you have nothing to do except picking on Iran of 72m just to appease 6m Israelis...if only as a diversion from the fact that the whole idea of Israel and a safe haven for Jews has not worked some 65 years later? Salvation does come within, I think!!!!

Posted by: ordak100 | October 1, 2009 5:49 AM
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AGAPN9 is right. Iran does want to create a caliphate in the region. Israel,the Gulf States and the West stand in the way.
But what AGAPN9 does not say is that the Zionists in Israel are determined to have their greater Israel- maybe all the way from the banks of the River Nile to the Euphrates.
Iran, all the Arab nations, most Western Countries, Russia and China stand in the way.
They are the facts and unless they are addressed and a solution found some idiot will do something quite stupid and make the whole region uninhabitable for Jew, Muslim, Christian and those in between.
Is that what Barbara Kellerman wants?

Posted by: Charles15 | October 1, 2009 5:48 AM
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Ahmadinejad is a good leader, obama is a jewish pupet.

Posted by: evergreen2so | October 1, 2009 4:47 AM
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I note and agree with the commenters who maintain that Bush and his henchman, Dick Cheney, were leaders as bad as Ahmadinejad. Worse even, because they went beyond mere words and acted on their horrible rhetoric during their co-presidency to push us into a costly, destructive and unneccesary war. And sadly, that's only one egregious example among many.

What should have the nations of the world have done about him? Put another way, why is the U.S. the only country that gets to act against bad leaders?

Posted by: OliverKlozov | October 1, 2009 4:39 AM
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Stop dithering on Iran, mobilize the Israeli Foreign Legion and start killing some women and children for Jehovah!

Posted by: patrick3 | October 1, 2009 2:44 AM
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Stop dithering on Iran, mobilize the Israeli Foreign Legion and start killing some women and children for Jehovah!

Posted by: patrick3 | October 1, 2009 2:42 AM
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The true leadre of Iran is Ayatullah Khamenie, not Ahmadinejad. Ahmadinejad is a bad cop to for the Khamenie administration. The real question is how far Khameneie will allow Ahmidinejad to play the bad cop before stepping on his toes. It seems to me that since the deciding force in Iran is Khamenie and his circle of confidants, they allow Ahmidinejad to express extreme points of view to garner a reaction from the world so that they can then set forth more realistic expectations. Stop focusing on Ahmidinejad and look behind the curtain that kept him in power and figure out how to handle them. These elite Ayatullah's are responsible for any real shift in change and policty and its easier for them to have the world focus on Ahmidenejad to shift through reactions and possible strategies before coming to any conclusions about forming policy. The Ayatullahs are much more susceptible to negotiation and diplomacy than the puppet Ahmindenejad. This seems like a very simple concept to understand about Iran, and yet, it seems to be glossed over by many talking-heads when discussing Iran. Refuse to negotiate with Ahmedinijad and only speak to the supreme leader and you may actually get some where.

If it can't be seen that the Supreme Leader calls the shots, then what real hope do we have to negotiatie, diplomatically with Iran? Everybody in Iran know this - why not the Harvar profs?

Posted by: tsblaw | October 1, 2009 1:11 AM
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Remember folks, Iran is either sitting on on is very close to a large supply of oil and natural gas. Moreover, because of unilateral support of Israel, Iran is our adversary. both Iraq and Afghan wars are for geopolitical advantage. Iran remains a threat, not a nuceelar threat, but a petro-economic one. US/Israel need a desperate Iran to assure access to its resources. Iran with nuceelar technology is going to undergo swift economical development and cause problems with access to cheap oil.

All this fear mongering is to divert your (the American public) attention from the larger issue, access to and control of oil in the era of "peak oil"

Posted by: Peaceful2009 | October 1, 2009 1:10 AM
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Remember folks, Iran is either sitting on on is very close to a large supply of oil and natural gas. Moreover, because of unilateral support of Israel, Iran is our adversary. both Iraq and Afghan wars are for geopolitical advantage. Iran remains a threat, not a nuceelar threat, but a petro-economic one. US/Israel need a desperate Iran to assure access to its resources. Iran with nuceelar technology is going to undergo swift economical development and cause problems with access to cheap oil.

All this fear mongering is to divert your (the American public) attention from the larger issue, access to and control of oil in the era of "peak oil"

Posted by: Peaceful2009 | October 1, 2009 1:09 AM
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Israel has been threatening to attack Iran 365 days of the year... for how many years?

Zionist Israel, and its Western complict thugs, helped Zionist Israel create its own nuclear weapons program, forget about the nuclear enrichment plant, which never was even acknowledged by these fascist Zionist thugs, nor by the Western states that helped Israel with actual nuclear weapons.

Get used to the fact that the rest of the world is not going to put up with Zionazi invasions, like Iraq or Vietnam, wars of aggression, and will do whatever it takes to smash Western imperial wars of aggression!!


Posted by: Rubiconski | October 1, 2009 12:24 AM
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i am wondering what credentials, other than Harvard Professor, Ms. Kellerman has that we should heed her call to militarily intervene in Iran. She is correct about bad leaders, look how long it took us to get rid of George W. Bush.

but to assume that Ahmadinejad is more capable than the buffoon he appears to be, and involve the US in another regime change IS to ignore history. recent history. iraq comes immediately to mind, and of course that worked out so well.

when there is a clear and present and VERIFIABLE danger to US security then we should act. until then we should work the diplomatic angles for all they are worth. recall that UN nuclear inspectors were back in Iraq prior to our intervention there, told to leave so we could blow the place up. given a few more months perhaps they could have saved us thousands of lives and trillions of dollars. i am not looking forward to repeating the same mistake in Iran.

Posted by: jtacoustic | September 30, 2009 11:19 PM
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I vote for Option 4, use of immediate force. He should have had a bullet in in his head by now.

Posted by: seve2yoo | September 30, 2009 10:54 PM
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Professor Kellerman, WWCSD?

What would Chuck Schumer do?

Posted by: AD11 | September 30, 2009 10:00 PM
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The US is not the world police force. For too long the US seems willing to go to great lengths to kick any hornets' nest anywhere else in the world. As far as the assault on AIPAC, it is well deserved. All the neocons want to fight Iran and cleanse the Middle East of baddies? Join the IDF.

Posted by: steveboyington | September 30, 2009 9:53 PM
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..."If you judge people "You have no time to love them." ---Mother Teresa

..."I see Professor Kellerman is wrong on all fronts, the United States needs to stop Israel from itself, as most here agree Israel out of control and pushing United States in the wrong direction, while Israel sits on a powder keg of over 159 nukes in its yard enough to wipe out the entire Middle East, along with itself.

I hope PEACE prevails and I hope Israel is stopped before it ruins the United States like it has itself in GAZA/COMMITTED/WAR/CRIMES, that has sickened this registerd/Voter/Vet/USAF/Graduate/Student/Master's/Program/Professional/Studies,
EAST TENNESSEE STATE UNIVERSITY/CLASS/2010.

Sincerely, Tommy Birchfield

Posted by: ztcb41 | September 30, 2009 9:40 PM
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SRB2, Israel never dragged the US into any conflict in the Middle East, our own oil companies did. Cut off all military aid to Israel and you give Israel just the excuse they need to nuke Iran and any other country that poses even a marginal threat to them. And be prepared to pay triple at the gas pump form then on. You're all so arrogant that you expect another country, ANY other country, to just stand there and get walked on so you can fill up your SUV for cheap while they've had to watch their borders 24/7 for the past 60 years.

Maybe Israel shouldn't share any more intel with us on what terrorists are up to. They warned our government about the impending 9/11 attacks, but the info wound up at the bottom of a stack on somebody's desk in Washington. You'll be on your own from here on. Speaking of intel, go to Japan if you need supergeeks to design processors for your PC's and Macs. They make better cars and electronics than you, don't they? Ask the whiz kids in India to write the kernel for the next version of Windows. Israel has better things to do than to come up with innovations to make your tech-dependent lives easier while you're blaming Israel for things Israel has nothing to do with.

Posted by: heatherczerniak | September 30, 2009 9:36 PM
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My oh my, the anti-Semites are out in full force this evening! Well, folks, scream all you want, but the choice is yours. You can do your part to rid the world of dictators you'll have to fight anyway later on or you can just step out of the way and let teeny tiny Israel do it. Of course, you'll all look like wimps just sitting over here while a country the size of New Jersey gets all the glory. You'll probably also have to pay $20-$30 per gallon at the pump too. And worst of all, the "God, guns and guts" award will go to someone else this time.

Posted by: heatherczerniak | September 30, 2009 9:19 PM
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The TO DO list in her article reminds me of the yearly secret passwords issued by the national office of my college fraternity back-in-the-day, ideas like: "take part!", and "individual responsibility!".

Mentioning Churchill's Wilderness Years (while ignoring the reasons behind his internal exile) seems to be almost obligatory among a certain sub-set of foreign policy wonk wanna-bees. At least she got the "no Hitler", "not Nazi Germany" part right. Today's Iran is more like a blue-bottle fly in a room buzzing incessantly.

The Islamic Republic as a theoretical model of government doesn't work in actual practice (nor did Hitlerian Germany, a fact obscured by the Second World War). The Tehran regime is corrupt, illegitimate, and weak. It behaves the way it does domestically and abroad for those very reasons. Its campaign against Israel and the curiously blatant anti-Semitic utterances of some of its B-team leaders are red herrings, distractions -- not unlike patriotism itself, the last refuge of scoundrels.

Any solution to its underlying problems must come from within the Islamic Republic itself. Circumstances force us to be bystanders, as was the case when the Iron Curtain stood tall and firm (1947-1988). Skeptics should recall how the great Soviet Union itself seemed to be eternal while it slowly rotted out from within.

Posted by: hogsmile | September 30, 2009 9:06 PM
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Unfortunately Barabara is a Jew. Read Harry Trumans's diary of July 1947 and today those thoughts about Jews are still true. Problem is Israel with 200 atomic bombs not Iran with Nuclear Energy plants.

As a Blonde with Air between your ears, do you even imagine the consequences of bombing Iran? How did you get a job at Harvard?

Posted by: mikeyavar | September 30, 2009 8:53 PM
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The author of this article might be better suited to writing self-help books than foreign policy articles. "Bad leaders never go away (...) they must be forced out." Shouldn't that be up to the people of Iran? The fact that the recent election was so clearly stolen from a majority of the voters will make it very hard for Ahmadinejad to do anything that risks civil unrest. Furthermore, it is obvious that the country will be set alight if the next elections don't satisfy a majority of the people. The clerics are smart enough to know that would be the end of them and their authority.

Reform is inevitable... Unless of course the US manages to threaten Iran so much that Iranians decide to unite against such foreign interference. (Just as Americans united one year after the controversial 2000 elections.)

Harm minimization is currently the best option - keep a hand outstretched to the Iranian government (and an eye on their nuclear capabilities). But whatever happens, we must not listen to neocon authors and their incessant nazi Germany comparisons.

Posted by: clem75 | September 30, 2009 7:19 PM
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The historical comparisons are all wrong. Zionism is the Nazism of our times; Gaza is the Warsaw ghetto of our times; the Palestinians are the Jews of our times; and Netanyahu with his Lebensraum philosophy and belligerence to all neighboring states sure acts a lot like Hitler.

Posted by: Spiritof761 | September 30, 2009 7:04 PM
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Looks like the market (or someone has taken the good professor's advice to heart) crude finished up $3.54 a barrel; trust me, Professor, if the Israelis and Iranians get into their long awaited showdown, you ain't seen nothing yet.

Begin avowed "never again, never again" but it may turn out that his action as Father of the Israeli nuclear weapons program in fact only assured his people that others would be more apet to conclude the need for "one more time."

Tragic beyond words but for sure Begin the man of action did not "dither"; only the future will tell us whether this policy advocated by our good Professor K of Harvard will prove to the advantage and salvation of Israel and the Israeli people.

Best advice now:

"Oh ye children of Israel, get thee to the wailing wall and implore your G-d to deliver you from hasty decisions and arrogance of your masters. Selah!"

P.S. Professor Kellerman, as for you, take that Sabbatical and do Aliyah and stand with your people and so write again with dispatches informing us what it's like to end the dithering and experience incoming.

Posted by: AmericanInterestsFirstandLast | September 30, 2009 4:23 PM
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More neocon babble and more endless war sabre rattling. Hey, here's an idea - let the Iranian people decide.

It never fails to amaze me that 'nuts like this fool will look at an election (uh, Iran just re-elected him. Or did you forget?), and say it's "fraudulent" because their guy lost.

But in Afghanistan, an election that was completely corrupt, is legitimate because their guy won.

And please, this isn't about the US. It's about Israel. We give them more money than any of our states - they ought to pay taxes. They can defend themselves.

If they are short on cash, they can stop building settlements on land that is not theirs.

Posted by: vze2r3k5 | September 30, 2009 4:03 PM
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So the same crowd who lied the US into invading Iraq are now talking up another splendid little war.

Posted by: HubertusBigend | September 30, 2009 3:51 PM
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So the same crowd who lied the US into invading Iraq is trying to start another splendid little war.

Posted by: HubertusBigend | September 30, 2009 3:50 PM
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Boy this should be easy, let's go for it.

Posted by: jdodson1 | September 30, 2009 3:47 PM
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Uh, gee, you mean like Iraq?

Like that one?

Are you sure? Don't you want to sit under a nice tree somewhere and re-think this stuff a little?

Because it sounds like what Bush tried in Iraq, but what do I know?

Posted by: tony_in_Durham_NC | September 30, 2009 3:14 PM
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Could we all stop pretending Ahmadinejad is the leader of Iran? He's the provost. Real change there won't happen until the religious leaders decide it will.

Posted by: Cheryl3 | September 30, 2009 3:10 PM
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Thank you, thank you ! Best essay I've seen.

I would just like to add that getting off Oil would significantly reduce the ENTIRE Islamocrazy problem.

US Gas $$$ --> Saudis --> Taliban --> IEDs.
US Drug $$$ --> warlords --> Taliban.
US Aid $$ --> peasants --> warlords --> Taliban.

This seems strange.

Posted by: clearspt | September 30, 2009 2:54 PM
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I agree that Ahmadinejad is no Hitler.

Hitler felt he was personally injured by people of Jewish descent twice.

A Jewish professor turned down his application to a college art program and a Jewish doctor had to inform him of his mother's condition- she had cancer ahd Hitler loved his mother and blamed the doctor as he did the professor even though Adolph's portrait skills were weak and technology had not advanced to the point of being able to help his mother.

So Adolph made all Jews the scapegoat for two really negative experiences in his life.

Hitler created his own ideology - and he and another individual founded the Nazi movement. His focus was exterminating all Jews.

Ahmadinejad is a figurehead for the theocracy in Iran. He doesn't call the shots, he just does what he's told - abet willingly but he doesn't control Iran. If he stepped down someone similar would replace him.

Iran wants to create a Caliphate between Palestine-Syria-Lebanon-Jordan. Israel stands in the way. So Israel has to be destroyed either by nuclear holocaust or intimidation.

The Jews would rather kill every single Iranian rather than leave Israel. They have that capacity - they can do it today -they don't have to build up or make new bombs.

This is the situation - to pretend otherwise is fantasy or a retreat from reality.

I wish all the sons and daughters of Abraham well. But all the children of Abraham need to recognize that Abraham had two sons not one! May God bless you all.

Posted by: agapn9 | September 30, 2009 2:37 PM
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Mr. Morgenstern -- you forgot to accuse us all of being anti-semites. Haven't you been studying your playbook?

Posted by: jerkhoff | September 30, 2009 2:21 PM
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To TMKElley:
Your comments seems to me that you and the professor are the only intellectual people on the face of the earth and all others are stupid. What a "Moraaaaaaaaaaan" you are? Be honest with your own soul if not with the majority of peaceful people on this beautiful planet.

Posted by: zaka_mustafa | September 30, 2009 2:16 PM
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One thing is certain, Israel will attack if they must....and justifiably so....

George Morgenstern

Posted by: capitalGM | September 30, 2009 1:48 PM

==================================

Military action really isn't a hot idea.

(1) Iran would promptly launch a counterstrike using whatever they had--last time I checked countries have a right to defend themselves once attacked. Given how long rhetoric of miltary action has been going around, I guarantee you Iran has a plan in place.

The bottom line is that this would not be a "clean" strike, whereupon Israel aircraft go in, hit their targets, game over.

It would advance to a full scale war, with causalities (civilian and miltiary) disproportionately falling on the Iranian side, given the superiority of Israeli military technology. I have a hard time believing that Israel wouldn't suffer a certain number of civilian casualties.


(2) The United States would get sucked in, sooner or later. It isn't in the U.S. interests to do this.

Posted by: UnPatriotic | September 30, 2009 2:14 PM
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I hate to point out a few things, but although the Iranians are not angels by any stretch of the imagination:

1. Iran has not invaded any other country for a long time (whereas we have invaded 2 of Iran's neighbors!);

2. The last war Iran was in was against Iraq under Saddam Hussein, who used chemical weapons that we provided/facilitated;

3. Iran is a signatory to the NPT and does let the IAEA inspect its facilities. Would that India or Israel do the same, don't you think? Perhaps we should clobber all nuclear states that are not signatories of the NPT, in alphabetical order (India, Israel, N. Korea, Pakistan);

4. Ahmadinedjad did say that the regime (that is the Zionist philosophy) must perish, but that is far from wishing the destruction of Israel. Besides, how is that a provocation or justificatio for us to attack or impose sanctions on a country?;

5. Bush (junior) was a horrible event both for this country and the world. His policies cost the lives of hundreds of thousands and created millions of refugees. Now there was a horrible leader;

6. Myanmar and Zibwabwe are logically far better candidates for regime change. They do not even attempt to hold elections! For that matter, we still expect to accept Karzai in Afghanistan, don't we?

In short, it is time to stop mouthing and repeating every AIPAC funded statement. More than enough Americans have died for Israel's benefit, and we have destroyed far too many lives for that purpose.

Posted by: AMviennaVA | September 30, 2009 2:06 PM
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I have a full faith in my thoughts that this World would be far better place If we get rid of all out of mind phycho professors like you. Period.

Posted by: zaka_mustafa | September 30, 2009 2:05 PM
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Wow, it's so gratifying to be American. We know what's best for everyone and aren't afraid to impose our subjective will by blowing you up if necessary. Puhleeze...all this nonsense about Iran getting nukes. Then what will they do...lob one out at Israel so they get incinerated by them if not us? Or let's just have the CIA put someone they like in place like the last Shah--that certainly did great things, didn't it?

Posted by: sfmarv | September 30, 2009 1:57 PM
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Professor, Professor, Professor---And just where were you when the U.S. decided not only to look the other way but indeed finance and allow ex-Los Alamos workers to provide the necessary expertise to produce the Begin Bomb and so introduce nuclear weapons and the RACE into the Middle East?

Posted by: AmericanInterestsFirstandLast | September 30, 2009 1:51 PM
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Interesting:

All the comments written in response to this Kellerman opinion essay were written by the same person from the same public relations firm in Washington....

AIPEC, Zionist, Lobby, Harvard, South Africa, Hate, Apartheid, Israel, Israel, Israel......

One thing is certain, Israel will attack if they must....and justifiably so....

George Morgenstern

Posted by: capitalGM | September 30, 2009 1:48 PM
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Interesting:

All the comments written in response to this Kellerman opinion essay were written by the same person from the same public relations firm in Washington....

AIPEC, Zionist, Lobby, Harvard, South Africa, Hate, Apartheid, Israel, Israel, Israel......

One thing is certain, Israel will attack if they must....and justifiably so....

George Morgenstern

Posted by: capitalGM | September 30, 2009 1:46 PM
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All imperial powers have gone through the phase of exceptionalism, whereupon they though they were somehow different, special, better, etc. When the European Powers were colonizing Africa, they justified it by claiming they were somehow, different, better than the indigenous people.

During America's reign we've toppled governments, justifying it with mindset of America is somehow better, different, special and the governments inferior--if only they could be like America.

This article is not much different "Ahmadinejad is a bad leader, he should change." In the American mindest, yes but the what about the Iranian people? This country will never understand it's negative approval ratings in the world until it comes to grips with it's own arrogance.

Posted by: UnPatriotic | September 30, 2009 1:45 PM
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advice from Bozo the Clown ! Please try to tone down the make-up or you'll find most of us wishing you were in a head to toe Burka. Focus on replacing Bush Cheney and those that start wars in your own country. Iran has not invaded anyone.

Posted by: angriestdogintheworld | September 30, 2009 1:40 PM
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Gee whiz Barbara, if we take out the ayatollah’s sock puppet won’t he just insert a new one?

I think Ahmadinejad is the most amusing comedian in the region.

Posted by: dcn1 | September 30, 2009 1:33 PM
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We should be very careful policywise.

(1) The 1950's coup to overthrow Mossadeq and return the shaw to power hasn't entirely been forgotten.

(2) Ahmadijad has relatively high negatives approval ratings in Iran. Given time, he will be forced out of the picture given the changing politics and demographics.

It's this attitude of we know what's best for the rest of the world that's hurting us in so much of the world, so let Iran change when it's ready to change.

Posted by: UnPatriotic | September 30, 2009 1:30 PM
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Surely someone who is intelligent enough to have gotten this position at Harvard should know about unintended consequences. But in this case, I have figured it out. If Genghis Khan hadn't invaded the Arab world, there would not have been the intolerant version of Salafist Islam which developed as a consequence, so that centuries later, Arabs would not be tolerant of Israel. There you have it. A bad leader. So, using this logic, we should preemptively strike Mongolia so that there can never be another bad leader of his type coming from Mongolia, ever again. That'll teach 'em. You betcha.
In reality, bad leaders can come anywhere, anytime. And the people who have to live under these bad leaders are usually in the best position to rid themselves of this leader, not outsiders. Given time, Iran will rid itself of clerical rule. I give them 5 years, at best. But if the US intervenes by attacking their military infrastructure, the clerics will rule Iran for another 50 years, which is not exactly in Israel's best interests, or those of the US.

Posted by: ripvanwinkleincollege | September 30, 2009 1:27 PM
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May I suggest to those who have made comments excoriating the intellectual level of the author and her opinion that, perhaps, she writes down to your level so that you can understand it. Possibly.

Then again, maybe not.

Posted by: tmkelley | September 30, 2009 1:22 PM
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Ms. Kellerman's pathetic analysis could have been written by a seventh-grader. Why on earth does the Washington Post publish this drivel?

There is a reality here which SHOULD be too hard to ignore: despite all of the hand-waving, there is probably nothing we can do to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons if they choose to do so. The leaders of Iran are not stupid. They understand that a nuclear arsenal is the key to their continued existence as a sovereign nation. Anyone who can read knows that Israel wants to preemptively attack Iranian nuclear facilities, so the Iranian government has taken steps to make such an attack come at a prohibitive cost, such as building hardened alternate facilities inside mountains next to military bases. Any attack sufficient to dislodge these facilities is going to destroy the world economy, start World War III, or both. Despite all of the hype, sanctions will do absolutely nothing -- Iran simply has too much clout in the world for an effective sanctions regime to succeed. So there is a huge charade going on right now, designed to make the public think that we're doing something, when in fact our hands are tied.

So why has Obama abandoned his sensible policy of positive engagement with one of the most powerful nations in the region, in favor of a belligerent approach which will harm US interests? I think I know the answer, but it is important to note that we are pursuing Israel's interests here, not those of the United States. Our interests would be much better served by normalizing our relationships with Iran.

Don't forget that WE ALREADY KNEW ABOUT THIS FACILITY. The only thing that's changed is that Iran now knows that we know about it, so they chose to disclose its existence to the world. So there is a kind of "I'm shocked -- shocked" quality to this entire debate...

Posted by: jerkhoff | September 30, 2009 1:12 PM
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Barbara Kellerman again is one of these Israeli mouthpiece that blars into the ears of the American public in order to instigate hatred and bellocity against a nation that do not meet with approval of the Israeli state. There should be legislation introduced in Congress to prohibit warmongering by journalist or editors and if not introducing a yellow star at least these people or the Editorial boards should be forced to disclose their faith or creed. As news media in USA is completely saturated by Jews or writings by Israelis, in order to save printing ink it would perhaps be smarter to denote which of the minority journalist is not a Jew or Israeli citizen. Reading a number of comments I do see most commentators abhors B. Kellerman and she certainly is not a shining female feminist raw model.

Posted by: clark010 | September 30, 2009 1:12 PM
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Why not solve the Iranian problem by killing all the Iranians? We might as well also solve the problem of poverty while we're at it by eating all the poor people. Problems with anti-Semitism in your neighborhood? Why, if you simply deported the ...

Posted by: dane1 | September 30, 2009 1:06 PM
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What a lovely place her world must be! There are no risks and no costs to precipitous actions, no constraints on resources, no corpses piled up here and there as "collateral damage."

Yes, of course the Post (or is this the Washington Times, let me double-check) should present a range of opinions, but perhaps pieces like this by heedless hotheads could be balanced with sober analysis by thoughtful academics.

Posted by: kls2 | September 30, 2009 1:00 PM
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How about an article on uprooting bad professors?

Posted by: August30 | September 30, 2009 12:59 PM
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Ahmadinejad may be a jack@ss, but the only country to be accused of war crimes this year IS israel, not Iran.

Posted by: August30 | September 30, 2009 12:58 PM
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Steven Kinzer's All the Shah's Men should be required reading for all of those so keen on going to war.

Posted by: Dcislander1 | September 30, 2009 12:56 PM
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Here is Ms. Kellerman's full response to the Israeli foreign minister shipping every arab citizen to Jordan:

Posted by: August30 | September 30, 2009 12:55 PM
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Her logic reminds me of the Steve Martin gag about how to be a millionaire:

"First, you get a million dollars. ..."

Posted by: Meepo | September 30, 2009 12:54 PM
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Has Barbara Kellerman cashed her AIPAC check yet?

Posted by: August30 | September 30, 2009 12:52 PM
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Do not they teach the elementary at Harvard anymore? Like facts and reason over bias and emotion. I just wonder what is it that the students learn from her lessons.

Posted by: likovid | September 30, 2009 12:49 PM
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Although the point about the dangers of doing nothing is valid, it is also pretty widely accepted. Unfortunately, its easy to say "Do something!" and offer a bunch of vague and obvious generalities which pretty much amount to "try everything!" The problem with Iran is that a military option at this point is virtually out of the question in that it would not be practial or feasbile for the US (not to mention they have yet to do anything which would even come close to constituing an act of war -- its perfectly understandable that they would want to increase their military capability, especially with both Pakistan and India now nuclear powers).

On the other hand, the Iranians do not seem to have much interest in talking, either, and what little interest they do have in talking is rebuffed because we can't be seen to tolerate some of their basic assumptions about the world (ie, Isreal's legitimacy or the legitimacy of their own theocray).

So, neither talking nor fighting seems likely to happen. Propping up oppositional forces within the country is only likely to alienate those forces and strengthen Ahmadinejad's case that the US is working to destroy Iran. And traditional punative measures like international sanctions have proven so ineffective in the past that they hardly seem to matter. Ultimately, people end up blaming the international community rather than their government. It's true that public opinion is important, but it's notoriously hard to control, especially from another continent. And the idea that we should just wholeheartedly support anyone who opposes the current administration completely avoids our catastrophic history of doing exactly that.

So, it's easy to say "do something!" But harder to think of something specific enough to implement which will actually improve the situation. Enagegement is probably the best idea, since so much of Ahmadinejad's support is based on his xenophobia. But then again, recently its been politically impossible and showing few signs of success anyway, so who knows? The problem with the article is that taking a kitchen-sink approach to doing something CAN hurt, especially in such a delicate situation. It's not just important to do SOMETHING, it's important to do the RIGHT thing, and that's what the big question is right now.

Posted by: jdweeks1 | September 30, 2009 12:47 PM
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How did this mindless twit get to be a Harvard prof? And why has WaPo given voice to this idiot?

Posted by: brattykathyi1 | September 30, 2009 12:37 PM
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An article should be written on how to remove bad university professors from their tenure.

Interesting how the good professor put action number one as "act now"- meaning attack now I take it.

Get ready for $10 gasoline at the pump if that happens, but she and the Israelis will be happy.

I'm waiting for her next installment of what happens after we attack Iran (i.e. Blowback).

Posted by: dontblamemeivoted4gore | September 30, 2009 12:32 PM
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She had said everything short of calling Netanyahu a saint. My God! Is this what Harvard has been reduced to.

Posted by: timepass | September 30, 2009 12:20 PM
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Thank you for a most interesting, thought-provoking article; it would be even more interesting if you could have more space to elaborate on each point made, particularly five, seven and eight. It seems those in power are well aware and already on one, two, three and six, though from many other comments, it would seem that there are a lot of us out here who are definitely delusional...

Posted by: jujones1 | September 30, 2009 12:12 PM
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Wait a minute. On second thought Ms. Kellerman is right. Bad leaders do not go way on their own.

In case of Pakistan, bad leader like Zia was blown up in the air. The very first democratically elected prime minister Bhutto was hanged.
In case of Iran, Mussadiq's 50 regime toppled in coup.
Countless coup's in South America. The list is so long and so dirty.
By the way, I see no difference between what Ms. Kellerman wrote on 30Sep in WashingPost and Mein Kampf by Hitler.
Both are hate speech and inciting people to take matters in their own hand.

Posted by: DesiHungama | September 30, 2009 12:12 PM
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The purpose of the article was to draw out the sentiments of readers; and true to form, the mindlessly repetitive anti American brigade signs in and rants on against anything Israeli, whilst swallowing whole the nonsense spewed out by a dictator, racist and murderer of his own people.

True, Ahmadi is the mouth piece of an intolerant theocracy; but that is no reason to give this wing-nut a world platform to spread more hate, and it is no excuse for not acting in concert against him and his band of haters of 1/2 of the known universe of man-kind. It's time to call it the way it is. Ahmadi and his crew of clerics is strangling the hopes and dreams of the next generation of Iranians. They use lies, obfuscation, hate, fear and the treat of death to stay in power, and that's all they know how to do. They are masters of suicide bombing and nothing else.

Posted by: insight18 | September 30, 2009 11:54 AM
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What horse manure from a person from Harvard. The Iranian government for all its faults is still better than most governments, especially in the ME. The only reason they are being targeted is because they are a danger to Israel.

Posted by: vjohn72 | September 30, 2009 11:52 AM
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Ms. Kellerman,

I'm sorry to say that this is truly appalling writing considering your position. The only constructive thought I could extract from this ill-considered mess is to "broaden the coversation" and even here one is left guessing on what you mean (who/how/where/when).

If this work is representative, then your leadership and incompetancy is on par with that of Mr. Ahmadinejad. The difference is that Ahmadinejad has plenty of explainations for his behavior including his political environment, education, intelletual machinery and upraising. You have no excuse. Truly, truly appalling. I suggest you apologize for your bad leadership and tender your resignation for defaming this august institution.

Posted by: CheneyinChains | September 30, 2009 11:50 AM
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Bad leaders? I suppose you are speaking on behalf of Iranian people as they don't seem to think of him a bad leader. I also dont't suppose he is leading any of the american people so when you refer to him as a bad leader, on whose behalf are you speaking?

Never go away on their own and must be forced to change? Here, are you suggesting overtly/covertly topple an elected government?

And you are a scholar at Harvard?

Posted by: DesiHungama | September 30, 2009 11:50 AM
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As someone said earlier, it IS hard to take this article seriously leave alone sending it to President Obama to act on it. This article seems like a plagiarized article: that stolen from a sophomore forced to write something on Iran. A bored student would not be able to do better than a motley collection of archived thoughts.
What is this lady afraid of? She would not say. Is she afraid that a a lowly Iran would make the Nuclear bomb and FedEx it to Harvard?

Posted by: miscpsatya | September 30, 2009 11:45 AM
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Let us resolve that no more American blood and money will be wasted in preserving our ties with the state of Israel. The world is already paying a heavy price for diabolical practices and policies of the state of Israel. If middle east solution is to be found, then stop providing political, economic and military support to this regime. In fact, in some respects, Iran's possession of nuclear weapons, to shift the balance of power, may not be a bad thing, granted it has other nuclear proliferation issues but those issues do not start and end Iran.

Posted by: kevin1231 | September 30, 2009 11:41 AM
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Comparisons to Pre-WWII Germany don’t hold up. We have an arsenal capable of eradicating a country, and we have shown we will use it.

If we have to remove every national bad leader from a position of power, that’s a lot of revolutions.

A cold war in the mid-East may be inevitable. But we could mitigate that problem now by re-establishing commercial engagement with Iran. This was never an option w/ the Soviet Union. Sanctions aren’t working and never did in Cuba. Destroying the standard of living in a country strengthens repressive regimes.

Posted by: J264 | September 30, 2009 11:39 AM
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I would have expected more from someone who is on the faculty of Harvard Kennedy School. But instead Ms. Kellarman engages in nonsensical arguments typically what might be expected from an Israeli lobbyst.

Here is Ms. Kellarman's basis for why we should tackle Iran now:

The putative leader of a regime guilty of some of the same sins as Nazi Germany.

During the past thirty years, Iran has been a sworn enemy of the United States. During the past five years, Iran has become far more powerful a player than before -- this in a region of critical strategic importance. During the past five years, Iran has sought aggressively to acquire more arms, now including nuclear arms. During the past year (as well as before) Iran oppressed its own dissenters -- many to the point of persecution. Finally, Ahmadinejad has himself, ironically, repeatedly and in no uncertain terms, been a Holocaust denier and Jew-hater. To gild this lily he has spoken openly and frequently of obliterating the state of Israel, of "wiping it off the map."

Do we have a new zionist law that says that you must be destroyed unless you believe in holocast and "jew-hater"

Seriosuly, Ms. Kellarman, your essay cannot be considered a credit to the Harvard Kennedy School but more like a poster on the halls of AIPAC.

Posted by: kevin1231 | September 30, 2009 11:29 AM
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What an appalling article. Are the standards at Harvard really thi slow for faculty?

This is just a transparent effort to push emotional buttons against 'the other'.

Might have worked better before Afghanistan and Iraq. Probably still work for the Rush Limbaugh crowd. But that's about it these days.

Unspoken, but inevitable in the way the argument is posed, is that we need to blow up more brown Muslims - no doubt this time it will win their support for America.

Pathetic.

Posted by: dehall | September 30, 2009 11:28 AM
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It's hard to take this article seriously when the author presumes that Ahmadinejad is Iran's leader. There is a ayatollah and a governing council of religious leaders that actually control Iran. Ahmadinejad is just a tool (on many levels).

Posted by: stoplying | September 30, 2009 11:02 AM
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I agree with other respondents that this a a really pathetic article from Kellerman. She adds nothing new and leaves out so much context we are left with a laundry list of responses which ultimately boil down to 'lets bomb them all'. Should we not expect soemthing more nuanced and sophisticated from Harvard so did she just toss this off first thing in the morning with ehr first cup of coffee?

Posted by: dwjbaker | September 30, 2009 11:00 AM
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How low can an academic(?) get nowdays even coming from Kennedy School @ Harvard? They've succeeded in manufacturing academic monsters with intellect of a swine!

Posted by: hariknaidu | September 30, 2009 10:58 AM
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You never got around to saying what we should actually DO about Ahmadinejad.

This is just the same old meaningless nonsense everyone else is babbling, containing no proposed solution whatsoever.

Posted by: netgotham1 | September 30, 2009 10:55 AM
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Leave Iran alone. So why does Iran hate the USA? Google Operation Ajax. We are not fools anymore - the citizens are awake. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.

Posted by: robinsoncom | September 30, 2009 10:46 AM
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This is a nauseating example of reductio ad Hitlorum. One would think that a prof at Harvard would understand the difference between
(a) the dictator of a world power with the (then) planet's most advanced military, industrial and scientific infrastructure at his disposal.
and (b)the figurehead government leader of a medium-sized nation.
This article sounds like a carbon-copy of the reasons advanced for the invasion f Iraq. It is by somebody who has not thought matters through.
First, is she advocating the overthrow of the powerless figurehead, or is she advocating the overthrow of the Islamic regime? Does she even understand the difference?
Second, has she thought about the possible outcome of the conflict she is proposing? Reasonable persons may disagree about the reasons for attacking Iran, but nobody should be in doubt about the range of possible outcomes and their relative probability. The best case scenario, Iran caving in and accepting all our demands, is unlikely at the sanctions stage, so escalating sanctions increases the chance that armed action may become necessary. Now, Iran is bigger, more populous and better armed than Iraq, so the prospect of a quick decisive victory is low. This is the critical point. A prolonged war, even for a few months, would shut down oil deliveries from the Gulf, sending the world economy into a nosedive. The ruling faction in Iraq, closely allied to Iran, would turn hostile. The US would be faced with the need to mobilise a million troops to occupy Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan during a depression (the alternative being walking away in defeat from world leadership).
Finally "bad leaders never go away on their own". Really, this is what she teaches at Harvard? Franco? The Communist Party of the Soviet Union? Mao? Khomeini? Arafat? The US waited all these out, did it not?

Posted by: kigongo | September 30, 2009 10:39 AM
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Israel has many nuclear weapons. Israel has attacked other nations. Israel has threatened to attack Iran.

Iran has no nuclear weapons. Iran has not attacked any other nation. Iran has not threatened to attack Israel.

Given the two statements above, Iran strangely becomes the dangerous nation.

Just like we heard about Iraq, we are now hearing that Iran is not following UN resolutions. (We never hear that Israel never followed them.) Just like before the attack on Iraq, AIPAC, the neo-cons, and many pro Israel groups are urging that we attack Iran. (We seem to forget how instrumental Israel was in our attacking Iraq.)

Why do we diminish the value of Iranian lives? Bombing attacks will kill many Iranian civilians, many more than we ever lost in 9/11. Do you think that will endear us to the Iranians? Is it that only Israeli lives are worth thinking about?

What gives us the right to think of killing Iranians many of whom may may be opposed to their country's leadership? Will our bombs kill the person who has the capacity to lead the Iranians out of their wilderness?

9/11 was the first time we felt a bombing on our shores. Did you like it? Do you think other people like us bombing their countries. We have bombed and killed tens of thousands of Muslims in two other countries, are we going to attack a third.

Our choice for president was McCain who would have followed Lieberman's urgings, we would have already bombed Iran. Obama said he would use diplomacy. Diplomacy takes time. Let's hope Obama is more than a wordsman and follows through on his promises.

Iranians have as much a right to life as Israelis.

Posted by: llyonnoc | September 30, 2009 10:34 AM
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Until Kellerman starts criticizing Israel for its hidden Nuclear arsenal and brutish behaviour towards the Palestinians she is not to be taken seriously.

Posted by: algonquin2121 | September 30, 2009 10:19 AM
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THEDEFENDANTX is right on the money. More AIPAC inspired fear mongering from the pro-Israel amen corner. Hartman_John is also right when he says in essence "what's good for the goose is good for the gander." You want to pressure Iran into giving up it's nuclear ambitions? GET ISRAEL TO LAY ALL THEIR CARDS ON THE TABLE AND SUBMIT TO IAEA INSPECTION AND DISARMAMENT!

This same SAD double standard is playing out in another arena, the Gaza report issued by Judge Goldstone. Israel HOWLS about how biased and completely one sided this report is and seeks to delegitimatize it's findings and it's author, HIMSELF A JEW AND SUPPORTER OF ISRAEL. Meanwhile, The U.S., U.K., Israel, and other western countries RUSHED with lightening speed to accuse the president and government of Sudan for war crimes and impose crippling sanctions. Sudan was found to have done wrong and is suffering consequences. Israel, AS USUAL, skates Scot free.

Gross hypocrisy such as this is why the Eastern world in general distrusts the West, especially the USA. The stench of it all DRIVES more and more recruits into the arms of Bin-Laden, Hamas, and the Taliban. Tell me Kellerman, why haven't you learned anything from this history yet?

Posted by: Desert_Fox | September 30, 2009 10:15 AM
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Ha! So the disasters that Dubya inflicted upon our nation hasn't disabused the wingnuts of their dangerous fantasies?!

So, what makes a "bad leader", Ms. Kellerman? Why the fascination with Iran? How about Burma, which is governed, I'm sure you're aware, by General Than Shwe, or Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe? Are they bad too? And are all leaders either "good" or "bad", and at what point are adults expected to cast aside juvenile adjectives like 'good' and 'bad', and start making more a more astute and adult caculus?

Oh, and by every measure, George W. Bush was a "bad" leader, both for our country and the world -- and in that case, one can be forgiven for wishing the world had forcefully evicted him from the White House and liberated the world from the catastrophes he brought upon it.

Posted by: reubok | September 30, 2009 10:05 AM
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Barb Kellerman is a ZIONIST. What else would anyone expect her to say about attacking Iran...


Posted by: demtse | September 30, 2009 10:03 AM
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Who knew it was all so easy!!!

A minimum 2-week long bombing campaign targetting every site, including Iranian oil infrastructure. Nothing else is going to work. WHO is prepared to do that??

Posted by: pgr88 | September 30, 2009 9:48 AM
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Which bad leaders are you talking about (Bush and Cheney the terrorists)???
Iran has the right to arm itself because it saw what happened to IRAQ, when some thives invaded the country for OIL.
I think the bad guys bad leaders and terrorists are in this country. Bush, Cheney and Rumsfled are the biggest terrorists ever existed. WHO DID 9/11??? Why did they do 9/11???

Posted by: simonbm | September 30, 2009 9:47 AM
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A better solution is to let Iran build their bomb and then buy one from them. We seem to be able to convince terrorists that we are one of them when it counts (reference the guy who just bought fake explosives from government agents in his bid to blow up a Dallas skyscraper). Then, set it off in place.

Ye who lives by the sword will die by the sword.

Posted by: GuyThompto1 | September 30, 2009 9:47 AM
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Pesonally, I don't care if Ahmadinejad denies the holocaust or if he hates Jews: it is well within his rights to do both those things if he wishes. As to "wiping Israel off the map" -- or Israel wiping Iran off the map -- I'm not interested as long as said "wiping" is contained to the Middle East. What Israel's agents in the U.S. are doing is dragging the U.S. into a religious conflict. Personally, I'm not going along for that ride... at least not without a fight here at home.

And by "Israel's agents in the U.S.", I mean dupes like Barbara Kellerman too.

Posted by: srb2 | September 30, 2009 9:45 AM
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Professor Kellerman's article strikes me as tremendously glib. The laundry list of actions she provides are the same that have been trotted out time and again ("every weapon in your arsenal"=the Cheney-esque "all options are on the table") but the lack of specificity and the decontextualized candor are a thin veneer for poor policymaking. I don't think anyone in the Obama Administration is missing the point that Iran is dangerous and their threats must be taken seriously. Kellerman's logic paints the US into the same corner that it has been in for the past ten years or so; in "talking and acting tough," the Administration would effectively diminish its capacity to engage China and Russia to assist while confirming the worst prejudices against the United States. Kellermanesque posturing is not is what is required now; a multipronged engagement with Iran and its economic/political allies is of the utmost importance.

Posted by: brianhellerbeck | September 30, 2009 9:43 AM
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Good article.
It couldn't be said better.
U.S. should not waste any more time to act. Our position as the world leader can not be compromised. And Obama should stop making comments on every matter that comes up. Words from the U.S. must mean something!!

Posted by: 68b2b | September 30, 2009 9:28 AM
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War monger. You're welcome to suit up and go get your own head blown off in your endless, phony religious wars. I want no part of the Israeli Foreign Legion any more.

Posted by: patrick3 | September 30, 2009 9:25 AM
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Genl. Babs..the time for anything with Iran was when the immortal Ronald Reagun cut and ran from Lebanon in 1983,,following the Iranian-Hezbollah bombing of the marines unguarded barracks in Beruit. 300 deaths following months of casualties and attacks after the marines were put in a semi impossible position by reagun and his failed generals,,no wonder the right never mentions the episode,imagine fox if it had happened today. Of course we wagged with in days by invading grenada,,our great victory over the cuban construction workers.

Posted by: gonville1 | September 30, 2009 9:21 AM
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Intructions for uprooting Kellerman's delusional bad advise.

One, dawn gardening gloves
Two, uproot thorny bad advise
Three, throw onto compost pile

Posted by: lockmallup | September 30, 2009 9:13 AM
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In 1953 our CIA helped engineer the coup that deposed the democratically elected government of Prime Minister Mohammed Mosaddeq. After our man, Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, was overthrown in 1979, we supported our then-ally, Saddam Hussein in his war against Iran. That war, lasting from 1980 through 1988 resulted in a million Iranian casualties (dead and wounded).

We should not wonder, then, why "During the past thirty years, Iran has been a sworn enemy of the United States."

Good leadership on the part of the U.S. would be to ignore the advice of the likes of Barbara Kellerman, and instead, apologize to Iran for our crimes against the Iranian people.

Posted by: LeszX | September 30, 2009 9:08 AM
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Bad leadership is also making miscalculations and not taking account of reality. The US is going to have to use cold war style tactics here. Another war is not going to cut it. The Iranians are already justifying their own behavior by ours.

Posted by: chris_holte | September 30, 2009 9:03 AM
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Nice thoughts, just too late.

Posted by: loehr | September 30, 2009 9:01 AM
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here we go again

get the aluminum tubes ready

the politics of fear always needs the possibility of WMD

and pundit endorsements.........like selling toothpaste?

Posted by: kennytal | September 30, 2009 8:12 AM
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I agree heartily with the comments of defendantx. Kellerman omits discussion of the provocations which have stimulated Iran's efforts to obtain nuclear arms:

1. Israel's nuclear arsenal. For more information check "special weapons" at http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/israel/index.html

2. The pre-emptive invasion of neighboring Iraq by the neocon administration of Bush/Cheney.

Unless all the cards are honestly put on the table prior to an analysis, the analysis will be faulty. Somebody tell Kellerman.

Posted by: FedUp1 | September 30, 2009 8:04 AM
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Israel will handle this matter...
Iran is not a "direct" threat to the United States.

Posted by: coryiv | September 30, 2009 8:04 AM
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Who is the real leader of Iran. Is it the Ayatullah or Ahmadinejad.

Posted by: dvsikka | September 30, 2009 7:27 AM
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Here we go again! There seems to be an industry at the Ivy campuses dedicated to "let's him and you fight" so that they can then decry how awful it is that our country would actually KILL someone. We witnessed this phenomenon with Vietnam, Panama, and Iraq. They have tried, so far without success, in Cuba, Uganda, Sudan, and North Korea. And, of course, they then wrap themselves in robes of purity by saying "Oh, we never really meant using real force."
Why should anyone actually believe that Ms. Kellerman would stick by her recommendations once the "lifting gets heavy?"

Posted by: ValleyWhig | September 30, 2009 7:19 AM
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Prof. Barbara Kellerman's essay demonstrates once again the reach of Israeli hawks, AIPAC, and the Zionist agenda in America's foreign policy. What both Iran and the US need is transparent and honest bilateral discussions about Iran's role in the region and American interests there. A nuclear armed Iran is no threat to us unless we decide to militarily invade Iran. Yes, then we will be faced with politically unacceptable casualties. Otherwise, it should be possible for Iran to have nuclear weapons for its defense against Israeli and American pre-emptive military strikes and it should be possible for the US and Iran to work together to protect American oil and other economic strategic interests in the area. Once we remove the Zionist factor in our negotiations, a peaceful solution to the present tensions may be achievable without resort to more escalating confrontations.

Posted by: thedefendantX | September 30, 2009 7:13 AM
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Churchill was dismissed because he had previously made a number of bad choices during his stint as Viceroy of India and when he subdivided the Middle East using what appears to be a dart board device. He created the Iraq mess we now face today.

Thus, it seems difficult to understand why any citizenry would be willing to put its faith in the decisions of its leaders. Given that Churchill is now held as a prescient genius, one must ask the obvious question: Is hindsight a valuable asset, or do we use it to simply fool ourselves.

We should do all that Kellerman suggests, and more. We should insist that Israel sign on to the Non-Proliferation Treaty and lay out its nuclear arsenal for the world to see.

The Arabic/Persian world will not sit still knowing that only Israel has nuclear deterrent capability. Who can blame them?

With the West and Israeli nukes all pointed their way, the Arab/Persian nations are looking to hedge their bets. The West's insistence that all other nations give up their nuclear ambitions rings utterly hollow.

Posted by: hartman_john | September 30, 2009 6:56 AM
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You're hitting many of the really impressive leaders of the past 100 years, you mention Hitler, quote Lenin, well done. But after reading your piece I'm not at all clear how what you are saying is any different from what Bush and now Obama are saying.

Posted by: atidwell | September 30, 2009 6:51 AM
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