56% of over 19,000 respondents think Guenter Grass is right, and another 28% view his “Was gesagt werden muss” (“What must be said”) as “debatable”. Only 4% label it “antisemitic”. Diction and all, I agree, that Grass did a creditable job.
I’m no literary critic, so I can’t say authoritatively how sonorous the poem is, or if the style matches the message. I’ll let Jerry Haber quibble over word choice. “Snuff out” or “loudmouth” have a certain earthly humor, like how a really big kid with absolutely no fear mocks the average-sized boys snickering about his stature.
No intelligence is entirely dispositive, but the evidence on hand about Iran’s nuclear activities, even before the release of the latest report, is fairly persuasive, and the IAEA isn’t known to be a den of neoconservative war-plotting. It isn’t interested in giving Israel a pretext for a preemptive attack on Iran unless it has to.
The question now is what Israel — or the U.S. — will do about it.
The Israeli case for preemption is compelling, and has been for some time. The leaders of Iran are eliminationist anti-Semites; men who, for reasons of theology, view the state of the Jews as a “cancer.” They have repeatedly called for Israel’s destruction and worked to hasten that end, mainly by providing material support and training to two organizations, Hamas and Hezbollah, that specialize in the slaughter of innocent Jews. Iran’s leaders are men who deny the Holocaust while promising another.
An Iran with nuclear weapons may be unbearable for Israel. It would further empower Israel’s terrorist enemies, who would be able to commit atrocities under the protection of an atomic umbrella. It would mean the end of the peace process, as no Arab state in the shadow of a nuclear Iran would dare make a separate peace with Israel. And it isn’t too much to imagine that some of Iran’s more mystically minded leaders, mesmerized by visions of the apocalypse, would actually consider using a nuclear weapon on Israel — a country so small that a single detonation could cripple it permanently.
The Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, who once told me he believes that Iran is led by a “messianic, apocalyptic cult,” is correct to view Iran as a threat to his country’s existence.
…This isn’t to say that Obama has decided to use whatever means necessary to stop Iran. (He faces opposition in the Pentagon, for one thing, though the U.S. military has much greater capabilities than Israel.) Nor is a U.S. strike something desirable, even if done in concert with Western allies. It’s far better for the Iranians to be persuaded through other means to stop their nuclear program.
But numerous Israeli officials have told me that they are much less likely to recommend a preemptive strike of their own if they were reasonably sure that Obama was willing to use force. And if Iran’s leaders feared there was a real chance of a U.S. attack, they might actually modify their behavior. I believe Obama would use force — and that he should make that perfectly clear to the Iranians.
So, the anti-JFK in this newest version of the Cuban Missile Crisis, Obama, is debilitated by a moral weakness that makes it impossible even for nuke-wielding righteous Israelis to defuse the crisis with Iran. For a moment lets put aside Goldberg’s moralizing dog whistles and “sticks-to-you” rejoinders. Let’s recall, that the real absurdity of that 1962 debacle was, that rational men following cold SOP’s designed for the dull routine of bureaucratic life. What Goldberg, and the German government, are doing is, at best, shilling for today’s rational men, with childish, emotional words. Goldberg is obviously no John Scali or Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. At worst, the good Germans and Goldberg are actively undermining that dull routine by going too far with their outrage.
But now, when my own country,/guilty of primal and unequaled crimes/for which time and again it must be tasked—/once again, in pure commerce,/ though with quick lips we declare it/reparations, wants to send/Israel yet another submarine—/one whose specialty is to deliver/warheads capable of ending all life/where the existence of even one/nuclear weapon remains unproven,/but where suspicion serves for proof—/now I say what must be said.
Guilt? Greed? Why do today’s lesser suits need disgusting moral midgets like Goldberg?