Iraq with an N? Anatomy of a Rumor That Has to be Taken Seriously
By Todd Gitlin

I don’t see any point to contributing to a cycle of useless panic, but if Victor Davis Hanson is worried about war with Teheran, I’m worried and then some. “Don’t Bomb, Don’t Bomb Iran,” wrote one of conservativedom’s most interesting war analysts on Friday at National Review Online.

It was bad enough that the keen Afghanistan analyst Barnett Rubin took seriously a Washington rumor that the rollout was coming soon after Labor Day–to pick a day at random, say, Sept. 9, or 10, or, what the hell, 11. His source heard the following from “someone in one of the leading neo-conservative institutions”:

‘They [the source’s institution] have “instructions” (yes, that was the word used) from the Office of the Vice-President to roll out a campaign for war with Iran in the week after Labor Day; it will be coordinated with the American Enterprise Institute, the Wall Street Journal, the Weekly Standard, Commentary, Fox, and the usual suspects. It will be heavy sustained assault on the airwaves, designed to knock public sentiment into a position from which a war can be maintained. Evidently they don’t think they’ll ever get majority support for this–they want something like 35-40 percent support, which in their book is “plenty.”‘

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