For the most part, commentary and analysis of the preliminary nuclear deal with Iran falls along predictable lines. On the one hand, we see President Obama’s policy backed by the American mainstream, many congressional Democrats, a variety of foreign policy experts, and most of our allies.
On the other hand, we see congressional Republicans, their media allies, and prominent neoconservative voices.
But to assume that every conservative is outraged by the framework that blocks Iran’s nuclear-weapons program isn’t quite right. Just minutes after the president wrapped up his remarks, for example, Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly offered tacit support for the administration’s approach. “You don’t want a war with Iran,” the Fox host said, adding, “[I]f you can get something that’s decent, you give it a shot. I think that’s a legitimate point.”
Today, a prominent figure in the Bush/Cheney national security team was vaguely complimentary, too.
Gen. Michael Hayden, President George W. Bush’s director of the NSA and CIA, told Fox News on Friday morning that he was “heartened” by the tentative deal the Obama administration and its international partners have reached with Iran in an effort to contain its nuclear program.“In terms of what it is we think we know, I have not yet found anything in the contract, so to speak, that I find disqualifying,” Hayden said. “It’s more than I thought we would demand, so in that sense I’m heartened.”
In fairness, Hayden did not explicitly endorse the framework, and he acknowledged the details that still need to be worked out, but the former NSA and CIA director also said “there are no good alternatives” to the White House’s diplomatic approach. “I’m willing to give this thing some time,” Hayden concluded.
Haaretz, a major, left-leaning Israeli newspaper, ran a piece this morning that said even Benjamin Netanyahu and his administration “will have a hard time fighting this agreement, or portraying it as bad.”
With this in mind, The Atlantic’s James Fallows noted earlier that he’s looking for someone, anyone, who’s criticizing the Iran framework who wasn’t in the “must invade Iraq” camp in 2003.
As best as I can tell, no such person exists – those condemning the preliminary Iran deal are the same people, up to and including Netanyahu, who said invading Iraq was a great idea that would benefit the Middle East.
Maybe we should open this up to the audience. Can any of you identify a critic of the Iran deal who was right about the war in Iraq? Let me know in comments.