"Here is an idea for Barack Obama to salvage his tottering administration by taking a step that protects the United States and its allies," begins neoconservative scholar Daniel Pipes. "He needs a dramatic gesture to change the public perception of him as a light-weight, bumbling ideologue, preferably in an arena where the stakes are high, where he can take charge, and where he can trump expectations."
"Such an opportunity does exist," Pipes writes. "Obama can give orders for the U.S. military to destroy Iran’s nuclear-weapon capacity."
Pipes is a longtime pro-war hawk who has been particularly vociferous in his calls for a "special scrutiny" of Arab Americans. The liberal blog ThinkProgress notes that Pipes ran a campaign against a New York City public school focused on teaching Arab culture, successfully forcing the school's principal to resign.
Pipes references 9/11's catalyzing impact on voter enthusiasm for former President George W. Bush, and says Obama could get the same boost by starting a new conflict with the Persian state.
"Just as 9/11 caused voters to forget George W. Bush’s meandering early months, a strike on Iranian facilities would dispatch Obama’s feckless first year down the memory hole and transform the domestic political scene," he writes.
"It would sideline health care,' he continues, "prompt Republicans to work with Democrats, make netroots squeal, independents reconsider, and conservatives swoon."
In response to a growing belief that Iran is developing a nuclear weapons program, the US has stepped up its defense in the Gulf. President Obama recently sent ships and missiles to the Gulf region, a move Iran derided as a "puppet show."
New Yorker journalist Seymour Hersh revealed in 2007 that the Bush administration had a highly developed plan that would involve "surgical [air]strikes" on suspected Iranian nuclear facilities. He wrote that the US was "beefing up intelligence resources within the CIA and shifting its rhetorical campaign in a bid to win support from the American people should the strikes proceed."
The drive toward an Iranian strike was so strong, Hersh later suggested, that Bush and Cheney were willing to go against their own party.
"Cheney and Bush don't give a rats ass about the future of the Republican Party when it comes to this," Hersh told MSNBC.
Pipes' post was first highlighted Tuesday by ThinkProgress.