Press reports so far have suggested that the belated release of the National Intelligence Estimate yesterday throwing cold water on oft-repeated claims of a rampant Iranian nuclear weapons program has deeply embarrassed, or at least chastened, public officials and policymakers who have promoted this line for years. Gaining little attention so far: Many in the media have made these same claims, often extavagantly, which promoted (deliberately or not) the tub-thumping for striking Iran.
Surely you remember Sen. John McCain's inspired Beach Boys' parody, a YouTube favorite, "Bomb-bomb-bomb, Bomb-bomb Iran"? That was the least of it. You could dance to it and it had a good beat. Not so for so much of the press and punditry surrounding the bomb. Who can forget Norman Podhoretz's call for an immediate attack on Iraq, in the pages of the Wall Street Journal, as he argued that "the plain and brutal truth is that if Iran is to be prevented from developing a nuclear arsenal, there is no alternative to the actual use of military force -- any more than there was an alternative to force if Hitler was to be stopped in 1938."