03/26/2012 09:02 am ET Updated May 26, 2012

Spearing Another Sacred Cow

It's happened again: I said something that speared a GOP sacred cow and the right-wing Twitterverse is losing its cool. The first time this happened was last October after Chris Hayes interviewed me on his MSNBC show UP with Chris Hayes and the topic was jobs. [Spearing Sacred Cows, Oct. 15, 2011.]

This time is a little different. First, you could say the interview occurred on "their" territory -- FOX Network's O'Reilly Factor. Second, the sacred cow in question is even more divisive than jobs -- the subject was Iran and how the U.S. should prevent a nuclear-armed Iran. So, the Right Wing's takeaway is that I somehow believe the Nazis bombed Pearl Harbor.

The Iranian government is a despicable and violent regime that oppresses its own people and terrorizes other countries. No one wants Iran to have a nuclear weapon -- and I oppose nuclear proliferation as a general rule. But here is the sticking point: There is no evidence that Iran has even begun building a nuclear weapon and diplomatic efforts aren't even close to being exhausted.

The truth: A conservative sacred cow had been wounded. The loose talk of war with Iran has been repeatedly decried by our military and national security experts, but a lot of conservatives aren't listening. They also don't want the American people to listen.

Instead of pointing to the facts they did a "Look, over there!" move and twisted a few unclear words I said during the interview. Now we see that Andrew Breitbart's former "editor" has posted a dramatically shortened video clip of the interview to make things look worse.

Well, here are the facts. Our best leaders always vigorously pursued diplomacy before sending our soldiers to war. This was true for both World Wars. We only need to look nine years into the past to see what can happened when we go to war based on an assumption of the weaponry another country has. America does not want to repeat the mistakes it made getting into the Iraq War, which is what could happen if we rush into Iran.

-- Rep. Keith Ellison represents Minnesota's 5th Congressional District and co-chairs the Congressional Progressive Caucus.