IRAN….I’m old fashioned enough that I still tend to ignore silly attacks rather than respond instantly to them, but enough’s enough. A couple of days ago, citing sources who thought the Bush administration was becoming increasingly likely to propose air strikes against Iran, I said, “If Democrats don’t start thinking about how they’re going to respond to this, they’re idiots.” The Wall Street Journal’s James Taranto, displaying the postmodern parsing skills favored by contemporary conservatives, didn’t like this:

One would have more confidence in the Democrats if this leading young intellectual said they needed to start thinking about what was in the best interests of the country rather than “how they’re going to respond to this” as a campaign issue.

This is pretty rich. I was specifically responding to the likelihood that the Bush administration would cynically build up Iran as a campaign issue ? just as they did with Iraq ? and my advice encompassed two obvious meanings: Democrats should figure out substantively what the right policy toward Iran is and they should figure out how to sell this policy to the American public. Choosing a transparently strained reading in an effort to pretend that I don’t care about what’s best for my country is pretty contemptible.

And for the record: I didn’t cite “a source of [my] own.” I cited and linked to a Joseph Cirincione column in Foreign Policy.

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