Channeling Strangelove: Benny Morris on Iran

Gershom Gorenberg

Benny Morris’s riff on nuking Iran, featured on Friday’s New York Times op-ed page, conjures up Maj. Kong’s bronco-riding whoop at the end of Dr. Strangelove, and not just because that film revealed the glee with which the military-minded can look forward to apocalypse. Playing off the terrifying “Fail-Safe,” Stanley Kubrick and Peter Sellers also reminded viewers that the sane side could start a nuclear war by mistake – and that the “sane” side could not be counted on to act sanely. Forty-four years after Kubrick, Morris argues that Israel will use the bomb so that Iran won’t get the bomb. Is this a warning, a recommendation, or the whoop of joy as someone gives into temptation and picks up the Dangerous Thing that Dad said not to touch?

Morris, it happens, does agree with one point in my piece last week in the American Prospect. Given, he says,

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