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Los Angeles Times

President Obama should resist the drumbeat for war with Iran

The drumbeat for war with Iran is getting scarier and scarier ("No good options for Iran," Aug. 2). The situation has escalated now that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has concluded that the recent suicide attack that killed five Israelis in Bulgaria was the doing of Hezbollah, backed by Iran.

If Mr. Netanyahu has any evidence to that effect, he is not forthcoming with it. Boyko Borisov, Bulgaria's prime minister, doesn't know the identity of the killer or who was behind this bloody handiwork. Nevertheless, Mr. Netanyahu is ratcheting up the anti-Iran rhetoric because that nation must lurk behind every violent act that takes Israeli lives.

All of this smacks of the deck-stacking President George W. Bush's administration successfully used as a pretext for the invasion of Iraq. During his recent visit to Israel Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, cozied up to Mr. Netanyahu in a way that President Obama neither could nor would.

Mr. Romney, having taken Mr. Netanyahu's bait, said, "We have a solemn duty and a moral imperative to deny Iran's leaders the means to follow through their malevolent intentions." Those words, so reminiscent of George W. Bush's, make attacking Iran a holy cause, whether Israel does it alone or with our backing.

President Obama undoubtedly feels the pressure to jump on the Israeli bandwagon, but to date he has been more circumspect in berating Iran, and he should keep his head during this tension.

More than anything else, Mr. Netanyahu seeks U.S. approval for a strike at Iran; he may do it on his own, but we should not endorse such an action. Israel might succeed in largely destroying Iran's nuclear facilities. But the consequences of such aggression may be a Mideast where real peace is a forgotten dream and the U.S. reputation falls even lower than it is now.

Bruce R. Knauff, Towson

Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times
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