It is increasingly clear that there is a campaign already ongoing in the United States to lay the ground for an eventual U.S.-Iranian military confrontation. This campaign is broadly similar to the multi-year effort that paved the way for America’s invasion of Iraq in 2003. Strikingly, the current campaign regarding Iran involves many of the same individuals, institutions, and rhetorical formulas as the pre-war build-up for Iraq.
In the years and months before the United States attacked Iraq, the response of most think tanks and “public intellectuals” to the false and fraudulent case for war was supine, to say the least . Standing up against what became the conventional wisdom about the Iraqi “threat” required a willingness, early in the process, to question the fundamental assumptions that were driving policy debates and actual policy making in Washington. But the vast majority of those who should have challenged the conventional wisdom about Iraq—in Congress, the media, policy research centers, etc—failed to do so. Instead, they largely bought into the conventional wisdom and, in some cases, even helped to manufacture it.
We saw this play out while we were still in government. After leaving government, and watching America’s Iran debate get steered on to the same bellicose trajectory, we determined that, this time around, there would be credible voices prepared to ask hard questions and challenge conventional wisdom. That is what www.RaceForIran.com is all about.
Among the things we’ve learned since we launched www.RaceForIran.com is that it is not easy to raise money for a project like this. If we only questioned conventional wisdom about the prospective need for U.S. military strikes against Iranian nuclear targets, there would be more funders out there willing to help us. But because we challenge the assumptions about the Islamic Republic that even many Americans opposed to U.S. military action Iran uncritically accept—e.g., the 2009 presidential election was stolen, the Iranian government is a deeply unpopular dictatorship at serious risk of collapse, the Islamic Republic is too ideologically warped and/or internally divided to take strategic decisions on grounds of national interest—superficially sympathetic funders decline to support us because, they say, they must be sensitive to the “political climate.”
Under these circumstances, we encourage our readers to make even a token donation to support www.RaceForIran.com to keep our work going. (A relatively large number of relatively small donations can actually help bolster our case for funding from some institutional donors. PLEASE NOTE THAT WE HAVE ADDED A $20 PAYPAL OPTION ON THE SIDEBAR OF WWW.RACEFORIRAN.COM FOR THOSE WHO CAN GIVE THAT AMOUNT. PLEASE ALSO NOTE THAT WE UNDERSTAND THAT $20 IS NOT A SMALL AMOUNT FOR MANY BUT IT IS WHAT WE CAN DO NOW WITH PAYPAL. WE ENCOURAGE AS MANY WHO CAN TO CONTRIBUTE SMALLER AMOUNTS BY CHECK. WE ARE GRATEFUL FOR ALL OF YOUR SUPPORT. At this time, we can only activate the $20 paypal button on the sidebar of www.RaceForIran.com ‘s main page, so please use that and not the ‘please donate’ link. Thank you, again, for your support.)
If you choose to donate, your tax-deductible contribution would go to the New America Foundation, not directly to the authors of the blog. Click the buttons on the sidebar of the main www.RaceForIran.com page to make a secure donation. Or, please send a check for any amount to: New America Foundation, Attention: Simone Frank (for RaceForIran), 1899 L Street, NW, Suite 400, Washington, DC, 20036 (please write for RaceForIran.com on the memo line of your check).
As always, we are very grateful for our readers’ continuing attention and engagement with www.RaceForIran.com. We add our best wishes for a Happy New Year and a wonderful 2011.
Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett
–Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett