When it comes to matters of intelligence, I do trust the Obama administration considerably more than I trusted the Bush administration, but that doesn’t mean I am going to believe any thing that they say. Their story about the Iranian plot to assassinate the Saudi Ambassador in a Georgetown restaurant is filled with holes you could drive a truck through, and their excuses for why they won’t release more compelling evidence do not inspire confidence. None of that concerns Richard Cohen, however, who swallows the whole tale without the slightest hint of skepticism and uses it to argue that Iran cannot be allowed to have a nuclear weapon.
If you believe in nuclear non-proliferation and you don’t want to see a nuclear arms race in the Middle East, then you don’t need any further rationale for trying to deny Iran a nuclear arsenal. This would be true even if the people of Iran overthrew their leadership and installed a benevolent Republic.
I know it’s not easy to adopt a position of default skepticism about the claims of our own intelligence agencies and government, but that’s Richard Cohen’s job. If the government tells him a story that doesn’t add up and then refuses to divulge any information that might explain the legitimacy of its claims, his job is to withhold his support and endorsement of the government’s claims.
But Richard Cohen doesn’t operate that way.