October 10, 2012

Why is the pro-war crowd lying about their own studies?

Within 45 minutes of the release of the Bipartisan Policy Committee’s (BPC) report, “The Price of Inaction: Analysis of Energy and Economic Effects of a Nuclear Iran,” pro-war pundits were  spinning its results.
The neoconservative Washington Free Beacon breathlessly announced, “REPORT: Nuclear Iran would ‘double’ oil prices, cost millions of U.S. jobs.”
The problem here is that the BPC report doesn’t say this.  It says that if there were a nuclear exchange between Israel and Iran or Saudi Arabia and Iran, oil prices would double.  Yes, it is shocking–if a nuclear war broke out in the Middle East it would likely cost more to fill up your tank.
Given the Bipartisan Policy Committee’s track record of pro-war hyperbole on all things Iran, its stunning to see neoconservative rags spinning the BPC’s message even further.  But the Free Beacon’s Adam Kredo  ignores the report’s findings and instead fabricates his own conclusions in an attempt to rebut warnings about the significant economic costs of military strikes on Iran (including $7 gas).
*Update: Now the Drudge Report has gotten into the act, reposting the Free Beacon piece with the same erroneous headline*

The Free Beacon writes:

“While much attention has been given to the costs of preventive military action against Iran, a new report by the Bipartisan Policy Center shows that, over time, “gasoline prices could increase by more than 70 percent,” sending America “into a severe recession” and costing the country “more than five million” jobs.

Again, these figures represent predictions of what would happen if there were a military conflict involving nuclear weapons.  The inconvenient truth for the pro-war crowd is that in all cases, the predictions for serious economic consequences arise from war scenarios. In the BPC’s report, four of the six scenarios analyzed involved military conflict between Iran and the U.S. or U.S. allies. Rather than showing the cost of inaction, the report shows the cost of military action involving a nuclear Iran.
That being said, arguing against military action does not mean arguing for inaction.  The debate in Washington is largely framed as a choice of war versus sanctions, but most experts agree the only way to  guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon is through successful diplomacy.  Worthy of consideration is another interesting takeaway from the BPC report in that regard: if sanctions on Iran were lifted, the report’s model predicts, oil prices would drop by 20%.

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