We’ve always wanted to get the words “Zbigniew Brzezinski” into a headline, and, thanks to the Los Angeles Times, the time is now.


Yesterday, the Times published an op-ed by Brzezinski, a former national security advisor to President Carter, in which he compared recent talk of an airstrike against Iran to the run-up to the war in Iraq.


“Iran’s announcement that it has enriched a minute amount of uranium has unleashed urgent calls for a preventive U.S. airstrike from the same sources that earlier urged war on Iraq,” wrote Brzezinski. “If there is another terrorist attack in the United States, you can bet your bottom dollar that there also will be immediate charges that Iran was responsible in order to generate public hysteria in favor of military action.”


“In short, an attack on Iran would be an act of political folly, setting in motion a progressive upheaval in world affairs,” he added. “With the U.S. increasingly the object of widespread hostility, the era of American preponderance could even come to a premature end.”


“It is therefore high time for the administration to sober up and think strategically, with a historic perspective and the U.S. national interest primarily in mind,” concluded Brzezinski. “It’s time to cool the rhetoric.”


Of course, if there’s one place where rhetoric doesn’t cool, it’s the blogosphere. And Brzezinski’s criticism of the president quickly set bloggers sizzling.


“This is typical liberal ideology,” writes the California Conservative. “Negotiate from a position of weakness is straight from the Jimmy Carter failed handbook. Then again, Brzezinski is the failed bureaucrat that gave him that ‘Let’s all get along’ advice. It’s obvious that Mr. Brzezinski didn’t learn anything from Reagan’s intimidating the Soviets into oblivion.”


“It was he and his feckless boss President Carter who saw no cause for concern in a potential Iranian mullocracy, and hence no reason to back the Shah of Iran who stood in the mullahs way,” writes Power Line. “Now, more than 25 years on, the old foreign policy hand is still assuring us that we have little to fear from the mullahs. He seems to take it as a given that, through negotiations, we can talk them out of developing nukes.”


“Personally, I’d choose the realism of today’s scary world over the chaotic America of the Carter/Brzezinski years,” writes Valkyrjan. “Years during which nothing was done to confront the rise of Islamic fundamentalism when it first burst onto the international scene with its outrageous actions in Tehran. The war we didn’t fight then is the war we must fight now.”


Not according to liberal bloggers.


“Zbigniew Brzezinski explains why a nuclear assault would be disastrous, illegal and impeachable,” writes American Street. “And a major point he makes is one I’ve made before: the size of the Iranian population far exceeds that of Iraq. It compares more closely with the size of Vietnam and Korea and that alone should make one think thrice before taking on another quagmire like those.”


“He also brings up something that I don’t think is discussed nearly enough: the next terrorist attack on U.S. territory,” writes the Blue Voice. “Much like earthquakes, we know that there will be one, we just don’t know when.”


In the meantime, we’ll eagerly await more earth-rattling analysis by defenders and detractors of Brzezinski on both sides of the political fault line.

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Felix Gillette writes about the media for The New York Observer.