Leaders of states are less often voted out of office for initiating a war gone wrong than for exhibiting good sense and drawing the brakes on the war-fever express when called for. Or that’s the assumption on which Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is no doubt operating. But if, as influential Yediot columnist Nahum Barnea has written, “all his life he’s dreamed of being Churchill,” Netanyahu either forgets that Winston Churchill wasn’t re-elected prime minister in 1945 or envisions himself, if out of office, retaining the same influence that Churchill did.
As for other personal consequences, Netanyahu is no doubt aware that the attacks Churchill called for on Germany, such as the “area” bombing that resulted in atrocities like Dresden and Hamburg, never resulted in him standing in the docket at Nuremberg. In present times, he may further be emboldened by the United States invasion and occupation of Iraq. Except for a few scattered charges by courts overseas (though they seem to be gaining momentum), George W. Bush and Dick Cheney have yet to be tried for war crimes. Not only do they remain free men, they’re still accorded respect in many quarters.
No matter what happens after an attack on Iran, Netanyahu knows that he will still be accorded the same respect in the same quarters, at least in the United States.