PZ, as I understand it, is opposed to attacking Iran. The reasons that he provides are definitely sound:
When I say I don't want war in the Middle East, that includes pre-emptive strikes that would kill huge numbers of innocents, shatter and destabilize yet another country, and inflame the hatred against my country, as well as against Israel.I have a hard time arguing against that. He's probably right - any attack against Iran will probably have all those consequences, and more.
At the same time, Iranian President Ahmadinejad is one of the people in this world I'd least like to see with nuclear weapons. (Jerry Falwell would scare me a little less, and Pat Robertson would scare me a lot more.) I worry about the consequences of bombing Iraq. And I wonder if the long-term consequences of not doing it aren't going to be even worse.
Given the long-term instability from the religious fanatics running Iraq, I think that erring on the side of caution in this case probably involves leaning toward taking action if there is reasonable evidence that they are trying to develop nuclear weapons. Unfortunately, there is a problem with that whole "reasonable evidence" thing.
Determining if there is reasonable evidence that Iran is attempting to develop nuclear weapons (as opposed to power applications) requires us to trust the administration. Again. After we've already been burnt once.
I'm pretty sure that the case is stronger this time, but I have to admit that I thought that some of the evidence for weapons in Iraq was strong right after Colin Powell's presentation to the UN, too. The fact is that after the last few years, I have no trust left in what the administration says.
It'd sure be nice if that whole "boy who cried wolf" thing was just a story.