10 April 2006

Iran, the Bomb, and the White House

PZ Myers weighed in yesterday with his opinions on the recent news articles about our delusional executive branch planning possible attacks on Iran. My own take is slightly different.

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.

3 comments:

D├╝senklipper said...

I think you've confused Iraq and Iran a few times in the article. Looks like simple typos, though.

Anonymous said...

I'm not inclined to believe the "It's just a peaceful nuclear energy program." story. Iran is an oil-rich country--they don't need alternate energy sources.

This time, it's not our own administration lying to us. Iran's enriched uranium has been announced on CNN, not leaked out of the White House in a bogus CIA report.

The Iranian cover story, however, is laughable.

Anonymous said...

Bombing the Iranian nuclear facilities vs. take no action and becoming French wimps is a false dichotomy.

Remember that we faced far more authentic threats from the former Soviet Union. During the Cuban missile crisis, JFK faced real intermediate range nuclear weapons 90 miles off the American coast. Not hypothetical weapons that are five years away.

In addition to the blockade, JFK also made the following pronouncement: any nuclear device exploded in the Western hemisphere “will be regarded as an act of war by the Soviet Union upon the United States of America.”

A similar pronouncement by Bush would state that any “nucular” device detonated in the Middle East (i.e., used against Israel) will be regarded as an act of war by the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The “but they are mad men” argument is bogus. They may be crazy, but they are not stupid. The Iranian leadership knows that we can launch a decapitating nuclear strike at any time we choose. And then go out for breakfast.

What this is really about is the US objecting to the oil-rich nations obtaining nuclear weapons that will permit them to defy US policy in the Middle East. We can wait them out, as we have done with the Soviet Union, “Red” China and, ultimately, North Korea.

It wasn’t Ronald Reagan’s arms build up that over-threw the communist powers; it was their desire to have what we have, “rock and roll, blue jeans and Madonna.”

That culture war is just beneath the surface in Iran. But bombing them will only strengthen the hand of the hard-liners, as was shown during the recent Iranian elections. Unless of course, that is your intent all along……….