Sunday, April 30, 2006

Gene Lyons: Are We Sleepwalking Into a Nightmare?

Another voice of sanity warning that a military attack on Iran would be an unmitigated catastrophe. Key quotes:
A pre-emptive strike on Iran, because it might hypothetically develop nuclear weapons five or 10 years hence, would be a naked act of aggression. Not to mention an offense against the U. S. Constitution. On what authority would Bush make war on a nation that played no role in 9 / 11, bears enmity toward al-Qa’ida and has never seriously threatened to attack the United States ? His own God’s ?...
More recently, the eminent Israeli military historian Martin van Creveld has cautioned that hysterical warnings about this or that country—Russia, China, Pakistan, India—developing nuclear weapons have occurred regularly since Hiroshima. Yet the taboo against their actual use has held, partly because rational actors know that even the “tactical” weapons which Bush administration toughs fantasize about are upward of 10 times more powerful than the A-bombs dropped on Japan. Also because, van Creveld makes clear, deterrence works. Israel, he writes, “can quickly turn Tehran into a radioactive desert—a fact of which Iranians are fully aware.” To violate that taboo would justifiably turn the U. S. into a pariah state. It would all but guarantee eventual retaliation in kind. Even a conventional bombing campaign against Iran would, at minimum, send world oil prices skyrocketing, with disastrous economic consequences. Real patriots must prevent this madness from happening. The generals are speaking out. Where are the Democrats and the sane Republicans ?
Yes, indeed, where are they?
Look, it's simple: deterrence works. Iran's government is led by an obnoxious, low-life bastard called Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. He's truly human debris--anti-Semitic, anti-American, anti-democracy. But he's not insane and I'm willing to bet he doesn't want Iran vaporized. We survived decades of having thousands of Soviet weapons pointed at us. We can survive Iranian nukes, too--if we make the consequences of any Iranian attack on American forces or American territory absolutely clear.
As clear as this.

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