The Drums of War Beat Anew

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Iran: What to do, what are our options, where do we go from here?

NOTE: I am not interested in a right/left throwdown on this issue, although I am sure one will erupt. To be perfectly frank, I have not yet digested all the different angles and implications. I don’t know exactly what I think, however I do I fear that we are headed for another military conflict. Let’s try something different- let’s see if we can have a reasoned discussion instead of a mudfight. Dialogues instead of demagogues.

Also, I may stay out of the comments section on this one in order to spark more debate amongst you, the readers.

You may think that some of the questions below are naive, or painfully obvious. Rather, think of them as foils for thought- that which appears obvious on the surface may be shown to be a false or mistaken assumption in the end.

Questions to ponder as the situation over Iran and its intent to acquire nuclear weapons escalates:

– Why is a nuclear Iran unacceptable to the United States?

– Why does the United States have the right to build and possess nuclear weapons, but Iran does not?

– Can economic sanctions work in stopping or slowing Iran’s nuclear program?

– Can U.N. resolutions work in stopping or slowing Iran’s nuclear program?

– Since the U.S. was so wrong in regards to Iraqi WMD, what credibility can we now place on our intelligence gathering institutions as well as our government when they make similar claims about Iran?

– Do you support military action against Iran in order to slow or halt its nuclear programs?

– Is it sensible to start a war with Iran now in order to avoid a war later?

– Would you support such a military action even if doing so risked plunging the Middle East into an even larger conflagration than the one we now face in Iraq?

– Would an attack on Iran be carried out largely by air power of would we be talking about another land invasion?

– If there was a military draft, would you willingly go fight against Iran in order to slow or stop their acquisition of nuclear weapons?

– What is the “red line,” which Iran must not cross, that, if crossed, would justify U.S. military action against Iran?

– The President of Iran has made increasingly anti-Semitic, anti-U.S. and inflammatory comments in recent days and weeks. How seriously must/should we take these declarations? If a foreign leader says he wishes to destroy the U.S., or to wipe Israel “off the map,” does this give us carte blanche to destroy him and his country?

13 Comments so far

  1. Gabe (unregistered) on January 24th, 2006 @ 6:22 pm

    I’ve actually been following this for a long time and I’ve seen it coming. I had debate with someone else about 6 months ago on another blog about this very issue. So I’ll try to stay my own opinion without getting into a flame war.

    – Why is a nuclear Iran unacceptable to the United States?

    Sales of nuclear arms to terrorists and the immediate danger that it poses to the middle east (Israel, etc) as well as the threat that it poses to the US since their leader has continually made threats against us in the last couple weeks.

    – Why does the United States have the right to build and possess nuclear weapons, but Iran does not?

    We’re not selling them or giving them to other groups that intend to use them on a country. We hold a tight rein on the ones that we do have. Also, we developed the technology.

    – Can economic sanctions work in stopping or slowing Iran’s nuclear program?

    This is a mixed bag on this one. I personally don’t think it would. We’re not dealing with Cuba where we were able to work with Russia directly that was pulling the strings of Fidel. Russia supplied the arms to Cuba and when we negotiated with Russia, we were able to end the crisis. Iran is independent and has already said that they will fight if sanctions are imposed. It may slow it down but since they are already so far along in their development, I fear that it would only delay the invatible (sp?).

    – Can U.N. resolutions work in stopping or slowing Iran’s nuclear program?

    Again, my answer would be the same as above regardless of whether it was one nation or the world that was imposing sanctions. If the world is behind it and they send the message to Iran that they will not tolerate this, that might stop them but given the rhetoric of the recent weeks by their leader, I doubt it. He seems rather headstrong and arrogant.

    – Since the U.S. was so wrong in regards to Iraqi WMD, what credibility can we now place on our intelligence gathering institutions as well as our government when they make similar claims about Iran?

    Because this has been confirmed by other nations; not just the US. Iran has boldly said that they have the ability to make yellowcake which is necessary to enriching uranium.

    – Do you support military action against Iran in order to slow or halt its nuclear programs?

    It depends on what type of military action we’re talking. Do we walk in like we did in Iraq? I don’t support that plus I don’t think we’re in any position to sustain that kind of effort again. Air strikes would be more what I would support.

    – Is it sensible to start a war with Iran now in order to avoid a war later?

    I think so. It seems like they are growing bolder every week and I think that if we wait too long, they will have the bomb to use against us in a war which would cause complete havoc.

    – Would you support such a military action even if doing so risked plunging the Middle East into an even larger conflagration than the one we now face in Iraq?

    Yes because if they were to use the bomb, it would create a greater hazard for the area which affect not only Iran but all of it’s neighboring countries. So either way, the entire region would be plunged into a war.

    – Would an attack on Iran be carried out largely by air power of would we be talking about another land invasion?

    Air is my vote.

    – If there was a military draft, would you willingly go fight against Iran in order to slow or stop their acquisition of nuclear weapons?

    Yes. You’re speaking to a former Army man anyway. So it wouldn’t anything for me to step up and rejoin. I still have the uniform and it fits.

    – What is the “red line,” which Iran must not cross, that, if crossed, would justify U.S. military action against Iran?

    That’s a hard one for me to answer. I wonder if it hasn’t already been crossed given the taunts of Iran so far. I’m not saying that threats alone justify action. I’m just saying that the threats seem to be escalating and I can’t help but wonder if they haven’t already developed the bomb. They’re just trying to get us to fight in order to justify using it. If they provoke by starting the war and bombing, they look bad to their allies and the world. If we attack them, they can say that they were justified in defending themselves from the “imperialist forces of the west”.

    – The President of Iran has made increasingly anti-Semitic, anti-U.S. and inflammatory comments in recent days and weeks. How seriously must/should we take these declarations? If a foreign leader says he wishes to destroy the U.S., or to wipe Israel “off the map,” does this give us carte blanche to destroy him and his country?

    No. Again as I said in the previous question, threats do not justify action but you do have to question at what point the threats are just barking and can they back up those threats with a bite.


  2. The Skirt (unregistered) on January 24th, 2006 @ 6:40 pm

    Um, as much as I’m not convinced that Iran is not a very real danger to many people, does anyone really think that the US should get involved yet again in yet another meddling – sorry, I mean another Middle Eastern country?

    Seriously.

    The US should stay well away. Any interference is interpreted (fairly correctly, IMHO) as a bid to take over the world/ get more oil/ protect the US, the rest of the world be damned etc. It sure as hell isn’t about things like freeing people from oppression etc.

    Now, if Germany or France, or other countries that aren’t sucking up to the US (hello, Britain and Australia!) suggested some sort of intervention, I’d listen. Ditto the UN (remember them, Bush?).

    And my questions are:

    – Should a nuclear Iran be acceptable to the rest of the world?

    – Why does the US think it has the right to possess nuclear weapons, but no one else does?

    – If Iran ignores the UN’s opinion or decisions, does it make their leader as bad as Bush? Or less bad, since Iran isn’t on the Security Council?


  3. Gabe (unregistered) on January 25th, 2006 @ 1:05 pm

    Ok, what part of a completed nuclear power plant do you not understand? They have announced and it has been confirmed that they can make yellowcake which is a necessary component to enriching uranium which can be used for nuclear energy or nuclear weapons.
    http://www.worldtribune.com/worldtribune/06/front2453739.0555555555.html

    Add to this the fact that Iran announced over a year ago their nuclear ambition and I don’t mean nuclear power. They made the announcement that they intended to become a nuclear power with arms and join the international community of countries that have nuclear weapons.

    To answer your question about whether a nuclear Iran is acceptable to the world is up to each individual but as a country we have to decide. The question I guess comes down to maturity of the leadership of the country. Can they be responsible with that kind of power in their hands? Or will they use it in a way that would endanger other countries (and I don’t mean just the U.S.)? So far, the rhetoric has shown that they aren’t very mature. When they talk about burying someone or as the most recent comment goes, put Israel into a ‘permanent coma like Sharon’ you have to question the maturity of their leaders.

    About why we have the right to possess but not other countries, I would say we never claimed that NO ONE ELSE could have nuclear weapons. There are other countries that possess the bomb but again this goes back to the responsibility and maturity of the country that possesses it.

    As for the Bush question, that’s just trolling and I won’t even answer that one for the sake of avoiding a flame war.


  4. Ben2 (unregistered) on January 25th, 2006 @ 4:16 pm

    Questions to ponder as the situation over Iran and its intent to acquire nuclear weapons escalates:

    – Why is a nuclear Iran unacceptable to the United States?

    Radical threats to the well-being of other states as well as a history of terrorism.

    – Why does the United States have the right to build and possess nuclear weapons, but Iran does not?

    Democracies do not attack other countries. Tyrannies attack other countries.

    – Can economic sanctions work in stopping or slowing Iran’s nuclear program?

    Obviously, sanctions don’t stop terrorists. Their idealogy is beyond material things and they merely wish to act. Sanctions from the US won’t stop trading with other nations that support them.

    – Can U.N. resolutions work in stopping or slowing Iran’s nuclear program?

    If those UN resolutions are backed up by the force necessary to halt it, yes. Sadly the UN talks softly and carries a small stick.

    – Since the U.S. was so wrong in regards to Iraqi WMD, what credibility can we now place on our intelligence gathering institutions as well as our government when they make similar claims about Iran?

    Countries around the world agree with their abilities. Saddam did not tout his abilities to the level of Iran. Even our Western European “allies” speak about their abilities.

    – Do you support military action against Iran in order to slow or halt its nuclear programs?

    Yes if it is necessary.

    – Is it sensible to start a war with Iran now in order to avoid a war later?

    Yes. I would rather we fight them before they decide to slaughter people in the millions with nuclear missiles.

    – Would you support such a military action even if doing so risked plunging the Middle East into an even larger conflagration than the one we now face in Iraq?

    If you consider Iraq a conflagaration, then yes. Iraq is certainly much closer to a democracy now and is improving dramatically. No war has been “clean” since total war was developed before WW1 and we are doing quite well considering the circumstances. The Middle East is more complicated than Islam vs. the West, though, and it may definitely cause problems but we must weigh the consequences of action vs. the consequences of inaction.

    – Would an attack on Iran be carried out largely by air power of would we be talking about another land invasion?

    If we are able to stop their production with air power, then do it. If not, use ground forces. I would worry about the technology still being around even if the facilities are destroyed. Iran also learned their underground complex technology from North Korea or North Vietnam, I forget.

    – If there was a military draft, would you willingly go fight against Iran in order to slow or stop their acquisition of nuclear weapons?

    Yes. Though the chances of a draft in my opinion are slim to none.

    – What is the “red line,” which Iran must not cross, that, if crossed, would justify U.S. military action against Iran?

    Probably the actually testing of a nuclear device or a conventional attack of any sort against a neighbor state.

    – The President of Iran has made increasingly anti-Semitic, anti-U.S. and inflammatory comments in recent days and weeks. How seriously must/should we take these declarations? If a foreign leader says he wishes to destroy the U.S., or to wipe Israel “off the map,” does this give us carte blanche to destroy him and his country?

    No, it matters if his policies act on those. We believe in free speech so if someone wants to scream racist or anti-religion comments they should be able to do so. If they act on those or infringe on the human rights of others than stop them.


  5. Jason (unregistered) on January 26th, 2006 @ 12:02 am

    Actually, it’s “democracies don’t attack other democracies“. Democracies have no problem attacking opaque authoritarian governments, typically because… they’re opaque and authoritarian.

    Bigger questions to ask are these:

    What does Iran have to gain from pushing everyone’s buttons on this nuclear issue?

    What does Iran have to gain from pushing everyone’s buttons on the Israel issue?

    Because, as I see it, when it comes down to it, they’re not in a position of strength (does anyone in the middle east want a nuclear Iran?) in either battle, so what’s their strategy? (We should be much more afraid if there isn’t a strategy).


  6. Ben2 (unregistered) on January 26th, 2006 @ 10:07 am

    What does Iran have to gain from pushing everyone’s buttons on this nuclear issue?

    Their idealogy. They want to show Islamofacists that they are strong and unafraid, that they are doing the will of Allah in their opinion. They want to cause problems and probe for weakness in response from the western powers, and since Europe has been fooling around and not actually DOing anything (their eternal problem) Tehran has been stalling to actually get their way and build nukes.
    Obviously they want to be a world player with some cards on the table, and that is the way they can spread their rule and influence. It’s not hard.

    What does Iran have to gain from pushing everyone’s buttons on the Israel issue?

    For every button they push in the west, they secure western-haters and self-loathers even more.


  7. K. (unregistered) on January 27th, 2006 @ 3:00 pm

    “Now, if Germany or France, or other countries that aren’t sucking up to the US (hello, Britain and Australia!) suggested some sort of intervention, I’d listen. Ditto the UN (remember them, Bush?).

    -Germany and France *have* expressed concerns. The main holdouts at this point are China and Russia. This is why I have actually given this issue a lot more weight than I did the arguments for war in Iraq (which I did not support). I am sitll not entirely convinced (as I don’t feel that I’ve adequatly addressed some of the other issues raised her, for myself), but I do believe there is a serious issue at play here, one which is at least worth looking into.


  8. Ben2 (unregistered) on February 2nd, 2006 @ 8:32 am

    The Skirt-

    I am disturbed that you write off Australia and Britain as “sucking up to the US.” Only France and Germany count to you? Isn’t that a little closed-minded… I’d think that all nations in the world should be able to fend for their own security….

    And Yes, Jacques Chirac has said that they will use nukes on terrorists states if they are attacked. From France, that’s way extreme and means that they really think there is a threat.

    Iran poses another unique problem, though it actually makes it easier to solve. Iran is a nation, not a group of terrorists spread around the world. Their version of Islam is opposed to that of Saudi Arabia for the most part, and they are acting on their own accord. They of course share the Western and Jew-hatred of extreme Islam in general and Iran’s leader is talking nothing less.


  9. nikkos (unregistered) on February 6th, 2006 @ 2:17 pm

    Thank you all for your thoughtful comments.

    Now, on to the $64 million question:

    Does the Bush administration desire a peaceful outcome to this situation? Or do they seek violent regime change?

    Understanding the answer to that question- particularly from the Iranian side of the equation- is important for understanding the entire situation.


  10. Ben2 (unregistered) on February 7th, 2006 @ 10:56 am

    I agree Nikkos, though I think looking at the situation through the Islamic lens as Iran does may destroy their chances of realizing that we do want it peacefully.

    To further add fuel to the fire, its fairly obvious that Iran does not want a peaceful end to the situation, they want to destroy the Jews and the West.


  11. nikkos (unregistered) on February 7th, 2006 @ 11:00 am

    Just to be sure I understand you correctly: you believe that Bush seeks a peaceful solution to this issue?


  12. Ben2 (unregistered) on February 7th, 2006 @ 12:56 pm

    I believe that Bush wants this to resolve peacefully first, yes, though he obviously will not hesitate to use force if necessary.


  13. nikkos (unregistered) on February 7th, 2006 @ 3:00 pm

    Interesting reading:

    “3 Myths About the Iran Conflict”

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/02/06/AR2006020601255.html



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