About Bombing Iran

As you most likely know by now, Barack Obama, Gordon Brown, and Nicolas Sarkozy announced yesterday that Iran harbored a secret uranium enrichment plant — a plant that would relatively soon be operational and capable of producing weapons grade uranium.

That news has outraged America’s neoconservatives — who are responding to it by demanding the US or Israel bomb Iran.

Actually, I have not yet checked out the neoconservative response to the news.  I am merely guessing their response to the news is to demand that Iran be bombed. But I think that’s a pretty safe guess, don’t you?  Few things are more certain than the fact America’s neoconservatives will demand at every opportunity to bomb Iran.  They have been demanding it for years.  Why would they stop now?

Gary Sick has written an interesting article that reviews the lousy record of those who have for decades been predicting we will need to bomb Iran.  Sick then goes on to analyze why the problem of an Iranian nuclear weapon might be solvable through diplomacy and negotiation.  For instance:

The world may have more time and more bargaining leverage than is generally supposed. Iran has proceeded very slowly with its nuclear program. If Iran had proceeded at the same speed as Pakistan (which had far fewer resources than Iran), it would have had a bomb test and a deliverable nuclear weapon more than decade ago. Iran has chosen to remain in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and to accept International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspections, over the objections of its own hardliners—the only proto-nuclear state to have done so. Iran has repeatedly and formally declared at the highest levels that the production, storage or use of a nuclear weapon was contrary to Islam and not in Iran’s national interest—most recently earlier this week by Supreme Leader Khamenei.

If the problem of an Iranian nuclear weapon can be solved through diplomacy and negotiation, then perhaps the problem can be solved permanently.   Bombing, however, is merely temporary solution.  Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates said Friday that “the reality is that there is no military option that does anything more than buy time — the estimates are three years or so.”

There seem to be some sound reasons, then, why diplomacy and negotiation should be our first recourse in dealing with Iran.  Of course, this is 21st Century America, and “sound reason” isn’t always the operating system favored by our leaders.  The temptation to play the tough guy with other people’s lives and bomb the hell out of the Iranians will appeal to every chicken hawk in Washington.  Neoconservative chicken hawks are nothing if not predictable.

5 thoughts on “About Bombing Iran

  1. Aside from the general dangers of a nuclear armed theocracy or dictatorship (such as Pakistan, DPRK,* and Iran), I don’t think military options should ever be on the table unless the target country is already engaging in military assaults on our or other countries. I do not think any first world country should ever be the aggressor, even if said target country is engaging in weapons production. With the number of nuclear weapons the United States, Russia, U.K., France, China, and NATO weapons sharing members possess, Iran and North Korea both know a nuclear launch would likely mean a rapid phase transition of the country from solid to plasma. As far as the possibility of providing nuclear weapons to terrorist organizations, again, I don’t see them being quite that stupid. I may be underestimating the stupidity of these individuals, but I must say, even as cynical and pessimistic as I am, I don’t see the leaders of these countries being that suicidal.

    *note: The majority of chicken hawks would also have The United States become a theocracy

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  2. @ Jared: Excellent post! I worry a bit more than you do about the transfer of nuclear weapons to terrorists. However, my understanding is that the point of origin of a nuclear weapon can be determined from its isotopes, which in effect fingerprint it. I don’t think any regimes want their fingerprints on a bomb that destroys New York, so regimes have an incentive to prevent terrorist organizations from getting hold of nuclear weapons. However, what happens if the regime crumbles and terrorists manage to steal a nuclear weapon from the remains of it?

    Interesting point about Chicken Hawks.

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  3. With the Iraqi war the neocons have realised they only gave power to Iran in a region that since millennia has always been based on the balance of power between the Iranians (or Persians) and the Mesopotamians or Iraqi people. The desire to bomb Iran is now a mere consequence of this geopolitical mistake. This is of course only an opinion of mine.

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  4. @ Paul Costopoulos: No doubt! The reports are that Cheney wanted to bomb Iran and was only stopped by Bush’s refusal to go along. The pressure is only greater now.

    @ Man of Roma: That is a very interesting point of view. I think it has great merit to it.

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