[Mb-civic] FW: Ticking Bomb
michael at michaelbutler.com
Fri Sep 3 12:24:11 PDT 2004
September 06, 2004
The news from Iran is grim. This Islamic dictatorship--the biggest source of
terrorist training and financing in the world and the nation that's doing
all it can to stir up trouble in already combustible Iraq--is clearly on the
cusp of becoming a nuclear power. The clerical fascists running the country
have dropped just about all pretense of their atomic programs being
energy-related only. Tehran announced in July that it had resumed making the
centrifuges needed to produce highly enriched uranium, a key ingredient for
nuclear bombs. It is, in essence, tearing up last fall's agreement with the
UN International Atomic Energy Agency to keep its nuclear program
transparent and to do nothing that could be construed as developing nuclear
Iran, more than Iraq or the reorganization of our intelligence agencies, is
the crisis flashpoint in our war against Islamic fanaticism. What to do?
John Kerry's advisers and many Bush Administration officials think we should
deal directly with Iran. The Europeans would support us. The goal: to
persuade Iran--through cash, trade agreements (its economy is a mess) and
pats on the back--to halt its nuclear arms program. These so-called realists
in this instance are the dreamers, the fantasizers.
Why wouldn't Iran go nuclear? Our ten-year dawdle over North Korea's nuclear
adventurism hammers home to Tehran's corrupt, totalitarian-minded thugs this
inescapable conclusion: Nukes mean respect, mean security--and they grant
blackmail power to shake down billions in booty from the U.S. and other
The implications of a nuclearized Iran are appalling. Fanatics in Iraq,
Egypt, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere will be emboldened to undermine existing
governments. Israel may well feel the need to strike, just as it did against
Iraq's nuclear facility in 1981.
The all-too-real possibility of a violent Israeli reaction--Israel has long
considered Iran's black-robed fascists to be its ultimate enemy--may be the
only possible deterrent to Iran's final nuclearization. But that's not
likely, given that the mullahs have probably dispersed their nuclear
capabilities around the country. Iran, moreover, is not defenseless; it has
missiles that can hit Israel.
Bottom line: Through every avenue possible, we should make clear to Tehran
that continued nuclearization will mean the U.S. will back any Israeli
response to the hilt. Furthermore, we will strike, perhaps even before the
Israelis do. For starters, we will embargo Iranian oil exports, crippling
Iran's economy and its source of military funding. We should also
forthrightly support Iranian democrats and opposition groups, which have a
considerable following, especially among the young. Radio Free Europe/Radio
Liberty-like broadcasts should bombard Iran 24 hours a day via the airwaves
Our European "allies" will blanch at such realistic responses. We must be
prepared to go it alone.
Dithering in Iraq--one day exhibiting firmness, the next Jimmy Carter-like
indecisiveness--has eroded our credibility. Indeed, Iran may have convinced
itself that our Iraq experience has put the U.S. once again in a
Vietnam/can't-see-it-through-anything-tough mode, thus there is little to
fear from Washington. In fact, Tehran may believe that its soon-to-be nukes
may put pressure on Washington to restrain the Israelis in the name of
multilateral, bring-along-the-Europeans diplomacy.
The situation is extremely dangerous, and both presidential candidates
should be questioned persistently and hard over how we should deal with it.
To let Iran go nuclear would have profoundly unpleasant consequences for our
safety and that of the rest of the civilized world.
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