I was sorely disappointed to hear both Romney and Obama parrot the same codswallop about Iran. That is, I expected it from Romney. However, I’d thought the president was a little more savvy, especially since earlier this year Reuters reported that, “The United States, European allies and even Israel generally agree on three things about Iran’s nuclear program: Tehran does not have a bomb, has not decided to build one, and is probably years away from having a deliverable nuclear warhead.” Doesn’t he read the papers?
In the debate, Romney repeated 4 or 5 times that Iran is “four years closer to having a bomb.” He sounded like a broken record. In fact Iran has enriched uranium to 20%. You need about 90% for a weapon. No, Mitt, they’re not going to get one tomorrow.
Plus there’s more to a bomb than the uranium. They’d need all the support systems that go with it, plus having to assemble it, test it, transport it and arm a missile with it. Our global satellite surveillance would spot that in a second. No way would Iran get that far without our intervention.
Why would Iran want a bomb in the first place? Kenneth Waltz, adjunct professor of Political Science at Columbia University, has pointed out that the more threatened any nation feels, the more they want to defend themselves. An atom bomb is a good deterrent. Well, DOH! Yet the USA has bought the idea that Iran ONLY wants a bomb in order to attack Israel (or us).
That would presume the Iranian leaders are suicidally deranged. If Iran struck first they’d be wiped out. We know that; they know that. Yet we actually think they’re so irrational they’d die for a chance – one chance – to strike at Israel. (I have to ask: who’s the irrational one, them or us?)
Even the former Israeli Intelligence chief Meir Dagan told CBS news, “The regime in Iran is a very rational one.” Other analysts agree with him. True, Ahmadinejad can’t resist mouthing off, but he’s a pretty shrewd cookie otherwise. He and the ayatollahs are experienced politicians who want to survive, not get blasted into radioactive dust.
What’s more, Iran is the only Shi’a Islamic Republic in the world. The Iranian leaders love their country. They believe in it with all their souls. They’ve worked for it, for decades. To engineer its destruction would be unthinkable. So even if they had this mythical bomb, would they use it on a first strike? Not on your nelly.
Some people say Iran might give a bomb to terrorist groups. No, they wouldn’t. COULDN’T. Firstly, they know if the terrorists used it, the US has the capacity to trace the source of fissile material – straight back to Iran. It’s like fingerprints you can’t wipe off.
Secondly, supposing they managed to make a bomb, why would they let it out of their control? If you had one six-shooter with which you were holding off a whole gang that doesn’t like you, would you give the gun to some hothead who’d start blasting away and bring the whole mob down on you? NIX.
Yeah, but Iran “wants to wipe Israel off the map.” Yawn. I’ve heard this so often I’m getting bored. It isn’t even true. It’s an Israeli plant, done through a translation agency. Our own intelligence services have examined Ahmadinejad’s speeches and found he NEVER said he wanted “Israel wiped off the map,” but rather something like “The regime in Jerusalem is bound to disappear from the pages of history.” We know this. Netanyahu knows this. If our Congress critters don’t know this they need to go back to school.
Obama has consistently said, “We won’t let Iran get a bomb.” Romney, however, has been more hawkish. He alternates between saying Iran can’t have a bomb, and that they can’t have the capacity to get a bomb. This is dangerous to us, because “capacity” is such a fluid word. Who defines it? We could agree and Israel might decide tomorrow that Iran’s “capacity” has made a preemptive strike necessary. Romney also said he “respects Israel’s right to bomb Iran.” Feel unsafe. Feel very unsafe.
What if Romney let Israel play Dr. Strangelove and bomb, bomb, bomb Iran? In March of this year, the Pentagon predicted, “An Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities would likely draw the United States into a wider regional war in which hundreds of American forces could be killed. The commonest word used by World leaders to describe a US-Iran war is “disastrous.” You think the economy’s bad now, wait and see what happens to the price of oil with Iran off the market.
Israel loves to say they have the right to defend themselves. Frankly, I think the USA also has a right to defend itself, which in this case would mean telling Israel where to shove their belligerence, and not letting them goad us into another unnecessary war.
In 2007, Defense Secretary Robert Gates spoke of the need not for naval ships but for “a dramatic increase in spending on the civilian instruments of national security – diplomacy, strategic communications, foreign assistance, civic action and economic reconstruction and development.” Remember, this is a guy who knows how to make war, knows the cost in lives, and on balance would rather we solved problems like civilized people rather than send him to war again.
Tea Party people, listen up! Want to cut the budget? A Quaker group, the Friends Committee for National Legislation, FCNL, has published research that shows the cost of war is 60 times as expensive as preventing wars in the first place. Unfortunately, Republicans have already cut the budget for various peace/diplomatic programs, and if they don’t see an immediate use for intelligence they’re likely to cut that, too. You need to vote for Congress critters who’ll restore those programs. And tell ‘em to come off Netanyahu’s Kool-Aid.