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Monday, February 05, 2007

War on Iran? Good idea to be prepared!

Over at MEDIATED Curt writes an entry titled "War on Iran? Bad idea!"

War is always a bad idea. But preparation is not, as we have proven many times in our countries history and as history shows over and over. W's only answer has not been war - we forget little things like his offer to Saddam Hussein - who at that time was not looked upon favorably by the entire non-middleeastern world - to allow him to leave Iraq and save his country all this turmoil. He gave is typical response - NO! Does he carry any burden for the deaths so far? W's also took his time - many months - before attacking Iraq and had the approval of Congress and even the United Nations, after months of attempting to negotiate. How quickly we forget!

Michael Barone gives us a typical insightful analysis of why preparation for war is the rational thing to do. As he points out, Iran has been at war with us for the past 27 years! How quickly we forget!

Read MEDIATED and Michael Barone and post your thoughts on the subject - it is the most important international subject on our plate (yes, even more important than Iraq!).


Blogger Curt said...

Let me comment on a few points here.

Your example of W's demand for Saddam to leave is a pretty heavy-handed foreign policy. It seems to say "do whatever the U.S. demands or else." I realize that we have the military might to carry it out, but that doesn't make it a necessarily effective approach, nor is it always feasible for the U.S. to carry out the threat.

With regard to Iran: let's say that our number one goal is to ensure that Iran has no nuclear weapons. The question is then what policy can achieve the goal with least cost to the U.S., including the long-term consequences.

I see at least three possibilities:

1. A military strike. I think this is a poor choice for reasons I laid out in my Mediated post. It might remove the threat for now, but would unleash a lot of future threats, so I think it's not a very effective approach.

2. Attempt to negotiate to a satisfactory position. This might be an inspection regime. (Let's remember that inspectors were basically correct about Iraq.) Perhaps this would not work, but is it worth trying - I think so. The administration does not appear to be willing to try this. Instead they use the heavy-handed approach and tell Iran to do as the U.S. says and then we'll talk.

3. Economic and other sanctions. Would hurt the people of the country but it's unclear whether it would achieve the goal.

Let's also remember that if be go back a bit further in time, in 1953 the CIA funded a coup in Iran, which sowed the seeds for long-term hostility against the U.S. Do we want to keep repeating that pattern?

7:31 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

W was not heavy handed at all! It would have been had he - out of the blue - said that to the leader of another country. But Iraq had violated UN imposed rules, not US, for 11 or 12 years, fired on US and British planes enforcing UN rules on a regular basis, and had convinced the world (yes, nearly everyone in the world believed this, please don't forget this) that he was developing nuclear weapons!

We made clear we were going to stop all of this, and he could have simply taken his billions to Switzerland and lived a good life until his natural death. He would have been very happy, the Iraqis would have been very happy and many less would have died (most likely). Seems to me we should hold him responsible.

It may tell us something about Islam and the Middle East, although Saddam was not a religious leader.

Re: Iran. How do you negotiate with someone who has said specifically that they want to destroy you? Economic sanctions to offset this attitude would have to do more damage to the people than a war! Comments?

8:52 AM  
Blogger Curt said...

On Iran: put yourself in their shoes for a moment... why should they negotiate with us when the U.S. President has called them the 'axis of evil.' So both sides have reasons for distrust.

Not unlike the situation between the U.S. and Russia through the cold war. Yet we found a relatively peaceful way out of that situation (along the way, admittedly, were some very close calls and lots of war planning), and did negotiate with them on various issues.

I agree with you about the economic sanctions, as I wrote.

So I'll turn it back to you. If we assume that the Iranians won't simply do as we say, do you see any way out of the situation other than military strike? And if not, do you think that will reliably achieve any long term security goals?

10:29 AM  
Blogger Jim said...

Your moral equivalency is astonishing!

Here is Ahmadinejad on October 26, 2005:

"Ahmadinejad quoted a remark from Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini, the founder of Iran's Islamic revolution, who said that Israel "must be wiped out from the map of the world."
The president then said: "And God willing, with the force of God behind it, we shall soon experience a world without the United States and Zionism," according to a quote published by IRNA."

Read entire article at:


And this from a guy who is committed to get nukes!

W said the following:

"States like these, and their terrorist allies, constitute an axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world. By seeking weapons of mass destruction, these regimes pose a grave and growing danger. They could provide these arms to terrorists, giving them the means to match their hatred. They could attack our allies or attempt to blackmail the United States. In any of these cases, the price of indifference would be catastrophic."

Read his 2002 State of the Union here:


Ahmadinejad is predicting an action on Iran's part.

Bush is simply stating an opinion, and pointing out we should not be indifferent. Ahmadinejsd's quote in 2005 makes W's comment precient!


The Soviet Union is not a good analogy. They had nuclear weapons and we could do nothing but negotiate. We can be proactive with Iran and save ourselves another cold war.

I cannot, and you should not, assume Iran will not do what they say. The question should be: "What if they do what they say?" Lot's of downside with that scenario. W has taken an oath to protect all of us, and he cannot take such a chance!

I think war with Iran would not be a positive event. I also think we should talk softly (as W is, and Ahmadinejad certainly is not), AND CARRY A BIG STICK! My prediction is this will force Iran's leaders to capitulate on their nuclear desires. They know what could happen to them in an all-out war with the West, and perhaps the people would rise up if threatened with this alternative.

I think this scenario, along with our potential success in Iraq, could put the middle east and Islam on the right track to joining the modern world and moving ahead together.

Worth a try, isn't it?

1:11 PM  
Blogger Curt said...

I certainly agree that the most desireable outcome is that Iran backs down, and hopefully that their own people force a more moderate path. Perhaps the threat of the Big Stick will make it happen.

But I worry that if something causes the Big Stick to come down, it will bring a poor long-term outcome for both the U.S. and Iran. It's worth doing quite a lot to avoid bad outcomes.

3:25 PM  
Blogger Jim said...


You worry too much. You have to do what looks best now, and the future will take care of itself!

6:35 PM  

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