We make the strike, knowing we have to, and don't worry about retaliation.
Submitted by James Vesce (United States), Jun 18, 2007 at 12:29
Brilliant comment. I suspect you've done this before. I'll try and cut to the chase in my reply.
Iranian retaliation for a pre-emptive strike, if any retaliation were to actually occur after we surgically cut off the head of the religous-governmental hydra and removed its claws, would be the price of pre-emption. That price would be less than the price of failing to pre-empt.
We can turn away from this, because we're tired of Iraq and tired of Afghanistan, and because we've been morally and ethically hog-tied by facing a global jihad where our enemies use civilian combatants and the enemy leaders are religious leaders, but it won't go away, and we are going to get bloody one way or another. Their little kids have guns and will shoot us. Their women, in civilian attire, will strap on bombs and blow themselves up in our midst. The bad guys hide in civilian neighborhoods and launch missiles from the cover of human shields.
We're not used to fighting such an enemy, and it makes us uncomfortable, but that's the enemy we face and we'll be destroyed by that enemy if we don't defeat them first. They're using our highest ideals against us, and we have to decide "if we're willing to take the head shot, while looking at their eyes". We may not like it, and the eyes may haunt us for the rest of our lives, but it's come to that.
Face the facts: even if we don't have a photo of an actual warhead, the physics of nuclear power generation and the physics of nuclear weapons and the economics of weapons delivery systems all lead to the inescapable conclusion that Iran is building nuclear warheads. They have spent a bundle of money on a missile system that can deliver nukes to Israel and Europe and Central Asia. The missiles would only be a reasonable investment if they had nuclear warheads, because it would be a waste of money using them to deliver conventional warheads that could be delivered less expensively by other means. There is no reason for Iran to be manufacturing weapons grade uranium, such as the U-235 we know they are making in the hidden underground spaces of the Natanz uranium enrichment complex, except making weapons. Power generation doesn't require weapons grade enriched uranium, and making it is much more costly than making the isotopes that are useful for nuclear power generation.
If we don't destroy their nuclear weapons projects, we'll be in the situation of having a nuclear gun held to our heads by a Shia government and by a Shia clergy who have repeatedly, and recently, vowed to destroy Israel and the USA.
Dealing with a nuclear Iran would be worse than dealing with the Soviet Union, whom we could at least talk to with some understanding that somewhere on the other end of the dialogue there were Soviets who had the capacity to reason, and who understood the value of life and the value of civilization as we know it. Facing a nuclear Iran we'd be dealing with an irrational Iran driven by a religion of hatred and a love of death.
We cannot negotiate with Iran. They don't want to negotiate. When we try to negotiate they either make impossible demands that we submit to Islam (which they've done, and repeated, and explained, so they can "legally" engage in violent jihad, and so other sects in Islam will have a basis in their jurisprudence for allowing it), or they lie and cannot be trusted. They are willing to destroy the world in the process of making their point, and they've never demonstrated otherwise since 1979.
So, assume we destroy every hidden, underground uranium enrichment facility, and every missile launch resource they have. Also assume we target the leading clergy who demand all the current Iranian jihadist madness, and we also target the radical Shia government jihadists in the Ahmadinejad clique.
After all that, which we can easily do with conventional weapons, or with "baby nukes" if we have to (we have to assume that our Intel may disclose a situation where conventional weapons may simply be inadequate), who the heck would be left to launch a retaliation?
Large numbers of young Iranians have been forcibly conscripted into going along with the dreadful social practices of ultraconservative Shia Islam in recent years, especially in the colleges and universities, but those young Iranians still remember freedom and reason. They value, and long for, lives of freedom and reason. They respect the value of secular knowledge for the sake of secular knowledge. They see a future for them, in strict Shia Islam, of pain and ignorance and slavery, and they don't want that future. They don't believe this silly stuff about martyrdom and paradise. They've seen plenty of erotica on the Internet and downloaded it onto their cell phones, and now there's an alternative to the repressed sexuality of conservative Shia Islam.
They don't buy the party line about how martyrs don't even feel the pain of death, because they have computers and they have cell phones and they have read books, so they know that's a pretty bogus idea. They are quite simply just not primitive enough or ignorant enough to buy into a religious ideology that only seems plausible to ignorant and primitive people. They want a new government, and a modern culture. If we give them the opportunity, they'll make a new Iran, and the new Iran won't retaliate against us for getting rid of their religious ideological slave masters.
The nations of Sunni Islam recognize that Iran's missile system can also reach them. Jordan, in particular, recognizes a serious threat from Iran because many Shia clerics in Iran argue that Jordan's king should be Shia, due to his ancestral lineage, and protest that his Sunni faith is apostasy or blasphemy. Sunni nations may squeal a little if we pop Iran, but they won't really mind, and they'll thank us in their private conversations. Al Qaeda seeks the annihilation of Shia Islam, though they have a politically expedient practice of denying that agenda for the present, and the written master plan for al Qaeda in Iraq that we found called for the US and Israel to attack Iran, so they would complain but they wouldn't really mind.
Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".
Reader comments (187) on this item
Comment on this item
Support Daniel Pipes' work with a tax-deductible donation to the Middle East Forum. Daniel J. Pipes