Monday, July 24, 2006

# Posted 12:31 AM by Ariel David Adesnik  

BOMB IRAN NOW? In the first of two editorials in the current issue of the Standard (the other one being about stem cells) , Bill Kristol writes that:
We might consider countering this act of Iranian aggression [via Hezbollah] with a military strike against Iranian nuclear facilities. Why wait? Does anyone think a nuclear Iran can be contained? That the current regime will negotiate in good faith? It would be easier to act sooner rather than later. Yes, there would be repercussions--and they would be healthy ones, showing a strong America that has rejected further appeasement.
And yet Robert Kagan argues that it would be far wiser to act later rather than sooner. In last week's Post, Kagan wrote that:
The likely failure of diplomacy [with Iran] would not deter Bush from pursuing it, however. If and when it failed, he would be able to choose the military course, and no fair person could accuse him of not having tried to bring the world along to do what had to be done.
If I stand with Kagan, then I'd say that my credentials as a hawk are still impeccable. Let's take care of Iraq, Afghanistan and Hezbollah before targeting Iran.
(9) opinions -- Add your opinion

[i]Let's take care of Iraq, Afghanistan and Hezbollah before targeting Iran.[/i]

Why fight against proxies like al-Sadr, Bayan Jabr, Hassan Nasrallah, Mullah Omar, etc. that defeat us merely by existing when you can go straight to their supplier of money and arms? (In Mullah Omar and the Taliban's case, I realize it's almost all Pakistan's ISI rather than Teheran, but the rest of them are pretty clearly at least getting funding from Teheran.)

I think it's pretty evident if you look at who we are "losing" to and where they are getting their funding that we are already at war with Iran - it's just an asymmetric war being fought by proxy and the occasional IRGC minder in Lebanon and Iraq and Israel and possibly Palestine right now.

Now, I don't want to claim that shutting off the funding and arms support from the IRGC would end any of these other conflicts overnight, but as long as the benchmark for victory is an end to violence between everyone in a country with as many different armed factions as Iraq and a democratic government where none had previously existed, we clearly aren't likely to succeed, and ceratinly never will as long as we allow the enemy a base of operations.

But shucks, as long as we're unwilling to use decisive force against the Shi'ite death squads and Islamist militias in Iraq - even when they attack us as al-Sadr did 2 years ago in Najaf and Kufa - I'm not expecting us to respond to Iran's blatant 25-year old casus belli against us.

Then of course, I suppose I could just wait 5-10 years until Iran gets a nuclear weapon and these little cross-border excursions and rocket attacks by the likes of Hizb'allah against Israel, or maybe Saudi Arabia and their oil facilities, occur continuously and ever-escalatingly under Iran's nuclear shield with only three possible responses A) Back down every time B) Attack conventionally and hope Iran doesn't use nuclear weapons or C) Attack with a nuclear first-strike.

So yeah, I guess I'm saying I disagree with you.
Oh and as for - "If and when it (diplomacy) failed, he would be able to choose the military course, and no fair person could accuse him of not having tried to bring the world along to do what had to be done."

That statement is pretty laughable. Not only because I'm pretty sure we don't have an acceptable middle ground to us and the IRGC, and thus are effectively destined to be enemies. But also because, in the context of Iraq, and not to open that whole can of worms again, but we had a fairly long diplomatic build-up with a number of UN resolutions and world support, much more than we can hope to get on Iran. Third because I have no idea why what a fair minded person thinks matters in dealing with foreign policy, let alone the Middle East, when everyone else is playing power politics.
There's no way we can allow Iran to have a nuclear bomb..
That will change everything in the middle east.

It's up to US and the international community to take care of that, but if not, look what happened to Iraqi nuclear reactor ;)

- Michael
Does anyone really think that diplomacy has NOT failed vis-a-vis Iran? The diplomatic way of dealing with that regime came to a screeching crashing end when they violated diplomatic premises and kidnapped diplomats for over a year and nothing happened to them as a result. Thanks, "Jimmy"!
"If and when it failed, he would be able to choose the military course, and no fair person could accuse him of not having tried to bring the world along to do what had to be done."

Prediction: Bush will spend at least a year on diplomatic efforts, if not more, and if military efforts follow, lots of people who will claim to be fair will blame the hell out of him.

See: "Iraq"
I think when the time comes the American President (whoever it is by then) will be supported by the people who opposed the Iraq war.

Except those who had just been killed by Iran's nuclear strike on New York or Los Angeles.
I agree with David on this one, rather than with Mr. Kristol. Im not sure it makes sense to wait till we have completely won in Iraq, to the extent the problems in Iraq are precisely being caused by Iran. But I think right now, with diplomacy helping strengthen our coalition, and other things moving around the world (and the US military gradually expanding) this is not the optimal time for war with Iran. (Obviously if reliable intell suggest that Iran is weeks from a bomb, that would change things).

I would say that this is a good example of the difference between liberal hawks like Beinart-Adesnik, and neocons like Kristol. Kristol seems to place almost no value on the strengthening of US-Euro relations that US policy under Rice has achieved.
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