Commentary By Ron Beasley
OTB's Doug Mataconis and I never agree on any thing economic or domestic - he is after all an immature Randian A-hole. That said we usually do agree on foreign policy and war. He has a good post today on the rumors of an attack on Iran's nuclear installations.
So, expect the drumbeat of war to begin pounding again from the usual quarters. As far as the Israelis are concerned, there are obvious reasons to be concerned about a nuclear Iran, or a non-nuclear Iran for that matter. The rhetoric coming from Ahmedinejad and Khameni, along with the regime�s support for Hamas and Hezbollah, makes them a serious threat to the safety and security of Israeli citizens, and Israeli interests in other parts of the world. At the same time, though, it�s fairly clear that an attack on Iran wouldn�t be the cakewalk that some on the right seem to think it would be:
Iran�s forces may not be up to much but, with the help of Hamas and Hezbollah, they could wreak havoc. British and US troops in Afghanistan would be exposed to even greater danger than they are now � their bases in the Gulf, notably in Qatar and Bahrain, would be easy targets. The Strait of Hormuz, the entrance to the Gulf, the canal through which more than 50% of the world�s oil is shipped, would be closed. What would arise from the ashes?
Some may say that is a price worth paying to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. The suggestion is that there is a �window� now that would enable Israel on its own to strike Iran�s nuclear sites. Next year, the �window� would be left open to the US (and the UK) before Iran�s nuclear weapons reached the point of no return.
Such reasoning, if this is what it can be called, is that of the dangerous fool. How crushed and devastated would Iran have to be before it could no longer restart a nuclear programme, even one just involving fissile material as a weapon for terrorists?
Why attack, or even threaten to attack, a country whose leaders are increasingly worried, more worried, about the state of the economy and internal dissent than any perceived threat from Israel? Iran is a far more sophisticated and divided society than the picture generally painted in the west.
If the Republicans push an attack on Iran as part of their campaign they are swimming upstream politically. They are already in a mine field when the criticize the Iraq withdrawal - 75% of the voters approve. Two thirds of the voters want us out of Afghanistan. You would have to be insane to think the American people would support a new war. Of course we have seen nothing that would indicate that today's Republican party is sane.
This talk of war is nonsense - it's not going to happen. I would really prefer that Iran did not have nuclear weapons but the same can be said for Israel. Pakistan and India - one more really won't matter and might actually be an additional deterrent. Certainly not worth going to war for.