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Opinion

Opinion

What not to do about the Iran situation

November 12, 2011

Trudy Rubin is a columnist and editorial board member for the Philadelphia Inquirer.

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— Last spring, Israel’s former spy chief, Meir Dagan, said bombing Iran would be “a stupid idea” for Israel. It would mean regional war and give Iran “the best possible reason to continue its nuclear program.”

Those words hung in the air during an extraordinary media debate here over the last two weeks that preceded the release of a U.N. report giving new evidence of Iranian plans to build nuclear weapons. The debate laid out details on a topic rarely discussed here in public: Should the Jewish state attack Iran before its nuclear program produces a bomb?

The debate was triggered by a column by one of Israel’s best-known journalists, Nahum Barnea. Headlined “Atomic Pressure,” it revealed that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak were pressing reluctant military and intelligence chiefs to agree to an attack on Iran. Other media reports said the two men were trying to persuade a cabinet majority to green-light military action.

A deluge of leaks about recent Israeli long-range missile tests and training exercises followed. Barak even claimed in an interview that Israel would suffer only 500 casualties if Iran retaliated. The debate has calmed down now that the U.N. report is out, with Israeli officials going mum so as not to overshadow its conclusions.

But the question remains: Is Israel really preparing an attack, or was the war talk a bluff aimed at increasing pressure on Tehran in the wake of the U.N. findings? Obviously, no one can be sure. But after two weeks in the region and talks with several knowledgeable Israelis, I’d back the estimate of Avner Cohen, a noted expert on Israel’s nuclear program, who says, “It was 70 to 80 percent bluff, but there were elements of truth.”

Cohen doesn’t believe Israel wants to do anything now but wants “to leverage the [U.N.] report to put maximum pressure on Russia and China to agree to new [U.N. Security Council] sanctions, in order to avoid a war.” (So far Russia and China aren’t convinced, but the reports’ details may lead them to reconsider.)

Barnea, the journalist who provoked the debate, concurs, although he doesn’t think Barak and Netanyahu expected the debate would rage so intensely. He says, “This drama can put some fear in the hearts of the Iranians and lead NATO to conclude Israel is serious. You need this kind of drama to increase the chances that diplomacy will work.”

Whatever the manipulation level, Barnea says: “There is a consensus [in Israel] that the Iran project poses a real danger to Israel and the region and has to be stopped.” As we sat talking, in the Jerusalem YMCA’s peaceful outdoor restaurant, the current calm seemed light-years away from the subject of nuclear terror.

Yet Israelis feel they have to take Iranian denunciations of the Jewish state very seriously (even though many experts doubt Iran would actually use or even produce a nuclear weapon, preferring to use the threat as protection and a symbol of power.) “The Holocaust is part of our DNA,” Barnea added. This is a crucial explanation of the deep Israeli fears about Tehran.

However, despite the consensus on the threat, Barnea says, “there is major opposition [to an Israeli strike] not only among the heads of the security establishment in the past but also their successors.” The reason: A cost/benefit analysis of an Israeli military attack against Iran comes out in the negative.

“Even the optimists say Iran’s nuclear program would not be set back more than 2 to 3 years [by a military attack], and the pessimists say only a few months if at all,” says Cohen. “But a strike would create an Iran much more determined to get nuclear weapons.” Tehran would probably kick out all U.N. weapons inspectors, who make it harder for the Iranian program to operate unchecked.

Iran would also be likely to blockade the Arab Gulf, sending oil prices soaring at a time of global economic troubles.

And in a regional war, Israel would be vulnerable not only to Iranian missiles but also those of Lebanon’s Hezbollah and Gaza’s Hamas (both Iranian allies.)

Moreover, an Israeli attack on Muslim Iran would incite Arab publics in the region at a time when instability is already high. The Saudi and Gulf monarchs may privately urge a (U.S.) strike on Tehran, but what they really want is regime change. And an attack on Iran’s well-buried nuclear program won’t bring that result.

This is why old security hands such as Dagan, who served eight years as head of Mossad (Israel’s CIA), have urged Israel to use covert means — not military action — to prevent an Iranian bomb. The potential price of an Israeli strike is too high for the likely results.

Conversations with Israelis make clear they wish the United States would take a strong lead in confronting Tehran — in pressing for much stronger sanctions (good idea), and possibly with a military attack (bad idea).

The Israeli media drama of the last two weeks put pressure on President Obama to take action. It also encouraged GOP hopefuls Rick Perry and Rick Santorum to back an Israeli strike on Iran (which would inevitably involve us). Before they get carried away, U.S. leaders in both parties should heed Meir Dagan’s caution, and ponder why he thinks that’s a “stupid idea.”

Comments

Ron Holzwarth 3 years, 1 month ago

1) There is nothing as effective as an attack on a country to rally the population behind their current government, no matter how much they hated it only yesterday. And even political rhetoric coming from another country about a possible attack on their country will quickly make a formerly unpopular politician very popular, if there is a perception that he can prevent such an attack.

In all of the press I've read lately about the big bad wolf, it doesn't seem that there has been very much coverage of the popular discontent with the government of Iran anymore. It wasn't that long ago that there was quite a lot of coverage of the unpopularity of the government of Iran among the population, and some speculation about how long it would be until there was another revolution there that would be much more bloody than the one in 1979. Some political analysts estimated that would occur in about a twenty to thirty year time frame.

There are at least two possible reasons for that, and I am clueless as to what is the case. It is possibly because the population of Iran has heard of a possible attack and is now suddenly rallying behind their government because of it, or any discussion that we are hearing about how popular the current government of Iran actually is has been drowned out by all this talk of a possible attack.

We're hearing all these drumbeats of attack and war, and I think that we're hearing it from two sources. One of them is from politicians that want to become more popular, and the other is from those who would benefit from events that further the agenda of political groups and governmental agencies.

By political groups I very loosely mean political parties, and by governmental agencies I very loosely mean the military, and its associated agencies, of the various countries involved. War is very profitable for some. But, it is certainly not profitable for the populations of either country involved.

Talk of war is a self fulfilling prophecy. The more our politicians talk about it, the more talk we hear about it from politicians from countries that we have differences with. And, the more talk we hear about it, the more likely it is to happen.

Ron Holzwarth 3 years, 1 month ago

2) Of course, in some cases, war is absolutely the only alternative.

If that had been recognized when Adolf Hitler, by using the Nazi party which was just obtaining its death grip on the population of Germany, ordered the German Army to invade the Rhineland in flagrant violation of the Locarno Treaties, or later, when when what was happening became even more obvious, that is, when Germany invaded Czechoslovakia in 1939, World War II would not have been played out the way it did.

Instead, there would be only a very few chapters in obscure history books about a very briefly popular politician named Adolf Hitler and his Nazi party that had such an unusual world view. Very few other than history majors in college would have ever heard of him.

And, after witnessing a quick and resounding defeat in Europe, it's not at all unlikely that politicians in Japan would have rethought their futile plans for the expansion of the Empire of Japan.

If war is absolutely necessary, it should be quick, brief, and be more like nipping off the bud of a weed than attacking the base of a mighty oak tree with an ax. But, in my opinion, very few wars are absolutely necessary.

Warning! More incoming opinion! Very few of the wars that the United States is involved in today were ever absolutely necessary, and none that the US has been involved in since World War II have resulted in a quick and resounding victory.

The title of this article sums up exactly what a lot of thought needs to be put into:

"What not to do about the Iran situation"

This is an aside only, I'm not sure this website is authoritative, but it is very interesting:
http://www.mypracticalphilosophy.com/shelp/appeasementhitler.htm

Ron Holzwarth 3 years, 1 month ago

There is a glaring error I just now noticed. The victory at the end of World War II was certainly not "quick".

mloburgio 3 years, 1 month ago

just what we need another war

Number of U.S. Military Personnel Sacrificed (Officially acknowledged) In U.S. War And Occupation Of Iraq 4,801

Number Of Iraqis Slaughtered In US War And Occupation Of Iraq "1,455,590"

Number Of International Occupation Force Troops Slaughtered In Afghanistan : 2,799

Cost of War in Iraq & Afghanistan $1,276,410,229,663

war is not prolife.

Ron Holzwarth 3 years, 1 month ago

That would not be the end of the problem at all.

It is a certainty that would be the start of another war, or I should say bigger war, and considering the political situation in the world today, the only possible name for it would be World War III.

This is something for anyone that considers such an act to be a reasonable thing to do to think about:

The political leadership of a country should never be confused with the private views of the citizens of that country. Anyone that thinks of a country as having one single world view is thinking in a very simplistic fashion. Unfortunately, that seems to be a very common mindset.

Very few, if any, times in recent history, and by that I mean the last 200 years, has the political leadership of a country had 100% support of the population. And in many cases, both historical and present, the popular support of the country's political leaders or its foreign policy has been very, very low. In fact, I am just about, but not quite, ready to say that applies to every country in the world.

But in many cases, the personal views of the population were and are very privately held due to the dire consequences of them becoming known.

Abdu Omar 3 years, 1 month ago

Is this what the State of Israel brings to the world? An attack on everyone who doesn't agree with them? So Iran may (and I said "MAY") have a nuclear weapon but so does other countries even Israel its self. So what? Maybe there will be a little balance there in the Middle East so that Israel will stop building settlements on Palestinian lands or that they will stop their growth by annexing what ever land they want.

Is War all that Israel is about? Why do we support a country that wants to engage in war all the time? There cannot be peace until all parties want peace. Their whole approach to statehood was through conflict and this conflict is what keeps them from their own security. You can't have security when you want war all the time.

Ron Holzwarth 3 years, 1 month ago

It's really awful that any Israeli citizen that happens to be a Palestinian (there are about one million of them, and the population of Israel is under eight million) have just as much right as any other Israeli citizen to buy property anywhere in Israel whether or not it was built on "occupied territories", that any Muslim in Jordan that knowingly sells any property to a Jewish person might be subjected to the death penalty, that 75% of the citizens of Jordan call themselves Palestinians, and that no one that has "Israel" stamped on their passport can enter Saudi Arabia.

None of it makes any sense to me.

But I'm not a Muslim, maybe that's why I don't understand it.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 1 month ago

Palestinian citizens of Israel don't have the same rights as other Israelis. One example--if they marry a Palestinian who lives in Gaza or Jordan, that spouse will not be allowed to live in Israel.

"and that no one that has "Israel" stamped on their passport can enter Saudi Arabia. "

Millions of Palestinians who were driven from their homes in what is now Israel are not allowed into Israel.

Abdu Omar 3 years, 1 month ago

No other Muslim country wanted more Jews for fear they would do the same as they have done to the Territories. Muslims by Quranic mandate do not hate Jews or want to war with them as supposed by many. Muslims have been the brunt of the injustice of Jews moving into the Territories and taking any land they wanted. Sure, some sold land to Jewish people, but it was in self defense. If they didn't sell it, they would be bulldozed and the inhabitants of the house would be shot or imprisoned. There is no justice there for Arabs. No justice creates a lot of strife and war.

But the article is about the Israeli determination to bomb Iran because Iran supposedly has nuclear power. So what if they do. So does Israel its self and no one want to bomb Israel for that reason. It is in self defense that Iran would have nuclear power, but Israel is afraid of extinction. If they were to create a peaceful country where they abandon their occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, maybe there could be a true settlement for all.

But "Bibi" keeps building in hopes of making that land part of Israel. That is imperialism and that is why there is no peace treaty.

jhawkinsf 3 years, 1 month ago

w-o, You're confusing many issues. First, Jews bought land in Palestine decades prior to the creation of the State of Israel. They bought land from Arab landowners who then didn't like the increasing Jewish presence and then responded with increasing violence. The Jews had no bulldozers at that time. Israel did not yet exist. No one was suggesting that Muslim countries should take more Jews. In the past, you've denied that Jews were expelled from Arab counties. That's simply not true. They were expelled in slightly greater numbers than Palestinians were expelled from their homes at the creation of Israel. While both were wrong, it amounted to essentially an even property swap. I'm sure the Koran does say wonderful things about how people should be treated. So does the Bible. Unfortunately, people have flaws and they don't always act the way our good books tell us. Jews mistreat Muslims, Muslims mistreat Christians, Christians mistreat Jews. We all mistreat each other. It's sad, but true. But the specific problem with Iran is their material support for organizations like Hezbollah and Hamas. Their supplying of weapons fuels the continuing conflict. The fear is that an Iran with nuclear weapons greatly increases the risk that those weapons will fall into the hands of people who will actually use them. It's not like the leadership within Iran speaks with any rationality, holocaust denial, "no gays in Iran", those sorts of things. Many countries have nuclear weapons. Some, we have great fears that they will use them. North Korea comes to mind. Other countries we have confidence that they will be used only in the most extreme circumstances. Those countries have a history of restraint. Iran falls into the former category. Israel the latter. They should be treated accordingly.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 1 month ago

"But the specific problem with Iran is their material support for organizations like Hezbollah and Hamas."

The combined total support to these two groups is many orders of magnitude less than what Israel gets from the US, and Israel uses it to much more violent and deadly effect against Palestinians, Lebanese, and anyone else they choose to target.

But given your general predilection for double standards with regards to all things Israel, I'm not surprised you didn't mention it.

jhawkinsf 3 years, 1 month ago

Your comment above mentions discrimination that Palestinians face in Israel. It's true. The unfortunate fact is that there is discrimination in every country on this planet. Yet you mention Israel only and complain that I support everything Israel. I said it was unfortunate. You're the one silent when it comes to all other acts of discrimination and mention just one. Why? As my comment to w_o states, Israel has some advantages as do the Arab states. The problem continues that most Arab states along with Hamas, Hezbollah and other organizations are dedicated to the destruction of Israel. Unless you'd care to name the Arab leaders and name the Arab counties willing to accept Israel. I do know it's not Iran, (not Arab, but Persian, and overwhelming Muslim).

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 1 month ago

"Unless you'd care to name the Arab leaders and name the Arab counties willing to accept Israel."

Can you name one Israeli leader (one who has any actual power) who really wants peace, and is willing to make the difficult compromises it will take to achieve it?

Fact is, the majority of people on both sides of this conflict want peace, but both sides are stuck with factions preferring the violent status quo, and they are in a position to perpetuate the endless cycle of violence.

But you're stuck blaming Arabs/Muslims for this stalemate, unwilling to admit that Israel is just as guilty of terrorism, ethnic cleansing and bigotry as the other side is.

jayhawkinsf 3 years, 1 month ago

Israel has a history. Some it good. Some not. What Israel does have is a history of making peace with it's neighbors. It's done it with Egypt and Jordan. Peace has not been achieved with Syria, Lebanon and the Palestinians. Israel has elected leaders willing to make peace when it seemed possible and they've elected hardline leaders when peace didn't seem possible. It should be noted that it was one of those hardline leaders who achieved peace with Egypt. That's fact that can't be disputed. Now, who were those Arab leaders willing to make peace with Israel. In which country is the Arab Street overwhelming majority ready and willing to make peace? Egypt has it's history. Syria has it's history. And so do the Palestinians.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 1 month ago

"They bought land from Arab landowners who then didn't like the increasing Jewish presence and then responded with increasing violence."

The most hardline Zionists went into that region with every intention of expelling all Arabs/Muslims. They weren't entirely successful, but they still control Israel, and they won't rest until Eretz Israel is a reality, with no Arabs or Muslims of any kind.

"They were expelled in slightly greater numbers than Palestinians were expelled from their homes at the creation of Israel. While both were wrong, it amounted to essentially an even property swap."

The Palestinians didn't expel any of these folks, and they got diddly squat for the land that Israel stole from them. There was no "property swap."

jhawkinsf 3 years, 1 month ago

Your interpretation of history is wrong. The majority of Jews that bought land prior to Israel's existence were not hard line Zionists but were people who made great efforts to seek peaceful accommodation with their neighbors. The Palestinian Uprisings in the 1920's-30's ended hope for peaceful accommodation. Support of Germany's Nazi policies by religious and and civic leaders further eroded the possibility of peaceful co-existence when the territory was flooded with Jewish refugees after WW II. And while it's your goal to separate the Palestinians from other Arab groups, it's certainly not easy to do that. I've stated before that a regional peace is not possible without a resolution of the Palestinian conflict and a resolution of the Palestinian conflict is not possible without a regional peace. Israel fought many wars against multiple Arab armies and their need for regional conflict must be considered. The Palestinians were not innocent bystanders. Palestinians are Arabs and to separate the two may be something Palestinians (and you) might want to do. In response, I'd say no thank you.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 1 month ago

"The Palestinians were not innocent bystanders."

And neither were Jews/Israelis, no matter how much you want to pretend they were.

"Palestinians are Arabs and to separate the two may be something Palestinians (and you) might want to do."

Of course you don't. That provides a convenient rationale for punishing Palestinians for the actions of others.

jhawkinsf 3 years, 1 month ago

I no more want to separate the actions of Jews/Israelis from each other as I do Arabs/Palestinians. If I were to suggest that it was the Irgun and Haganah that expelled Palestinians, and then claimed Israel bore no responsibility, that would be a word game. It would be disingenuous and intellectually dishonest. If you choose to separate the actions of Arabs from Palestinians, I'd make the same claim. Both are true. Or, if your argument prevails, neither is true. But you can't have it both ways.

Ron Holzwarth 3 years, 1 month ago

And no one even mentions the Chinese invasion of Tibet and the continuing occupation there, although Tibet is a MUCH larger country with a MUCH larger population. I wonder why.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 1 month ago

The US doesn't sponsor that invasion with $3billion a year, either.

jayhawkinsf 3 years, 1 month ago

"That provides a convenient rationale punishing Palestinians for the actions of others".
There's a flaw in your reasoning. You say that the land belonged to the Palestinians for centuries, except of course when it didn't. The West Bank was used as a launching point for attacks into Israel. The land was controlled by Jordan. So did the land belong to the Palestinians or not? Or was the occupation of the West Bank by Jordan similar to Germany's "occupation" of Austria? Who the hell is in charge of that land and what are they doing with it? And with that all up in the air, you want Israel to withdraw and give the land to people who clearly state they will continue fighting until Israel is driven into the sea. Except that some people don't believe that. Some people do want peace, but no one is really sure who's in charge and what they will do with that land. Will it be again be used as a launching pad, will it be used by Hamas and like minded groups to continue the fight? Or will those who want peace prevail? You're playing a shell game. Israel was attacked from that land and it doesn't really matter if it was Jordan or the Palestinians. By the way, in the month prior to the 1967 war, Jordan had largely turned over command of their armed forces to Egyptians. Maybe we can include them in this shell game.
The bottom line is that until security can be guaranteed, the Palestinians won't get the West Bank for their homeland. Meanwhile, the reality on the ground becomes more and more real. With bad consequences for both sides.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 1 month ago

"Ben-Gurion said he wanted to "concentrate the masses of our people in this country [Palestine] and its environs."[21] When he proposed accepting the Peel proposals in 1937, which included a Jewish state in part of Palestine, Ben-Gurion told the twentieth Zionist Congress, "The Jewish state now being offered to us is not the Zionist objective. [...] But it can serve as a decisive stage along the path to greater Zionist implementation. It will consolidate in Palestine, within the shortest possible time, the real Jewish force, which will lead us to our historic goal.[22] In a discussion in the Jewish Agency he said that he wanted a Jewish-Arab agreement "on the assumption that after we become a strong force, as a result of the creation of the state, we shall abolish partition and expand to the whole of Palestine.""

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_Israeli–Palestinian_conflict

And his ideological/nationalist successors still control Israel.

Ron Holzwarth 3 years, 1 month ago

I try to never use Wikipedia as an authority on any serious subject.

Ron Holzwarth 3 years, 1 month ago

"abandon their occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem"??? An experiment was done at the Gaza Strip. Result = Disaster!

Ron Holzwarth 3 years, 1 month ago

Clipped from: http://www.mythsandfacts.com/conflict/mandate_for_palestine/mandate_for_palestine.htm

"The Origin and Nature of the “Mandate for Palestine”

The “Mandate for Palestine,” an historical League of Nations document, laid down the Jewish legal right to settle anywhere in western Palestine, a 10,000-square-miles3 area between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.

The legally binding document was conferred on April 24, 1920 at the San Remo Conference, and its terms outlined in the Treaty of Sèvres on August 10, 1920. The Mandate’s terms were finalized and unanimously approved on July 24, 1922, by the Council of the League of Nations, which was comprised at that time of 51 countries,4 and became operational on September 29, 1923.5

The “Mandate for Palestine” was not a naive vision briefly embraced by the international community in blissful unawareness of Arab opposition to the very notion of Jewish historical rights in Palestine. The Mandate weathered the test of time: On April 18, 1946, when the League of Nations was dissolved and its assets and duties transferred to the United Nations, the international community, in essence, reaffirmed the validity of this international accord and reconfirmed that the terms for a Jewish National Home were the will of the international community, a “sacred trust” – despite the fact that by then it was patently clear that the Arabs opposed a Jewish National Home, no matter what the form."

Ron Holzwarth 3 years, 1 month ago

The number of Qassam rockets that have landed in Israel within the last week should make it quite obvious who wants to have a war.

But press coverage only occurs when Israel responds to the rockets that are landing there every week, which leads to amazing misconceptions as to exactly who wants to have a war.

You can't really blame the public media though. Arab attacks on Israel are so common that they simply are not news anymore.

jhawkinsf 3 years, 1 month ago

w_o, You call for a little balance. That sounds nice. But in that region, there is one small Jewish country with a small population and limited natural resources. One the other side there are multiple Arab and Muslim countries with many, many times the land, population and natural resources. Add to that the fact that many counties outside the region are dependent upon the resources that come from that region and then you add the fact that Israel feels it has been under siege since it's inception and what you have is the exact opposite of the balance you call for. Of course, on the other side of the scales of balance Israel possesses nuclear weapons and the threat that they might use them should some very extreme circumstance arise in the future. It's interesting that you call for a little balance where Israel holds an advantage, yet there is no call for balance in the areas where Arabs and Muslims hold a distinct advantage. The net result of what you advocate would be the opposite of balance.

Ron Holzwarth 3 years, 1 month ago

Old Jewish joke: Oh Lord, why did you lead us through the desert for 40 years to the only place in the Middle East that has no oil?

Abdu Omar 3 years, 1 month ago

My suggestion of balance cannot take into consideration that there are many Arab countries surrounding Israel. They knew that from the beginning and took the risk anyway because the USA was going to support them. It was a foolish idea to forge ahead on an idea that a few Jews will make enough hell for the occupants of the area to form a new country. they wanted to try to displace the inhabitants there no matter the cost. Their goal is to occupy the area between the Nile River and the Euphrates. That is a lot of land for a few million Jews, don't you think and they didn't consider for a second what would happen to the inhabitants there. It was there way or death and millions of Palestinians have perish because of the war the Israelis started.

If Israel didn't want a war, they would have occupied other areas open to them for their homeland. They could have had many places that are without political boundaries in several places in the world, but they wanted Palestinian lands that was part of the Ottoman Empire. This was their choice and now they are the victims? They push themselves into a territory and claim they are the ones hurt and need assistance from the world. They are bullies and they are hard headed people wanting something that isn't theirs. When a few rockets come into their territory, they scream bloody murder. But when they cut down olive trees or fruit orchards that have been there for millinia, they claim it was their own land.

Ron Holzwarth 3 years, 1 month ago

There are so many historical inaccuracies and dumbfounding conclusions in that posting that I almost fainted. There is no way to address them all.

I certainly do understand your decision to remain anonymous.

Ron Holzwarth 3 years, 1 month ago

Why should Obama think about it? It's all over, it's done, he already won the Nobel Peace Prize.

geekin_topekan 3 years, 1 month ago

Why did Hussein deny access to facilities? Because he didnt want Iran to know that he had no nukes.

Why is Iran using the same tactic?

The same tactic....

Ron Holzwarth 3 years, 1 month ago

Never know, you could be absolutely correct. We certainly wouldn't want everyone to know that our police force was patrolling the streets with plastic toy pistols if that was the case.

Richard Heckler 3 years, 1 month ago

Is Iran's program the business of the USA? Home to many many many many nuclear warheads.

The USA government invaded Iraq based on lies by the Bush admin. The USA government is basically invading at will oil rich countries. Then again Iran has another attractive resource to the USA = tons of natural gas.

The USA government has this policy of convincing USA citizens that others are evil without the hard evidence. Politicians and their appointed officials are are not reliable sources.

Bush family of politicians seem evil in my eyes based on their destruction of financial institutions and economies which has devastated the lives of millions of families and individuals. Then there are the many lies about Iraq. Then there is the Reagan/Bush secret weapons deal with Iran aka Iran Contra weapons smuggling operation.

Setting up a nuclear facility is neither easy nor can be hidden. Supplies for such can only be purchased through a limited number of sources in which most all other nuke powers know if or when a transaction is taking place.

Instead of stealing others natural resources by war or threat of war why not make arrangements to purchase? USA and British oil interests do not need to own all other oil and natural gas sources.

Pushing nuke power throughout the world is pushing nuke weapons throughout the world. The USA government needs to clean up OUR own backyard and put people back to work instead of wasting OUR money on violent foreign policy!!!

Richard Heckler 3 years, 1 month ago

How does running an oil pipeline from Iraq to Israel ports represent diplomacy? It does not.

What it represents is a nuke protected loading dock in Israel.

Do americans want to pay out zillions of dollars annually for our military to protect an american interest aka wealthy USA oil industry? Why not simply purchase oil from Iraq citizens?

Ron Holzwarth 3 years, 1 month ago

I just now read another interesting commentary article on the same subject. Here's a couple excepts from it, clipped from: http://news.yahoo.com/irans-ali-khamenei-threatens-u-israel-big-slap-225800740.html

"Between non-specific remarks out of Washington and the non-stop saber rattling by Israel, Tehran is getting a little antsy lately."

"All this military posturing is really sad in today's world. GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul called for engagement with the Iranians, and it would be a good way to start having a different type of conversation. Unfortunately, the Iranian government isn't accustomed to friendship -- they simply like being the bully on the block. Iran could learn a lesson by remembering that there are times when the biggest kid on the block meets an even bigger one. It applies to the world stage as much as it does to your neighborhood. "

This is more commentary, but this is mine:

The analogy of "The biggest kid on the block" could apply to quite a few other countries. The foreign policy of larger nations always affects the internal policies of smaller nations.

Ron Holzwarth 3 years, 1 month ago

"probably after Iran fires the first nuke"?

Firing the first nuke would be such a stupid thing for the leaders if Iran to do because all of the major cities of Iran would be obliterated within 24 hours.

"For demonstration purposes only."

Ron Holzwarth 3 years, 1 month ago

Maybe it's because I'm prejudiced. I've known many Iranians, and every single one of them was a very rational person.

Ron Holzwarth 3 years, 1 month ago

That's what I've gathered from my reading on the subject also. I addressed that topic in the second paragraph of the first posting following the article.

jayhawkinsf 3 years, 1 month ago

After 9/11, there were celebrations throughout the region. Not in Iran. There was genuine, heartfelt expressions of sympathy from the Iranian people. It's hard to imagine a greater disconnect between the people of a country and it's leadership.

Ron Holzwarth 3 years, 1 month ago

My great great grandparents were living in Russia in 1917 when the revolution was hijacked by the Communists. They represented only a minority viewpoint, but they managed to take complete control. A very similar sequence of events took place in Iran after 1979.

My great great grandparents left Russia in 1917 and came here real, real fast, while it was still possible to do so.

Another point: There are quite a few people from Iran living in the USA that refuse to call themselves "Iranians". Instead, they consider themselves to be "Persians". Persia was the official name of the country until 1935.

And, Iran was the very first, and I believe the only one ever, predominately Muslim country that extended full diplomatic and normal relations with Israel.

That ended with the Islamic revolution of 1979. After that, you could say the decent began back to the Middle Ages, but that's not a correct statement. The problem is that with a fundamentalist interpretation of the Koran, it's not the Middle Ages that they went back to. The Middle Ages generally are thought of as beginning about 1200 AD, but fundamentalist Muslims are way, way back to 700 AD.

Until there is a reformation of the Islamic faith, such as occurred in the Christian church in the 1500s, which today is referred to as the Protestant Reformation, Islam will be a thorn infecting the world.

It's interesting to compare the religious texts of Judaism and Islam.

In about the year 700 AD, the Talmud was completed. It is very long, approximately the length of the Encyclopedia Britannica. That is, in 20 volumes it mostly discuss ethics and morals. Exactly what form the afterlife might take, if there is one, is hardly discussed at all, but there is very brief mention of it.

Just about that same time, Mohammed dictated the Koran, since he could not write himself. It's a very short book that talks a lot about war, conquest, Paradise, and Hell.

And yet, Muslims consider their culture to be superior!

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