More Rumors of Pre-Emptive Iran Strike

This article by a former NSA/NSC and Reagan-administration official adds further credence to the “October Surprise” theory that the White House may initiate a pre-election attack on Iran. It’s interesting because of the source, who is presumably both more reliable and more connected and “in-the-know” than the usual rumor sources on the Web. Let’s hope he’s wrong or that the action is cancelled.

A pre-emptive strike on Iran could quickly spiral out of control and involve other nations — for example Russia. Iran has a huge military and would be a much more serious opponent than Iraq. There is no immenent threat from Iran — there is time to solve the situation through diplomacy. Considering that we are currently losing the war in Iraq and facing severe troop shortages, I don’t see how we could fight another ground war against a country as powerful as Iran.

A further complication is that a limited strike on just the disputed nuclear installation would run a high risk of major retaliation by Iran against the US, Israel, our forces in Iraq and other allies. The only way to protect against that risk would be to NOT do a limited strike but rather to do an instant decapitation attack in order to wipe out any potential retaliatory capabilities. It seems unlikely that such an instant decapitation attack could have a high probability of success without the use of nuclear weapons. And this is what worries me. There is certainly a risk if Iran continues to build up its nuclear capabilities. But is this risk worse than the risks of a nuclear conflict in the region?

The USA is still the first and only nation to ever use nuclear weapons in the field of battle. Let’s hope we don’t use them again. If we do, I think we will certainly have lost all moral-imperative on the world stage. Nuclear weapons should never be used unless there is no alternative, and certainly not pre-emptively. To do so would set a terrible precedent, weakening our case against nuclear proliferation in other nations, and will make the world a more dangerous place.

If Russia and China witness us making a pre-emptive nuclear strike against Iran, why should they not think we might do the same against them? Actions speak louder than words. We have to be very careful and think about future generations, not just in our own country, but in others. While the danger of nuclear weapons being used by terrorists or against Israel is certainly something to combat, if we use those same weapons ourselves (which will inevitably result in mass civilian casualities no matter how careful we are) are we any better than the terrorists?

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4 Responses to More Rumors of Pre-Emptive Iran Strike

  1. Morgan Daly says:

    As powerless as it feels, I agree with you and answer that no we are not any better than the terrorists if we use nuclear weapons in any form. So many things seem to make us no better than terrorists – I hate that word. Is it true that those we call terrorists are just people that our culture has basically done over. They are left with nothing, therefor nothing to live for. So they play America’s war games but only more effectively. I feel we need a new word to describe these people. A word that others will understand we are talking about the people they call terrorists. These ‘terrorists’ do bad things to other people ‘our people’ and we label them terrorists or bad people. Our countries do bad things to others, but we are supposed to be the good guys. Or looking at it the other way, maybe we need to wear shirts that say something like: I too am a Terrorist – The way I live means that others have to suffer.

  2. Nova says:

    Interesting comment. I think there is a difference between “terrorists” and “us” however. The difference is that regular law-abiding, peace-loving people like you and I are not in any way directly involved in attacks that are perpetrated by our military against other nations and their people. So we are definately not terrorists despite what our government or others may do in our name — we are in a way victims of terororism because it affects our economy, our world, our families and lives directly and indirectly in so many ways. A “terrorist” is an individual person who perpertrates “acts of terror” — which are hard to define. I think one practical way to define an “act of terror” is that it is “an unexpected surprise attack by a weaker or smaller entity against a larger or stronger entity or its constituents or interests.” In other words, when a large entity like a nation attacks another large entity we call that a “military conflict” or a “battle” or “war,” not an “act of terror.” When a large entity attacks a smaller entity, that is also usually called a “military action” or “battle” or “war.” It seems we only use the term terrorist to refer to attacks on a larger party by a smaller party. In this case however, often the smaller party will think of what they are doing as a “battle” or “war,” and not as an “act of terror,” but the larger party will think of it as “an act of terror.” In light of this another practical definition might be that “an act of terror is a military action by entity A against entity B, such that entity B labels it ‘an act of terror,’ while entity A may or may not label it as such.” In any case, “terror” seems to be in the eye of the beholder so to speak. We might label all military actions by state-actors as “state-sponsored terrorism” however by the above definitions that would not be accurate. State-sponsored terrorism certainly does occur however — in fact perhaps the majority of “acts of terror” are at least somewhat related to visible or hidden states that helps the perpetrators, An direct military attack by a government on another government — whether unprovoked or not — is still probably not “an act of terror” in the minds of most people, although it is a “military action.” I do think that there is a difference between the perpetrators of what we mean by “terrorism” and governments that engage in military action, although sometimes the effects are indistinguishable. In any case, I think the difference in intention is significant — although the effects may be similar, the causes are different and thus the actions themselves are not necessarily equivalent.

  3. swood says:

    _might_ lose all moral imperative on the world stage?
    When did America ever have that?
    It’s been shock-and-awe, divide-and-conquer since Red met White at Plymouth Rock, Gunboat diplomacy since Teddy Roosevelt, and (clandestine and overt) neoimperialism since 1945 — the year America diplomactically delayed peace in the Pacific long enough to irradiate Japan and prove to the “new”, Communist enemy that the American atomic weapons program worked.

  4. Joe says:

    Yep, and it’s only gonna get worse especially if bush is in office.