Waylaid Dialectic

August 19, 2010

And all of a sudden we were back in 2002 again…

Filed under: Conflict — terence @ 7:55 pm

I only got half way through this before I gave up in despair. A gung-ho US neo-con shouting down a timid liberal while extolling a preemptive attack in the Middle East. Just like 2002 all over again. Although, in this case, the attack in question is one by either Israel or the US on Iranian nuclear facilities.

Now I claim no particular expertise on the Iranian nuclear programme, but the threat it poses strikes me as about as large as that posed by Saddam’s illusory WMDs. If (and that’s a big if) Iran ever got the bomb I imagine it would be held as a deterrent (if you were part of the ‘Axis of Evil’ and you’d observed the respective fates of North Korea and Iraq, you’d probably be quite keen on one of those deterrent thingies too), and maybe as a leverage tool in negotiations. The reason I think this is the case, is that actually using the nuke against anyone else in the Middle East would lead almost certainly lead to Iran’s obliteration. And even the most despicable regimes tend to have an aversion to being turned into glass.

So an unprovoked use of a nuclear weapon by Iran is something I think unlikely. True, despite this, Iran getting hold of  a nuke is not a good thing – even a very small risk of someone in the regime loosing the plot and lobbing the weapon in the direction of Israel (or the Saudis, or Iraq) is not good. However, the alternative proposed by Reuel Gerecht – a preemptive strike on Iran by Israel or the US with quite likely major civilian casualties – strikes me as much worse still. Inflame tensions in a the Middle East tinderbox? (further) stoke anti-Americanism and anti-Israeli sentiment? kill innocent people? No thanks. We’re better off with the very small risk that is Iran getting a nuclear weapon and then actually using it. Infinitely better off.

But hey maybe I’m wrong. I’m open to being persuaded otherwise. Just not by a spittle-flecked, puffed-up, neo-con nut-bar who no doubt was banging the drums of War in 2002. That type of commentator’s credibility is in tatters. Or, at least, it ought to be, in a planet that was halfway sane. The sad thing is, we don’t live on such a planet. So here come the neo-cons again. <creepy horror movie voice> They’re baack. </creepy horror movie voice >

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