Tuesday, September 28, 2004

What are our options in Iran? 

The Belmont Club puts the question, and is very concerned about a strike that doesn't finish the job, but only takes out say, two-thirds of Iran's nuclear operation in a bid to delay a jihadist bomb:
But what Glick does not say -- though it would perforce follow -- is that any strike would make it logically necessary to subsequently topple the Teheran regime by any means necessary. A second Osirak would prove to the Mullahs that they would have to use any nuclear weapons that came to hand before they lost it, a danger avertable only by eliminating the Mullahs. Bombing sites in the hope of delay would be like swimming into an underwater tunnel on a lungful of air hoping for an exit on the far side.

I agree, but for what other purpose would the Isrealis need so many precision-guided weapons?

We had to go to war in Iraq to prevent even the possibility of Saddam obtaining nuclear weapons (among other salutory reasons), because Saddam had such a history of reckless miscalculations that no rational person could conclude that he was deterrable. Can the same be said of the mullahs of Tehran? Can Washington, Tel Aviv or Baghdad count on fundamentalist Muslim theocrats -- people who endorse suicide as a means of warfare -- to act rationally in the face of theatened nuclear retaliation? The West faces that question right now. As Wretchard makes clear, we had better not get it wrong.

UPDATE (5:30 pm EDT): James Dunnigan reports on Iranian efforts to round up some low-altitude radar:
Iran is dangling lucrative future trade contracts at India in an attempt to get India sell Iran a new radar system that could better detect low flying warplanes. The Iranians are concerned not just with an Israeli air raid, but with the possibility of an American attack. India has been considering the request (a $70 million sale), but is under a lot of pressure from the U.S. to not do the deal.

I see an easy solution here. We give the Indians a "lucrative future trade contract."


By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Sep 28, 10:44:00 AM:

Options is Iran are quite limited. If you think about the history of Saddam's Iraq, Israel was the only preemptor -- with its 1983 bombing of Osiraq. The Iran Iraq war was initiated by Saddam and lasted from 1981-1989. Then Saddam's Kuwait initiative was launched in 1991. He was essentially constantly either engaged in conflict or acquiring arms to engage in it. anybody who thinks the current Iraq War was "preemptive" is completely, historically clueless. It was the continuation of a war launched long ago, but which the UN halted abruptly. Wars need to be won. There aren't ties.

And that's why Iranian options are limited. They want a nuclear capability and would absolutely use it -- it doesn't matter really whether the target is Israel, an Arab country or the US. The objective of the Iranian Islamic Theocracy is to extend itself, and violent, even suicidal means are justified by their interpretation of their religion.

So our options are to upend their regime, period. And covert operations or local revolutionary encouragement will not work. This is a brutally represssive regime which controls are the instruments of power - military, economic, spiritual and communications. Only force will end the threat. Appeasement is destined to fail.

There will be a war there and we will win it. It is merely a question of whether we allow them to launch it and therefore impose a great cost upon us or our friends via surprise, or whether we launch it and prevent them from landing any significant blows to innocents.

We have causus belli: whether it's the 1979 seizure of the US embassy (a little stale) or the infiltration of Iranian intelligence services into Iraq, it's there.

They have to go.  

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