Chattering classes and media invoke the fact that the US invaded Iraq and has yet to find weapons of mass destruction, the raison d'être for invading. Because Saddam Hussein did not have an active program, or rather, because one was not found, these people conclude that the war in Iraq constituted bad policy. This is the greatest difference between Iraq and Iran. The International Atomic Energy Agency, US, Israel, European Union, Russia, the Gulf states and most importantly Iran, acknowledge an active nuclear program. This fact is not in doubt.I'm not certain I agree, but it's thought-provoking. And see also Normblog.
An international inspection following a strike against Iran would not magically reveal that there was no WMD program. The only disputes among these actors are how advanced the Iranian nuclear program is, and whether or not the weaponization program is active. But can honest disputants deny weaponization in the face of Iran's continual testing of long-range missile and its desire to enrich uranium to higher levels?
For an honest policy debate on Iran, it is critical to reframe the issue in two ways. Most importantly, a military strike must be posed as one of retaliation, not preemption, not prevention. Secondly, when relying on historical analogies to explain the situation in Iran, proper analogies must be used. Unfortunately, or rather fortunately, there is no analogy for a nation like Iran acquiring a nuclear capability.
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Iran More Dangerous Than Saddam?
I've recently mentioned the "preemption" justification for invading Iraq, and posted several pieces on Iran's apparent intention to acquire nuclear weapons. I'd assumed that any possible military strike against Iran would rely on the preemption rationale. But Alex Fiedler argues that the case against Iran is even stronger in an interesting op-ed in last month's Jerusalem Post: