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Take preemptive steps against Iran

By Scott Shore
web posted June 2, 2003

Time is running against the West when it comes to Iran's military capabilities. Let's put it this way: Either we act proactively or we find a radioactive Iran. When Israel was faced with the possibility of a nuclear Iraq, the Israeli Air Force blew up the now-famous Osirak reactor.

Naturally, at the time the whole world was aghast at this act of unilateralism and condemned Israel. At the end of the day and especially in the last decade, the United States and the world breathes a collective sigh of relief that Saddam Hussein was never able to attempt nuclear blackmail. Failure to monitor North Korea properly during the lamentable Clinton years has brought us to a diplomatic brink with a psychotic dictator. I would not count on the Iranian mullahs to be any less delusional.

France and Russia have been busy building at least two "peaceful" nuclear power plants for an oil-drenched country and its rather "enthusiastic" Shiite leaders. Iran is a major supporter of all the major Islamic terror groups and works cooperatively with North Korea. Recently ships have been stopped by the Israelis that originated in North Korea, stopped in Iran and were on its way to the Gaza Strip. Not surprisingly the ship was not laden with Korean delicacies or Persian rugs, but rather missiles, artillery launchers, and a large assortment of lethal weaponry.

The French in their normal duplicitous manner have argued that these nuclear plants are strictly for peaceful purposes and we can count on their word for it. (I have no idea if the Germans are selling to the Iranians, but I am convinced that Germany gets a "pass" relative to France as long as they don't invade any of their neighbors.) The Russians also reacted stereotypically. The Russian foreign minister pronounces indignantly that "We (the Russians) don't need to answer to anyone and reject any criticism as illegitimate." Apparently, it has not yet dawned on ex-KGB President Putin and his boys that the Russian Bear has been pretty much neutered and that those good old "superpower" days are no longer.

What is amazing is how these erstwhile "allies" have not changed one iota since Iraq. A long time ago these countries saw fat contracts in these countries and made their pact with the Devil. Unfortunately for these nations, they will not even benefit from this sellout of their souls in this lifetime. As long as the US Administration remains committed to the war on terrorism, Iran is not going to become nuclear under this president's watch.

Unlike Iraq, Iran is not an immediate target for large-scale military action. Undoubtedly, the Battle of Iraq has been won but the mission of establishing a peaceful, even semi-democratic country there is far from over. If anything, there is a need to deploy additional troops to Iraq and the surrounding region, including Pakistan.

The American economy is slowly recovering and our military is fully capable of a multi-theater war. I have been somewhat incredulous at the timidity with which we have treated the North Koreans. If there were ever a good case for a naval blockade of a nation, it is North Korea. If President Kennedy stared down the Soviet Union in Cuba, what are we afraid of with Kim Jung Il? Is North Korea going to nuke South Korea or Japan with the full understanding that there is only the possibility of oblivion for them? Does anyone believe that the North Korean missiles would ever leave North Korean airspace or not be intercepted even if the North Korean dictator went completely mad? North Korea's antics are really a pathetic stunt that should not even have been given the seriousness that they have received. The only thing North Korea could do is sent nuclear material to rogue groups and states. Thus North Korea must have a completely sealed border on all sides. The only question in North Korea is how long we are going to play games while North Korea builds more bombs.

Iran is not yet a nuclear power and would be far more formidable were it to become one. The Israeli example is one America should follow. We need not attack Iran. We need only to attack with total finality their nuclear reactors before they become active. Undoubtedly this will alienate the UN, the EU and Russia. But wait…aren't they already alienated? The strategic miscalculation that the axis of weasels made was that their disapproval is no longer a deterrent to US policy. What about the reaction of the Iranians?

Undoubtedly, the mullah-led government will not be pleased. Do the mullahs like us now? Are we buying anything by not destroying their potential nuclear reactors? The one concern is that the nascent democratic tendencies in Iran may rally to their government. Upon consideration, this is unlikely as long as the United States makes clear that our targets were specifically aimed at a future nuclear threat and not against Iran in general or the population.

By destroying Iran's nuclear reactors, we ultimately will win the support of all peace-loving countries and reduce the long-term chance of a nuclear holocaust in the Middle East. The difference between North Korea and Iran is that the latter is a far greater threat to world peace and must be dealt with dispatch.

Scott Shore is an educator and political columnist who lives in Providence, RI.

Other related stories: (open in a new window)

  • One down, two to go? by Steve Martinovich (June 2, 2003)
    There are plenty of good reasons to deal preemptively with Iran, writes Steve Martinovich, but there are a few good reasons not to as well

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