Attacking Iran: Is there an option?
It seems that a clear parallel can be drawn between the former situation with Saddam Hussein and Iraq, and the situation in the 1930s with Adolf Hitler and Germany. Both were cases of megalomaniac dictators openly bent on destruction, and in both cases they openly disobeyed the agreements to disarm they signed after losing a war (the UN resolutions and the Versailles Treaty, respectively).
If the most important world leaders in the 1930s—British Prime Minister Chamberlain, French Prime Minister Daladier and American President Roosevelt—had decided to enforce the Treaty of Versailles, if the League of Nations had had the strength and courage to react when faced by the reality of the demonization and dehumanization of the Jewish people taking place in Germany, if anybody beside Churchill had understood the real threat that Hitler posed after the staggering militarization of the country, then they would have stopped Hitler when he was weak, when it was legitimate to do so, and when they still had time. But no one had the guts to do that: world leaders thought that it was all right to look to the other side, wait for things to magically fix themselves, or plunge into the delusional quagmire of thinking they could negotiate with Hitler and be content that a paper bearing his signature promising to behave would be enough. They were wrong.
“We are faced with a group of fanatics who have been brainwashed to the point of not having any regard for human life, be it their enemies’ (including babies!) or their own. This is the reason why the old tradition of waiting to be attacked before attacking ourselves cannot be sustained.”
Another factor that needs to be taken into consideration at this time is that we now live in a different world than we used to. Many people argue that it’s not in the tradition of the US to preemptively attack another country, which is true. But, as I stated earlier, a preemptive strike against the Nazis would have prevented the Holocaust and WWII. Back then international law was on the side of the Allies because Germany had not respected the Versailles Treaty and rearmed itself: a few years ago we had exactly the same situation with Iraq and the UN Security Council resolutions.
But there’s an even more important factor: in the past an aggressive country could wage war against other nations, and that meant sending tanks over the border. It’s very different when an aggressive country can wage war against another country by sending someone with a box filled with anthrax and drop it in some water reservoir, or open a canister of VX gas into the air conditioning system of any building, or carry a dirty bomb in a suitcase and detonate it in a city’s crowded downtown area.
Also of note is the fact that the enemies of the past were in a way like us: people who may have hated us but had a high regard for at least their own lives. Not even the most demonic Nazi bastard was willing to die just to murder some Jews. The Germans that perished in the war died fighting, and surely after having tried to avoid their own death as much as possible. That is no longer the case. We are faced with a group of fanatics who have been brainwashed to the point of not having any regard for human life, be it their enemies’ (including babies!) or their own. This is the reason why the old tradition of waiting to be attacked before attacking ourselves cannot be sustained. If the Israelis had not preemptively destroyed the Iraqi nuclear reactor at Osirak in the 1980s then American troops would have faced an enemy with nuclear weapons in 1991.
These days the world faces the threat of Iran, a regime ruled by retrograde, fanatical mullahs who are eager to bring about the end of the world to fulfill their religious lunacies. Iran, like Iraq before it, is the leading exporter of terrorism. Iran is financially strong, and like Iraq, it sits on a sea of oil. Moreover, it can easily control the flow of oil from other Arab countries out of the Middle East, thus strangling the world. Iran is pursuing the manufacture of nuclear weapons, and already possesses intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of reaching Israel, and soon Europe. If they continue in their current path, it’s going to be only a matter of time before they can reach America. Iran openly and indisputably supports terrorist proxies in various places, and remotely leads them to wreak havoc in Israel and elsewhere. The question is not whether this modus operandi will spread to Europe and America, but rather when.
What the US did with Iraq back in 1991 was to merely push Hussein to the side by telling him not to bother the little kids anymore. The trouble is—and this is were the similarity with the 1930s situation is still pertinent—that there were back then and in 2003 treaties that were signed to ensure the bully remained contained, and that went unenforced in both in the 1930s and in 1990s, with the consequence that Hitler rearmed Germany and launched WWII and the Holocaust, and not too long ago Hussein continued to rearm Iraq, and today we have a fanatical, delusional regime in Iran pursuing nuclear weapons.
The danger is that both Iraq during the Hussein era and Iran under Ahmadinejad, or through proxies, are capable of murdering millions of people. Hitler had access to chemical weapons technology: after all, Germany had used them in WWI. But Hitler only gassed Jews because he knew that using those weapons against Allied armies was unacceptable, even in the context of the horrors of war, and even when he was desperate towards the end of the war. Unfortunately the same could not have been said of Hussein: he not only used weapons of mass destruction; he used them more than once. Surely Iran would have no qualms in using nuclear weapons. To the mullahs, millions of deaths are not a regrettable outcome of war; it’s a desired goal as in their twisted worldview nothing brings a Muslim closer to Allah than dying in the course of waging jihad.
It would be really stupid of Ahmadinejad to trigger a direct confrontation with military powers like Israel or the US, which he hates with a passion. Either of them can destroy Iran’s military and infrastructure if they are compelled to do so. It is a much better strategy for him to use proxies that hate Israel and the US as much (or more) than he does, proxies that (as opposed to himself) are willing to die to kill the infidel.
This is the crux of the problem: a small group of militant Islamic fanatics can create enormous destruction with just a little investment, if they have the organizational, monetary and infrastructure support of a big entity like Iran, Syria or Saudi Arabia. This is very important: a small group of Bedouins does not have the capacity to make uranium 235 or plutonium, but a large, powerful state like Iran does. In the immediate future their Russian-built nuclear reactor will be fitted with nuclear fuel rods, which could be later used to produce weapons-grade plutonium. So, it stands to reason that if Iran wants to do as much harm as possible to the West it will be better off inciting and supporting a bunch of ignorant, fanatical Islamic militants, like Hezbollah, Hamas or others. It only takes a small amount of radioactive material distributed to a few deranged suicidal psychopaths to attack many cities. No need for sophisticated ICBMs or even heavy bombers. Think about how easy this would be: I’m not talking about deploying dirty bombs in Washington or New York, but any medium-sized cities in the US, Tel Aviv or Haifa. The security at ports of entry in the US will not stop Iran from smuggling this stuff in: it’s easy enough to ship it in one of the many millions of unchecked containers that come into the US every day. Can we afford to allow this to happen? Can we afford to wait for the so-called “smoking gun”? Can Israel afford to wait until the international community of appeasers gets their act together?
Waiting to be attacked is no longer an option. We live in a different world.
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