25 August 2010


I think the Presidency would disagree on this one.

"Bombing a country is going to war with that country – not, as American discourse frequently has it, some kind of alternative to war. Nor is a Basset Hound an alternative to a dog."

The most significant conclusion of that Goldberg article wasn't very surprising.

"Hardly anybody important in the Israeli government really believes that Iran would use nuclear weapons if Iran in fact develop them" - This is the basic nuts and bolts of the case that we should preemptively bomb the place in the first place. And if not even the Israelis believe it, then why the hell do I have to explain nuclear deterrence and state powers to everybody in right-wing America? Didn't these people live through the Cold War?

As far as the bombing them is war argument, I agree. Legally and Constitutionally speaking if we want to bomb somebody that's an act of war and should be treated as such. I don't think that necessarily means we wouldn't or couldn't bomb some hostile state or non-state actor if we had some realistic intelligence or expectations of hostile actions. But I don't think the American people fully realize that nation-states don't tend to take kindly to being bombed by other nation-states military forces. We've sort of been bombing a lot of ineffectual gangster countries for too long for people to realize what might happen if we attack a country with something like a military around (Iran's not exactly Turkey or Israel or maybe even Saudi Arabia militarily, but they're also no de-fanged post-Gulf I Iraq) and lots of our troops spread out fighting "insurgents" in occupied hostile ground.

That might not escalate to full scale war, but it would not be fun for a while and committing to yet another military combat situation, while rallying Iranian nationalism against attack, not smart. We cannot always solve our problems by simply raiding or bombing some nation-state's facilities. Not everybody is Afghanistan or Sudan or Somalia or even Serbia.

More to the point, bombing those places doesn't seem to have done much either. Okay we killed a few bad guys, great. There are more where they came from. That is like arresting the corner boys in a street gang. Nobody cares. They're replaced in a day. Maybe even a couple hours. Simply killing people does not win all our wars. You have to figure out why they resist or why they fight and kill that. The idea. The struggle. Iran would want a nuclear weapon why? Perhaps because it has witnessed two neighbouring states get invaded to impose new governments by a country with an avowed (and somewhat legitimate) hostility toward its own regime? A few nuclear weapons would make a similar plan somewhat less feasible rather more effectively than it would serve to somehow kick off an imagined and grandiose suicide plan for Iranian leaders.

I'll bank on self-interest and megalomania every time over actual religious conviction if you tell me some (important) holy men want to do something.
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