Tehran’s Lucky Break?

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Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) raised eyebrows this past weekend when he told an audience at an international security conference that the United States should consider “neutering” the theocratic regime of Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Speaking in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Graham told the assembled group that the United States could neuter Tehran by a large air campaign directed not just against its nuclear program but also its military. In Graham’s words, American planes should “…sink [Iran’s] navy, destroy their air force and deliver a decisive blow to the Revolutionary Guard.”

The comments, reported around the world, were spun by the media to sound more provocative than was the case. Graham was not proposing a sneak attack against Iran, but speaking to the fact that if sanctions do not prove effective, and military action were to become necessary, then that action should be directed against the regime in its entirety, not just one part of it. That is simply common sense. It is generally accepted that an attack against Iran would provoke a range of asymmetrical counter-attacks by Iran against the West, with attempts to block oil shipments through the Persian Gulf, attacks against U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan and increased support for Israel’s terrorist tormenters considered likely reactions.

Given that, Graham is simply speaking the truth when he says that if military action must come, it must be comprehensive, aimed at the head and heart of the regime, and all its arms, not just one particular program. Graham was similarly correct when he said that a viable military option was an essential component of keeping up America’s diplomatic pressure on Iran, and also of satisfying Israel’s need to know that they have a dependable ally in Washington. As dangerous as an American attack on Iran would be, it would be even more risky to allow Israel to feel cornered and alone.

So Graham’s comments, while noteworthy, are hardly revolutionary, and perhaps owe more to effective spin by the media than any fair assessment of their true meaning. All the same, for the sake of argument, it’s instructive to consider whether or not the most extreme interpretation of Graham’s comments — that America should hit Iran with a broadly targeted surprise attack — would even be possible. In short, no. Despite the Republican gains in the recent midterms, there is unlikely to be any significant change in America’s stance with Iran.

Indeed, the Obama administration’s stance has been outwardly similar to that of the Bush administration, based around diplomacy and sabotage. There is little sign that Washington is leaning towards a more aggressive posture, preferring instead to continue gently pushing the international community for economic sanctions and working behind the scenes to isolate Iran from the world community. That latter goal has enjoyed some modest success of late; on Wednesday, the United States, Canada and Australia blocked an Iranian attempt to secure a seat on the United Nation’s new agency to promote women’s rights (a self-evidently ridiculous idea given Iran’s appalling record on human rights, particularly for women). But economic sanctions have clearly not deterred Iran’s drive to develop nuclear weapons, nor are they likely to unless seriously revamped.

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  • Andres de Alamaya

    The world hemmed and hawed and sat on its hands when Hitler prepared for his Kampf and it is doing the same with Iran. It may have to be that "little bitty country" to show us how as they did at Entebbe. That will be 35 years ago next July. A whole generation has grown up since then. They need to learn about it.

    That Little Bitty Country
    Showed Us How C. 1976

    I’d been wondering what had happened to our world
    As if someone turned it upside down and got it all unfurled
    Any bum who had a gun could have his day
    And all the sheep in leader’s clothes would look the other way

    But that little bitty country showed us how
    You don’t talk to bullies, you don’t bow
    You move like a man and you mow’em down
    The Rescue at Entebbe is renowned

    The bullies with their guns took the plane
    They had grenades and acted bold with blazing eyes, insane,
    The innocent a board were bound for France
    They had no chance

    But that little bitty country showed us how
    You don’t talk to bullies, you don’t bow
    You move like a man and you mow’em down
    The Rescue at Entebbe is renowned

    The bullies made demands, acted tough
    A hundred souls they herded in a hanger, handled rough
    With not a friend between, a thousand leagues away
    That little bitty country decided what to do that day

    Yes that little bitty country showed us how
    You don’t talk to bullies, you don’t bow
    You move like a man and you mow’em down
    The Rescue at Entebbe is renowned

    Across the sea we celebrated in the sun
    200 years since we had dealt with bullies and had won
    While we rejoiced and waved our flags, they flew their planes at night
    They did what seemed impossible, they saved their kin; they won their fight…
    That little bitty country showed us how.

    • claude

      ahmadinedjad = hitler ? and iran = germanie of 1938 ?

      what proof of what you say? iran in 300 years has never attacked anyone! and Jews of Iran are best treated from ME
      Womens in Iran can drive and are educated
      and what in Saudi Arabia? where came from the terrorist 9 / 11
      and, what's Jordan's King Hussein has banned the wearing of the kippa across me iran and the country spent the most pacifist ! 300 years! is a Real that nobody can ignore, Jews are represented in iranian parliament. people start to burning jewish shop etc .. in Germany long before Hitler take the power.so stop your racism agains iran
      it is completely immoral to call for a war to allow the racist apartheid Israeli faschist be alone nuclear power and threaten its neighbors!

      • claude

        ps ; sorry for my bad english i m from france

        • Beverley

          Oh pleeze … Claude what do you know about apartheid you are talking rubbish. You let it roll off your tongue or mind like a parrot. I come from apartheid South Africa and to say or think Israel is like that shows total ignorance. This has been branded about by Israel's enemies. … sheash.

        • Spirit_Of_1683

          Yep, I suppose Jew-hating antisemitic bigots do have bad English, eh claudehopper.

      • coyote3

        I don't know whether "Jimmy Dinnerjacket" = Hitler or not. However, you said Iran never attacked anyone in 300 years. That is not correct. They attacked, and invaded, the United States of America. That attack/invasion has never been answered. Our liberals are often stating that they believe in taking action if we are "attacked". Well, it is without question, we were attacked/invaded by Iran, and you get a much more obvious act of war.

      • MixMChess

        "racist apartheid Israeli faschist be alone nuclear power and threaten its neighbors!"

        Israel is not racist or an apartheid nation. Israel's Arab minority are full citizens who enjoy equal rights and are represented in all the branches of government. "Arabs are represented in the Knesset, and have served in the Cabinet, high-level foreign ministry posts (e.g., Ambassador to Finland) and on the Supreme Court." Israeli Arabs enjoy more civil rights in Israel than they would compared with any Arab/Muslim country and even some western nations like France.

        Also, Israel has never once threatened any of its neighbors. Iran on the other hand has promised to create a 2nd Holcaust in Israel.

  • Rifleman

    It couldn't be any less of a chance than it was with the dp in total control.

  • Walt

    There never was a chance of stopping Iran form getting the bomb. At least we're not going to them billions while we look the other way.

  • flowerknife_us

    The prevailing wisdom for years and years was the hope the population would rise up against the ruling mullahs.

    Obama let that once in a lifetime opportunity fly right on by.

    A conflict between Islam and Islam-Lite would have paid huge benefits. Especially with Islam having it's true colors seen and heard on Twitter, U-Tube and Facebook. Even the MSM would have to get into the act of giving the Iranians a big black eye!

    Watching the Mullahs spewing their rubbish as they club and shoot their own citizens might have woken a few people up or forced their head from sandy resting places. Could we ever ask for more than the ability to view Muslim on Muslim violence over issues not connected to the usual Sunni/Shi'a divide.

    I have been under the impression that the conflict between Radical/peaceful(Islam-Lite) would be a welcome event? I have heard that view for so long I actually thought it was true.

    • rtk_51

      So did Bush, from what was going on in Iran at the time the invasion of Iraq was originally scheduled for if we had hit Saddam then there would have been a massive Iranian upraising, instead of going in then we delayed to give Tony Blair political cover and the Iranians destroyed the potential upraising.

  • http://healthplusrx.com diet and nutrition

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  • rtk_51

    Claude you can use a search engine as easy as I can, just type in Israel can be destroyed with one nuclear weapon that way I don't have to waste my time doing research you will ignore. As for the why Ahmadinejad will be willing to use one nuke and receive many in return, for that you have to look at his religious beliefs, he is of the sect that thinks that the 12th Imam will return only when there is literal hell on earth. He also believes he was put on earth to bring about the return of the 12th Imam. You may not believe this way but it is his beliefs that matter, he is the man who will order the nuclear weapons used. All you are doing by denying that he will use the weapons is insuring that he gets them and uses them, this situation is similar to what was happening prior to WWII (and no Ahmadinejad isn't Hitler, but he has the potential to be worse) if Hitler had been stopped prior to the attack on Poland everyone would be screaming about the injustice of the move, but many 10s of millions of people would have lived longer and better lives. Read history and look for the parallels to what is going on now, the number of things that are very similar or the same as what was happening prior to WWII is very scary.

  • Ronin

    Nobody will miss Jewish people if they are all gone…They have done nothing good for humanity, but controling most people livelyhood thru banking and commerce instituations

    • Spirit_Of_1683

      What a pity that an antisemitic Nazi bigot like yourself had your Jewish-invented vaccines in childhood. Perhaps you would have been happy if Hitler's Final Solution had been brought to its conclusion and he, and you, had your wish of wiping Judaism off the face of the earth by genocidal means.

    • MixMChess

      We also keep the metric system down and rig every Oscar night. Seriously, go play in traffic lowlife.

  • American Patriot

    Dr. Martin Luther King Junior once stated that an injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. It has been proven over and over again that the only countries with proper respect for human rights are democracies, true democratic republics and a very few constitutional monarchies with figurehead monarchs with otherwise democratic systems. The rest of the world's governments impose their will on their people without fear of retribution or removal from power by their own people. North Korea is a dictatorship. Iran is a dictatorship, theocratical dictatorship or oligarchy. Mainland China is a one party bureaucratic dictatorship. Syria is a dictatorship. There is a reason why these countries and more are constantly railing against the USA. It is because the USA is the only power singlehandedly capable and willing to force regime change against governments and political systems which fail to respect the inalienable rights of all people, especially their own. Those rights are spelled out pretty well in the USA constitution as well as those of a number of other countries around the world with similar constitutions. While none of these documents are perfect, they at least recognize that human rights are not up for grabs by the powers that be and can only be interpreted properly by an independent and impartial court system. The existence of evil governments which have no freedom, checks and balances, or respect for human rights is a threat to justice, freedom, and human rights everywhere. Just as one person has the responsibility to defend an innocent person against a criminal, just nations have a responsibility to defend innocent people from criminal governments which wholesale disrespect the given human rights of those innocent people.

    One must say in answer to Claude that it is irresponsible to sit back and allow injustice to exist anywhere in this world. It is never wrong to remove and punish a government which is wholly disrespectful of human rights. While no system is perfect, a system which respects full freedom and human rights, classifies violations of rights as crime and punishes those violations, and which allows and/or encourages citizen participation in the governmental process is a step in the right direction. When a dictatorship is at ware with a democracy, the dictatorship is wrong. Period. End of discussion. This is because when a dictatorship is defeated, the regime is typically replaced with a government which respects human rights. Every dictatorship of the Axis powers in WWII saw a marked increase in their standard of living after the dictator was removed and replaced with a constitutional democracy or republic of some sort. We must continue that fight until all countries of the world are ruled by systems which respect human rights, are open to peaceful regime change, and have free and open societies. Dictatorship in any of its varieties is a threat to justice everywhere.

    As for Ronin, your comment shows a lack of education in general, a lack of knowledge about Jews as a people or as individuals, and a gullible and weak minded outlook on the world as a whole. Both Christianity and Islam came from Judaism. Albert Einstein was a Jew. So was the inventor of the nuclear submarine. The Nazis referred to Atomic Physics as "Jewish Physics." The Nazis murdered or expelled all of their Jewish scientists which thankfully led to the downfall of the Nazi nuclear program and many other programs which could have made them victorious over the Allie. The Jews do not control banking or any other enterprise. All books and articles claiming this are blatant, bold faced lies which have been debunked over and over again. Ronin, all haters such as yourself need to get a life, an education, and above all need to open your minds up to the world. Life is way too short to waste on hate and anger.

    On the topic of Iran's and North Korea's nuclear ambitions, the only perceived need these countries have for nukes is to deter other countries from forcing regime change on these evil regimes. Only a duly elected government has the right to protect itself from regime change, either by its own people or with outside help. All regimes changed by the USA in the long term have resulted in a substantial increase in human rights, material standard of living and internal stability. The countries which hate the USA the most are the ones whose governments know they are criminals and fear being punished by the USA as criminals.

  • claude

    just tell me whene iran has threatened to strike you with nuclear weapons pleaseeeeeee tell meeee whene ?? once just once please oh my god is the usa living unreal world?

    "all options are on the table" including nuclear first strikes against states without nuclear weapons!

    Who says that every day Iran or the United States?

  • claude

    do you think it's so obvious to threaten a country with a population of more than 78 million people, the size of Alaska? have you ever seen a map of the terrain in Iran? that is logistical nightmare.
    an attack on Iran will ruin the economy of the world, crisis of 2008 will be a fun compared to the nexte fallowing the strike on iran , are you ready to lose your job or the job of you father on behalf of the nuclear monopoly of israel? all this to try to prevent iran he developed a bomb or two or even three?

  • rtk_51

    First the President of Iran has repeatedly threathened to destroy the US and Israel after the gain nuclear weapons, he did this before he decided to lie about seeking the nuclear weapons.

    Second Yes I have seen terrain maps if Iran, it is light infantry country, preferably with air support.

    Third, when a nation threatens us I don't care how big or small they are it is right to offer to return any attack. In the case of nuclear weapons you want to prevent the radical states from acquiring them. Iran learn from Israels bombing of the Iraqi nuclear site back in the 80s and has dispersed their program in hardened underground bunkers. A limited number of nations have the military assets to destroy their program, and none of them are willing to do so.

    Fourth if Israel has nuclear weapons they have had them for decades and have threatened no one, Iran is constantly threatening to use nuclear weapons to destroy Israel.

  • rtk_51

    I saw your comment on the economy in my in box and can't find it here. The socialist governments of the world ruined the worlds economy and we are trying to work our way out of that mess. Next, what do you think is going to happen when Iran gets nuclear weapons and uses them? And yes I believe them when they say they are going to use them on Israel, the US and Europe, since you are setting in France and 2/3rds of France is within range of Iran's largest missile (the one they are suppose to be designing their nuclear weapons around) I would think you might be more concerned about what they are doing. After all when someone says they are going to kill you it is good sense to take them at their word instead of burying your head in the sand.

  • claude

    i do not care if Iran has missiles to reach us? so what we have missiles to reach them, what moral right of France and Britain may have missiles to reach Iran (in this case what is known as deterrence) and why Iran can not have weapons to replicate (in this case what is known as offensive weapons!)

    you have a crystal ball to say that Iran will attack with a single nuclear weapon? To receive 100, 200, 300 …. ? Iran has only said that "the Zionist regime will disappear like the Soviet regime in its time

    nothing else!

    can you show me a link to an article, iran threat "detruction" the state of israel and its people now? or links to a video where they say that

  • coyote3

    First place they have a right, because they are not untermenchen. That said, Iran invaded the United State of America. That is a fact. What part of that don't you understand? We should have attacked them years ago.

  • Sean

    you say that iran has never attacked anyone-but you're wrong.
    -iran overran the US embassy, in violation of its sovereignty, and held its workers hostage for over a year.
    -the iran-iraq war lasted for 8 years and left 500,000-1,000,000 dead and economic losses in the hundreds of billions of dollars.
    -between 1999 and 2001, iran againt launched missiles into iraq
    -iran funds hezbollah and hamas, who consistently launch attacks against civilian targets. just recently a shipment of iranian weapons were siezed in nigeria, and were believed to be headed for these terrorist organizations

    you might not mind a bunch of religious zealots obtaining nuclear weapons, and the missles to deliver them, but considering their ideology-driven motivations, most people with any degree of rationale agree that iranian nukes are a BAD idea. you, Claude, are why people are so annoyed by france.