[Homestead] Hard Choices in Iran

Tvoivozhd tvoivozd at infionline.net
Thu Sep 23 12:04:15 EDT 2004

We can take the choice that led to World War TWICE (frivolous hope, 
furiously spinning the prayer wheel and no "pre-emptive strike"--- so 
history will repeat itself.

The result was 20,000,000 Russian corpses, 400,000 U.S. corpses and an 
insufficient number of German and Japanese corpses---well, maybe enough 
Japanese corpses, they show no signs of renewed ambitions of empire, but 
there is an ominous increase of Neo-Nazi's in Germany again..

OR we can put out selected too-dangerous flames while they are still 
embers and before they transform into raging forest fires---specifically 
the underground nuclear facilities in Iran, that we have the 
deep-penetrating weapons to destroy, that Israel does not---so Israel 
cannot save us again as they did when they bombed the above-ground 
Osirak reactor out of existence andput  Saddam temporaril out of the 
nuclear weapon business.

Gird your loins---there is no intelligent life in the universe---the 
noisy and death-seeking quiverers  will choose to take the U.S. and the 
world down the path to catastrophic war again, rather than cutting out a 
cancer while it is small.

George Will cescribes the dilemma---but doesn't. sufficiently emphasize 
what should be done, what MUST be done NOW to avert the Middle East 
catastrophe in the short time-frame it is avertable. It is the practice 
of our species to watch a killer grass fire speeding toward us and make 
mo move to get out of the way.


*washingtonpost.com* <http://www.washingtonpost.com/>
*The Iran Dilemma*

By George F. Will

Thursday, September 23, 2004; Page A29

/ A ten-year-old had awakened his parents in horror, telling them he had 
been having an "illegal dream." He had been dreaming that he was at the 
seaside with some men and women who were kissing, and he did not know 
what to do./

-- Azar Nafisi, "Reading Lolita in Tehran"

What the young Iranian should have done to please the regime running the 
Islamic Republic of Iran is obey the prison rules in Vladimir Nabokov's 
novel "Invitation to a Beheading": "It is desirable that the inmate 
should not have dreams at all."

Nafisi, who left Iran in 1997 and now teaches at Johns Hopkins 
University, says, "What differentiated this revolution from the other 
totalitarian revolutions of the twentieth century was that it came in 
the name of the past." In the name, that is, of a lost religious purity 
and rigor.

Iran is not a mere literary dystopia. It is perhaps the biggest problem 
on the horizon of the next U.S. president because it is moving toward 
development of nuclear weapons, concerning which the Bush administration 
has two factions. One favors regime change; the other favors 
negotiations. There is no plausible path to achieving the former and no 
reason to expect the latter to be productive.

The regime-changers have their hands full with the unfinished project 
next door to Iran. Negotiations cannot succeed without one of two 
things. One is a credible threat of force, which America's Iraq 
preoccupation makes unlikely. The second, which is also unlikely, is a 
mix of incentives, positive and negative, that can overcome this fact: 
Iran's regime is mad as a hatter, but its desire for nuclear weapons is 
not irrational.

Iran lives in a dangerous neighborhood, near four nuclear powers -- 
Russia, India, Pakistan and almost certainly Israel -- and the large 
military presence of another, the infidel United States. Iran has seen 
how the pursuit of nuclear weapons allows the ramshackle regime of a 
tin-pot country such as North Korea to rivet the world's attention. Iran 
knows that if Saddam Hussein had acquired such weapons, he would still 
be in power -- and in Kuwait. And even if the major powers could devise 
security guarantees sufficient to assuage Iran's geopolitical worries, 
there remains the regime's religious mania:

Until 1994, Nafisi says, Iran's chief film censor, who previously had 
been theater censor, was nearly blind. He would sit in a theater with an 
assistant who explained what was transpiring on stage and took notes on 
the cuts the censor required. The showing of "Billy Budd" on television 
was condemned because it supposedly promoted homosexuality -- although 
the television programmers chose it because it had no female characters. 
After the 1979 revolution, the regime lowered the marriageable age of 
women from 18 to 9. Since 2002 -- this is Iranian moderation -- a 
court's permission has been required to marry younger than 13.

President John F. Kennedy could not have imagined that such a 
backward-facing regime would be among those that would acquire the most 
modern of weapons. In the 1960 presidential campaign, he cited 
"indications" that by 1964 there would be "10, 15 or 20" nuclear powers. 
As president, he said that by 1975 there might be 20 nuclear powers. 
Today it is unclear whether North Korea has become the ninth by 
weaponizing its fissile material.

It is in the United States' interest -- indeed, the interest of all 
members of the nuclear club -- to keep new members out. But a mere 
aspiration is not a policy. The club will expand over time. U.S. policy 
can vigorously discourage this but must discriminate among, and against, 
nations. It is unlikely, but possible, that China's weight, properly 
applied in the context of North Korea's desperate material needs, can 
prevent North Korea from crossing the threshold. However, Iran is almost 
certainly going to cross it.

Iran can negotiate in bad faith while it continues its progress toward 
development of such weapons, as North Korea has done while increasing 
its supply of plutonium. When that tactic has been exhausted, Iran can 
come to agreements that it then more or less stealthily disregards, as 
North Korea has done.

On Tuesday, four days after a U.N. agency told Iran not to do it, Iran 
announced that it has begun processing 37 tons of yellowcake (milled 
uranium) into a gas as part of a process to produce a compound that can 
be used in nuclear power plants but that also can be a precursor of 
highly enriched uranium for weapons. U.S. policy is that the 
"international community," whatever that is, "cannot allow the Iranians 
to develop a nuclear weapon" (Condoleezza Rice, Aug. 8). It is surreal 
to cast this as a question of what anyone will "allow" Iran to do.

/georgewill at washpost.com/ <mailto:georgewill at washpost.com>

© 2004 The Washington Post Company



More information about the Homestead mailing list