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July 23, 2006
Letter to the editor
In response to Mr James Lewis's article "Israeli AF has the range to hit Iran nuke sites", I would like to point out that even if Iran's quest for nuclear weapons could be stopped by attacking the sites,I think that there are 8 reasons why even a neocon or hawk should be a little wary of such action:
1) An attack on Iran's nuclear facilities may not actually destroy them: this is also assuming that Intel is aware of all sites. They are fortified and partially underground. Moreover, what is to stop Iran from simply rebuilding them?
2) Iranian retaliation: Iran will no doubt retaliate with the full force of it arsenal and even if this is targeted prior to any attack on nuclear facilites, the sheer number of ballistic, cruise and conventional weaponry that Iran has and that could be deployed against US forces in the region ( as in Iraq, the Gulf and Afghanistan) and Israel would lead to heavy losses.
Iran will also retaliate through the Intelligence services and Rev Guards against American and Israeli targets worldwide through bombings and shootings. Iran will simultaneously launch a massive diplomatic offensive to condemn the US in forums like the General Assembly, OIC, NAM, SCO etc that would be politically damaging.
3) Contrary to some opinions, attacking Iran's nuclear facilities and Armed forces as well as regime targets would leadto public outrage, not demonstrations to get rid of the regime...this would strengthen the handsof hardliners and forestall regime change/reform and rapprochement with the US: Iranians are, for the most part, indifferent or wary of the regime....the regime also probably has as many religious supporters as it has hostile opponents.
4) International reaction: with little support outside for such a strike, the fallout from angering Russian and China, not to mention the Muslim world would be terrible and could have longer—term repercussions.
5) Any massive attack has the potential to destabalise and engulf the region...other countries could be drawn in and things could spiral.
6) Oil prices would surge and capital markets would be upset...given the fragile Global Economy this could lead to disaster.
7) The risk of failure is just too great in this case: If an attack were anything other than 100% successful as far as it aims, the US stands to lose influence and prestige in the region and wider world, and the doctrine of preemption and unilateralism would be severely undermined. In recent conflicts, the US has only taken action knowing that the overwhelming likelihood was total victory.
8) The cost of the War: At a time when the Administation is trying to address the budget deficit, any strike on Iran is hardly to come cheap especially if Iran decides to escalate.
I hope these points were useful.