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Thursday, 17 November 2011

Presidential candidates on Iran

First, from a speech Senator Santorum gave more than five years ago:
You said you would have voted for the war, but now you say you would vote against it.
You said we weren’t misled, but now you say that we were lied to. You are sleepwalking into a nightmare.
It’s time to wake up.
From everything I can see, Mr. Casey is unready, unqualified for the high office he seeks at a time when our survival as a free people is at stake. He is one of many Americans sleepwalking in this nightmare. These horrors no longer shock us as they did on 9/11. They have become part of the background noise of our world. Some even blame our own leaders rather than the savages who do the killing. But I believe that Pennsylvanians are awakening to this threat, and can send a message to the nation and our enemies. It’s time to stop dreaming and start acting.
We have to bring the fight to our enemies, and that means we have to do a lot more than respond to their attacks in Iraq. We must go after the regimes that recruit, pay, train and arm terrorists. I am not-NOT-talking about sending more American troops onto foreign battlefields, or even dropping precision bombs from safe altitudes. I am talking about political and economic warfare, to bring down the terror regimes in Tehran and Damascus.
The best way to do that is to support their own people, most of whom are eager for freedom. That is why I drafted legislation that commits America to support freedom in Iran. A free Iran will be our friend, not an implacable enemy. We know that is true, because public opinion polls taken by the regime itself show that more than seventy percent of Iranians want to choose their own system of government and elect their own leaders. And we know it is true because the Iranian regime is frantically trying to isolate the Iranian people from contact with the free world. Satellite dishes are torn down, dissidents are arrested, tortured and executed. High speed internet is banned. Surviving vestiges of a free press are shut down.
Those are the actions of a regime that fears its people, and knows that the desire for freedom can destroy the Islamic fascist tyranny. A free Iran will change the world, because it will deprive the terrorists of their single greatest source of support, and isolate the likes of Hugo Chavez and Kim Jong ‘il. Why is a free Iran and Iraq so essential? Because the United States nor any western country will be able on its own to defeat radical Islamic fascism. We must create an environment where moderate Islam – whether Sunni or Shi’ia or any other strain – combats and suppresses its radical elements. I believe the best way to accomplish this is through democratic self rule.
Senator Santorum may be right on the existential threat posed by Iran, but he's wrong about the solution; Iran already has democratic self rule. They deposed their Shah to get the democratic self rule that they now enjoy, and they voted to keep it in the last election.

It doesn't appear that either the current or any potential President are actually aware both of the danger America and Israel are in, and of any effective solution. The generals, however, are nonetheless putting the military option into action.

This from yesterday's The Daily Beast:
Israel also likely would exploit a vulnerability that U.S. officials detected two years ago in Iran's big-city electric grids, which are not “air-gapped”—meaning they are connected to the Internet and therefore vulnerable to a Stuxnet-style cyberattack—officials say. A highly secretive research lab attached to the U.S. joint staff and combatant commands, known as the Joint Warfare Analysis Center (JWAC), discovered the weakness in Iran’s electrical grid in 2009, according to one retired senior military intelligence officer. This source also said the Israelis have the capability to bring a denial-of-service attack to nodes of Iran’s command and control system that rely on the Internet. Tony Decarbo, the executive officer for JWAC, declined comment for this story. The likely delivery method for the electronic elements of this attack would be an unmanned aerial vehicle the size of a jumbo[sic] jet. An earlier version of the bird was called the Heron, the latest version is known as the Eitan. According to the Israeli press, the Eitan can fly for 20 straight hours and carry a payload of one ton. Another version of the drone, however, can fly up to 45 straight hours, according to U.S. and Israeli officials. Unmanned drones have been an integral part of U.S. wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, gathering intelligence and firing missiles at suspected insurgents. But Israel's fleet has been specially fitted for electronic warfare, according to officials.

From Governor Romney:
During the CBS/National Journal debate, he said, “It is unacceptable for Iran to have a nuclear weapon….If all else fails, if after all of the work we’ve done, there’s nothing else we could do besides take military action. Then of course you take military action.” He called for “crippling economic sanctions” against Iran and supported using covert action and supporting the dissidents in Iran who oppose the current regime. He also stated unequivocally, “One thing you can know — and that is if we reelect Barack Obama, Iran will have a nuclear weapon. And if we elect Mitt Romney, if you’d like me as the next president, they will not have a nuclear weapon.”

Romney doesn't seem to realise that "when all else fails" is when an Iranian nuclear device blows up over Isreal. Military action at that point will be rather futile. All of the efforts he supports are already at work, but they've only slowed, not stopped, Iran's nuclear progress. And deciding to take military action is, according to the Constitution, the job of Congress. Yet none of the former or present Congressmen presently running for election--or re-election--to the presidency have ever sponsored a declaration of war.

Finally, this from Representative Bachmann:

“With a President Bachmann, I can assure you, there would be no option in my cabinet that would be off the table,” the Congresswoman said on November 8. “I would use every possible military option there is to stop Iran from using a nuclear weapon.”

The problem with this sort of talk is that it is just that--talk. Imagine Hitler telling Germany that he "would use every possible military option there is to stop America from using a nuclear weapon.” Well, he did, and in the end none of them did a bit of good.  The only thing that kept Germany from getting nuked was that they had something the Japanese lacked--a willingness to give up when they knew the war was over. Japan's insistence on defending their ground to the last man was a direct cause of America's choice to use weapons of mass destruction to force them to submit.

It's already too late to stop Iran from using a nuclear weapon. The only option now is to stop them from getting one, and that option is a decidedly military one, and one that, if it is to do any good, will have to be taken off the table and put into action--soon.

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