Monday, March 19, 2012

It's Still Stupid to Launch an Attack on Iran

As undercurrents of discontent for Iran's nuclear program continue to bubble to the surface and we behold the Israelis already preparing for Iranian counter-attacks (to a near future bombing raid on Iranian facilities), the fact remains there is no defensible logic which could justify such an attack.

Even leave out for the moment the report in a recent issue of The Economist ('Smart Concrete', March 3rd, p. 89) that recently developed U.S. "bunker buster", 30,000 lb. bombs may not be able to penetrate Iranian underground facilities, fortified as they are now with "ultra-high performance concrete" (UHPC) - this is a nanoscale variation, often incorporating oxides of titanium or zirconium. Other variants have used polypropylene fibers and quartz flour (known as 'fume') to attain the same effect, according to the piece.

In other words, attacking Iranian facilities using these Massive Ordinance Penetrators ("MOPS' ), which can break through 60 m of ordinary concrete, will not necessarily be a walk in the park. And if not for the U.S., it won't be for Israel either, unless they do something reckless like using tactical nukes - the basis for the horrific nuclear war flick, 'Threads', e.g.

But there are other reasons to refuse to be cajoled into a costly, maybe super-costly, war. One of them is Iran does not have a nuclear weapon. All it has are highly enriched fuels which could be used for reactors. The U.S. Intelligence community has already twice concluded there is no evidence that Iran has committed to any decision to make a nuclear weapon. So, are we now again, to be pushed into a 3rd conflict - like the specious one in Iraq based on ridiculous claims of them getting "yellowcake" - abetted by a 'dog and pony' show before the UN?

Meanwhile, London's International Institute for Strategic Studies concurred.

There is also a major fault in the logic that if Iran goes nuclear it'll set off a nuclear arms race in the region. We have examples that counter such reasoning. When North Korea went nuclear, neither Korea or Japan followed suit. And when Israel went nuclear, neither Egypt or Saudi Arabia followed suit.

Also, comparing attainment of nukes to India and Pakistan doesn't wash, since we've seen both those countries go to war three times in 30 years yet nukes weren't used. In fact, one could argue that since going nuclear they've been more restrained, somewhat analogous to the basis for "mutually assured destuction" (MAD) that existed between the U.S. and Soviet Union during the Cold war.

Neither does the argument that any nukes "might fall into the hands" of terrorists make sense. After all Iran has endured, including massive sanctions (the latest being cut off from the international electronic banking SWIFT system) how or why would they be so cavalier in allowing their hard won attainments to be usurped by loonies? It is all scare tactics.

Finally, the (mainly) Israeli argument that Iranians are prepared to commit mass suicide if it means the extermination of Israel is hyperbolic babble. (This was the claim of the Israeli Ambassador on a recent Bill Maher show). A truer take was offered by Gen. Martin Dempsey on Fareed Zakaria's CNN program some time back, when he referred to Iran as a "rational actor" - that means ultimately invested in survival not self-extermination for a manic, irrational cause (as the Christian fundies are in the U.S. of A., who can't wait for Armageddon to occur and the world's cities vaporized to pave the way for Jaysus' 2nd coming. Oh, and that means all the Jews except 100,000 "chosen ones" vaporized too, though until then these fundie U.S. Xtians are happy to use Israel as the base for their prophecies to unfold!)

As observed by U.S. intelligence specialist, Paul Pillar, in an essay in The Washngton Monthly:

"More than three decades of history show that the Islamic Republic's rulers, like most rulers elsewhere, are overwhelmingly concerned with preserving their regime and their this life and not some future one."

Israel, before it mounts its bombs to attack Iran might want to process that. They also might wish to look again at Principle VI under the Nuremberg laws, passed after the Nazis were brought to heel. Principle VI clearly states:

"The crimes hereinafter set out are punishable as crimes under international law: (a) Crimes against peace: (i) Planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances; (ii) Participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the acts mentioned under (i). "

As for Obama and his administration, he'd be stupid to cooperate in such a violation, leading as it would to even higher spiking oil prices, and very likely an end to his aspirations to get a 2nd term - which I for one believe he deserves.

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