Sunday, September 10, 2006

Message to Iran: Our Policy is Assured Destruction

Jules Crittendon of the Boston Herald has an essay up today offering a welcome to visiting former Iranian President Mohammed Khatami, who is scheduled to give an address today at Harvard University. Crittendon notes that in our approach to Iranian nuclear ambition the U.S. will not rely on the Cold War policy of Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD), but instead on a guarantee of "Assured Destruction" should Tehran detonate a nuclear device:

The Soviet Union is no more. But now the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism is developing nuclear weapons. Your successor, raving Islamo-fascist Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, declares openly he wants to destroy Israel. He wants the United States and Great Britain to submit to Iran’s will.

Some world powers would be happy if we just kept talking with Iran, trying to coax it with “economic incentives.” But Iran has stated it will not be deterred.

The United States has not ruled out military action, but with our ground forces fully extended in Iraq and elsewhere, do we want to invade Iran? No. You know that, and believe we won’t do more than throw some missiles at your scattered and dug-in nuclear facilities. You believe the United States poses no real military threat to you. The world’s greatest power seems hamstrung by assymetrical warfare: suicidal guerrillas with homemade bombs, rifles and rockets, bleeding our will to fight.

But now you want to introduce some symmetry, with your quest for nukes. You want to play on our field. This is interesting. As Iran toys with the world, the message President Bush needs to send, as discreetly as he cares to, but very plainly, is this:

We are reasonable people, so if you persist we will start with economic sanctions. An embargo: Nothing will get in or out of your country. The destruction of your oil fields: These assets finance terrorism and an unacceptable nuclear program. Until you dismantle your program, we will work our way down the list. Highways. Bridges. Power plants. Government buildings. Telecommunications centers. The religious centers where hatred is taught.

Do we want to occupy Iran? No. Why should we? We can just bleed you until you reconsider your love of terror and death. We can do it from a distance, with little risk of life on our part. We do not want to harm the Iranian people. But if they choose to remain under leadership that threatens to destroy nations, we have little choice.

The world may hate us for this - those who already hate us for trying to combat terrorism and spread democracy, in any case. Some people will say this cruel policy can only breed hatred. They may have forgotten how other warlike peoples, the Germans and the Japanese, in love with death, ruled by tyrants, were taught to love peace.

Which brings us to the important parts: If a nuclear weapon is discovered that we even suspect came from Iran, our program of destroying your economic, political and military capacity to wage war will intensify. We may then consider seizing key zones in your country. You can keep the rest.

And if, God forbid, a nuclear weapon is detonated, we will obliterate Tehran. This is mad, some critics will say. Tehran is full of innocent people. Well, so are Tel Aviv, London and New York.

This is your choice. You may want to apply your terrorist and intelligence network to seeking out illicit nukes. Because if one goes off, we will assume it was yours, or North Korea’s, and both of you will get it.

Unlike the Cold War, we do not expect the totality of destruction to be mutual. So we can lose the “M” in “MAD.” We can just call this policy “Assured Destruction.”
As we continue our forward policy of combatting fundamentalist extremism worldwide, I'm glad there are firm voices resisting defeatism and retreat in the face of challenge.
See also my earlier post on Investor's Business Daily's firm anti-Iran advocacy.

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