Will Iran bomb Israel, reducing it to rubble like Hiroshima and Nagasaki, if the regime in Tehran is someday armed with nuclear weapons?
Not one of my acquaintances believes this will ever happen, nor do most Israelis who have thought about it. But many people believe Israel will soon use conventional bombs to disable the nuclear research facilities in Iran. All of us should ponder why.
Bombing Iran is a big risk. It will likely mean widespread war, not just a skirmish. It will convince any Iranians who doubt the fact that their country really needs protection from nuclear weapons that in fact it does.
Skillful bombing will delay the construction of Iranian bombs for several years, but a determined Iranian government will eventually come to possess a warhead, even if comes from the black market.
Iran is a large, proud, well-educated, resourceful and well-armed nation, not a pipsqueak bunch of thugs. Although Israel has survived by the sword since its founding, thanks mainly to US subservience, trying to immobilise Iran is a mammoth undertaking.
Iran’s main complaint against Israel is its brutal on-going colonisation of the mostly-Muslim Palestines, a rebuke applauded by all Muslims and most other people worldwide.
Iran plays a major role supporting resistance to Israeli aggression. Israel could silence complaint without firing a shot by withdrawing from the illegally-held Palestinian land.
Israel’s immediate goal is to make the United States its partner in a planned conventional assault on Iran. To that end, Israel’s US lobby is trying to convince the American people that Iran is a bad actor and a sinister force in the raging Syrian civil war. And Israel has such mastery of the US media that this goal may be easily achieved.
President Obama keeps the war option alive and recently sent Israel a supply of America’s latest ‘deep penetration’ bombs, a certain and ominous sign of US complicity if assault occurs.
My acquaintance with nuclear bombs began long ago. As a Seabee I walked through the awful devastation at Nagasaki shortly after US nuclear bombing there ended World War II.
It was a chilling experience. Years later in Congress, I heard an expert witness predict that more than 20 nations had the wherewithal to build a nuclear warhead in the space of just a few weeks.
Fortunately, although there has been a proliferation of nuclear armaments, none has been fired in anger since Nagasaki.
This is mainly because a little-noted military doctrine sends a powerful message: when disputing governments both possess nuclear weapons, neither will commit acts of war against the other.
It is called ‘Mutual Assured Destruction’ [MAD]. It created a standoff between the United States and the Soviet Union, both armed with nukes. It kept the Cold War from getting hot. The Former US President Dwight D. Eisenhower alluded to this doctrine in l964 during a private discussion I had with him in his Gettysburg office.
He said, “One way to keep European nations from fighting each other would be to supply an atomic [nuclear] warhead to each head of government.” He was not joking. His point: nuclear weapons have only one military value, but it is an important one – to deter attack.
Nukes now provide deterrence from attack only to the nations that possess nuclear warheads or those given special treaty protection by nations possessing those weapons.
Until an international institution strong enough to enforce a worldwide ban on nuclear warheads comes into being, all nations that are threatened will be tempted to build their own nuclear bomb deterrence.
Except for Pakistan, all Muslim countries lack such deterrence. If Iran possessed even one nuclear warhead, Israel would not be beating the drums for assault of the Tehran regime.
Iran finds little sympathy amongst Americans these days. Most of them have never heard of MAD, but they remember with anger Iran’s illegal imprisonment of US diplomats in the American embassy in Tehran during the last 440 days of the Carter administration.
Few American citizens remember the illegal, bloody 1953 US-British military coup that ousted Iran’s democratically-elected government, headed by Mohammad Mossadegh.
Coup forces imprisoned the ousted leader for life, installed the Shah as absolute dictator and restored the British-US exploitation of Iranian oil reserves that had been taking place. It was the worst chapter of the otherwise admirable Eisenhower administration.
Iranians also remember the US support for Iraq in the war that dictator Saddam Hussein initiated against Tehran in the 1980s. The Iranian death toll exceeded half-a-million.
If Iran gets a nuke or two, it will have a form of deterrence against attack from any hostile power, including Israel and another state of peaceful standoff will take place. Gideon Rose, Editor of Foreign Affairs, says, “…deterrence is less disastrous than preventive war”.
Will President Obama lead America into a war, the only goal of which is to deny Iran deterrence from attack?
All parties, especially Obama and the Republicans that are campaigning to succeed him, should cease all talk of war. Parts of the region are already in a state of tension and rife with threats and hatred.
They are so full of competing military vessels they may literally bump us all into an unintended but horrific conflict that could engulf much of the world.