We need to quit our nation building now, but we also need to act in self defense in preventing Iran from producing nuclear weapons…

February 3, 2012

It looks as though Iran is getting some pressure to abandon its project to create nuclear weapons (Iran denies it is for weapons, claiming it is for electricity generation only — few if any believe that).

The Israeli defense minister let it be known that time is running short, in the Israeli’s opinion, to do something. The word is, come spring if Iran has not backed off, Israel will strike.

And it seems as if the Obama administration is in on the pressure game, with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta confirming to a news reporter that the Israelis have said as much. The U.S. it is said tried unsuccessfully to get the Israelis to agree to give the economic sanctions more time — they replied there is little time left.

The U.S. will be blamed whether it is involved or directly involved or not.

You will note the Obama administration does not seem to be telling Israel no (even though we probably could not stop Israel from acting, certainly we have some fair amount of leverage over that nation).

I had begun to write a post about being against our nation-building efforts in the Middle East. But stopping Iran from getting the bomb, so to speak, has nothing to do with nation building and everything to do with self defense of the U.S. and the free world.

There had been a joint military exercise in Israel between their forces and ours planned but it was cancelled. Many speculate that is because Israel had more pressing matters to take care of and did not need the complication of American troops being in the way.

It is a difficult situation or problem, that is, telling another nation it cannot have nuclear weapons when we along with other nations have them. But we cannot let the proliferation of nuclear weapons continue. We survived the nuclear saber rattling of the Cold War, probably because our adversary the Soviet Union did not want a nuclear exchange any more than we did — an accident could have easily happened, though.

Iran is run by religious zealots and political mad men who might do anything. It must be stopped.

I have often written that I think the warnings ought to be done in secret to let Iran save face and allow it to abandon the nuclear weapons program on its own. But this public display of pressure may be needed too.

I would like to see the president of the United States make a speech and say that the U.S. will not allow the proliferation of nuclear weapons and leave it at that, no specific threat, you decide what we mean Iran.

Actions will eventually speak louder than words, and Iran needs to know action may come soon.

I changed my mind about how I would lead into this blog piece after hearing about the latest prediction on a strike on Iran, as I understand it, first reported by the Washington Post and picked up by other outlets, and used as the lead into the CBS Evening News, at least on the broadcast I heard on radio.

And now back to what I had originally intended to put forth:

Just began reading a story on the New York Times site about a Marine unit penetrating deep into the Afghan hinterlands where no NATO forces had ventured before, where the Taliban has had complete control. In the process, one Marine was seriously injured while trying to dismantle and IED and another injured as well. But bringing along some of the native government troops with them, they managed to plant the Afghan national flag.

Well, that’s all well and good, but I would call that “nation building”.

And that is one place where I am in entire agreement with Ron Paul. Under our constitution or at least under our constitution combined with the clear intentions of our founding fathers, we, the United States of America, have no business building nations other than our own. It is far too costly in blood and treasure and not our business anyway.

We feel compelled to hold on in Afghanistan, even though the Obama administration has made it known that it plans to essentially turn the brunt of the effort over to the Afghans come 2013 — but still have U.S. troops remain as backup, I guess —  because we feel we have to finish what we started, otherwise the effort, to include thousands dead and wounded, will have been in vain.

Before I go into 20/20 hindsight, I want to say it is my opinion that we should turn it all over to the Afghan government now and rid ourselves of the burden. If the Taliban take it all back, so be it. If the Taliban start threatening us somehow, we should go directly after them in what ever way feasible.

Now back to the 20/20 hindsight:

The 9/11 attack on the United States, the equivalent of Pearl Harbor, was essentially launched from Afghanistan where the late Osama Bin Laden and his Al Qaeda force received aid and comfort from the Taliban who ran Afghanistan at the time. We made the decision to invade Afghanistan after it refused to turn over Bin Laden and continued to protect Al Qaeda.

We should have gone in full bore, rounded up Bin Laden and all the Al Qaeda we could, took over for a time and supervised the setting up of a new government — yes nation building to a degree — and then at the appropriate time left. And I would not have suggested too long of a time — probably far less time than we, along with allied forces, spent supervising things in Japan and Germany. The populations and cultures of those two nations seemed to take to the forming of democratic and non-belligerent governments. This is not the case in Afghanistan. It is hostile territory with a backwards, tribal culture. Some things are not worth the bother — Afghanistan is not.

I say keep the aircraft carriers and the troops ready to respond where need be for the defense of the United States and its true interests (the free flow of goods, to include oil, being among them), but let us not get bogged down in trying to recreate another people’s culture and government.

If the presidential campaign were a one-issue event I might well vote for Ron Paul.

Neither Democratic president Obama nor any of the Republicans likely to become president are apt to change the status quo, although to his credit, Obama does seem to ever-so-slowly be winding down the costly and for the most part futile efforts in the Middle East.

Like I say, if electing a president was composed of just one issue, I might vote for Ron Paul.

But life is complex, whether the Republicans understand that or not.

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Peace should be the overriding goal, but Iran cannot be allowed to develop nukes…

February 21, 2010

A nation whose leaders frequently threaten Israel with annihilation and who attacks and even executes its own people in order to prevent free speech and democracy, and a nation who constantly makes threats against the United States, and the same nation whose current leadership once took American hostages and held them for months and paraded them blindfolded before the world should under no circumstances be allowed to develop nuclear weapons.

Actually no one should have ever developed them. But mix human curiosity, manifested by science, and the human penchant for war and it was inevitable.

Had the U.S. not been the first or had not at all developed the atom bomb someone else would have. The German Nazis were said to be close to it, and some even think Japan in time could have developed it. And of course the Soviet Union followed close on our heels in the nuclear arms race.

How the U.S. could have prevented other nations from getting the bomb is hard to see. Fortunately, most of the nations, not all, who now possess nuclear arms capabilities are at least nominally on the side of the U.S.

We don’t really know what happened to all the nukes in the dismantled Soviet Union, as far as I know. Don’t seem to hear much about China’s capabilities in that regard either, although we know that nation has a large arsenal of nukes. North Korea (that’s the half that is not on our side Sarah) gives us fits over nuclear arms development

(I have not addressed WMDs in general, to include chemical weapons, but whatever I say about nukes applies.)

While it is unfair that the U.S. would seek to prevent other nations from obtaining or developing nuclear weapons, our security may well depend upon it.

Correct me if I am wrong, but I think so far Israel is the only nation who has successfully thwarted nuclear arms development by potential belligerents — first in Iraq and then in Syria, both by air raids (but would Israel have dared make such moves without the tacit approval — even if perhaps after the fact — of the U.S.?).

But just how we delicately or not-so-delicately go about preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons is a hard question to answer.

With the latest report from what I understand is a highly respected UN nuclear watchdog agency that Iran may be closer than was thought to developing nuclear weapons (months? A few short years?), I sincerely hope somewhere in the depths of the Obama administration people are working on such contingencies (the quieter the better).

Then of course some speculate that we may be burned once again by going after something that apparently is not there after all and making quite a mess of it, ala Iraq and WMDs.

I have blogged before that it would seem far more practical to let Iran know in secret what our real position is — that is we will not tolerate the non-peaceful development of nuclear capabilities — and let it save face by deciding to forego the nuclear arms option.

It is said that it would be difficult to wipe out potential bomb building sites by air because they are well protected underground.

Also, sending in an armed force is all but out of the question. That sort of clumsy action is something we have been about too much of lo these past many years — and I do not mean to criticize the military — it’s the civilian leadership who gives them their marching orders.

But perhaps a combination of negotiation (but it has to be backed by the believable threat of power) stronger economic sanctions, and some type of confidential/ face saving conferences might work.

The aim should be for peace, not war. Iran’s Revolutionary Guard would like nothing better for the Great Satan to attack Iran outright so it could play on the sympathy of the world and particularly the part of the world who is not automatically fond of the U.S.

We should work diligently to not let that happen. But Iran should not be lulled into thinking that our desire for peace will win out over our desire for our own security.

It would be nice if the U.S. could help out the budding, but also foundering democracy movement in Iran, but really Iranians themselves need to take care of that, although I will say that at least in Iran where we are not really able to help at this time, there are at least people who seem to truly desire more of a western style democracy. Contrast that to Afghanistan where we are up to our necks in nation building, but where the populace tends to cling to old tribal ways.

And to go back to Iran. We do not want to, and probably can’t go in a take over Iran. We just want to make sure no more dangerous nut cases get the bomb.