Betsy Speicher

Actually, U.S. should attack Iran’s nukes

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Published in the Providence (RI) Journal on Thursday, July 19, 2007

Actually, U.S. should attack Iran’s nukes

International Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohamed El Baradei said that an attack on Iran over its refusal to freeze its nuclear program would be “an act of madness . . . [that] would not resolve the issue.”

Quite to the contrary, an attack on Iran that destroyed its nuclear program and regime is long overdue. The purpose of such a strike would be to end the mounting threat from Iran, which has been waging war on the West for decades, and is now seeking even more powerful weapons. Retaliating against Iran doesn’t mean embarking on an Iraq-like crusade to bring its people the vote; instead, it means using military force to make the regime non-threatening — for the sake of defending American lives.

Diplomatic attempts to persuade Iran to give up its quest for nuclear bombs have been going on for years, and have produced no results other than to buy time for Iran’s nuclear program and confer on that hostile and tyrannical regime unearned legitimacy as a peace-seeking regime. Iran’s leaders are committed to a global jihad against Western civilization; no negotiations are possible with those who seek your destruction.

The West’s only moral choice is to defend itself from this deadly threat.

Given Iran’s murderous goals and its feverish pursuit of the weapons to achieve them, not attacking Iran would be immoral.

DAVID HOLCBERG

Irvine, Calif.

The writer represents the Ayn Rand Institute.

Copyright © 2007 Ayn Rand® Institute. All rights reserved.

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I thought the letter by Holcberg was very well phrased. Iran has been at war with the US at least since their jihadi proxy Hezbollah massacred 241 marines in Beruit in 1983. Recently they seem to have been responsible for hundreds of American deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan via their roadside bombs. And what of all their "Death to America!" chants and government promises?

This is a real threat and it needs to be eliminated. I wish there would be a full and vigorous Congressional debate to determine whether Iran is or is not an active enemy of the US. They answer, in my view, is "yes." We need to declare war.

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I thought the letter by Holcberg was very well phrased. Iran has been at war with the US at least since their jihadi proxy Hezbollah massacred 241 marines in Beruit in 1983. Recently they seem to have been responsible for hundreds of American deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan via their roadside bombs. And what of all their "Death to America!" chants and government promises?

This is a real threat and it needs to be eliminated. I wish there would be a full and vigorous Congressional debate to determine whether Iran is or is not an active enemy of the US. They answer, in my view, is "yes." We need to declare war.

Out of curiosity: at what point do we declare war? Shall we wait until the current one is over, when we have more troops to do the task? Or should we move ahead against yet another viable threat and hope everything militarily works itself out? I'm thinking that if the logic currently being used to win the war we're currently waging--and arguably [by most standards] losing--is applied again, we very well might have a legitimate disaster on our hands. Which is worse? I honestly would like to know.

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I thought the letter by Holcberg was very well phrased. Iran has been at war with the US at least since their jihadi proxy Hezbollah massacred 241 marines in Beruit in 1983. Recently they seem to have been responsible for hundreds of American deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan via their roadside bombs. And what of all their "Death to America!" chants and government promises?

This is a real threat and it needs to be eliminated. I wish there would be a full and vigorous Congressional debate to determine whether Iran is or is not an active enemy of the US. They answer, in my view, is "yes." We need to declare war.

Out of curiosity: at what point do we declare war? Shall we wait until the current one is over, when we have more troops to do the task? Or should we move ahead against yet another viable threat and hope everything militarily works itself out? I'm thinking that if the logic currently being used to win the war we're currently waging--and arguably [by most standards] losing--is applied again, we very well might have a legitimate disaster on our hands. Which is worse? I honestly would like to know.

Ground based war on Iran is a non-starter at the moment due to a lack of troops. So that leaves economic blockade, air strikes, or limited surgical attacks.

The Spectator in England did a great piece on the technical issues involved with an air strikes on the underground nuclear facilities. It is unclear whether this would be effective, short of going to nukes to attack. Some people believe the bunker busters could do the job, others are sceptical. Certainly you don't need to destroy the centrifuges, just shake 'em up a little and you make 'em useless as they are very sensitive.

From a personal standpoint I have been advocating (privately) advising the regime's leadership that they are now targets and could expect a 4am wake up call from a cruise missile through their bedroom window and destruction of their other personal assets unless nuke development verifiably halts. This would get their attention, because whilst they advocate suicide, they don't seem to get round to committing it.

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Out of curiosity: at what point do we declare war? Shall we wait until the current one is over, when we have more troops to do the task? Or should we move ahead against yet another viable threat and hope everything militarily works itself out? I'm thinking that if the logic currently being used to win the war we're currently waging--and arguably [by most standards] losing--is applied again, we very well might have a legitimate disaster on our hands. Which is worse? I honestly would like to know.

As has been discussed on other threads some time ago, which you might want to look up if it interests you, the biggest problems with the current war are:

1) Wrong target

2) Very weak use of American forces

Re: #1, Iran should have been target #1 in the first place as the chief promoter of Islamic terrorism in the world.

Re: #2, that American troops should have to contend with a deadly nuisance such as IEDs, shows how much sacrifice Bush is willing to inflict in order to avoid using the full force of American military might on the enemy. Either Iraq constitutes a threat to American security, in which case enough of it should be reduced to rubble that it no longer poses a threat, or we should immediately get out with a warning of devastating consequences if they did pose a threat. Iraq is not such a threat currently, and it probably wasn't even when Hussein was in power, but Iran remains untouched and a growing threat.

If Bush had the moral courage and certainty of judgment (which he doesn't, not by light-years), he would identify the Islamic theocracies that most pose a threat to America and civilization generally and eliminate them with a few of our 6,000 nuclear weapons. The problem would be over in a few hours. In a modern world where American soldiers are afraid to fire their guns lest they be prosecuted for doing something "unreasonable" in a warzone, such a scenario is practically fantasy. Yet eventually it will either come to that or the destruction of this country.

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Aaron MM and others: My foreign policy advocacy is always the same -- and perhaps rather tedious, at this point:

Attack the leaders! Kill the Muslim dictators and their cronies!

Use cruise missles and smart bombs to wage a one week mini-war against the top hundred or thousand of the jihadist political, military, police, and religious leaders of Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Sudan, etc. Follow it up with another week of commandos and hunter-killer teams using ultra-strong air support. Try to make the morally black Hitlers and mini-Hitlers perish. Try to avoid killing the morally grey people.

The source of the problem is the dictators. Cut off the head of the evil and maybe the monster will die. If not -- repeat the exercise every few weeks or months. It's the right thing to do. It's a matter of justice and morality. It's also an issue of practical survival for the West. Mass-murderers and mass-enslavers are truly dangerous in today's WMD world. And they have no right to live. So try to terminate these mortal enemies of ours. It will possibly revolutionize the world!

(For what it's worth -- probably nothing -- I said this exact same thing a few hours ago on The John Gambling Show, WABC radio, 770-AM, in New York City, after the DJ interviewed Muslim expert Robert Spencer.)

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Aaron MM and others: My foreign policy advocacy is always the same -- and perhaps rather tedious, at this point:

Attack the leaders! Kill the Muslim dictators and their cronies!

Use cruise missles and smart bombs to wage a one week mini-war against the top hundred or thousand of the jihadist political, military, police, and religious leaders of Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Sudan, etc. Follow it up with another week of commandos and hunter-killer teams using ultra-strong air support. Try to make the morally black Hitlers and mini-Hitlers perish. Try to avoid killing the morally grey people.

The source of the problem is the dictators. Cut off the head of the evil and maybe the monster will die. If not -- repeat the exercise every few weeks or months. It's the right thing to do. It's a matter of justice and morality. It's also an issue of practical survival for the West. Mass-murderers and mass-enslavers are truly dangerous in today's WMD world. And they have no right to live. So try to terminate these mortal enemies of ours. It will possibly revolutionize the world!

(For what it's worth -- probably nothing -- I said this exact same thing a few hours ago on The John Gambling Show, WABC radio, 770-AM, in New York City, after the DJ interviewed Muslim expert Robert Spencer.)

Why do you advocate attacking the Muslim dictators? What do you consider the difference(s) to be between the "top hundred or thousand" and a terrorist with dual citizenship in the U.S. and a terrorism-advocating nation, and who is employed as a software engineer in the U.S., Germany or Australia or the U.K., and who doesn't even do jummah? What is the criteria that makes those you name the "top", and appropriate targets in your view?

Given the weapons arsenal in the hands of the enemies of the United States, why will a "one week mini-war" be successful? How will cruise missiles and smart bombs work when the enemies are not a "top hundred or thousand", but are many different heterogenous elements within and in many different jurisdictions, as I have described here?

"How do you distinguish the "morally grey"?

There is no alternative to total war. You are only advocating more of the same except with more force.

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Why do you advocate attacking the Muslim dictators? What do you consider the difference(s) to be between the "top hundred or thousand" and a terrorist with dual citizenship in the U.S. and a terrorism-advocating nation, and who is employed as a software engineer in the U.S., Germany or Australia or the U.K., and who doesn't even do jummah? What is the criteria that makes those you name the "top", and appropriate targets in your view?

Given the weapons arsenal in the hands of the enemies of the United States, why will a "one week mini-war" be successful? How will cruise missiles and smart bombs work when the enemies are not a "top hundred or thousand", but are many different heterogenous elements within and in many different jurisdictions, as I have described here?

"How do you distinguish the "morally grey"?

There is no alternative to total war. You are only advocating more of the same except with more force.

Cometmaker -- You have many good questions!

The exact number of dictatorial leaders and assistant leaders to be targeted and (hopefully) killed is rather arbitrary and unimportant. Good people and nations should try to eliminate many or all of those who have totally destroyed more than one net life, generally speaking. But it may be more practical, in many ways, to just go after those responsible for murdering or significantly enslaving, torturing, or robbing tens or hundreds of innocents.

The war could be considered a "success" if it intimidates the dictators considerably -- which it almost certainly would. Today's evil leaders in Saudi Arabia, Burma, Cuba, Libya, Vietnam, etc. live in great comfort and security -- which is an outrage. They need to live in abject terror and horror every minute of their miserable lives. They need to fear US assassins every moment.

Or the mini-war could be considered a success if it gave the good-guy locals a decent chance at a liberal revolution. Right now they have almost zero hope of help from the "civilized" world. This is hideously wrong. Especially considering how weak and defenseless the mass-murderes and mass-enslavers are.

In my judgement -- correct me if I'm wrong -- the citizens of most dictatorships today are properly considered morally GRAY. They largely, but not completely, are responsible for creating and maintaining their monster states. Their leaders, however, are morally pure BLACK. They should be destroyed. They're a threat to the West, and an enemy of their own citizens.

There's a HUGE alternative to total war -- and I just explained it. America can change the whole world at very low cost in men and money. The key point is: Target the dictators worldwide!

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Aaron MM and others: My foreign policy advocacy is always the same -- and perhaps rather tedious, at this point:

Attack the leaders! Kill the Muslim dictators and their cronies!

Use cruise missles and smart bombs to wage a one week mini-war against the top hundred or thousand of the jihadist political, military, police, and religious leaders of Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Sudan, etc. Follow it up with another week of commandos and hunter-killer teams using ultra-strong air support. Try to make the morally black Hitlers and mini-Hitlers perish. Try to avoid killing the morally grey people.

The source of the problem is the dictators. Cut off the head of the evil and maybe the monster will die. If not -- repeat the exercise every few weeks or months. It's the right thing to do. It's a matter of justice and morality. It's also an issue of practical survival for the West. Mass-murderers and mass-enslavers are truly dangerous in today's WMD world. And they have no right to live. So try to terminate these mortal enemies of ours. It will possibly revolutionize the world!

(For what it's worth -- probably nothing -- I said this exact same thing a few hours ago on The John Gambling Show, WABC radio, 770-AM, in New York City, after the DJ interviewed Muslim expert Robert Spencer.)

Why do you advocate attacking the Muslim dictators? What do you consider the difference(s) to be between the "top hundred or thousand" and a terrorist with dual citizenship in the U.S. and a terrorism-advocating nation, and who is employed as a software engineer in the U.S., Germany or Australia or the U.K., and who doesn't even do jummah? What is the criteria that makes those you name the "top", and appropriate targets in your view?

Given the weapons arsenal in the hands of the enemies of the United States, why will a "one week mini-war" be successful? How will cruise missiles and smart bombs work when the enemies are not a "top hundred or thousand", but are many different heterogenous elements within and in many different jurisdictions, as I have described here?

"How do you distinguish the "morally grey"?

There is no alternative to total war. You are only advocating more of the same except with more force.

As an aside: In 1979, I was stationed at the Naval Submarine Base in Groton, near New London, Connecticut. Before the Iranian Revolution and the Hostage Crisis, we had Iranian sailors and naval officers training at our base. When the Ayatollah Khomeini took power, the Iranians were shipped back to their country. That was almost thirty years ago, but I wonder if there was any knowledge of nuclear submarine technology those men might have taken with them--those of them who would become loyal to the new regime--that may still be useable today. Do you know anything about that?

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When the Ayatollah Khomeini took power, the Iranians were shipped back to their country. That was almost thirty years ago, but I wonder if there was any knowledge of nuclear submarine technology those men might have taken with them--those of them who would become loyal to the new regime--that may still be useable today.

I doubt that Iran has the capability to use such information, but it's very easy to imagine them passing the information along to Russia and China, who could probably use the knowledge to our detriment.

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As an aside: In 1979, I was stationed at the Naval Submarine Base in Groton, near New London, Connecticut. Before the Iranian Revolution and the Hostage Crisis, we had Iranian sailors and naval officers training at our base. When the Ayatollah Khomeini took power, the Iranians were shipped back to their country. That was almost thirty years ago, but I wonder if there was any knowledge of nuclear submarine technology those men might have taken with them--those of them who would become loyal to the new regime--that may still be useable today. Do you know anything about that?

The debriefing standards and procedures for any persons returning from 'official' trip, such as an athlete, scientific conference attendee, naval officers, etc. were the same in Libya and Iran in that time period. A returning traveller is first questioned by different departments to first determine and/or confirm what the organizational behavior, particular foreign individuals' names and roles, and the travellers perceptions and observations of the world abroad. The second objective is to determine and/or confirm what details the traveller has told people in other countries about Libya/Iran. The traveller is no more or less likely to be undergo lengthy debriefing regardless of whether one travels in a group or not. However, if there is a group, in each group there is at least one designated informant (regarding the activities of fellow travellers). If travelling alone, the location of residence while abroad may still be designated prior to departure for monitoring purposes.

All technical and military information, including sketches by the returning travellers, is examined in detail. All returning travellers are monitored after their return for changes in behavior or thoughts that resulted from exposure to living conditions abroad. The length of time a returning traveller is monitored depends on the risk categories he falls into for different departments, and returning travellers, and their relatives, can be summoned for questioning at any future time. The sources of the above information regarding Iranian debriefing practices are from flowcharts created (independent of each other) by refugee claimants/asylum seekers from Iran, Libya, Tunis and Yemen. So, yes, Iran would have acquired, as a matter of course, a great deal of information, but tracing the use of the 30-year old information today can only be mapped by a number of transactions between organizations in countries we label as secondary threats. The reasons for trade can be as subtle as an effort to disallow power rivalry from a peer agency among a terrorist consortium, the information gained can be traded for other intelligence or weapons that keep the peer agency pre-occupied within their nation without a direct intervention. This would also be beneficial for Iran as a whole in this terrorist consortium since the fall out of other terrorist country members' opinion against Iran remains minimal.

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The exact number of dictatorial leaders and assistant leaders to be targeted and (hopefully) killed is rather arbitrary and unimportant.

You have provided an opinion that you are in favor of a just war (in the commonly used definition of 'just war' today). The exact number (and sequence) is not arbitrary and is actually critical to conducting just war. Please read or review what just war and total war has meant in the past and what these terms can mean today.

Good people and nations should try to eliminate many or all of those who have totally destroyed more than one net life, generally speaking.

I don't understand what this sentence means.

But it may be more practical, in many ways, to just go after those responsible for murdering or significantly enslaving, torturing, or robbing tens or hundreds of innocents.

Or the mini-war could be considered a success if it gave the good-guy locals a decent chance at a liberal revolution. Right now they have almost zero hope of help from the "civilized" world. This is hideously wrong. Especially considering how weak and defenseless the mass-murderes and mass-enslavers are.

Given the factors that must be considered to give the United States long-term security, please review the pitfalls of waging just war, in this instance, against the particular type of enemies (this is not as simple as one (or more) dictator buying black market arms and each militia personnel being loyal to that dictator) who are as irrational as those we face. I suggest reviewing the reasons that claiming a moral buffer for the "morally grey" as a reason for clemency has not been successful in just war in ancient and recent history. Dictators or military despots we are speaking of certainly promote Islamist elements even as they undermine and devastate every democratic institution and party that existed in their nations, but the creation of "monster states" as you call them are not parsed or bracketed in time or solely attributable to one (or more) leaders or "assistant leaders".

There's a HUGE alternative to total war -- and I just explained it. America can change the whole world at very low cost in men and money. The key point is: Target the dictators worldwide!

I would be happy to read any information or sources you can point to which show how a just war - or any type of war, even a "mini-war" (which you have not defined) - involving the weapons and resources available to the United States and its enemies, could possibly be defined as "very low cost".

I read in your statements the usual rhetoric with the usual appended moral statements, but not an alternative for our security. I am gravely concerned that there are a large number of individuals who claim to support our military efforts abroad, but yet advocate some sort of vague war(s) with the same contradictory statements that you do. I am gravely concerned that this is the quality and norm we have in support for war amidst a virulently anti-war (and anti-America) atmosphere in the media and the general population. The specific knowledge of an average American adult of the breadth and nature of our enemies must increase exponentially before advocating specific foreign policies that affect homeland security. Our leaders, as mixed up as they are, :ph34r: must not continue on the road you suggest and which we are on.

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To Cometmaker:

Back in the late seventies (or early eighties, I'm not sure) a non-fiction book came out by British General Sir John Hackett which was a scenario of how the next "World War" might start, escalate and end (I've never read it).

You seem to be very savvy about the structure of international events that could lead to an all-out war. Have you ever considered writing such a scenario--in essay form--for a publication such as The Intellectual Activist? Because I think people really need to read a "worst-case" scenario of the outcome of the U.S.'s foreign policy ever since the political/intellectual response to the first use of the atomic bomb. We're appeasing our enemies all the time, and, personally, I fear that someday we will appease ourselves into a corner we can not get out of.

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Cometmaker -- Many more questions! I appreciate them. I can't necessarily say I understand them... :ph34r:

I'm very familiar with ARI's views on "just war theory" and I agree with virtually all. What I propose isn't anything like "just war," nor is it overmuch like ARI foreign policy, nor is it much like today's dominant neo-con thought.

If anyone else in the Objectivist movement (or elsewhere) advocates a quick hard strike against leaders only with no "nation-building" or "teaching democracy" I'm unaware of them. People criticize my foreign policy from every possible direction -- often with dismaying contradiction -- but it makes no sense to say the US is somehow following it.

Who deserves to die in the slave states of Iran and Saudi Arabia? Hard to say. But certainly the head tyrants do. In the name of true justice, we don't want to kill the basically innocent. So why not play it safe -- as the US does already in law courts -- and only go after the clearly guilty, i.e. the top hundred or thousand Big Brother monsters?

Why smart-bomb the heads and semi-heads of state of Iran and Saudi Arabia? Because their leaders are : objectively evil, genuine enemies, and a substantial threat.

As for the cost of my mini-war, perhaps I should have used the word "raid" or "chastisement." The current war in Iraq and Afghanistan was almost trivial in the cost of men and treasure up to the point of conquest. Afterwards, we bled lives and cash copiously. My plan involves far less risk and expense. It's conceivable not a single American airman will be lost as the governments of these two monster states have hell unleased upon them. This devastation and/or the consequent pro-freedom uprising will likely make the dictats see the error of their ways.

As far as I can tell, a cheap and easy policy of brazenly and on principle targetting the dictators and their chief supporters and cronies everywhere on earth will rewrite the entire world order. And immensely for the good.

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As far as I can tell, a cheap and easy policy of brazenly and on principle targetting the dictators and their chief supporters and cronies everywhere on earth will rewrite the entire world order. And immensely for the good.

There's an appeal to this idea - it's an old idea actually - but it isn't going to happen for a number of reasons. I think the primary reason is that "leaders" everywhere have a long tradition of sending other men off to die, often in stupidly unjustifiable wasteful ways, and the last thing they want is to be personally targeted in retaliation for assassinating other such "leaders". The standard operating procedure is send off lots of other men to do the fighting. Bush is confused on this point however, because he apparently thinks that the ones who should be dying are American troops rather than the enemy's.

More fundamentally, dictatorships pick off their own leadership with regularity, and new scum rises to the top as a matter of course. Ultimately a national scale threat can only be defeated by a national scale attack that kills enough of the enemy that the country is no longer a serious threat.

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There's an appeal to this idea - it's an old idea actually - but it isn't going to happen for a number of reasons...

More fundamentally, dictatorships pick off their own leadership with regularity, and new scum rises to the top as a matter of course. Ultimately a national scale threat can only be defeated by a national scale attack that kills enough of the enemy that the country is no longer a serious threat.

PhilO -- I'm sympathetic to your line of reasoning, but I don't actually agree with it.

You say this is an old idea, but I've never heard of it. I'd be grateful if you or others could point me to some historical (or current, if possible) figures who think along these lines. Maybe I can learn by reviewing their ideas.

The key reason why my foreign policy thinking is rejected (in Objectivist circles and elsewhere) is because everyone agrees that foreigners have no right to violate national soverignty or interfere in the internal affairs of others. But I emphatically disagree. Good people and countries can "stick their noses into other peoples' affairs" and brazenly can "make it their business." This is because the political values of liberty and justice are transcendent and infinite. They easily trump the non-violation and non-interference political values above. The local yokal dictators have no right to violate local rights and are not free to trespass local freedom.

"Foreign devils" have the right to try to rescue others, as Rand noted. More important, I think the best self-defense, and prospects for long-term peace, result from my precision destruction of evil policy which goes directly to the source of the problem and the evil.

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You say this is an old idea, but I've never heard of it. I'd be grateful if you or others could point me to some historical (or current, if possible) figures who think along these lines. Maybe I can learn by reviewing their ideas.

Sometimes, a picture is worth a thousand words. See this from Cox & Forkum:

YourAttentionPlease-X.gif

The key reason why my foreign policy thinking is rejected (in Objectivist circles and elsewhere) is because everyone agrees that foreigners have no right to violate national soverignty or interfere in the internal affairs of others.

Everyone? Objectivists have always held that a government that violates the rights of its own citizens has no legitimacy or sovereignty and may be attacked whenever it is in our self-interest to do so.

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That cartoon is outstanding! :ph34r:

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See this from Cox & Forkum:

I like Cox & Forkum but the cartoon is wishful thinking. Germany in the 1940s could not have been defeated simply by assassinating Hitler (though killing him as part of a wider campaign would have made sense.) Iran and the other countries listed don't seem to be backing down so far - perhaps realizing that Bush has spent considerably more time focusing just on Iraq (and the cavemen of Afghanistan) than it took to fight and beat the Axis powers of WW2, and the weakness that that represents given the many orders of magnitude greater fighting power that exists today.

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You say this is an old idea, but I've never heard of it. I'd be grateful if you or others could point me to some historical (or current, if possible) figures who think along these lines. Maybe I can learn by reviewing their ideas.

In one of James P. Hogan's science fiction novels some years ago (I think it was The Two Faces of Tomorrow), some of the characters focus on very selectively eliminating the bad guys. His novel The Genesis Machine also contains some elements of that, where the world's greatest physicist realizes he needs to take control of his inventions (he sounds similar to Galt but it's a very different, inferior character and story, nonetheless an interesting one.) I think the idea has also been kicking around for much longer than that but I can't give you particular references beyond Hogan's. My point about leaders assassinating each other is not a new one either; a U.S. president that simply assassinated the current crop of leaders in a dictatorship, leaving it intact, would probably be dead himself in short order, and he knows it - unless he literally walled off Washington D.C. and kept out everyone except government employees who'd passed a background check, and lived there for the rest of his life. (Well, give it time, D.C. will probably turn into that.)

If consistently and broadly applied by a genuinely rational set of men, it might work, but the U.S. in 2007 is light years from that description. Don't forget that the main rights violating government in Atlas Shrugged resided in D.C., and the novel is not a far flung extrapolation of trends in the 1950s that continue to this day. Mr. Thompson and Cuffy Meigs do not have protecting America and American lives as a priority, not in the novel, and not in D.C. today.

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Ground based war on Iran is a non-starter at the moment due to a lack of troops. So that leaves economic blockade, air strikes, or limited surgical attacks.

"Well, there you go again..." -- Ronald Reagan

First, I'd bet the ranch that the forces already in theatre could, without a nuke, bring Iran to its knees in no time. It's never been a matter of having the necessary force -- "we're never outgunned." It's a matter of will.

Second, I remind you that over 1.3 million people have already served tours during this conflict, and many of them are a phone call away.

Third, one act of self-asscertion by the US would not only swing this conflict in our favor, but would swell the military's ranks in no time.

The Spectator in England did a great piece on the technical issues involved with an air strikes on the underground nuclear facilities.

What made it great?

All kinds of experts have been predicating doom and gloom Re US efforts in the region for the almost 20 years now. The only dissasters that have come about were/are due to our unwillingness to go for total victory

It is unclear whether this would be effective, short of going to nukes to attack.

Well, then we know what we have to do.

Some people believe the bunker busters could do the job, others are sceptical.

What qualifies these people to speak Re the potential of current US forces? Are they aware of plans, equipment, covert capabilities, etc? What doe know about these sources? Do we know, for example, how many of their predications panned out Re Gulf War I, aka, the 100-hours war?

Certainly you don't need to destroy the centrifuges, just shake 'em up a little and you make 'em useless as they are very sensitive.

Which would mean they're destroyed.

However, centrifuges, like the current leadership, are replaceable/expendable. What's needed is a course of action that eliminates this threat for the foreseeable future.

From a personal standpoint I have been advocating (privately) advising the regime's leadership that they are now targets and could expect a 4am wake up call from a cruise missile through their bedroom window and destruction of their other personal assets unless nuke development verifiably halts. This would get their attention, because whilst they advocate suicide, they don't seem to get round to committing it.

Personally, I don't think killing these people would change much. The machine that generates these things has to go -- one way or another.

Let's not fall for it again: Iran is a region under totalitarian rule -- it's not a nation. As such it has no rights once it develops the potential to threaten actual nations.

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First, I'd bet the ranch that the forces already in theatre could, without a nuke, bring Iran to its knees in no time. It's never been a matter of having the necessary force -- "we're never outgunned." It's a matter of will.

Second, I remind you that over 1.3 million people have already served tours during this conflict, and many of them are a phone call away.

Third, one act of self-asscertion by the US would not only swing this conflict in our favor, but would swell the military's ranks in no time.

...

What qualifies these people to speak Re the potential of current US forces? Are they aware of plans, equipment, covert capabilities, etc? What doe know about these sources? Do we know, for example, how many of their predications panned out Re Gulf War I, aka, the 100-hours war?

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However, centrifuges, like the current leadership, are replaceable/expendable. What's needed is a course of action that eliminates this threat for the foreseeable future.

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Let's not fall for it again: Iran is a region under totalitarian rule -- it's not a nation. As such it has no rights once it develops the potential to threaten actual nations.

Why is Iran not a nation?

Recent history suggests that "we're never outgunned", but at this point in time, our guns are well-matched. Even if we do not rely on using foreign hubs to put our guns into action (after the eviction of the United States at Ganci/Manas, we've been shooed out of Saudi Arabia, and with the use of Pakistani facilities being an agreement with Musharraf dependent on his staying in power which is supposed to end in October, it's best not to count on neighbors), we'd still have to bring carrier battle groups over to function as floating bases. So even when these are not in overhaul, let's say we could deploy four, the Chinese and Russians have *quite* a few Sunburns/Moskit anti-ship cruise missiles ready to use against us. With a speed of Mach 2.34 and the capacity to go nuclear (up to 200 kt, 6x more than Hiroshima), our floating bases are suddenly very sinkable. Beijing has been consistently buying a few more of those Sovremenny-class guided missile destroyers to go with the anti-ship weapons each year.

Afghanistan is a minimum intensity combat situation where these carriers were used, and these recent developments mean our carriers are now good for very low-tech environments only. China frequently manages the transactions between Russia, Iran, Pakistan, Libya, themselves and Saudi Arabia, so it's an open number as to how many Sunburns the Iranians have. They have in-kind agreements with these countries (i.e., you build my roads/air base/lookout tower, we'll forgive your loan for x $million) which possibly extend to weapons. The real question is whether we are aware of "plans, equipment, covert capabilities" of Iran and its friends.

In terms of reliance on neighbors, we're suffering from the decisions to wage just war in the past, one of which side effects was the necessary maintenance of various bases.

How much in United States resources are you willing to exhaust on Iran alone such that we are not even more vulnerable to attack than we already are? While we were planning high-tech M.A.S.H. facilities dotted across Central Asia re: Afghanistan, at home we didn't have enough personnel to patrol all the borders effectively, and still don't. We relinquished the awesome Presidio of San Francisco, the navy base on Staten Island, and about 60 overseas sites were similarly cut. What budgetary resources do you think we have? In terms of swelling the ranks, if our liberty and sovereignty was a concern to our citizens, we'd have a standing army proportionate the number of citizens, and enough to beat the PRC's. We're sitting at, at best (when taking into account all personnel, not just those in active duty) 9 defenders to 1000 citizens. So much for swelling the ranks. And even if we deploy every individual, at the kill rates the enemy (and the enemy's friends) would achieve during intense combat, we're sucked dry if we've only got 1.3 million. That's almost every single active trooper!

On the bumpy road America has taken so far against Islamic terrorists, the best current recipe is:

1) withdraw all US aid. Even the governments that made ground areas available to the US on an ad hoc basis for which the US apparently paid are turning their backs on us.

2) There are something like 5 million Muslims in France, and 2.5 million in UK. Terrorists didn't hunker down in Afghanistan, where many Afghans would sell them out for the price of a rug, nor Cairo and Riyadh, so guess where they are. Police agencies, intelligence services and financial institutions have to trace Hawala, the highly secretive funds transfer system exclusively used by Muslims who do not believe in institutional fees or "interest bearing" accounts, to strangle the flow of funds to terrorists. To do this consistently will stop immediate threats faster than any smart bombs while we marshall resources, including personnel.

3) To prepare for a war where the US acts unilaterally (UK can't be counted on any more), against coalitions of nations to whom less expensive, but equally destructive, weapons are available, and considering the fact that we cannot secure overseas bases even in our own defense (we *might* be able to rent short-term pier spaces in Singapore for warships, but that's all. Note the verb "rent" and the adjective "short term". We don't have as much clout as we used to have.), we need to wait to amass resources before deployment. This includes a whole bunch of steps including resuming manufacturing of the basics of American daily life within America so that we are no longer dependent on China, every man, woman and child learning the basics of nuclear war survival skills, as well as skills for surviving chemical warfare, and to secure oil and gas resources that do not require reliance on Saudi Arabia, UAE, Russia or Iran (or Venezuela).

4) Whatever the resource expenditure on defending our liberty and property, and preparation such as civil defense survival skill acquisition, I want to see each civilian American, as much as possible, live the life we seek to keep. That is, to be able to live in normalcy, to continue innovating, to make movies. Currently, we are not at all ready for a total war.

For those still unconvinced that it is inappropriate to target leaders of regimes such as Iran alone, I suggest reading the classic study of just war theory, Michael Walzer's Just and unjust war: a moral argument with historical illustrations (1977), or A Just Response on Terrorism, Democracy and September 11, 2001 (New York, Nation Books, 2002), Katrina Vanden Heuvel, ed., and see how much sense the arguments contained within them make to you.

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