Debating War With Iran

As Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visits New York this week for the UN General Assembly, the question of Iran and what the United States and Israel should do is on everyone’s minds. Here’s a roundup of opinions on both sides of the debate.

A top Israeli security official explains the Iranian nuclear threat, saying, “A nuclear Iran is one of the gravest things that could happen to Israel. If Iran goes nuclear, everything here will be different. Everything. We will shift into a different state of existence.” [Haaretz]

Jamie Fly and Bill Kristol call on President Obama to take action against Iran, writing, “The real and credible threat of force is probably the last hope of persuading the Iranian regime to back down. So: Isn’t it time for the president to ask Congress for an Authorization for Use of Military Force against Iran’s nuclear program?” [The Weekly Standard]

Former U.S. Ambassador to the UN John Bolton writes that sanctions and containment won’t work, so a pre-emptive military strike is the “only other option.” [USA Today]

Georgetown professor Matthew Kroenig writes: “The truth is that a military strike intended to destroy Iran’s nuclear program, if managed carefully, could spare the region and the world a very real threat and dramatically improve the long-term national security of the United States.” [Foreign Affairs]

Former chief of Israeli military intelligence, Amos Yadlin, writes: “Today, Israel sees the prospect of a nuclear Iran that calls for our annihilation as an existential threat.” [New York Times]

A bipartisan group of senior foreign policy experts—including former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, Senator Chuck Hagel and Ambassador Thomas Pickering—have released a report warning that an attack on Iran would only set the country’s nuclear program back four years. Ensuring Iran never acquires a nuclear weapon would involve a prolonged conflict, which would inflict “serious costs to U.S. interests” and “lead, potentially, to all-out regional war.”

Former Mossad chief Meir Dagan says in an interview, “We are going to ignite, at least from my point of view, a regional war. And wars, you know how they start. You never know how you are ending it.” [CBS]

Atlantic writer Jeffrey Goldberg lays out seven reasons Israel should not attack Iran, which include the loss of innocent lives and the possibility that a strike may speed up Iran’s nuclear capabilities. [The Atlantic]

L. Michael Hager, co-founder of Italy’s International Development Law Organization, writes: “Under the strict wording of the [United Nations] Charter, neither Israel nor the United States would have a legal right to preemptively launch a military strike on Iran.” [Christian Science Monitor]

A New York Times article details the strategic difficulties of an Israeli attack on Iran, which would require pilots to “fly more than 1,000 miles across unfriendly airspace, refuel in the air en route, fight off Iran’s air defenses, attack multiple underground sites simultaneously—and use at least 100 planes.” [New York Times]

Former Ambassador Nicholas Burns writes: “[T]he United States should do all it can to avoid war and look for another way to stop Iran’s drive for a nuclear weapon.” [Boston Globe]

One response to “Debating War With Iran

  1. Chuck Hagel??? Never met an appeasement he didn’t love.

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