Bush to Iran: Don't You Wish We Had Been Disarmed?

I posted about this at Mises, but this New Yorker article is just too crazy to be real. Besides the stuff about the Joint Chiefs wanting to resign over a nuclear first strike, there's the following juicy quotes:

A government consultant with close ties to the civilian leadership in the Pentagon said that Bush was “absolutely convinced that Iran is going to get the bomb” if it is not stopped. He said that the President believes that he must do “what no Democrat or Republican, if elected in the future, would have the courage to do,” and “that saving Iran is going to be his legacy.”

Didja catch that, folks? SAVING Iran. And how about this:

A senior Pentagon adviser on the war on terror expressed a similar view. “This White House believes that the only way to solve the problem is to change the power structure in Iran, and that means war,” he said. The danger, he said, was that “it also reinforces the belief inside Iran that the only way to defend the country is to have a nuclear capability.”

Yep, funny how violence works like that. I think the peaceniks have a cute phrase for it.

Oh, but here's a good one too:

The lack of reliable intelligence leaves military planners, given the goal of totally destroying the sites, little choice but to consider the use of tactical nuclear weapons. “Every other option, in the view of the nuclear weaponeers, would leave a gap,” the former senior intelligence official said. “ ‘Decisive’ is the key word of the Air Force’s planning. It’s a tough decision. But we made it in Japan.”

You'd think "the lack of reliable intelligence" might induce restraint in blowing people up. And I just love how past mass murders justify currently contemplated ones.

But here's my favorite:

“This is much more than a nuclear issue,” one high-ranking diplomat told me in Vienna. “That’s just a rallying point, and there is still time to fix it. But the Administration believes it cannot be fixed unless they control the hearts and minds of Iran. The real issue is who is going to control the Middle East and its oil in the next ten years.”

Umm, isn't that a ridiculous conspiracy theory? We're doing it to save the Iranians!


  1. Anonymous12:03 AM

    If Iran actually develops a nuclear weapon -- for delivery by humongous jet or attache case -- and uses it within Nation A, we may anticipate that the survivors in A will bend every effort to wipe Iran off the map, leaving only a glow visible from Mars. It is unlikely that they will be interested in scrupulously distinguishing between those actively involved in that act, and the "innocent bystanders" (scare quotes because, as I'm sure you believe, inaction by those oppressed is much like complicity -- mitigated only by the foreseeable costs of direct, useful action).

    Preventing Iran from producing that weapon would, yes, save Iran. Waiting for the weapon to be deployed, on the other hand, would result in the destruction of Iran. Unless, of course, the weapon had succeeded in obliterating the victim. From the POV of the probable victim population, I don't have a hard time choosing here. That preventing Iran from finishing the work would issue in the survival of a great many Iranians (to say nothing of Iranian society and institutions) is a bonus, but not a trivial bonus. Especially to those Iranians who, after all is done, have not been wiped out by the foreseeable retaliation.

  2. Anonymous12:13 PM

    The above combines stupidity and evil in startling proportions! If "Nation A" is barbaric enough to try to wipe out the entire Iranian population in retaliation for a first strike, then couldn't we solve this problem just as well by a first strike at "Nation A"? Especially considering that "Nation A" represents the only real threat of executing a first strike in the Mideast, and the odds the Iran would do so are about a zillion-to-one?! ("Nation A" is, of course, this poster's coy name for Israel.)

    I suppose we have to "save" China, India, and Pakistan with US first strikes as well. After all, China might pull a first strike on Russia, and then get wiped out, or India on China, or Pakistan on India. Really, every nuclear power but America needs to be saved by a nice, friendly, first strike, doesn't it? And then we can send the mutant survivors the idiotic "reasoning" above to explain how it was all from the love in our hearts!

  3. Anonymous2:19 AM

    To the charge by "anonymous" of coyness I plead Not Guilty. I was actually thinking of the US, not of Israel.

    But let us think this through, despite his error.

    If I believe, reasonably, in good faith, for solid reasons, and on good evidence, that the fella across the street is about to torch my house while my family is asleep, and there is (perhaps we are in Libertopia) no outside agency which can stop him in time, then chances are pretty good that after the deed, I will be less than scrupulous about retaliation. I'm sure that that would show I suffered from bad toilet training and inadequate drilling in Judith Martin, but there it is.

    Now, if someone, knowing all this, could manage to take out just the folks who will actually execute the attack on my family, and do so in time, would it not be fair to say that the other residents of that house had been saved from death by this intervention?

    I'm hardly saying it would be pretty, or admirable, or in accord with the Gospels. I'm only saying that, in my judgment, it would be accurate to say that the pre-emptive act did in fact save the lives of the more-or-less innocent bystanders.

  4. Hello, Michael, nice to see you drop in.

    However, I don't think your argument makes any sense. I see this as a very clsoe analogy: I notice that Bill down the street from me has been working out a lot and really building up his arms. I don't like Bill much -- for instance, I regard him as a bigot and suspect he gives money to David Duke. Although he says he is lifting just for the exercise, I think there's a chance he might pop me in the kisser one day. Since I know I'm very prone to violence, I figure my response would probably be to riddle him full of bullets.

    Therefore, to save him from that fate, I should go and chop off his arms right now! I'd be doing him a favor!

  5. Anonymous11:52 AM

    I suppose that reasonable people could disagree about how alarming the news must be before one does something -- and how late is too late, and how can we be sure we're neither too late nor too early.

    Prudence is a good thing.

    Ascribing evil stupidity to those who arrive at a prudential judgment different from one's own is . . . (fill in the blank).

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