Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Existential threat?

"No options are off the table. We cannot abide by a nuclear-armed Iran. It would be an existential threat to the United States."

George Bush? No. Bad grammar and all, it’s Hillary Clinton. It’s becoming more and more difficult to distinguish her from George W. Bush.

Iran cannot possibly, under any circumstances, become a threat to the existence of this country. If I thought she believed that I would simply feel sorry for someone of such limited intelligence, but for her suggest that Iran can be a threat of such a nature as to cause this country to no longer exist is empty rhetoric of the most politically cynical and self-serving sort.

With or without a nuclear weapon, Iran can disrupt the Middle East to the point that our access to that source of oil is cut off. That would be a severe blow to our economy and would cause hardship and dislocation, but we would survive it. I even suspect we would emerge from the situation a stronger nation economically, morally, and probably militarily.

Should Iran develop nuclear weapons, can they build a large number of them in any reasonable time frame? Can they develop a delivery system that can reach the United States with a nuclear warhead? To suggest that they can do either is sheer nonsense, and they would have to do both to be an “existential threat” to us.

The hundreds of nuclear-tipped ICBM’s that the Soviet Union possessed during the Cold War was an existential threat to the United States, but the idea that Iran could match that is simply laughable. Or it would be if the usage of the threat weren’t so sick. Usage of the threat for self-serving political purposes.

The threat of Iran reaching us with some sort of covert delivery of one nuclear weapon is, indeed, frightening. The idea of, as Cheney put it, “losing a city” is chilling, and having that happen would be a very serious blow. But to suggest that the country would not survive it is to seriously underestimate the character of this nation’s people.

Certainly it is desirable to prevent “a nuclear-armed Iran.” We should be using diplomatic means toward that end, as we have done successfully (finally, after threats did not work) with North Korea. Having a strong standing military as a backstop to diplomacy is a reasonable policy.

But to be tossing the “no options are off the table” threat, to be saying that we are willing to use our nuclear weapons to prevent others from obtaining similar arms, is simply unconscionable. This nation has always said that we would never use nuclear armaments on a “first strike” basis. Bush was the first to threaten by implication that we would violate that policy, and Hillary Clinton is now echoing that threat.

I am no longer lukewarm about Hillary Clinton. I have now become utterly opposed to this pernicious, evil wingnut. Like John McCain, she is so hungry for power, so corrupted by the vision of holding the “throne” of this country’s highest office that she will say anything, no matter how dishonest, that she thinks will secure her the votes of those who will award her the nomination.

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