Iran

I believe an attack on Iran would be a bad idea for a number of reasons.

  1. Iran has not actually threatened us, and poses no threat to us.
  2. Preemptive attacks are still a bad idea.
  3. Unilateral military action is both unwise and a violation of international law.
  4. Have the advocates of an attack on Iran really considered all the consequences?
  • How close are the “military targets” of potential air strikes to population dense areas? How many civilian deaths would be likely to result?
  • How many culturally significant or even sacred structures might be damaged by such air strikes? Consider how angered Americans were at the attack on the World Trade Center, and imagine if it had also included, even accidentally, the Statue of Liberty. Of course, those particular structures were not close enough for an attack on one to have affected the other, but what if a strategic target in Iran is very close to a sacred mosque or shrine? Do we even understand what the significance of such an accident might be?

5. We are already dealing with the aftermaths of two ill-planned invasions. Not enough consideration was given to the spectrum of possible consequences of either the Afghanistan or Iraq invasions. Several years later, we are still entangled in military conflicts in these places with no end or solution in sight. Any attack needs to include several contingency plans and exit strategies.

6. War, or military action in general, should always be a last resort, after all other options have been exhausted, or when no other option is possible. We are a long way from having exhausted all possible alternatives with Iran. We have hardly negotiated with them at all, and have not put much effort into multilateral alternatives, which could and should include the United Nations.

7. We need to check ourselves: suggesting that Iran (or any other nation) has no right to pursue nuclear technology while we actively possess the world’s largest stockpile of nuclear weaponry, continue to develop new nuclear weapons, and have not done much recently in the way of promoting global nuclear disarmament, is hypocritical and invites ridicule.

8. Rather than making threats, we should simply call Iran’s bluff. They claim to want nuclear technology for peaceful purposes. We should offer them an alternative. We should offer them a great package deal on wind and solar technology and an aid package, to include training and/or actual installation, per Iran’s choice. Depending on the natural wind and sun resources in an area, every house or other building that is suitable (architecturally and culturally: they probably wouldn’t want to retrofit ancient mosques with solar panels or a windmill) can be fitted with either solar panels or a mini-windmill, or possibly both. Many houses fitted with solar panels produce more than enough energy for their own use, and sometimes have enough to “sell” back to the grid. But even if they only supplement the current energy system, this would likely be sufficient to meet all of Iran’s domestic energy needs, making nuclear energy, which is much more dangerous and uses large amounts of water (an even more precious resource than oil in many places), a pointless idea for that purpose. Given the latest National Intelligence Estimate that stated that Iran discontinued its nuclear weapons program in 2003, I believe it could be that Iran would accept such an offer, and if we give robust effort to the negotiations and they still refuse, that will be evidence to the world community that their nuclear intentions may still include weapons technology.

Corollary to that, I believe that we should also be retrofitting our own buildings here in the US with wind and/or solar technology. Doing it in Iran too would increase the market and decrease the costs, making it better for all concerned, and might allow other countries to join in that effort.

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