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Subject: sanity on Iran

Hi Bart,

You and most of your respondents are not discussing the same issue. 

You are 100% correct.
As a rule, people want to argue about "the way things ought to be," such as, "If American had no guns..."
But America does have guns, 200M of them, but sometimes people want to argue around an issue.

You take it as proven that Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons, and say that they should not
be allowed to have these weapons.  You also believe that it would be possible to stop their nuclear
weapons development without going to war.

Other respondents (at least the sanest ones) make one or more of three claims: 
(1) Iran is not developing nuclear weapons,
(2) the US should not be telling countries what kind of weapons they are allowed to have, or
(3) there is no way to stop their nuclear development without going to war. 

Some even say that Iran is sufficiently sane that, even if they had nuclear weapons, they would not use them;
this is contradicted quite simply -- if they are developing the weapons, it is so they can be used.

Good point - I've had to argue two points:  
Some say, "No way they'll have nukes anytime soon"
while others argue, "What's wrong with Iran building a nuclear arsenal?"

A number of people have pointed out the similarity between the claim that Iran has nukes
and the claims of WMD in Iraq that were put forward in 2002-2003. 

That is a really, really crazy argument.
It assumes Obama, Panetta and Hillary are Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld.

One handjob screaming "Wolf!" does not mean the woods are wolf-free.

In fact a lot of the same people are on the same sides as they were then. 
To me, there are basically three questions that need to be answered in order to decide what to do: 
(1) how likely is it that Iran is developing a nuclear weapon that can be delivered to a hostile nation (Israel, Turkey, India,...);
(2) how difficult would it be to eliminate their nuclear program; and
(3) how much would it hurt the US, politically and diplomatically, if we participated in this elimination?

I'm not saying that I think it's a good idea for any particular country's enemies to have nuclear weapons. 
Right now, the US has the most nuclear weapons around, followed by our enemies, then our allies. 
Breaking it down by specific countries shows specific favoritism.

1. I'm not a nuclear scientist, but I'm assuming once you have nuclear power,
    it's not that big a stretch to developing a nuclear bomb. Once Iran has nukes,
    it's going to be like telling a 15-year old boy not to look at Playboy.
2. Two is a bitch - they likely have their secret facilities underground.
3. I don't think it matters.  If a bomb goes off in Israel, I believe Tehran will disappear.
    I would like to avoid that.

Congrats to Russ - for writing a sane letter about the Middle East.


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