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"The good news: I thought Our Kampf was consistently hilarious. The bad news: I’m the guy who wrote Monkeybone."—Sam Hamm, screenwriter, Batman, Batman Returns, and Homecoming
October 23, 2008
We're Going To Attack You If You Try To Get The Power To Stop Us From Attacking You
[A]n Islamic Republic of Iran with nuclear weapons capability would be strategically untenable. It would threaten U.S. national security...While a nuclear attack is the worst-case scenario, Iran would not need to employ a nuclear arsenal to threaten U.S. interests.
Simply obtaining the ability to quickly assemble a nuclear weapon would effectively give Iran a nuclear deterrent...
While this seems crazy to the uninitiated, it's long been the view of US foreign policy elites that other countries must not have the power to deter us from attacking them. They must always be vulnerable to being attacked by us. And if they may have the power to deter us from attacking them in the future, that means we must attack them right now.
For instance, here's a little-noticed January, 2001 memo by Donald Rumseld:
Several of these [small enemy nations] are intensely hostile to the United States and are arming to deter us from bringing our conventional or nuclear power to bear in a regional crisis...
[U]niversally available [WMD] technologies can be used to create "asymmetric" responses that cannot defeat our forces, but can deny access to critical areas in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia..."asymmetric" approaches can limit our ability to apply military power.
Another example is found in a September, 2002 speech by Philip Zelikow, executive director of the 9/11 Commission and author of the 2002 National Security Strategy, about the threat posed by Iraq. Once again, this threat is not that Iraq will attack us, but that their WMD will make it possible for someone to deter us (and Israel):
I criticise the [Bush] administration a little, because the argument that they make over and over again is that this is about a threat to the United States...
Now, if the danger [from Iraq] is a biological weapon handed to Hamas, then what’s the American alternative then? Especially if those weapons have developed to the point where they now can deter us from attacking them, because they really can retaliate against us, by then.
And here's a recent report by several retired NATO generals, which deems non-military acts of deterrence by China and Russia to be "acts of war":
[A]cts of war can be committed by individual nation states or allied states by abusing the leverage that other resources bring. China and Russia today are economic powers that might be tempted to deter other nations with the weapons of finance and energy resources.
ALSO: Here's more from Coats and Robb:
Simply obtaining the ability to quickly assemble a nuclear weapon would effectively give Iran a nuclear deterrent and drastically multiply its influence in Iraq and the region. While we would welcome cooperation from a democratic Iran, allowing the Middle East to fall under the dominance of a radical clerical regime that supports terrorism should not be considered a viable option.
Yes—in particular, we would welcome a democratic Iran by overthrowing its democratic government.
—Jonathan SchwarzPosted at October 23, 2008 12:40 PM