Tuesday, November 20, 2007

AEI Scholar Says Iranian Bomb Is 'Intolerable'

In an Op-Ed in USA Today, Joshua Muravchik, a resident scholar at American Enterprise Institute and a member of the State Department's Advisory Committee on Democracy Promotion, toes the line of the Bush administration and hypes the threat of Iran's nuclear program. Muravchik writes: "Our choice is stark. Accept Iran with an atom bomb or cripple its nuclear program by force. Nothing else will stop Tehran."

Muravchik is in favor of military strikes on Iran's nuclear facilities and argues that the President alone is positioned to carry out such strikes. He states: "Only strikes against Iran's nuclear facilities can forestall these terrible scenarios. This would not require a 'declaration of war,' an antiquated concept that has not been employed since World War II and rarely before. We would send no troops, conquer no land. Rather, we would act in pre-emptive self-defense...Congress can block presidential action, but in this case, most members will be satisfied to stand clear and let the president do what must be done."

Once again, the issue of resolving Iran's nuclear program is being framed as war or capitulation, but this is a false choice. It is also false to suggest that Iran's nuclear program poses an imminent threat to the United States. Yes, this is a challenging situation and its resolution has serious implications for the global nonproliferation regime. However, the reality is, there is time, albeit limited, for the U.S. to engage in direct talks with Iran without preconditions to resolve all outstanding issues. There is no reason to rush towards military confrontation. And, let's be clear, Muravchik is making the case for another preventive attack, not a pre-emptive one.

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