Having observed the various unprincipled positions, non-positions, and evasions of conservatives, liberals, and in-betweenies regarding what to do about Iran, I was surprised this morning to discover a proposal even more boldly suicidal than any yet offered. This from Nicholas Kristof at the New York Times:
Iran could be persuaded to adopt a Japanese model: develop its capacity to the point that a bomb could be completed in weeks or months, but without testing or stockpiling weapons.
Granted, expert reassurances are easier to accept if you live in New York than in Tel Aviv, and the consequences of being wrong would be horrific. But however one judges the risks, the one thing we should have learned from Iraq and Lebanon is that military "solutions" can leave us worse off than before.
As I have been saying for years, the Bush administration's military "solutions" (i.e., half-battles)—touted as "hawkish" and "aggressive" and "cowboy-like"—have zapped from American discussion the possibility of a genuine military solution. Consequently, here is where we are today: Military solutions don't work. Don't bomb the enemy; instead, allow it to get within weeks of completing a nuclear weapon—and try to keep it there!
No, Mr. Kristof, we should not—as the neoconservatives would have it, and as President Bush will probably do—engage in "a few air raids" to "make the Iranian nuclear menace disappear." You're right; that won't work. Rather, we should engage in a massive and sustained air assault on Iran until all the Islamists there are dead. Yes, all of them. You see, dead Islamists can't make bombs. Or will you evade that too?