Guest View: Everything old is new with Iran

President Obama

“Get out your white suit, your tap shoes and tails
Let’s go backwards when forward fails …”
-Lyrics by Allen, Peter W. /Sager, Carole Bayer
As President Obama tap dances his insincere sales pitch for the Iranian nuclear deal—it’s this or it’s war—we realize that we have seen this act before with a different cast. Even loyal Democrats are holding their collective noses and some are burning their history books, especially the pages documenting the Clinton/Carter-North Korea deal in 1994; it was “the deal or war” back then too.  Turns out it was neither; the real theme was, USA suckered—again.
To refresh your memory, North Korea used the threat of war and nuclear weapons to get concessions from Clinton, brokered by Carter, and buy time to develop its nuclear capability secretly in violation of the agreement. When the A-bomb was ready, they just said the deal is off, they were a nuclear power and we are still not at war (discounting the fact that the Korean War never attained the “final peaceful settlement” required by the armistice).
No matter what your opinion of the so-called Iranian deal, of which many details you’re not allowed to know, let’s dispense with the nonsense; we are not going to war with Iran despite the fact that Iran has been at war with us for decades. They have been training, arming, and in some cases actively directing deliberate attacks against Americans and our interests throughout the region. No one disputes that—nor do they dispute that this agreement will not restrain future Iranian-sponsored attacks that have killed and maimed hundreds of our service personnel and thousands of innocent civilians as I write; but put that aside—if you can.
There is always the possibility that even the political lemmings in Congress will reject this deal, if war were really the certain alternative (drum roll), wouldn’t it be prudent to at least get ready? We are doing absolutely nothing to prepare for an imminent war with Iran, and starting an argument with a false choice is merely a debater’s trick unworthy of this serious issue.
This deal is designed to do one thing only: allow the administration to say, “We did something” when, in fact, they have done nothing that has had any real effect. Most of all, they have failed to seriously enforce the Iranian embargo or sanctions with allies or adversaries. The issue is Iran’s potential nuclear capability and whether this deal has some advantages for us. I do not see any. The truth is that given time, exactly what they are asking for, and sanctions that leak like a sieve, Iran and a whole lot of other counties can make A-bombs.  If North Korea can make them, who can’t?
Seventy years ago, there was a lot of cutting-edge science, engineering and secrets involved in the design of the first nuclear weapons, but the science is now old hat and secrets are no more. Building a basic nuclear weapon is a piece of cake for most nation-states.  In 1945 the U.S. was so sure that “Little Boy”, the original uranium bomb, would work it was never even tested it before we used it on Japan.
Iran has decided that they either do not want a nuclear capability, must delay attaining a nuclear capability, or just need more time; we can’t know which. Since they have already made that decision, they are now trying to get something—a regional free hand—for nothing.
The risk is complacency and its accompanying false sense of security; the pressure will be off. As soon as we fool ourselves into believing that we have an agreement our attention will go elsewhere and the imperative will shift from watching them carefully to keeping the agreement alive no matter how many violations accumulate just like we did with North Korea.
Since Iran is working to its own schedule and will surely continue to do so, no one can explain what it is we get in return except a feel-good moment.
If we believe that Iran is an irresponsible terrorist state bent on ruling the region then we should take positive steps, even military force, not fake paper, to prevent them from ever obtaining a nuclear capability at all costs. Otherwise, we should have the guts to demand our allies and pressure our adversaries to make the sanctions real and just let Iran go its own way with a warning, as long as you have nuclear weapons we will consider you at the top of the regional threat list and if general hostilities break out we will treat you appropriately.
Let’s not do North Korea again. I’ve seen that show and it was a total flop.
Marty Richman is a local Hollister resident and retired U.S. Army nuclear weapons technical officer.

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