Monday, May 05, 2008

Nuking Iran

Repetition. Although I've been keeping up to date with the news since the election fever started, I feel like it's died down right now. Everything seems repetitive. I wondered if I was the only one who felt that way but survey says, not at all. The recent debate between Clinton and Obama was over the same issues and we heard nothing but regurgitated and rehearsed responses.

However, something Clinton slipped in between her answers caught my attention. She said, "An attack on Israel would trigger massive retaliation." Did she just silently threaten Iran?

A few days later, I read this on The Jerusalem Post.

"I want the Iranians to know that if I'm the president, we will attack Iran," said Democratic Presidential hopeful Senator Hilary Clinton Tuesday in an interview on ABC News.

"In the next 10 years, during which they might foolishly consider launching an attack on Israel, we would be able to totally obliterate them," she added.

Let's first review what 'obliterate' means so that we may fully understand her point:

: remove or destroy all traces of; do away with; destroy completely.

Ahh, I see. There's a background to this. This video shows the entire interview.

I can't help but have mixed feelings about her statements. While I admire her for being bold, straight forward, and calculative, her statements remind me of elementary school kids saying, "If you hit me, I'll hit you back." Does this kind strategy really work? It'll certainly help Israelis go to bed feeling a bit safer. After all, this could mean that they won't have to take any preemptive strikes against Iran thanks to Clinton.

However, will it deter Iran? Couldn't they retaliate by getting other countries to back them up as well? Or how about the fact that Clinton brought up a threat that does not yet exist?

Her point is this; we need to be able to deter other countries from obtaining weapons. From my understanding, she believes that if countries obtain nuclear weapons, then they should provide deterrent backups. Since Iran isn't, her idea of preventing them to not use nuclear weapons is by saying that the United States will "destroy (Iran) completely."

With that said, I wonder what affect these statements will have on diplomatic attempts with Iran in the future, if she becomes President. I suppose if she said that she would respond the same way if another country, say Saudi Arabia got attacked, I would feel a bit comfortable with her bold statements. However, when George Stephanopoulous asked her this question, she carefully dodged it. Observe.

What's Obama's response to this? His position is no different, however he didn't explain his plan of action the way Clinton did. He said, "If Iran used nuclear weapons on Israel, or any of our allies, we would respond forcefully and swiftly, but in some ways, this hypothetical presupposes a failure to begin with. We shouldn't allow Iran to have nuclear weapons. Period. I have consistently said that I will do everything in my power to prevent them from having it and I have not ruled out military force as an option."

When asked about her choice of words, he said, "a bunch of talk using words like obliterate doesn't actually produce results."
Here's a clip of his answer.

True, but again, I feel that he's saying the same thing. He just knew how to use a thesaurus. This reminds me of the time he brought up Pakistan. His first few comments sounded like he just wanted to bomb the country and Clinton was there to remind us unlike him, she believes in building a relationship with Pakistan. However, Obama cleared up his rep. by saying that
if Pakistan is unwilling or unable to strike against key officials of Al-Qaeda, the States will take action. He made it clear that he will not allow any country to be a training ground for terrorists. But now Clinton's on the hot seat. Does she have any plans on clearing up her statements?

"Why would I have any regrets?" she told George Stephanopoulos and group of Indiana voters on ABC's This Week. "I am asked a question about what I would do if Iran attacked our ally, a country that many of us have a great deal of, you know, connection with and feelings for." Right..thanks for making thousands of Americans who don't necessarily feel a connection with Israel feel alienated..and from this response, I don't think she's planning to clear up anything.

As a result of her threat, Iran's
U.N. ambassador, Mehdi Danesh-Yazdi called her statements "provocative, unwarranted and irresponsible" and "a flagrant violation" of the U.N. Charter. He also stated that Clinton "unwarrantedly and under erroneous and false pretexts threatened to use force against the Islamic Republic of Iran."

In a letter sent to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moo, Danesh-Yazdi said, "Iran is a leading nation in rejecting and opposing all kinds of weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons." He added that Iran has repeatedly declared "that nuclear weapons as the most lethal and inhumane weapons have no place in the defense doctrine of the country."

Iran has also campaigned to make the Middle East a Nuclear Weapons Free Zone since 1974, he said; "Moreover, I wish to reiterate my government's position that the Islamic Republic of Iran has no intention to attack any other nations," Danesh-Yazdi said. "Nonetheless ... Iran would not hesitate to act in self-defense to respond to any attack against the Iranian nation and to take appropriate defensive measures to protect itself" as authorized under the U.N. Charter. Source.


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