Letter to the Editor

Consider war's consequences

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Iranian nuclear development has been a topic of discussion in both recent news items and op-ed pieces. It seems that some individuals feel the United States should draw a "bright red line" and attack Iran's research and development facilities if this line is crossed.

A June report by the Center for a New American Security takes the position that preventing a nuclear armed Iran should be a priority. It also emphasizes the use of force should be a last resort. In this connection the report takes the position that military action should only be used if the following four points are met:

1. All nonmilitary options have been exhausted;

2. Iran has made a clear move toward weaponization;

3. There is a reasonable expectation that the strike would set back Iran's program significantly; and

4. A sufficiently large international coalition is available to help manage the destabilizing consequences of the strike and to work collectively in the aftermath to contain Iran and hinder it from rebuilding its nuclear program.

It is worth remembering that the Israeli raid on Iraq's nuclear facility at Osarik in 1981 did not significantly delay Iraq's nuclear ambitions and may even have accelerated certain aspects of its nuclear program. Ultimately it was the 1991 Gulf War and subsequent sanctions that stopped Iraqi development.

War and acts of war are always a roll of the dice with unanticipated consequences. Before we take military action against Iran, we should give full consideration its potential consequences.

JOHN PIEPHO, Cape Girardeau