Friday, July 28, 2006

It's Time To Give Iran A Clear Warning

--Written from Ashland, Oregon

In October, 1962, in his opening public speech on the Cuban missile crisis, President John F. Kennedy gave the Soviet Union a clear warning. Any atomic attack on the United States from Cuba, he said, would be viewed by the United States as an attack from the Soviet Union, necessitating a full, atomic attack on the Soviet Union.

This direct warning of deterrence to any attack ultimately helped solve the crisis. It forced Nikita Khrushchev to back down, although the U.S. did give certain assurances about its own missiles in Turkey, and the crisis was over. Castro Çuba was never much of a threat to the U.S. again.

Something of the same kind of warning should now be given to Iran.

In recent days, that country, under its Fascist president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has been growing more and more bellicose. While denying the undeniable, its direct role in supplying the terrorist organization Hezbollah, Iran has also said it intends to send volunteers to Lebanon and it has repeated its threat to "wipe Israel from the map." Iranian officials have also directly threatened the United States, in case any action is taken against them.

We found out with Hitler that the mad ravings of a tyrant must be taken with the utmost seriousness. As a classic psychopath, he meant what he said, and acted on it.

Iran increasingly seems to think it can throw its weight around. Just last week, Ahmadinejad sent a contemptible letter to Germany, in effect trying to enlist the sympathy of that country because under the Nazies it had once persecuted the Jews. The letter, rife with threats against Israel, was commendably found by the German government to be "unacceptable."

It should be recognized by Americans, sometimes guilty of too much wishful thinking about the present prospects for world peace, that there are citcumstances we could become involved in the present war in Israel and Lebanon. If Iranian-supplied long range missiles, which Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrullah claims he has, were to be tipped with chemical weapons and used against Tel Aviv, I believe the U.S. would enter the war.

If this is so, it should be clearly stated. Great Britain made a terrible mistake in 1914 in not warning Kaiser Wilhelm's Germany that if it invaded Belgium, Britain would declare war. If such a warning had been given, World War I would likely been averted. Similarly, a U.S. cabinet official made a critical mistake in declaring in 1950 that South Korea was outside the defense perimeter of the U.S. The North Korean invasion soon followed, and a bloody war ensued.

We must be just as clear with Iran now. A warning might be a powerful incentive to an early cease fire in Lebanon the Israelis could accept.


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