January 23rd, 2006


My response to today's Detroit News editorial.

And what an inflammatory, nonsensical piece 'o crap their editorial is, too. I sent them a lengthy reply. I hope some of you will send them a comment too, because these kinds of articles aren't just piffle. They're dangerous piffle, too!

Here's my letter to the editor.


The (unsigned) editorial in the Detroit News that recommended stopping Iran by force featured several statements that are both ignorant and uninformed.

The most basic error is this:
"Iran must be assured that if diplomacy fails . . . the major powers will act militarily to deny it nuclear weapons."

Piffle. What major powers is the author talking about? Perhaps the US will act militarily, but even our British allies have said quite clearly that they will play no part in a conflict against Iran. The Iraqi government itself has also said it does not want to play host to any kind of attack against the Iranians. Clearly, if we intend to go to war with Iran -- for that is what the bombing of numerous sites within the nation of Iran would be -- we would have to go it alone. Do our allies know something about Iran that most Americans do not? Clearly, the answer is yes.

Iran is a country that is far larger and more populous than Iraq. If laid out on a map of the US, their borders would stretch from the coast of South Carolina to the extreme northwest of Minnesota. It's not a small area to potentially target if you want to destroy secret nuclear facilities.

Iran is also far more culturally and politically unified than Iraq, and an attack on Iran would only increase that level of unity and the level of anti-American feelings. Iran's potential military numbers in the millions, with compulsary training in guerrilla warfare and the use of improvised explosives. They are quite capable of infiltrating and destabilizing both Iraq and Afghanistan, or attacking shipping in the Persian Gulf and greatly effecting the flow of oil to the rest of the world. It is for this reason alone that any serious thought of attacking Iran presumes $4 a gallon gasoline, an increase in prices for just about everything we purchase, and a possible economic recession as a result.

Contemplating a military option against Iran is easy. Any idiot can do it, and many do. Thinking that there will not be a very significant impact on America for doing so, however, is naive.

At this point, we don't know to what degree Iran's nuclear weapons program may have evolved. International arms inspectors have already toured the country, and have found little to suggest any imminent threat, however.

And yet your editorial states that "Nothing is more horrible to contemplate at this moment than a nuclear-armed Iran." It makes me wonder where you were when Pakistan was on the verge of having nuclear weapons after threatening India with annihilation, or when North Korea was on the verge of having nukes after threatening South Korea and the United States for nearly half a century. North Korea has missile technology capable of hitting major American cities, and yet somehow nothing is more horrible to contemplate at this moment than a nuclear-armed Iran? I'm inclined to disagree.

Yes, Iranian president Ahmadinejad's rhetoric is hateful and anti-semitic,
designed to strengthen his support base amongst Iran's hardliners and fundamentalists, but it should be remembered that the former Soviet Union premier Vladimir Khruchev once said to the US, "We will bury you" and tried to place nuclear weapons right off our shores. This was a far more serious, direct, and credible threat to America than anything that Ahmadinejad has ever said or done.

Fortunately, wiser heads prevailed and war with the Soviet Union was averted, in no small part because it would have meant the complete destruction of our countries.

America's defenses are not down, and America is quite capable of responding if attacked. Let there be no doubt that if the Iranians successfully used one or two nuclear weapons against the US or its allies, such an attack would be responded to by dozens, if not hundreds, of similar weapons, and their country would be completely obliterated. We would survive as a nation and rebuild. The nation and government of Iran, however, would simply cease to exist.

There is something about having nuclear weapons -- and, more specifically, having enemies with nuclear weapons -- that forces you look into the abyss amd face the possibility of the complete destruction of your country and your people. Thankfully, up until now, everyone who has looked into that abyss has blinked. Why should we assume that the Iranians will be any different?

The war in Iraq is ending... at least for some.

No money left?! We're *SO* outta here! Iraq is passe anyways...

So, that means that the rest of the world is going to step up and rebuild Iraq now, right? Not quite. The World Bank had estimated in 2003 that it would take $56 billion dollars (unexpectedly high security costs not included...) to rebuild Iraq. The US allocated and has spent about $18.7 billion dollars, and the international community pledged $13.5 billion dollars, but few countries are willing to fulfill their pledges under the circumstances. Only about $1 billion dollars of that $13.5 billion has been disbursed.

In other words, only about $20 billion out of $56 billion needed to rebuild Iraq is really there, and out of that $20 billion, security costs unexpectedly ate up about $6 billion. That leaves Iraq's international reconstruction effort about 25% done, with the insurgents still around, trying to destroy it.

If you're the last contractor left in Iraq, be sure to turn out the lights out when you leave.

"Turn out the lights
The party's over
They say that
All good things must end
Call it tonight
The party's over
And tomorrow starts
The same old thing again..."

- Willie Nelson