September 30, 2009

Nuclear Weapons and Iran

There has been a lot of talk in the news about Iran testing missiles and its possible nuclear capabilities. First of all, I certainly don't have any particular desire for Iran to have nuclear weapons. On that note, I don't have any particular desire for anyone to have nuclear weapons. Nuclear weapons are, by definition, a weapon of aggression, not defense. They are designed to kill mass amounts of people indiscriminately. Thus, they don't have any place in a purely defensive armament.
That being said, it is very hypocritical of the US to try to deny these weapons to any other nation when the US itself is the only country who has ever dared to use them. Someone who respects the principle behind the second amendment would ultimately have to concede that we cannot both allow the individual to bear arms and deny a whole country that same right.
As far as practicality, Iran has little reason to use a nuclear weapon, especially against its supposed enemy Israel. For starters, Israel would wipe Iran off the map before Iran's missile even reached Israeli borders. Secondly, any nuclear fallout would certainly reach Iran, which is a short distance downwind from Israel.
Glenn Greenwald takes on several people on exactly this point and adds some other great points while he is at it. I think his arguments are difficult to refute. What are your thoughts?

21 comments:

Wegg said...

Glenn Greenwald is a very sharp man. All the points he brought up were dead on. You could tell the interviewers were just not prepared for actual logic. (We'll book this nut job. Should be good for a laugh.)

What he said was so true! We not only are the ONLY country to have actually used Nuclear weapons. . . but we used them TWICE! The 2nd time when we knew full well the devastation the first one caused. Its kind of amazing Japan doesn't harbor massive ill will towards us to this day. Iran complies. . . Israel doesn't. We sanction Iran but we fund Israel's military. It just doesn't add up. I was so livid at Bush for dragging us into Iraq at the time. . . to the point that I voted for Kerry soon after because he was all about "Wrong War at the Wrong Time." But now that we have a super duper "Change" President. . . he is just as bad! Drives me nuts. :-(

BEN said...

On the topic of Japan, we actually knew pretty well what would happen the first time, but we wanted to test the different designs of the bomb (fat man and little boy). In any case, the Japanese were likely about to surrender before we dropped the second bomb. It is so sad. Go figure that public education tried to pound into my head that this was a necessary measure that ended up saving lives. I just don't believe that bologna anymore.

Wegg said...

I think as a nation we are morally bankrupt and need to set back and lead by example.

Taylor & Stephanie Cane said...

Yeah, I would disagree on a few things. Israel isn't guided by a radical ideology. It's literally surrounded by people who want to kill them and "wipe them off the map" it's only natural for Israel to be somewhat overly defensive (even offensive). Israel is also geographically a very small nation. Just one nuke would be enough to pretty much devastate the entire country.

Israel (recently) hasn't said things like "we will destroy all Muslims because they all deserve to die" It does however attack pockets of terrorist cells such as Hezbollah, Al-queda, and the Taliban located within other countries. I do believe that in this it does cross the line sometimes. Israel has nukes and doesn't use them. According to what Iran has promised, if it had nukes it would use them. It's really quite simple.

Iran would bot be worried about nuclear fallout either. They don't care about their own people, this has been demonstrated by just about every other suicide bombing. Besides hydrogen nukes only have about a two week half-life.

It's way easier to look back in hindsight and say that the Japanese would have surrendered without the use of 2 nukes. At the time however, very difficult decisions were being made as to how to end the war quickly. And If you study Japanese culture you'll know that honor ran so deeply in their veins that surrendering was simply out of the question. I think the U.S. handled it the best way it could at the time.

BEN said...

That comment didn't sound like you, Taylor. There are so many misguided statements in it.
What is the basis for your statement: "Israel isn't guided by a radical ideology."? I think you are missing some things here. There is much more to the conflict than you may realize.
I am not aware of Israel attacking Al-Qaeda or Taliban. They have an ongoing struggle with Hezballah, but that is more territorial than ideological (as are essentially all of their disputes). Terrorism is a TACTIC NOT AN IDEOLOGY. Neo-conservatives often make this mistake.
Also, when has Iran ever said they would use nukes if they had them? Besides, they have been denying the whole time that they are even trying to build them, much less admit they would use them. Also, I find it silly to suggest that Iran doesn't care for its own people. You may be surprised to know that Israel's "enemies" are not simply blood-thirsty lunatics but real people that have reasons for what they think and feel. You can't dismiss their opinions so lightly. Remember, Jerusalem is holy ground to Muslims too, even if they are "extremists". There is little incentive for them to obliterate it.
What "suicide bombers" are you referring to? Realize also that this is a tactic mainly used by the Tamil Tigers (not Muslims) in Sri Lanka.
The use of nuclear weapons against Japan was truly horrific. The targets were not military targets but primarily civilian. What does it mean when we target primarily civilians rather than the military? There is much to suggest that Japan was about to surrender even before we dropped the first bomb, and there is ample evidence that they were about to before we dropped the second. I can find no moral reason to justify this action, even if it were true that they wouldn't have surrendered so soon otherwise.
In any case, I think you still dismiss the beliefs of the Japanese as ludicrous and blood-thirsty, without accounting for their humanity. This is often what is done in order to persuade people that aggressive war is justifiable. We have truly become a warlike people.

BEN said...

I just found this link on the Campaign for Liberty site. I post it or your consideration.

http://www.juancole.com/2009/10/top-things-you-think-you-know-about.html

Taylor and Stephanie said...

Well Ben I guess you don't know the full extent of my "silliness" :)

I've been noticing a reoccurring theme that you and Shiloh share sometimes and that is this:
In order to show people how far the common belief is off base, I'll go to the complete polar opposite side of the base in order to prove a point.

Trying to make Iran sound like loving international law abiding country who loves its own people and simply wants to provide cheaper electricity to all its people is also kind of silly Ben. It has in fact said that it supports the destruction of Israel. Israel has not come out and said it supports the destruction of Iran. Of course it says it will blow up any nuclear facilities it feels potentially harbor nuclear weapons but bla bla.

Although I admit it's a rather complicated issue I understand basically the conflict between Israel and other Arab nations. I know it's holy ground for both of them but Iran doesn't need to place a nuke in the center of Jerusalem in order to accomplish a destabilizing blow to Israel.

Suicide bombing happen weekly in Afghanistan and Iraq and are done by radical Muslims which demonstrates that if a radical religious group is pulling the strings behind the doors in Iran, which many believe to be true, then if Iran obtained a nuclear weapon it could easily justify it's use just as suicide bombers do despite any kind of collateral damage that would be caused by a couple weeks of nuclear fallout.
It's important to see Iran's point of view, which most people don't care about, but it's also important to see Israel's point of view.

The very existence of Israel is a great insult to Muslims, and I can understand why, nevertheless surely more tolerance should be established.

But Ben, there is one thing we can both agree on, and that is that we don't want to pay for another war the middle east! Nor do we believe it is even remotely necessary!

BEN said...

Were you able to read the article that I posted a link to? You mentioned some things again in your comment that made me think you either didn't read it or wholly dismissed it. I merely gave it as a second witness.
I am confused at why you think I was "trying to make Iran sound like [a] loving international law abiding country who loves its own people and simply wants to provide cheaper electricity to all its people."
I just reread my comment and don't even understand what you are referring to.
I am relieved to hear that you advocate avoiding war. We don't need to go abroad searching for monsters to destroy. I am afraid however that our provocative tone and actions make this less and less likely.

Taylor & Stephanie Cane said...

I read the article and it was pretty interesting but the article was almost trying to make the case that Iran is that loving cooperative country I was refering to. Him and that Glenn Greenwald guy. I understand their reasoning and wanting to go to the other end of the spectrum to shake things up but it's my opinion that they go a little too far. I think people should not be as worried as they are about Iran but they also should be realistic about their motives. I was also disapointed in the lack of references/evidences in his article of Beliefs and Facts about Iran.

Also the whole Iranian leaders quoting threats... silly. His 2005 speach was clear, he said they shouldn't compromise on palistine and supported israel being "wipped off the map"
Fathi, Nazila (October 30, 2005). "Text of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's Speech". Week in Review. The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2005/10/30/weekinreview/30iran.html?ex=1161230400&en=26f07fc5b7543417&ei=5070. Retrieved 2006-10-17

I would have to say that I haven't seen any evidence of Iran wanting to be peaceful, only the opposite. But again, why is this so important to us???

Taylor & Stephanie Cane said...

Oh and the WW2 nuke discussion would be interesting to talk about.

BEN said...

The reason I asked if you had read that article is because it explains why the statement "wiped off the map" is not only a mistranslation, but a misunderstanding between the cultures. Juan Cole is not usually the person that references other sources. It usually happens the other way around. Google him. Anyway, 'Iran has not launched an aggressive war in modern history (unlike the US or Israel), and its leaders have a doctrine of "no first strike."'
I am not saying Iran is some cuddly fuzzy teddy bear country. But they have good reason to be distrustful of us.
1) We overthrew their elected government in the 50's and put in a dictator supported and controlled by us that oppressed their people.
2) We branded them a terrorist country when a revolution overthrew our dictator (the Shah) and setup their own form of government, which was much less oppressive than the Shah.
3) We supported and gave weapons to their mortal enemy Iraq in the Iran-Iraq war which cost hundreds of thousands of lives and was an aggressive war launched by Iraq with our support.
4) We have supported Israel in spite of all it has done in the name of "peace and security".
Again, there is plenty here to criticize Iran on, but let's leave that to their own people who are doing a good enough job with it. Let us focus our attention on the government for which we have direct responsibility over its actions: ours. We cannot allow this inflammatory rhetoric to lead to another war. We need to open more relations with Iran, trade with them, be friends, and we will see what kind of an influence freedom can have.

Taylor & Stephanie Cane said...

Ben there is no mis-translation here. Did you follow that link I sent you. That's the actual translated transcript of his speech. He said
"Our dear Imam said that the occupying regime must be wiped off the map and this was a very wise statement. We cannot compromise over the issue of Palestine. Is it possible to create a new front in the heart of an old front. This would be a defeat and whoever accepts the legitimacy of this regime [Israel] has in fact, signed the defeat of the Islamic world"

This is a threat to Israel, it maybe a little indirect but it is a threat.

BEN said...

I know what the translation says, Taylor. But you should know that the act of translation has as much to do with idioms and culture as it does the literal meaning of the words. Besides, to say they want Israel wiped-off the map doesn't mean they want it violently destroyed. You are deliberately misunderstanding what he says and you are ignoring the explanation given in the article I sent you. I don't know what else to say. Apparently you believe I know very little about the Middle East, its people, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Iran, the culture, the language, the politics, the history, and the attitude of the people over there. Apparently you ascribe the same ignorance to Juan Cole too. I don't think you should be so presumptuous.
Sure, Iran has threatened Israel. I never said they didn't threaten them. But that is a far cry from wanting to nuke the whole country. If I were Israeli, would I be worried about Iran getting a nuclear bomb? Yoooooouuuu BETCHA! Besides, why does it matter so much to us that Iran has threatened Israel? Israel can take are of itself. This should be obvious.

S. Logan said...

Well, now for something completely different...

So what if Iranian leaders say they want to "wipe Israel off the map"? Israel wasn't justly given the land anyway, and the Muslims have legitimate claims in what they feel was the inappropriate confiscation of their lands. Americans wouldn’t act differently if found in the same situation. Imagine China seeking to wipe the ethnic Uighur out of the Xinjiang province (which is actually happening on various levels). Now imagine the UN telling citizens of Rhode Island that their property and land was going to be annexed through eminent domain and turned into a newly constructed and sovereign Uighur State... I guarantee some militia members from Montana, and a host of other Americans would run, gun in hand, to “wipe anyone off the map” who dared confiscate American land. But, here, we have a clear case where one man's terrorist is another man's patriot. Now, maybe the details are a little different, because the Muslims and Jews have had a long and turbulent history, whereas no one from Rhode Island has probably heard of the ethnic Uighur; however, that's beside the point. Their history only goes to show how much faster their own Muslim 'Montana boys' would come running. Is Iran pissed? Sure! Should they be? I sure would! Why? Because the ISLAMIC Republic of Iran is a little miffed at atrocities committed against Muslims over the last 70 years. Because they're fed up, as they should be, with the intrusive US foreign involvement in Middle-East affairs; after all, we're the ones who gave Saddam all the tanks, missiles, guns, and bullets to 'contain' Iran in the 80's -- the same tanks, missiles, guns, and bullets that Saddam used to butcher the Kurds. We gave Saddam these weapons to contain Iran's revolt over the CIA’s sponsored overthrow of Iran’s democratically elected leader, Mosaddeq. Following tyrants, all puppets of the CIA, were sponsored by the US in trade for fresh oil wells. The final revolution in the late 70's demonstrated Iran's hatred. Giving Saddam these weapons was to cover our own misguided efforts in Iran. Oops.

So, now the United States backs Israel, one of the first countries (if not the first) to be made through UN sanction, by displacing the former inhabitants of the land to make room for a displaced people in Europe. Really?

Israel's attitude towards Muslims, even without the 'terrorist' attacks, is anything but humane. I'd suggest anyone who doubts this come take a Mid-East Geography class at BYU. Iran has legitimate claims against Israel, and if they want to fight a war over it -- let them. If Israel wants to defend its position in the land, once and for all, we should let them. Just load everyone up on one side and on the other, and let them defend what they think is theirs -- the winner gets Jerusalem!

As it is, Israel can absolutely destroy Iran with hardly a thought. It should be fun to watch though, right? As one of my professors once said, if Israel and Iran ever DID go to war -- the United States and Russia would be looking intensely. After all, Israel is funded and backed by US fighter jets, and Iran has Russian technology. Furthermore, the United States has openly admitted that it 'tests' many of its weapons through sponsoring countries like Israel to use their technology to attack other countries that have Russian ground-to-air defense systems -- just to see how our capabilities work against our Russian counterparts. There are a lot of components to politics besides the old story of the two ideologies that just want to kill each other.

Taylor and Stephanie said...

I'm sorry if somehow I implied you didn't know very much about the middle east. That was not my intention.

Ben it is possible to disagree with someone who knows more than you do. For example, I disagree with President Obama and his interpretation of the constitution, but president Obama has much more formal education on the constitution than I do, he taught a class on it! He could probably quote it! But man does he ignore it!

I'm sure Juan Cole knows more than I do, but that little article of his was small, lacked references/citation and he seemed to leave out things that I found just by doing some digging.

I'd be willing to read some more stuff of his though, and I probably will as I really don't know Juan Cole at all.

Wegg said...

Taylor, McCain sang a song "bomb bomb bomb. . . bomb bomb Iran". Nothing lost in translation there. Should Iran bomb us now? Is that enough to justify the loss of human life? We have meddled with the middle east far too much. We need to step back and start respecting Iran as a sovereign nation. Israel can look after itself.

S. Logan I'm thinking you mucked up some things up in your thinking about what Israel is and how it was formed. All the Arabs that were within the borders of Israel when it was formed were made citizens. There are practicing Muslims everywhere when you go visit. You can hear their prayer calls from their speaker towers. Whole towns within Israel with all sorts of diverse religions and cultures. During several wars Egypt, Jordon and Syria were given ample opportunity to allow the "refugees" to be absorbed into their countries but did not take responsibility for them and instead used their lives as a propaganda tool against the "Zionists".

I worked and ate with Arabs and Jews all together when I was there a few years back. What is actually there and what is on TV is so vastly different. . . it was quite shocking.

Taylor and Stephanie said...

Thanks Wegg, I was aware of that terrible joke McCain said. That was just plain stupid. I think Iran should bomb McCain, just McCain. :)

BEN said...

HAHA! Nice one, Taylor, but watch out. That could be considered violent terrorist speech.
Billy, I didn't know you spent time in the Middle East. We should talk more about it. Maybe we should have a C4L precinct meeting.

Wegg said...

Taylor: I'll bet there is a blog somewhere where a few people in Iran are talking with each other and saying the same thing about the dumb thing their leader said.

Ben: I'd love that but. . . my life is on its ear right now so I wouldn't be much of a host. :-(

giraffe said...

Ben, thank you. This has been a refreshing read. Once again, you actually seem rather consistent in your ideology, and don't seem to compromise principles if the facts don't fit your established worldview.
mostly....he he he

giraffe said...

PS I was in Hiroshima. What we did was evil. If there is such a thing as evil, we did it...and we still seem rather proud of it. It is disgusting. We confiscated palestinian land because of some bible verses and wonder why they are so unwilling to compromise with us.