Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Questions About A Nuclear Attack on Iran

To the Politicians Advocating the Legitimacy of a Nuclear War of Aggression Against Iran:

Leaving aside all issues related to the morality of committing mass murder in the absence of a clear and present danger and giving you a very generous benefit of the doubt by assuming for the moment that you truly do care about your country and are mentally stable, I have a few questions for you:

  1. Why should we endanger our national security by provoking a war when there is no current threat to us?
  2. Why should we start a war when we have, to date, refused to explore alternative options, such as, if you will pardon my language, talking?
  3. Why should we start a war against Iran on behalf of an extreme right-wing militarist faction in a foreign country when that country (Israel) is a nuclear superpower probably 50 years ahead of Iran in terms of military technology?
  4. Do you truly think that a country that would attempt to talk us into starting a nuclear war can be considered a friend of the U.S.?
  5. If your answer is “yes,” why do you think a nuclear war near that country would actually enhance the quality of life and security of that country’s people?
  6. Given the fact that Iran has no prospects whatsoever of catching up to Israel in nuclear weapons capabilities in our lifetimes, why does the issue of a nuclear attack on Iran even arise?
  7. Given the fact that the Islamic Republic of Iran has not ever invaded another country (unlike Israel) and has no colonies (unlike Israel), what is the evidence for asserting that it would be likely to commit a suicidal act of aggression?
  8. Given that the most recent U.S. government/academic model of the environmental impact of a regional nuclear war determined that the global “nuclear winter” and skin cancer effects would be even worse than previous models had indicated, what makes you feel that these risks are worth taking? Include, in your answer, an estimate of the number of American civilians who would die from the fallout produced by an attack on Iran and the economic costs to agriculture from the resulting "nuclear winter" impact for: a) an attack that eliminated all of Iran's nuclear industrial sites, b) an attack that destroyed the Iranian regime, c) an attack that "obliterated" the Iranian population.
  9. How many U.S. soldiers in Iraq do you estimate would die from radioactive poisoning or cancer as a result of the fallout from a nuclear attack on Iran for each of the three above scenarios?
  10. How many U.S. soldiers in Iraq do you estimate would die from the resultant fighting and attacks on long U.S. supply lines in Iraq for each of the three above scenarios?
  11. In light of the still unfolding long-term implications of a) the U.S. invasion of Iraq, b) the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, c) the two major Israeli invasions of Lebanon in 1982 and 2006, d) the U.S. “Blackhawk down” episode in Somalia, and e) the 2006 intervention in Somalia by the U.S.-backed Ethiopians, what is your estimate of the situation that would result in the Mideast six months and six years after a nuclear attack on Iran? What justification do you feel there is for claiming to be able to make any reasonable calculation of the results?
  12. What is your estimate of the global political changes that might result from an unprovoked attack on Iran? In formulating your answer, please consider: a) the attitude of nuclear power Russia, which has offered Iran certain nuclear security guarantees; b) the attitude of nuclear power Pakistan, which prides itself on having the world’s first Moslem nuclear bomb; c) the possible changes in behavior of all nuclear powers toward their own enemies, once a precedent is established that it is acceptable to launch a nuclear attack on a non-nuclear power in the absence of an immediate and existential threat to one’s homeland; d)Israel’s attitude toward all the rest of the Mideast; e) India’s attitude toward Pakistan; f) China’s attitude toward Taiwan; g) the attitude of North Korea, now mulling the possibility of terminating its nuclear weapons program; h) the attitude of industrial powers worldwide (e.g., Brazil, Saudi Arabia, Argentina, Mexico, Turkey, Egypt) on the issue of becoming nuclear weapons states for their own security.
  13. What do you think the risk is that a U.S. attack on Iran might provoke a global military alliance against the U.S., led by Russia and China but with the support of most other countries, out of pure fear of further U.S. aggression? In formulating your answer, please address whatever justifications you may have for viewing such a possibility with equanimity.
  14. If the U.S. were to launch a nuclear attack on Iran, which poses no significant or immediate threat to the U.S., on the justification that any potential future threat to a U.S. ally constitutes sufficient justification for a U.S. attack, what U.S. response would be reserved for a true threat or an actual attack?
  15. Should the U.S. have the option of employing calibrated responses to different types of attack (e.g., attacks on U.S. interests vs. attacks on the U.S. homeland, localized attacks intended to warn vs. full-scale attacks intended to destroy the U.S., non-nuclear vs. nuclear attacks)?
  16. What would your response be if an unidentified source (possibly al Qua’ida, seeking to trap the U.S. in another Mideast quagmire) exploded a nuclear weapon to provoke the U.S. into attacking Iran?
  17. Do you recognize any risk that an implacably hostile and rhetorically belligerent policy toward Iran might make the U.S. vulnerable to such a trick by a third party?
  18. If you are one of the folks who brought us the Iraq War, then why should we listen to you at all?

Please provide answers on paper, with your signature. You will be held responsible for the results of your actions.

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