Tensions with Iran are high – and keep getting higher.
Iran has met the sanctions with threats: to close the vital Strait of Hormuz – and worse. In fact, Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei recently ordered the regime’s armed forces to prepare for war. In his State of the Union address, President Obama, who has long urged diplomacy with Iran, asserted that “America is determined to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, and I will take no options off the table to achieve that goal.” Congress cheered.
The views on “what to do with Iran” are heated. We recently published an op-ed from two former US hostages in Iran, L. Bruce Laingen and John Limbert, who give “Five reasons to avoid war with Iran.” Earlier this week we ran a contrasting view from Council on Foreign Relations fellow Matthew Kroenig. He offers “Five reasons to attack Iran.”
Our readers on Facebook had strong and plentiful reactions to the two pieces. We’ve selected and excerpted some of the most compelling comments below.
We asked: Do you agree with the opinion of this commentator? “5 Reasons to attack Iran”
"Absolutely not. The only justifiable reason to go to war with Iran is if Iran attacks an ally. If Pakistan (the country that was borderline harboring Osama bin Laden under our noses) is allowed to have nuclear weapons, then why can’t Iran? That’s like telling the US that they can’t have nuclear weapons, but Mexico can. Also, when was the last time Iran invaded the Western hemisphere? Oh wait, that’s right, THEY HAVEN’T. But we have invaded Iraq and Afghanistan – two countries, which by the way, neighbor Iran – so wouldn’t it make sense for Iran to try to deter the US?"
"A nuclear-armed Iran will learn what every other nuclear-armed state already knows: The weapons themselves are the bluntest of instruments. An Iran with one or even 10 or 20 nuclear missiles cannot credibly threaten nuclear war because it would be, essentially, nuclear suicide; the US, Russia, and China still have overwhelming nuclear superiority over it and will for the forseeable future. As for whether it will increase the rate of proliferation; certainly, but Iran isn’t the first to introduce nuclear weapons to the region. That would be Israel, followed by Pakistan and Syria."
"NO! Pre-emptive strikes are usually a bad idea. I’ve said it before, and I’ll keep saying it until enough people listen: It’s time for the US to stop going around being the world’s policeman. The US government should continue doing what it’s already doing, namely, working hand-in-hand with her allies to be a single, focused entity in this matter, as well as all other matters of international import."
"...[B]oth Russia and China have warned us about attacking Iran. China is economically dependent on the United States, but oil dependent on Iran, and unless Saudi Arabia steps in to fill the vacuum, I doubt they will endorse an attack on Iran from the United States. In fact, I think the United States is overreacting as usual, and I’d say the problem here is American “exceptionalism” going head to head with what the author called Iran’s “grossly inflated view of their place in the world”."
“The problem is Iran’s leaders not their civilians or children.”
“No, I do not agree completely with the writer. But, the way things appear, I would say that warring on Iran is inevitable.”
A day later we posted this:
Opinion: Five reasons US must avoid war with Iran. Any that you would remove/add to the list?
“Iran is the only country with/without nukes that has openly and repeatedly hinted and threatened that they want to erase the Jews from the map. And people think it’s a good idea for them to have nukes? Then why did the UN put sanctions on them? Gee, a clerical regime of an Islamic republic...engaged in multiple terrorist acts, knowingly supplying, arming, training, funding, Hezbollah, Hamas, the Madi army in Iraq...and now supporting the Assad regime [in Syria]? Maybe that’s the big difference between Iran and other countries with nukes? Oh, and what other muslim countries were [reportedly] directly affiliated with Hitler and the Nazis in WWII? Hmm. Ya you’re right, we should just let them have nukes and mind our own business. Ya.”
“The US will be poorer since it costs money to...wage wars with other nations and will cause more civil unrest due to the current economic standing in the US.”
Kevin J. O’Conner
“Because it’s a huge waste of human life, money, and a number of other resources.
I would also add that:
Whether the US government likes it or not, Iran is a sovereign nation, and should be able to determine its own policies and courses of action.
The US stance that it can have nuclear weapons but other nations cannot is hypocritical.
The former Soviet block must have hundreds, if not thousands of nuclear weapons; China probably does, too. Not to mention however many Pakistan has. And North Korea. Where is the rush to act militarily against any of these countries? I’m guessing it’s primarily hiding behind the realization that Russia and China probably have enough nukes to take out the US and/or Europe.
Iran with *a* nuclear weapon is a threat to the US? IRAN? Does the US government really think that the Iranian government is *that* competent?”
Add to the dialogue back on our Facebook page.