Readers Write: Israel could be a threat and Obama should be praised on Iran

Letters to the Editor for the weekly print issue of May 7, 2012: John Bolton is wrong. Obama is protecting the US and world economy from a disastrous attack on Iran. It's Israel that has the nukes. And the best way to foment regime change in Iran is to support the opposition there. 

Obama's wise diplomacy on Iran

In the April 16 issue, John Bolton ("Israel is not the threat, Mr. President. Iran is.") decries the ways in which President Obama has sought to deter Israel from a disastrous attack on Iran. The United States does not need another war and would be hurt by a doubling or worse of oil prices.

When President Bush was leading the nation into two disastrous wars, neoconservative hawks like Mr. Bolton told us that the president must be allowed to decide questions of war and peace. That is just what Mr. Obama is doing.

Peter Belmont

Brooklyn, N.Y.

Obama should be applauded – not derided – for his wisdom and statesmanship. If such judgment and restraint had been used before, the US may well have been spared costly wars in Vietnam and Iraq.

Iran is not just the "mullahs." It has a large youth population that could well incite its own "Iranian Spring," leading to regime change, especially if international support were given them.

The US cannot use the military option every time a country refuses its demand to end its nuclear program. The day could come when pent-up hatred for America's bullying use of military force drives one of these countries, or a surrogate, to use such a weapon against us.

Jerome DeVilbiss

Glacier, Wash.

While Iran may be able to produce nuclear weapons in the future (though it claims this is not its intent), Israel already has hundreds of nuclear weapons. While Iran undergoes inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency under the Non-Proliferation Treaty, Israel refuses to join, remaining secretive about its nuclear program.

The claim that Iran poses an "existential threat" to Israel is based on regime rhetoric. In a recent interview with Al Jazeera, Israel's deputy prime minister, Dan Meridor, admits that Iranian leaders "didn't say 'we'll wipe [Israel] out' ... but ... repeatedly said 'Israel is not legitimate; it should not exist.' " While Tehran calls the "Zionist regime" illegitimate, it has also emphasized it does not intend to attack Israel.

It is not unusual for a politician to denounce the government of another country, and even predict its demise, without the statement being interpreted as a military threat. As people like Bolton in both the US and Israel urge military action against Iran, one has to ask: Where is the real existential threat?

Ariel Master

Lorane, Ore.

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