Oct 11, 2011

Ask the Candidates: "How Would You Stop Iran from Obtaining Nuclear Weapons?"

Joel C. RosenbergBy Joel C. Rosenberg

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As tensions increase in the Middle East, each of the Republican candidates for President need to be pressed to clearly and directly answer the following questions:

  1. As President of the United States, what specific actions would you take to stop Iran from obtaining and deploying nuclear weapons?
  2. If you had intelligence that Iran was on the verge of building operational nuclear weapons, would your administration support an Israeli preemptive military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities?
  3. Would you as President seriously consider ordering a preemptive strike by U.S. military forces to neutralize the Iran nuclear threat?
It is increasingly likely that the next American President will have to face such an ominous geopolitical scenario, and the American people need to know where each of the candidates stand.

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney delivered a foreign policy address in South Carolina last week in which he raised the Iran nuclear threat. “Will Iran be a fully activated nuclear weapons state, threatening its neighbors, dominating the world’s oil supply with a stranglehold on the Strait of Hormuz?” Romney asked. “In the hands of the ayatollahs, a nuclear Iran is nothing less than an existential threat to Israel. Iran’s suicidal fanatics could blackmail the world.” Romney, however, did not specifically discuss how he would stop Iran.

Jon HuntsmanFormer Utah Governor Jon Huntsman on Tuesday went further in a foreign policy address in New Hampshire, signaling support for a U.S. preemptive strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities. ”I cannot live with a nuclear-armed Iran. If you want an example of when I would use American force, it would be that,” Huntsman said.

Businessman Herman Cain has spoken of his support of enhanced missile defenses to blunt an Iranian nuclear threat. “I would make it a priority to upgrade all of our Aegis surface-to-air ballistic missile defense capabilities of all of our warships, all the way around the world,” Cain told the Values Voters Summit in Virginia over the weekend. “Make that a priority, and then say to Ahmadinejad, ‘Make my Day.’” But Cain did not address the issue with more specificity.

Iran’s leaders continue to espouse apocalyptic beliefs about the End of Days, the coming of the Twelfth Imam, and the rise of an Islamic caliphate, even as they threaten to annihilate Israel (which they call the “Little Satan”) and the United States (which they call the “Great Satan”). A United Nations report in September warned there is “credible evidence” that Iran is making progress towards building operational nuclear weapons. Iran is also developing ballistic missiles capable of delivering such nuclear weapons.

The Israelis are getting anxious, and believe time is running out. “The international community must stop Iran before it’s too late,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned in his U.N. speech last month. “If Iran is not stopped, we will all face the specter of nuclear terrorism, and the Arab Spring could soon become an Iranian winter….The world around Israel is definitely becoming more dangerous.”

A senior Israeli general in September warned that Iran is getting closer to the Bomb and that “this raises the likelihood of an all-out, total war, with the possibility of weapons of mass destruction being used.”

Yet the Obama administration consistently refuses even to consider putting a serious military option on the table.
  • In September 2009, then-U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates made clear the Obama administration wasn’t seriously considering using force. “The reality is, there is no military option that does anything more than buy time,” Gates said.
  • In April 2010, the New York Times reported that Secretary Gates “has warned in a secret three-page memorandum to top White House officials that the United States does not have an effective long-range policy for dealing with Iran’s steady progress toward nuclear capability.”
The Obama administration has also decided to apply pressure on Israel not to launch a preemptive strike against Iran, despite the growing threat of a Second Holocaust. “U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta visited Israel [in October] with a clear message from his boss in Washington: The United States opposes any Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities,” reported the Israeli newspaper Haaretz. “The United States, he said, is ‘very concerned, and we will work together to do whatever is necessary” to keep Iran from posing ‘a threat to this region.’ But doing so ‘depends on the countries working together,’ he added. He repeated the word ‘together’ several times in this context.”

The current administration policy is, however, out of synch with the American people. A new bi-partisan poll released in September by Democrat Pat Caddell and Republican John McLaughlin found that 63 percent of Americans approve military action against Iran if sanctions do not stop their nuclear program. What’s more, 77 percent of Americans think the Obama administration’s current polices towards stopping Iran’s nuclear program “will fail.”

Related Links
'Window for strike on Iran nuke facilities growing slimmer' - Jerusalem Post
Foreign policy re-enters GOP race - Washington Times
Psalm 83 or Ezekiel 38 - Which is the Next Middle East News Headline? - BPB (Bill Salus)
IAEA to Spell Out Concerns on Iran Nuclear Tech - Arutz Sheva
Poll: Cain Surges to Statistical Tie With Romney - FOX News