By: E&P Staff
It was sort of funny last month when Sen. John McCain, in a takeoff on the old Beach Boys tune, sang, “Bomb-bomb-bomb Bomb-bomb Iran” but some conservatives aren’t laughing — and no one else should, either, it is now apparent.
In a lengthy op-ed in the Wall Street Journal today, Norman Podhoretz, the neo-con legend (and father of columnist John Podhoretz) advocates just that, the sooner the better.
The op-ed is titled, “The Case for Bombing Iran” with the deck, “I hope and pray that President Bush will do it.”
Here is the climax.
In short, the plain and brutal truth is that if Iran is to be prevented from developing a nuclear arsenal, there is no alternative to the actual use of military force–any more than there was an alternative to force if Hitler was to be stopped in 1938.
Since a ground invasion of Iran must be ruled out for many different reasons, the job would have to be done, if it is to be done at all, by a campaign of air strikes. Furthermore, because Iran’s nuclear facilities are dispersed, and because some of them are underground, many sorties and bunker-busting munitions would be required. And because such a campaign is beyond the capabilities of Israel, and the will, let alone the courage, of any of our other allies, it could be carried out only by the United States. Even then, we would probably be unable to get at all the underground facilities, which means that, if Iran were still intent on going nuclear, it would not have to start over again from scratch. But a bombing campaign would without question set back its nuclear program for years to come, and might even lead to the overthrow of the mullahs.
The opponents of bombing–not just the usual suspects but many both here and in Israel who have no illusions about the nature and intentions and potential capabilities of the Iranian regime–disagree that it might end in the overthrow of the mullocracy. On the contrary, they are certain that all Iranians, even the democratic dissidents, would be impelled to rally around the flag. And this is only one of the worst-case scenarios they envisage. To wit: Iran would retaliate by increasing the trouble it is already making for us in Iraq. It would attack Israel with missiles armed with nonnuclear warheads but possibly containing biological or chemical weapons. There would be a vast increase in the price of oil, with catastrophic consequences for every economy in the world, very much including our own. The worldwide outcry against the inevitable civilian casualties would make the anti-Americanism of today look like a lovefest.
I readily admit that it would be foolish to discount any or all of these scenarios. Each of them is, alas, only too plausible. Nevertheless, there is a good response to them, and it is the one given by John McCain. The only thing worse than bombing Iran, McCain has declared, is allowing Iran to get the bomb.