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Brigitte

Prof. Lehman-Wilzig's comment is well taken--and particularly the third point. Yes, Sunni Arabs are troubled by Iran's obvious ambition to become the leading power in the region and in that context also concerned about Iran's nuclear program. All efforts should be made to win those Arab governments over to join into a united front against Iran and, yes, if everything else fails, joint military actions. That would be very different from the U.S. going it alone.

nuclear program in pa

Prof. Sam Lehman-Wilzig

One can argue whether it would be wise to attack Iran and certainly whether this is a competent Administration to do so. However, comparing Iraq and Iran is misleading on several accounts:
1- We KNOW that Iran is attempting to go nuclear. If the UN is placing sanctions, can there be doubt of Iran's intentions?
2- Iraq never tried to export terrorism in massive fashion; Iran is the world's #1 terrorism exporter and supporter. Nuclear weaponry in the hands of such an irresponsible nation constitutes a danger of the highest order to the world at large.
3- While Hussein was a threat to contiguous states, he had no all-encompassing Jihad strategy for destabilizing the entire (Sunni) Middle East. We in the West tend to forget how fearful the ARAB states are of Iran's nuclear ambitions. Thus, if Iran were successful, this would start a nuclear arms race among other Middle East countries -- a highly destabilizing (not to mention dangerous for the West) development.
4- Iraq's Baath secular ideology -- while brutal -- never looked at the world in cataclysmic fashion. Iran's religious fundamentalists might not be as "rational" or behave in the same self-interested fashion as Saddam Hussein did. Belief in "Allah" can be a dangerous negator of Realpolitik considerations, especially with nuclear Mullahs.
5- If the Bush Administration attacks Iran, it is certainly not thinking of a full scale invasion but rather primarily of precision bombing from afar, from the air and sea -- few American soldiers will be at immediate risk and certainly there will be no "land campaign" to get bogged down in.
In short, arguments can be made pro and con for attacking Iran. The mess in Iraq is not one of them.

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