This Is The Craziest Op-Ed You'll Read This Year
March 14, 2015

Not only is it the craziest, it's only slightly more responsible than 47 Senators writing to Ayatollah Khamenei with a third-grader's understanding of the United States Constitution.

Writer Joshua Muravchik is a fellow at the Foreign Policy Institute at Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS).

Muravchik argues that we ought to just go ahead and declare war on Iran and get it over with, already. Why? Because it's really the best option we have.

Sanctions may have induced Iran to enter negotiations, but they have not persuaded it to abandon its quest for nuclear weapons. Nor would the stiffer sanctions that Netanyahu advocates bring a different result. Sanctions could succeed if they caused the regime to fall; the end of communism in Ukraine and Kazakhstan, and of apartheid in South Africa, led to the abandonment of nuclear weapons in those states. But since 2009, there have been few signs of rebellion in Tehran.

Otherwise, only military actions — by Israel against Iraq and Syria, and through the specter of U.S. force against Libya — have halted nuclear programs. Sanctions have never stopped a nuclear drive anywhere.

Does this mean that our only option is war? Yes, although an air campaign targeting Iran’s nuclear infrastructure would entail less need for boots on the ground than the war Obama is waging against the Islamic State, which poses far smaller a threat than Iran does.

Yeah, so we would have to drop a bunch of bombs on Iran. What could possibly go wrong?

Wouldn’t an attack cause ordinary Iranians to rally behind the regime? Perhaps, but military losses have also served to undermine regimes, including the Greek and Argentine juntas, the Russian czar and the Russian communists.

Wouldn’t destroying much of Iran’s nuclear infrastructure merely delay its progress? Perhaps, but we can strike as often as necessary. Of course, Iran would try to conceal and defend the elements of its nuclear program, so we might have to find new ways to discover and attack them. Surely the United States could best Iran in such a technological race.

Yes, because that worked so well for us in Iraq, where they didn't even have the mythical nukes everyone was so worried about.

Also, under Muravchik's scenario, we might have to put up with some counterstrikes, but you know, that's really no big deal, folks.

And finally, wouldn’t Iran retaliate by using its own forces or proxies to attack Americans — as it has done in Lebanon, Iraq and Saudi Arabia — with new ferocity? Probably. We could attempt to deter this by warning that we would respond by targeting other military and infrastructure facilities.

You mean, escalate things? And that would of course not give them any reason to put their nuke development on a fast track.

Nonetheless, we might absorb some strikes. Wrenchingly, that might be the price of averting the heavier losses that we and others would suffer in the larger Middle Eastern conflagration that is the likely outcome of Iran’s drive to the bomb. Were Iran, which is already embroiled in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Lebanon and Gaza, further emboldened by becoming a “nuclear threshold state,” it would probably overreach, kindling bigger wars — with Israel, Arab states or both. The United States would probably be drawn in, just as we have been in many other wars from which we had hoped to remain aloof.

Yes, there are risks to military action. But Iran’s nuclear program and vaunting ambitions have made the world a more dangerous place. Its achievement of a bomb would magnify that danger manyfold. Alas, sanctions and deals will not prevent this.

Pakistan's possession of nuclear weapons is of far greater concern to me than Iran's future--possession-without-any-enforceable-agreement possiblility, and it ought to be to this guy too.

His arguments make no sense at all. In order to accept them, we are also required to accept that the Iranians are not negotiating with the world -- not just the United States -- in good faith, when they have performed on every aspect of the agreements up to this point.

What a casual regard this man has for human life! War is never an inevitability, and we have an obligation to do everything possible to avert it, not encourage it.

Here's a suggestion for this arrogant "fellow." You go first. And take your sons and daughters, brothers and sisters with you, too. Go ahead. You go first. We'll see if you're right before we take the chance.

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