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Location: Ames, Iowa, United States

Saturday, April 15, 2006

California Senator Feinstein Is Military Expert?

Dianne Feinstein wrote and Op-ed in the LA Times today that I felt needed answering.
I have placed the entire piece here, because the Times only preserves its online articles for a short time, before they disappear into the "archives" and are never seen again.

I will keep this short, sort of. If you have read my stuff before, I advocate what Ms Feinstein is arguing against. I feel that if there is an imminent threat to our national security, it is the job of our government to prevent the fruition of that threat, rather than react to its end result.
Over the centuries that man has had governments and armies, diplomacy has only served to seperate periods of warfare.
The diplomats try to keep the peace, yet in the end the armies decide whose diplomacy will prevail.
With the advent of long range warfare in the 20th century, reliance on diplomacy has proved to be a dangerous road to travel.
Failed diplomacy resulted in World War 1, World War 2, All of the Arab-Israeli conflicts, Korea, Vietnam, and the First and Second (current) Gulf Wars.
The United States didn't enter Iraq preemptively, as Ms Feinstein asserts. Saddam Hussein was given ample opportunity to abide by all of the (failed) UN resolutions and time-limits exerted by the US and Great Britain. Without military action, Saddam would still be in power, still murdering his own people and still stealing from the Oil For Food Program.
I agree, it seems that things are bogging down. But that is because of mismanagement by the Bush Administration, and Donald Rumsfeld in particular.
We didn't enter Iraq with enough force to secure the borders and all of the weapons stockpiles inside Iraq. We didn't try to keep the Iraqi military intact, which would have helped to prevent Iran and Syria from aiding the current insurgent situation. As an example: When Germany took over Czchekoslovakia in 1939, Hitler didn't disband the Czchek army. Instead, German officers were put in charge of each unit, with the army simply given new unit designations. Even Condoleeza Rice has admitted that "thousands of mistakes were made".
But to use the ineptitude of some of our leaders as a reason to ignore the threat now presented by Iran to World Security is ignoring the real danger we now face.
The last time our nation faced such a real threat was during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. The US placed a blockade around Cuba (which is considered an act of war in international law), and faced down the Soviets, forcing them to comply with our demands. That wasn't diplomacy. It was brinksmanship. The Soviets were intelligent (and sane) enough to understand that they had overplayed their hand, and threw in their cards.
Prior to that, diplomacy failed in 1941, as we tried to get the Japanese to halt their genocidal war against China using diplomacy and economic sanctions. The result was the attack on Pearl Harbor, and a war that killed more than 50 million people by its end.
The leader of Iran is neither intelligent or sane, in my humble opinion. Allah will save them from the Infidels (The Western World), so it's OK to go around threatening and posturing and building weapons that are surely intended for offensive action.
Sure, we can wait. Europe waited long enough for Hitler to get too strong to stop.
Diplomacy didn't work then, and it won't work now.
Following is the Ms. Feinstein's writing. Read it and remember, diplomacy won't work. You can't negotiate with a crazy person. (More after her piece)

"Confronting Iran
Will we learn from our mistakes and apply tough diplomacy -- or rely once again on the failed doctrine of preemption?
By Dianne Feinstein, DIANNE FEINSTEIN is California's senior U.S. senator.
April 15, 2006
TEHRAN THIS WEEK claimed that it had enriched uranium, a first step toward nuclear weapons capability. The question now is whether the Bush administration has learned from its mistakes in Iraq, or will it set our nation on a road that leads to military confrontation with Iran?

No one concerned about U.S. national security wants Iran to obtain a nuclear weapons capability. It would be a destabilizing force in the Middle East and throughout the world. That's exactly why we need strong American leadership, working toward a verifiable diplomatic solution.

Instead, the administration reportedly is intent upon relying on the failed doctrine of preemption and new Pentagon planning that stokes the prospect of military conflict. If this is true, Americans ought to be deeply concerned.

The doctrine of preemption, first articulated by President Bush at West Point in June 2002, was spelled out in the September 2002 National Security Strategy: "The greater the threat, the greater the risk of inaction — and the more compelling the case for taking anticipatory action to defend ourselves."

Just a few weeks ago, the doctrine was reiterated in the latest National Security Strategy. According to this document, the U.S. may use force before it is attacked because the nation cannot afford to "stand idly by as grave dangers materialize." Yet it is the doctrine itself that is dangerous.

First, it demands that our intelligence be right — every time. This is difficult, if not impossible, in the shadowy world of terrorism and WMD. As we've seen in Iraq, intelligence not only can be wrong, it can be manipulated. Our nation's credibility and stature have taken a huge hit as a result, and the U.S. is in no position to garner support in the international community for military confrontation based on preemption.

Second, the doctrine of preemption may lead to a less stable world in general — especially if our adversaries believe they are safe from preemptive action only if they possess nuclear weapons. Iran has no doubt noted the difference in our dealings with North Korea, which possesses nuclear weapons, and Iraq, which the administration believed was still developing them. So the administration may have encouraged the very proliferation it is seeking to prevent.

Third, an overreliance on preemption can lead to the downplaying of diplomacy. By the administration's own account, Iran is years away from possessing nuclear weapons; there is time to engage in forceful diplomatic action.

The dangers inherent in preemptive action are only multiplied by reports that the administration may be considering first use of tactical, battlefield nuclear weapons in Iran: Specifically, nuclear "bunker busters" to try to take out deeply buried targets.

There are some in this administration who have been pushing to make nuclear weapons more "usable." They see nuclear weapons as an extension of conventional weapons. This is pure folly.

As a matter of physics, there is no missile casing sufficiently strong to thrust deep enough into concrete or granite to prevent the spewing of radiation. Nuclear "bunker busters" would kill tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of people across the Middle East.

This would be a disastrous tragedy. First use of nuclear weapons by the United States should be unthinkable. A preemptive nuclear attack violates a central tenet of the "just war" and U.S. military traditions.

There is no question that in the post-9/11 era, a full range of policy options for dealing with new and uncertain events should be on the table. But in my view, nuclear options cannot be considered as an extension of conventional options.

So what steps should the United States be taking?

The U.S. should engage Iran diplomatically. So far, England, France and Germany have led the negotiated effort to halt Iran's uranium enrichment, while Russia has explored other alternatives. It is time for the U.S. to lead such efforts, not stand by.

We must push for a complete halt to Iran's enrichment activities and full access to all nuclear sites by the International Atomic Energy Agency. If Iran refuses, international sanctions should follow, and inspections with U.N. forces if necessary.

At the same time, the U.S. needs to build international alliances to create a unified front opposed to Iran's quest for nuclear weapons.

The United States should learn the lesson of Iraq. It should not make the same mistake twice. There is broad agreement that Iran cannot be allowed to proceed with its nuclear programs and continue to flout the international community. Now is the time for tough diplomacy, joined by our allies, not a premature military confrontation that could include nuclear devastation."

Ms Feinstein's reference to nuclear devastation is strange. The longer we wait to act, the greater the chance that nukes would be used, not the other way around.
Or maybe she knows that it's already too late to stop the Iranians except by the use of nuclear "bunker buster" type weapons.

I'll be back



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