The Rhetoric and Reality of Attacking Tehran

Published on November 11, 2011 in the Globe and Mail.

The latest United Nations report on Iran’s nuclear program has further raised tensions. While the report was notable for its candour, it carefully avoided making definitive statements on two critical issues: whether Iran has actually decided to build a bomb, or is merely content with acquiring the capability to do so; and when it might be able to do either of these things. These subjects are the stuff of fierce debates, with credible people taking widely different stands and propagandists stoking the fire every chance they get.

The report by the International Atomic Energy Agency has also given fresh impetus to the debate over whether, and if so when, an attack should be launched against Iranian nuclear facilities. Proponents of an attack believe it would delay Iran’s program and raise the cost to the regime of pursuing it. Opponents believe such an attack might delay the program but would only increase Iran’s determination to ultimately see it through and further drive its nuclear activities underground (which is what happened to the Iraqi nuclear program after Israel’s attack on it in 1981)….

Read the rest of this article on the Globe and Mail website.

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