After the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog released its periodic report yesterday, replete with rich details about possible military dimension of Iran’s nuclear program, conservative hawks — ranging from journalists to think-tankers and even a presidential candidate — stepped up their support for a military strike on the Islamic Republic. While many in Congress are pushing for draconian sanctions on Iran, those not on Capital Hill are pushing a step farther.
Here’s a quick round-up of statements supporting a U.S. or Israeli attack from GOP presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich, former Bush administration U.N. ambassador John Bolton, Wall Street Journal opinion and editorial writer Bret Stephens, and Council on Foreign Relations scholar Max Boot.
STEPHENS: [T]he policy debate… needs to abandon the conceit that there is a third way between allowing Iran’s nuclear drive to proceed effectively unhindered or to use military force to stop it…. A (bad) argument can be made that a nuclear Iran could be contained.
BOOT: Really stopping the Iranian program would require much tougher steps on the part of the U.S.–steps such as a naval blockade to cripple the Iranian economy and/or air strikes to cripple Iran’s military capacity.
GINGRICH: Well, if the Israelis decide as matter of national survival that they have to eliminate the Iranian nuclear capacity, I would strongly support them automatically… I think to ask them to take that risk is unconscionable.
BOLTON: The only alternative now is the potential for a pre-emptive military strike against their military program, either by the United States or Israel. Diplomacy has failed. Sanctions have failed.
Watch clips of Gingrich and Bolton:
“Iran’s nuclear program has produced much demagoguery and dangerous speculation,” the Atlantic Council’s Barbara Slavin noted yesterday in a Politico op-ed. “Dozens of other countries, however, have conducted nuclear research without becoming nuclear weapons states,” she said, adding, “It’s not too late to dissuade Iran from building and testing a nuclear weapon.”