Alex Massie

Bombing Iran? Counter-productive and unlikely to even work.

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Of all the many reasons to be wary of bombing Iran, one of the best is also one of the simplest: it won't work. Or, rather, whatever advantage there may be in delaying Iran's nuclear ambitions by a year or two is unlikely to be worth the unfortunate consequences involved, merely increasing the risks of a nuclear Iran further down the line. As Deence Secretary Robert Gates says:

Using his strongest language on the subject to date, Gates told a group of Marine Corps students that a strike would probably delay Tehran's nuclear program from one to three years. A strike, however, would unify Iran, "cement their determination to have a nuclear program, and also build into the whole country an undying hatred of whoever hits them," he said.

This seems like common sense to me, since it's also how most countries would react to being attacked. In other words, if bombing Iran only delays their acquisition of a bomb (while strengthening their determination to get one) then even a successful attack will, in time, be more likely to be seen as a failure than not. This, then, seems close to a lose-lose situation for the United States (and for Israel), making bombing Iran an adventure that could scarcely be more foolhardy. There's little to be gained from it and much to lose. If, of course, Gates' assessment is correct...

[Hat-tip: Mike Crowley]

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

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