Tuesday, September 02, 2003

Foreign Policy: Déjà Vu All Over Again

Cato's Charles V. Peña writes that Iranian nuclear weapons are not a threat to the US:

The bottom line, however, is that Iran, like Iraq, is not a direct military threat to the United States, even if it possesses weapons of mass destruction. The terrorist groups Iran supports are anti-Israeli and do not currently target the United States. And the allegations of linkages to al Qaeda are as tenuous as the claims made about Iraq. As Yogi Berra said, it's déjà vu all over again.

It would be folly for the United States to wage another war against another Muslim nation after Afghanistan and Iraq. Such action would likely be interpreted as a war against Islam by the rest of the Muslim world. If anything, the United States needs to avoid turning the war on terrorism against al Qaeda into a larger holy war against Islam and the more than one billion Muslims around the world.
Iran's Islamic government issued a fatwa against British novelist Salman Rushdie calling for his murder on the grounds that his 1989 book The Satanic Verses blasphemed Islam. This fatwa, a threat against the free exchange of ideas--the very cornerstone of western civilization--has never been rescinded by Iran.

The Rushdie fatwa alone is justification for war with Iran. The prospect that the same power that believes it has the right to kill writers it doesn’t like is developing nuclear weapons ought to be cause for serious pause. So what if Islam interprets a war with Iran as a war against Islam? Islamic militants have no qualms over waging war against us. Yet even post-9/11, it seems people in the US still have qualms with our waging a defense.

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