As I recently pointed out the WMD issue was and remains the best and most important justification for the invasion of Iraq. Promoting democracy is critically important as a long-term goal, but even it does not compare to the urgency and importance of blocking nuclear proliferation in rogue states. Hanson notes that a U.S. attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities could provoke a Shiite revolt against the U.S. in Iraq. That would be very bad indeed. But even that is not as important as preventing Iran from getting the bomb.

And yes, I do blame much of our current dilemma on the dovish Democrats. If the country was now united behind the Iraq war, Iran would not be risking our ire on the nuclear issue. We lost 80,000 soldiers in the Battle of the Bulge. Of course, the loss of even one soldier is tragic. Yet history teaches that without a willingness to defend ourselves, our democracy cannot survive. Now the loss of 2,000 troops has paralyzed us to the point that it is difficult imagining an attack to prevent Iran from obtaining nukes. ~Stanley Kurtz, The Corner

Via The Plank (where Noam Scheiber proves that he’s just as much of a warmonger as Kurtz–that’ll show him!).

What can you say to someone who thinks WMDs are the “best and most important” justification for invading Iraq? It was the dishonest justification, the bureaucratic justification, the one the administration used publicly and subsequently ditched as soon as their bluff was called–this is the “best and most important justification”? Leave it to a jingo to make a better antiwar argument than I could.

Let’s test the assertion that unity in the Iraq war at home would cause Iran to change its policy. Would “unity” in the war effort make Iraq any less of a mess, or would our armed forces suddenly be three times their actual size if only we stopped criticising Mr. Bush? Um…no. Would we be less committed to “complete victory” in Iraq if all Americans were 100% behind Mr. Bush? No, fool, we would be more committed and have even less time to waste on provoking Iran. We would be more willing to strike whatever deals we needed with the Iranians to achieve “complete victory” in Iraq. Mr. Kurtz should be grateful to the war critics: without us, the administration would not be trying so hard to distract and befuddle the nation with a new international crisis that is as unnecessary as it is dangerous for all involved.

People who obsess about an Iranian bomb frankly baffle me. What do they think the Iranians are going to do with nuclear weapons? What do all states do with nuclear weapons? They stockpile them and use them as a deterrent. They do not wantonly launch them, nor do they hand them off to terrorist or paramilitary groups. The chief reason to fear Iranian nukes is the threat of their use, and particularly the threat of their use against America or an ally of ours. The Iranian government is not so daft as to invite openly the complete annihilation of their country by doing anything so transparent as first-strike nuclear attacks against anyone.

Notice how the debate in the rest of the world is whether or not Iran should be sanctioned for restarting its uranium-enrichment program in spite of international controls. That is what Europeans and Asians believe this crisis represents: a technical problem of the nonproliferation regime that should be referred to the United Nations. The debate in America is whether we should start bombing Iran now or wait a little while and let the farce of the United Nations play out again as it did in the late winter and early spring of 2003. Americans, regardless of their view of what should be done, are well aware that regardless of what the IAEA certifies, regardless of what the Security Council says or fails to say, regardless of what Iran does or does not do, there is going to be some kind of military action against Iran’s nuclear facilities sooner or later. Likewise, almost all of us assume (rightly or wrongly) that the public affirmations of “peaceful” nuclear energy research by Tehran are bunk–perhaps this is where almost all Americans are too detached from reality. Iranian gas and oil reserves are being depleted; nuclear energy as a power source for Iran is not as ludicrous as it sounds. But don’t expect that to be a serious debating point in this country.

News stories are filled to the brim with whether or not Russia and China will back Security Council action to sanction Iran (latest wires say no). But the European governments and the Chinese are operating under the delusion (or the public deception) that this has something to do with nonproliferation, which is only incidental as it was in the case of Iraq, when it has everything to do with the nature of Iran’s government and Washington’s desire to eliminate that government.