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Iran: An Academic Thinks the Unthinkable


The common wisdom is that military action against Iran is “unthinkable.”

But Arthur Herman, who has taught history at Georgetown and George Mason Universities, thinks otherwise. After extensively explaining the nuclear and conventional threat from the regime in Tehran, he presents what he sees as a possible and warranted military scenario for dealing with both dangers. To wit:


  • Deploy in the Gulf of Oman minesweepers, a carrier strike group’s guided-missile destroyers, an Aegis-class cruiser, and anti-submarine assets, with the rest of the carrier group remaining in the Indian Ocean.


  • Declare a halt to all shipments of Iranian oil while guaranteeing the safety of tankers carrying non-Iranian oil and the platforms of other Gulf states. We would then guarantee this guarantee by launching a comprehensive air campaign aimed at destroying Iran’s air-defense system, its air-force bases and communications systems, and finally its missile sites along the Gulf coast.


  • Attack Iran’s nuclear facilities—not only the “hard” sites but also infrastructure like bridges and tunnels in order to prevent the shifting of critical materials from one to site to another.


  • Concentrate the attack also on Iran’s gasoline refineries. With its refineries, etc., gone, countermoves by the Iranian army would be rendered largely impossible.


And more from Herman here on the military option.


He concludes on a fateful historical note that should command our attention: 

What has cost us prestige in the Middle East and around the world is not our 2003 invasion of Iraq but our lack of a clear record of success in its aftermath…The longer we wait, the harder it will be to stop the Iranian advance.

In 1936, the French army could have halted Hitler’s reoccupation of the Rhineland…but chose to do nothing. In 1938, Britain and France could have joined forces with the well-armed and highly motivated Czech army to administer a crushing defeat to the German Wehrmacht…Instead they handed him the Sudetenland, setting in motion the process that in 1939 led to the most destructive war in world history. Do we intend to dither until suicide bombers blow up a supertanker off the Omani coast, or a mushroom cloud appears over Tel Aviv, before we decide it is finally time to get serious about Iran?

 Herman’s article of November 2006, “Getting Serious About Iran: A Military Option,” is offered for a limited time online by Commentary. Lawrence Auster brought it to my attention.


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