Rational or not, Iran is a real danger
March 1st, 2012
03:31 PM ET

Rational or not, Iran is a real danger

Editor's note: James Jay Carafano is director of The Heritage Foundation's Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies.

By James Jay Carafano, Special to CNN

Trying to understand largely closed regimes is never easy.  Consider North Korea or Iran. How are we to understand decision-making as opaque and unexpected as Lady Gaga's dress choices?

It's always tempting to avoid the difficulty of understanding foreign powers' seemingly unfathomable decisions by adopting simplistic explanations. Enemies we think we understand are dubbed "rational." Those whose behavior puzzles us we deem "irrational."

Irrational regimes are, of course, unpredictable and unmanageable. They must be treated as implacable enemies. If they are rational, however, then the threats they pose may be managed. There! See how easy that was?

Easy, yes. Helpful, no.

During recent congressional hearings, Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has been trying to explain why he told CNN's Fareed Zakaria that Iran is a "rational actor."  He may be right. So what?  It doesn't really help answer the question of what to do about Tehran.

If you don't understand what factors an opponent weighs as important benefits and what it considers to be worrisome costs, you can't predict what a rational decision might look like to him.  Moreover, if you bank on the enemy being rational - without leaving allowances that the enemy might make mistakes, stupid choices, or be at least partially influenced by emotional fervor - your forecast regarding his next steps may be way off base.

And, if Gen. Dempsey is right and the other side really is coldly rational, then, Houston, we have a huge problem. There are many rational reasons why Iran would want a nuclear weapon, and want it quickly.  For starters, it's a wonderful insurance policy for a regime. Once you go nuclear, no one messes in your internal affairs.

Moreover, nukes give you a much stronger hand at the negotiating table.  They add an awful lot of oomph to your demands to lift international sanctions.  And, of course, they let you threaten other nations with nuclear Armageddon unless they fall in line. If you're an isolated regime, what's not to love?

Once Iran goes nuclear, there is not much hope that rationality will somehow prevail in the region.  Rather, the most "rational" response from states like Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Egypt would be to fast-track development of their own nuclear weapons to offset a nuclear Iran's regional dominance.

Several years ago, the Heritage Foundation war-gamed this dark scenario.  Participants from the Pentagon and several think tanks tried to act "rationally," yet it proved all but impossible to keep a crisis from developing into a nuclear war.

So what if Tehran is rational? That in no way makes the Middle East less dangerous or more "manageable" by Washington wise men. America can hope for the best-case scenario, but we must be prepared to handle the worst.

Post by:
Filed under: Iran • Middle East • Opinion
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  70. What Is

    As the article points out, possession of nuclear weapons by Iran is rational.

    So perhaps, for the West to demand that Iran not act rationally is irrational on the part of the West?

    The West has nuclear weapons, and is considered "rational" by the official media for wanting them. But is it rational to demand that Iran be irrational?

    March 2, 2012 at 4:32 pm | Reply
  71. michaelfury

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  72. mardjan

    What baffles me Jim is that you expect the american people to dedicate time,treasure and their children's lives and limbs based on such abstract and weak arguments. So that Iran doesn't get a better hand at negotiating? Where were you during the past ten years when we went into another distant country based on your argument and went broke over it.Your crazy deam of the empire bigger than the roman and german empire together is just an illusion and frankly nobody believes in it anymore. If you are so much smarter than us find a solution for Iran replacing the petrodollars by Gold. That is going to hurt us fot sure and we should see if there is anyway to prevent it.

    March 2, 2012 at 8:17 am | Reply
    • Catholics Against zionism

      Right On, mardjan!!!!

      March 2, 2012 at 9:33 am | Reply
    • George

      Why do you want to prevent them from selling their oil for gold, rupees, the Yuan or anything else? It is none of your business. Does anyone try to prevent the US from conducting international trade? It is utterly preposterous.

      March 2, 2012 at 10:48 am | Reply
    • BryanP

      I know it's silly to argue on site full of Liberals/appeasers, but I have to correct a few points you're making.

      #1, since 9/11/01, the war on terror (both Iraq and Afghanistan) has cost $1.3 trillion. http://costofwar.com/en/

      That's not what's bankrupting us... on the other hand, bailing out GM and banks, the cost of our entitlement programs, ect. costs us over $1 trillion every year. That's what is bankrupting us.

      #2. Trying to say that we're building an empire has to be the most foolish thing in your statement. You don't build an empire by removing a threat and then leaving like we've done since WW2. If we wanted to build an empire we'd be in control of half of Europe, half of central and south America, Iraq, Kuwait, SA, The Former Yugoslavia, ect, ect... but of course, we don't.

      March 2, 2012 at 11:00 am | Reply
  73. James Cole

    "Defense spending is not cause of national debt." Maybe not *the* cause but unless the spending comes from magic dollars that do not get accounted for, defense spending certainly does contribute to the national debt. Your statistics about cuts and the proportion of the budget that constitutes defense spending are just obfuscation. It's scary when you leave the groupthinking comfort of Heritage, no?

    March 2, 2012 at 7:09 am | Reply
  74. Abdullah

    Iran is not a threat to any nation. Let's stop all Irrational biased propaganda lies, hoaxes, artificial illusions without proven facts BASED ON ISLAMAPHOBIC HATE to distroy Iran and for a regime change, instead be friends of Iran and respect Iran's inalienable rights and support Iran to be the pioneer of peaceful nucler energy industry as an independent state in the Muslim world, since there ain't any in the Muslim world yet.

    If NPT is FOR ONLY FRIENDS OF US then iran shall quit from NPT.Since US has made regime changes in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Iran, Syria are next on the agenda by all propaganda lies such as WMD on behalf of unbreakable bond israel.
    Iran is a member of NPT and doesn't produce nukes but seen by US and its allies as to make nukes.

    IN ISLAMAPHOBIA, THERE IS NO DIFERENCE BETWEEN SHIA AND SUNNI, all muslims are seen as potential terrorists,especially in US.

    March 2, 2012 at 3:15 am | Reply
    • Abdullah

      Article IV of Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)
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      2. All the Parties to the Treaty undertake to facilitate, and have the right to participate in, the fullest possible exchange of equipment, materials and scientific and technological information for the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. Parties to the Treaty in a position to do so shall also co-operate in contributing alone or together with other States or international organizations to the further development of the applications of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, especially in the territories of non-nuclear-weapon States Party to the Treaty, with due consideration for the needs of the developing areas of the world.

      Article VI: The states undertake to pursue "negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament", and towards a "Treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control".

      Article X. Establishes the right to withdraw from the Treaty giving 3 months' notice. It also establishes the duration of the Treaty (25 years before 1995 Extension Initiative).

      March 2, 2012 at 3:15 am | Reply
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  75. lweba

    Iran is a Shiite State. Shiites have always felt that the Sunni to be having a secret agenda to exterminate them from the face of this world. The biggest mistake the world committed was to allow Pakistan to have the Bomb. In Pakistan Shiites are discriminated, murdered and its an open agenda that they are not wanted. Shiites in Iraq, even after the fall of Sadam they are still not safe in this country. Shiites feel that there is a secret Sunni conspiracy to wipe them of this world.
    Iran is the only country safe to Shiites. Iran wants to liberate all Shiite communities in the world. further more Iran also wants posses at-least one of the three Holiest Shrines (Mosques) of Islam.
    Israel is just a decoy. The real enemies according to the Iranians are Saudis, Jordanians, Syrians and of course Sunni Pakistanis include also the small Sunni ruled Gulf States.
    Iran is not ruled by the irrational minds no, the rulers are of rational minds but with a few with fanatical orientations due to their history of suffering.
    Iran will never attack Israel when everybody knows they have the Bomb. Iran will use fanatical groups to destabilize the Sunni States and they will use the Bomb when they acquire one as a deterrence against those who will try to attack them.

    March 1, 2012 at 9:08 pm | Reply
    • uha1

      I wonder what world you live in! First of all I personally think that Israel is a bigger danger for US and middle east than Iran ( if it manages to start a war.) However, it does not change the fact that Iran's passion for authority and power and some sort of royalty has always been the problem in the region. And I guess Iranians also don't like it much. Secondly, Iran's art of hyperboling its power is another topic..

      And finally (just as an opinion) people like the author of this article are mostly purchased by the IPACish type of orgs. Whatever they write doesn't count much.

      and btw to the auther. pls dont use the word 'we' when referring to american people. say 'I'.

      March 1, 2012 at 9:33 pm | Reply
      • privmack

        That is so lame and irrational. Is everything written or every opinion against Iran or Muslims perpetrated by Israel?? C'mon dude, wake up to the reality. I hope the bomb lands at your house first....

        March 2, 2012 at 2:33 am |
  76. Brad76

    YES protect Israel. NO to preemptive strikes and more war. How many times will we have to bomb Iran or whomever else decides they need nukes to protect themselves? This can only go on for so long! At some point we're going to have to just talk to Iran, and to be bluntly honest Israel is going to have to cool her jets. I only intend to bring some sort of reasonable outcome rather than endless war. Israel is going to have to have meaningful dialogue with Iran and other countries. This means, everyone sits down at a table, and they aren't allowed to leave the room until a peace deal is reached. Try reaching out to Iran as a friend, just try it. What have we got to lose at this point?

    March 1, 2012 at 9:06 pm | Reply
    • Mad Dog

      isreal is not our problem but israel is the problem in the middle east. I say, let the iranians and arabs destroy israel. Then we won't have the problem anymore.

      Death to israel or come on WW3 Baby!

      March 2, 2012 at 9:35 am | Reply
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        March 2, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
  77. Kat

    ha! another Zionazi think tank that is warmongering through propaganda and lies. They did the same before Iraq's war. These Zionazi lying maching should have been shut done long ago. They only spew hate, racism, wars and costly policies that we franjly cannot afford, let alone to protect the interest of some 500K illegal Israeli colonists in Palestine.

    March 1, 2012 at 8:58 pm | Reply
  78. mardjan

    trying to label people as rational and irrational and trying to guess if others will do the right thing or they will make a mistake is really a futile exercise. The best that any rational person can hope for is to try not to make mistakes himself. We have gotten into two wars and during the past ten years have made many mistakes that have cost us dearly. I think it is time to concentrate on our own way of doing things and see if we can improve ourselves. I think that we have established that getting into wars is a big mistake. Now let's move on!

    March 1, 2012 at 8:44 pm | Reply
  79. dsa

    I couldn't resist to comment.
    The only country that ever thew an atomic bomb killing thousands of people was US.
    And US is the country in bed with Israel, which both are responsible for pretty much all wars in the world.

    So are you sure Iran is dangerous?

    March 1, 2012 at 8:40 pm | Reply
    • RMF

      Perhaps you can help me with my history, but didn't we do that to end a way that started with an unprovoked attack on us by an enemy that intended to fight to the death? I don't recall it being an arbitrary or capricious act as you insinuated.

      March 1, 2012 at 10:00 pm | Reply
  80. mardjan

    no seriously! if Iranians get nukes the other regional players will get Nukes. Yes, probably! There are many countries that already have nukes what if a few more get them! Nobody's going to use them!. They get a better hand at the negotiating table, sure! But what is the difference since we are not negotiating with them. We would do the same thing at their place. We don't have to trigger doomsday to stop them from having a better chance at negotiating!

    March 1, 2012 at 8:35 pm | Reply
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  82. Kanes

    We have to be quick. Time is running out.

    In another 3 days time Vladimir Putin will be the president of Russia. After that there is no way we can do anything about Syria or Iran without suffering retaliatory attacks. Remember Kosovo 2008? We thought it was fun to go against the Russians and helped Kosovo independence. Within 6 months Russia did a double with South Ossetia and Abkhazia against Georgia. We could not save our friend Georgia.

    Iran, Syria, North Korea are not rational. No rational person can live in those countries.

    March 1, 2012 at 8:29 pm | Reply
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    • George

      I can't wait until Putin takes over. Then, maybe Russia will be more assertive in preventing the madness of Obama and Netanyahu to destroy the world. These two are the real madmen. More correctly, Netanyahu is the madman and Obama is the Yes-Man. Georgia is also a crazy lackey of the US. It was utterly stupid of it to try to challenge the Russians.

      March 2, 2012 at 10:57 am | Reply
  83. Phara

    Read danger? Let's look at the facts. Iran doesn't have nk, it is not making nk, it has said it will not make nk. Even if it will make nk, it will still take years for them to get it compact and find a means to launch it. Even if it has the means to launch a nk, the chance for it to use it is zero unless a country wants self destruction? Why the Waste wants to take on Iran? It's oil. Iran could easily defuse the tension by letting the US to investing on its oil fields.

    March 1, 2012 at 8:25 pm | Reply
  84. mardjan

    My question to Mr Carfano,
    Rational or irrational , what can we do about it? attacking Iran is out of the question for many reasons, the first and foremost the rise in the oil prices and the collapse of the world economy that will follow. Besides the Russians wouldn't let us. If I were you I would start worrying about them amd many others replacing the petrodollar with gold. Which is something that Gaddafi couldn't do but the Iranians might just be able to pull it off. Besides it is far enough in the future that we can actually try to do something about it.

    March 1, 2012 at 8:03 pm | Reply
  85. Sina

    Rachel Aliene Corrie knows who is more dangerous in the world. Iran or Israel ?????

    March 1, 2012 at 7:46 pm | Reply
    • Sina

      Cause of death Killed while trying to block an Israeli armored bulldozer

      March 1, 2012 at 7:49 pm | Reply
  86. Jack

    "The US and its European allies should shift away from insisting on what Iranian government cannot have toward offering Tehran a raft of genuine incentives." argues iPolitiquest, adding that neither sanctions nor the idea of a pre-emptive strike can be considered effective tools to counter Iran.http://www.ipolitiquest.com/2012/02/us-israel-vs-iran-requiem-for-diplobamacy/

    March 1, 2012 at 7:40 pm | Reply
  87. Jack

    "The US and its European allies should shift away from insisting on what Iranian government cannot have toward offering Tehran a raft of genuine incentives." argues iPolitiquest, adding that neither sanctions nor the idea of a pre-emptive strike can be considered effective tools to counter Iran.

    March 1, 2012 at 7:39 pm | Reply
  88. Ryan

    Let Israel go in there and bomb the hell out of them.

    March 1, 2012 at 7:27 pm | Reply
    • George

      Let's drop a bomb on top of your head too.

      March 1, 2012 at 7:33 pm | Reply
    • Sina

      Israel must make sure American solders dies to save Israel..............without USA supporter Israel never ever do anything since they are running the white-house and senate .....Etc

      March 1, 2012 at 7:38 pm | Reply
    • Steve

      Bleh. That's the silliest thing I've heard this month. Sorry, but are living on this planet, or you're just stupid?

      March 1, 2012 at 7:46 pm | Reply
    • Mostafa

      Bleh. That's the silliest thing I've heard this month. Sorry, but are you living on this planet, or you're just stupid?

      March 1, 2012 at 7:48 pm | Reply
  89. Robert Davis

    Indeed Iran is a real danger, and if attacked, everyone will find out just how dangerous they have been all along.

    No nukes required.

    There will be a quiet turning point this week.. Once it has passed there will be no turning back from the selected path.

    You had a choice, we all did.... Everyone has made all of the wrong choices.

    The next 14 months are going to be rough, especially when all other options to stop this has failed.

    Prepare now, pray if you are so inclined.

    March 1, 2012 at 7:02 pm | Reply
    • Robert Davis

      I wrote the following on another website...

      Why is Iran so dangerous?

      They are a theocracy, and their leadership should be considered categorically insane...

      Radical Shiite leaders including the Ayatollah believe they can bring about the return of the "Mahdi" known to them as " Twelfth Imam, Muhammad al-Mahdi" who upon return will rule for a period of time and rid the world of wrongdoing injustice and tyranny... He is the redeemer of Islam.

      From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahdi

      The Twelfth Imam will return as the Mahdi with "a company of his chosen ones," and his enemies will be led by the one-eyed Antichrist and the Sufyani. The two armies will fight "one final apocalyptic battle" where the Mahdi and his forces will prevail over evil. After the Mahdi has ruled Earth for a number of years, Isa will return.


      Isa (Jesus)

      How will they know when the Mahdi will come?....

      From: http://www.inter-islam.org/faith/mahdi1.htm

      Signs that will Precede Imam Mahdi

      1) A General Sign

      There are many signs that will precede him, a general and very important sign is that he will come at a time when there is great confutation, intense disputes and violent deaths. When people are afflicted by disturbance and experiencing great fear. Calamities will fall upon the people, so much so that a man shall not find a shelter to shelter him self from oppression. There will be battles and fitnaas before his appearance. Every time a fitnaa has come to end, another will start, spread and intensify. The people will be troubled to such an extent that they will long for death. It is then that Imam Mahdi will be sent.

      Abu Saeed Al-Khudri has repoted that the Messenger of Allah said "He will be sent at a time of intense disputes and differences among people and earthquakes..." (Ahmed)



      Crazy ain't it?

      They believe this "Twelfth Imam, Mahdi" will intervene in their war with the west, and the Zionist Jew oppressors and will rule the WORLD under Islamic law and the evil "great Satan" will be defeated and destroyed.

      This is why they are fearless, this is why they provoke, this is why they threaten, and this is why they are absolutely the most dangerous regime on the planet....

      You still want them to have nukes, and other weapons of mass destruction?

      Believe they are not dangerous?

      They have proxies, and terrorist cells and they have a plan, and it doesn't involve nuclear weapons alone.

      There are elements in the Pakistani ISI, some people in the Russian FSB, and rogue covert Chinese agents who could elaborate more.... Terrorist groups and organizations including Hamas and Hezbollah, with splinter groups of Islamic radicals also involved... Iranian operatives are all in the right or wrong places (depending on perspective).

      The Iranian regime want this war, they need religious justification to retaliate... IF Israel and/or the west attack Iran we will all find out exactly what this all means...

      Good luck... Just offering my 2 cents here.

      Consider yourselves warned now.

      March 1, 2012 at 7:20 pm | Reply
      • George

        Yes, you ARE crazy and you don't know what you are talking about. You are like sophists who take the Bible literally and read deep thoughts into every word. The 12th Imam is irrelevant to most Iranians. It is like all the politicians in the US saying "God bless America."

        March 1, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
      • Robert Davis


        We'll see if I am crazy or not when or IF there is an attack on Iran.

        By the way, what is relevant to the Iranian people is entirely irrelevant to the Iranian regime.

        You should do some research into what they believe.. They being the rulers of Iran, not their puppet.

        Good day to you... and good luck.

        March 1, 2012 at 7:47 pm |
      • George

        Robert: So, how will an attack on Iran prove whether you are crazy or not? It will only show that the attackers are absolute lunatics. By the way, what do you know about the Iranian regime? Do you think it is a dictatorship and Ahmadinejad or Khamenei can just decide by themselves to attack another country? Iran is actually the most democratic country in the Middle East. They have a strong parliament and they are having parliamentary elections tomorrow. They are different centers of power in Iran. It is not a monolithic government. Again, all this talk of 12th Imam in the US is really hilarious.

        March 1, 2012 at 7:58 pm |
      • James Cole

        How does this compare to, say, Donald Rumsfeld and the GWB regime, where daily Pentagon briefings had Christian-warrior themed imagery and explicitly used the Crusades as a precedent?

        March 2, 2012 at 6:59 am |
    • Reply

      Another Christian zealot. Paranoid suicidal doomsdayer – wanna be prophet.
      Good luck with that!

      March 1, 2012 at 9:07 pm | Reply
  90. Matt

    Again, just leave a severed horses head in his bed. He'll get the message.

    March 1, 2012 at 5:38 pm | Reply
  91. jACKSON

    Jannani and George...then take yourself to one of those 60 countries we 'invaded'. For the vast majority of them, they are far better off today than they were before. I simply can't understand people who bash America, but do so under the protection that she gives you to do so. Hypocrits all.

    March 1, 2012 at 5:23 pm | Reply
    • George

      Who are you to say that the countries we invaded are better. So, the fact that more than a million Iraqis died because of stupid Bush invading Iraq is nothing to you? Dropping atomic bombs on Japan was just dandy too. You think Vietnam is doing well because we invaded it? You are totally deranged. It is none of our business to invade any other country. Maybe we should let China take over the US. We would definitely do better that we are doing now.

      March 1, 2012 at 5:30 pm | Reply
      • BryanP

        George, your deranged self can move to China if you want. Part of being free is being free to leave.

        That said, a million Iraqis did not die over the past 8 years and out of those that did a vast majority of them were killed by other Iraqis or AQIM. I know, I've been there 3 times since the war began.

        Also, though I don't think this would make a difference to you... since facts seem to be beyond your grasp. Dropping the bomb in Japan, a nation that launched a sneak attack upon us and brought us into WW2, probably saved millions of lives.

        Finally, we did not invade Vietnam... go read a history book.

        March 2, 2012 at 11:18 am |
  92. Ash

    Whoever wrote this article is an idiot, no need to read it.

    March 1, 2012 at 5:21 pm | Reply
    • Jim Carafano

      I wrote it Ash,,,this is a really serious issue. I don't mind any one calling names or expressing their opinions, but this is an issue worthy of more consideration than that.

      March 1, 2012 at 6:36 pm | Reply
      • Ian Brookes


        It seems that the sole objective of the neocon think tanks (like yours) and media outlets controlled by people with Israel firsters interests is to push for war and to counter adult comments from people in the know, like General Dempsey, with dismissive comments like comparisons to lady Gaga!

        It is a serious subject but it is being covered in an extremely biased and irrational manner by those that support the Israel position. It is against the UN Charter to threaten military action against another state – not really covered in the mass media.

        Also the lies and distortions of the media regarding the IAEA reports is disgusting. Fortunately those that are interested can get access via the Internet to the actual reports and read for themselves. They can also read wide ranging views on the illegality of US and Israeli pressure to drive towards war.

        Your piece in the neocon / Israeli firster vein is intellectually dishonest – just like most pieces from the neocon think tanks and Israel firster media. Do what is in the interest of the USA – like General Dempsey!!

        March 1, 2012 at 8:33 pm |
      • George

        Ian: Actually, if you just read the IAEA report you will only be confused since it is an amateurish piece of gibberish with much false information in it. You have to go beyond it to understand what it is based on and how it came about.

        Two big problems are reliance on the so-called "alleged studies" which are known to be forgeries. Also, the story about the Russian nuclear scientist who turned out to be really an Ukrainian diamond expert is complete nonsense. Then, there are all the speculations based on "information from member or non-member countries." There is very little that is based on observation and data collected by IAEA. Finally, most of the complaints are about events before 2004.

        Mr. Carafano: I hope you are going to respond to some of our comments here.

        March 1, 2012 at 10:21 pm |
    • Girolamo

      CHRISTMAS RUM EGGNOG RECIPE12 oz light rum36 oz milk6 tsp powdered sugar6 whole emgtungegShake all ingredients (except nutmeg) with ice and strain into a collins glass. Sprinkle nutmeg on top and serve. Serves 6.

      May 22, 2012 at 6:28 am | Reply

    u hav all said ur minz, peace talk.

    March 1, 2012 at 5:10 pm | Reply
  94. Melkizedecchi

    Not ! Not ! Not ! Peace To You

    March 1, 2012 at 4:18 pm | Reply
  95. George

    Carafano is another irrational paranoid following Netanyahu's footsteps. Iran is no danger anyone. In contrast, the US and Israel are the biggest terrorist states in the world and are the biggest dangers to peace. The audacity of these two rogues states that have thousands and hundreds of nuclear weapons, respectively, demanding that Iran cannot even have a peaceful nuclear program is unbelievable. It is the height of hypocrisy and stupidity.

    March 1, 2012 at 3:55 pm | Reply
    • Jim Carafano

      kind of funny that I say the Iranians are rational and you say I'm paranoid.

      March 1, 2012 at 6:38 pm | Reply
      • George

        You don't say that they are definitely rational, but you argue that IF they are rational they are still a danger. But, the problem is that you don't understand that what is rational to you may not be rational to others. If you mean by rational merely being logical, then I agree that they are rational.

        But, you posit that it is rational for them to obtain nuclear weapons since nuclear weapons will provide protection for them. Here, you are going outside the realm of logicality. The point that most Americans do not understand is that Iranians consider nuclear weapons as "Haram" or forbidden. They rightly point out that nuclear weapons are really not usable in today's world. Pakistan has them and the US is constantly bombing them. Do you think that Pakistan will dare using one of its nukes against the US?

        You are using the rationality argument in a very superficial level. They have thought this through to the end. Also, nuclear weapons are very expensive to build and maintain. The Iranian defense budget is about $4B per year, while the official US defense budget is about $700B. Besides, the US is surrounding Iran with more than 40 bases. So, who is a threat to whom?

        March 1, 2012 at 7:45 pm |
  96. gabe

    Jeremy Bernstein of the New Yorker wrote an interesting e-single on Iran's developing nuclear program. Bernstein is a physicist, but it is more of a history of how we ended up in this "are they or aren't they developing weapons" situation. Worth reading, for those interested: http://goo.gl/tk0fx

    March 1, 2012 at 3:47 pm | Reply
    • George

      Berstein's book is entitled, "How Iran got the bomb ...." This is nonsense. Iran does not have a nuclear bomb. I only read a synopsis of the book and won't waste my time reading it since his premise is completely faulty. By the way, there is nothing secret about the Iranian nuclear program, except that you should not take the garbage coming out of the IAEA since Amano took over too seriously. He is a stooge of the US and just puts out absolute junk every few months about Iran.

      March 1, 2012 at 5:26 pm | Reply
  97. Nephilims Own Earth

    The whole world hates israel!

    Christians can get 5 years in israel for preaching the word of Jesus. Now,let me ask you, is 5 years too heavy of a price to pay for teaching peace and love?

    all i can say: the dirty evil zionists need to be nuked.

    March 1, 2012 at 3:46 pm | Reply
    • lucas

      seriously? everyone knows hes got that kind of laws, if u got u perfectly knows what can hapens to you, and what is more, every religion pray for "peace and love",
      please don't make ur god the only one right on this planet, hes got the same chance of existence than any other gods (thats includes the god of pastafarians and the jediism)
      anyway, if u know the risks and go anyway, ur not a victim you'r will be a stupid religious who thinks u can convert and destroy a entire religion only because ur religion got a chosen one
      in answer to ur question, yes i thing 5 years are perfectly usable to stupid peoples who believe he can do what he want in the place he want any time he like.
      if you want freedom let all peoples free and don't try to be the hero of jesus

      March 1, 2012 at 9:43 pm | Reply
    • BryanP

      Incorrect, Israel does not have any laws regarding the practice of Christianity. Millions of Christian pilgrims travel to Israel every year to visit places where Jesus lived and died.

      On the other hand you'll be executed for doing the same in Iran. You can take your racist butt elsewhere.

      I have to say, after reading these comments and all the complete falsehoods in them, I understand why our nation is in the economic state that we're in. How can people make decisions for their day to day lives, not to mention who to vote for if they believe half the craziness they say they do in these posts.

      March 2, 2012 at 11:13 am | Reply
  98. Jannani

    America is the root of all terror. America has invaded sixty countries since world war 2. In 1953, America overthrow Iran's democratic government and installed a brutal dictator. During Iran-Iraq war, America supported Saddam, which killed over million Iranian people. In 2003, America invaded Iraq and killed 1,000,000+ Iraqi people and displaced 4,000,000+ Iraqi people.
    Now America is a failed state with huge debt. Its debt will be 24 trillion dollar by 2015.

    March 1, 2012 at 3:44 pm | Reply
    • Real American Patriot from Maine

      Right on Jannani!

      March 1, 2012 at 3:47 pm | Reply
    • Jim Carafano

      Defense spending is not cause of national debt. Even with Iraq and Afghanistan as a percentage of GDP defense is at near historic spending lows. As a percentage of federal spending defense is at a post WW II low at less than 20 percent. Defense is the only catagory of federal spending cut since the end of the Cold War. Currently defense cuts at less than 20 percent of budget account for 50 percent of budget cuts.

      March 1, 2012 at 6:41 pm | Reply
      • George

        Again, you spread misinformation. The "war budget" is not just the official defense budget. The cost of the Iraq war will be from 3 to 6 trillion dollars. Would you find this figure anywhere in official reports? The so-called cuts in the defense budget are also not really cuts. They are merely reductions in the planned increases.

        March 1, 2012 at 7:50 pm |
      • Ian Brookes

        Jim – why does the USA need to spend more than the next 20 countries combined on regular military expenditure? What else could the USA do with the hundreds of billions of defense spending that would be better for the economy and the world?

        March 1, 2012 at 9:31 pm |
      • Sigh

        George – numbers....you sir need to back up your numbers. Jim is citing factual statistics that can be checked, not saying I wouldn't agree with what you are saying George, but there's no fact in your statement just conjecture. Jannani by the Iraqi census your claims are ludicrous. Most of the civilian killing in Iraq was a direct result of sectarian violence. I saw the remains of the market bombings with my own eyes. The Golden Mosque bombing was one of AQIs smarter moves in that it caused a massive and likely soon to be fatal religious rift in the country. Finally Ian, the US would likely give that money away, I have no love for the Obama Administration's hurling of money. He has crushed Bush's already rediculous spending in one term, I pray he doesn't see another. By all means check into the spending difference, but Mr Obama has spent almost double the deficit of Mr Bush. Obama said he had answers, apparently throwing money away is way up that list.

        March 2, 2012 at 1:52 am |
      • George

        Sigh: What numbers do you want me to back up? According to the Nobel prize-winning economist, chief economist of the World Bank, Joseph Stiglitz, the cost of the Iraq war will be 3-6 trillion dollars. Check the following, for example:


        As for the cuts in the defense budgets, you really believe that the Defense budget is going down? Google it to get the sources. I know what I am talking about. As for Jannani's figures, he is wrong only in saying that the one million dead Iraqis were killed by the US. In fact, most were killed by the Iraqis themselves. But, these deaths would not have happened if stupid Bush had not attacked Iraq. So, the US was indirectly responsible.

        March 2, 2012 at 3:11 am |
      • BryanP

        Sorry George, your site is incorrect... then again, what would you expect when using the Pravda. Jim is on target. I'm not surprised that you people are having this reaction to his piece, the truth hurts and you peaceniks think that by appeasing the enemy that they will all of a sudden want peace... sorry, that's not how it works.


        March 2, 2012 at 11:06 am |
      • George

        BryantP: You are being ridiculous. Pravda has nothing to do with it. Do you know how to use Google? Here is the Wikipedia article that talks about the $3 trillion Iraq war as estimated originally by Nobel Prize laureate Joseph Stiglitz. He even wrote a book about it. You have to understand how he calculates the cost. Just taking the Pentagon figures that Carafano does is not sufficient. More recently, he has talked about the const being twice as much.

        March 6, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
      • George

        I forgot to include the link the Wkipedia article. Here it is:


        March 6, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
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