Letters: Iran, Israel and the bomb

A visitor looks at portraits of Iran's President

A visitor looks at portraits of Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, left, and Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, during the exhibition Faces of Power, by Greek photo artist Platon Antoniou, shown at the Photokina 2012, in Cologne, Germany. (Sept. 19, 2012) (Credit: AP)

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It is very easy for Charles Krauthammer to criticize, but there is not one reasonable solution in his column "Obama is too feckless about Iran," [Opinion, Sept. 16].

Is Krauthammer suggesting a large-scale military intervention by the United States in Iran that would lead to massive casualties and a major war in the Middle East, an almost guaranteed invasion or attack on Israel, and a worldwide economic depression? Have we learned anything from the invasion of Iraq?

I am sure many diplomatic, political and economic avenues are being privately explored. Krauthammer and his fellow neoconservatives are always quick to respond to any crisis, and this is a major crisis, by threatening military intervention.

Americans are tired of war. Attitudes like Krauthammer's have already cost thousands of American lives in Iraq and trillions of dollars spent on our military intervention. The unfunded Iraq War is a major reason for our economic and debt crisis today. Knee-jerk reactions of "let's go to war" have got to be tempered by all reasonable efforts to avoid one.

Steven F. Lowenhar, Dix Hills

While much of Newsday's analysis of the threat from a nuclear-armed Iran is insightful, certain key aspects are surprising ["Israel amps up Mideast tension," Editorial, Sept. 18].

The idea that Iran would be deterred from launching a nuclear attack on Israel due to Israel's ability to strike back in kind harks back to the Cold War doctrine of mutually assured destruction. While this worked with the Soviet Union, it is far from certain that it would be effective on an Iranian leadership for whom martyrdom is a commendable life ambition.

By avoiding the imposition of some sort of boundaries on the Iranians, we give them the opportunity to continue to engage in prolonged negotiations while using the time to advance toward the acquisition of nuclear weapons.

The creation of "red lines" would mean that time was no longer on Iran's side, that it would have to stop when it reached the point established by the world community or risk punishment (which need not necessarily involve military action).

Of course, this would, as Newsday points out, "limit Washington's flexibility." If Iran called our bluff, we would be forced to respond.

Since President Barack Obama has repeatedly stated that his goal is the prevention, and not the containment, of a nuclear Iran, a clear articulation of what is acceptable and what is not would be consistent with his policy. If the intention is to avoid a confrontation with a nuclear Iran, the time to confront the Iranians is before they go nuclear.

Ira M. Salwen, Baldwin

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that the Obama administration has refused to meet to discuss setting a "red line" boundary for Iran's nuclear program.

This is a big mistake, and will influence American politics. I will give my vote to Mitt Romney, who has said he is willing to take a tougher stance. We must do whatever possible to prevent Iran from building a nuclear bomb.

Martin Blumberg, Melville

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