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Alan Dershowitz: The Message Obama Should Have Sent


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SB10000872396390444620104578008761073155302.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_LEADTopWSJ:

ALAN M. DERSHOWITZ

9/25/12

 

On Monday in New York, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad promised that Israel will be "eliminated," a variation on his previous threats to the nation's existence. He was in town for the opening of the United Nations General Assembly, a gathering that reliably sees leaders issuing pronouncements that, even if not new, at least are given a bigger stage. On Tuesday, the first day of the gathering, President Obama delivered a speech that also struck familiar notes, including the statement that "a nuclear-armed Iran is not a challenge that can be contained." He moved no closer to giving a signal of what he might consider an intolerable development in Iran's advance toward a nuclear weapon.

 

For months, U.S. and Israeli officials have debated whether Mr. Obama should publicly announce a "red line" that, if crossed by Iran, would prompt an American military response. Announcing such a threshold publicly or privately might be helpful, but it may not be necessary for the president to specify what would constitute such a red line (a certain degree of uranium enrichment, for example, or other evidence of weaponization).

 

Instead, Mr. Obama has another good option: Tell the Iranian leadership that under no circumstances will it ever be permitted to develop or acquire nuclear weapons, and that the U.S. is prepared to take decisive military action to make sure of this.

 

Such a statement wouldn't tip the president's hand regarding a precise red line, but it would send a clear message that Iran's efforts to develop nuclear weapons are futile and ultimately will lead to disaster for Iran's rulers.

 

(Snip)

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