To get a good picture, let’s indulge in a bit of alternate history. Suppose the Taliban government of Afghanistan had nukes in 2001. Let’s further suppose that they weren’t crazy enough to let any of them be used in terrorist attacks, but they had them and everyone knew it.
Fast forward to September 12. The Taliban government is knowingly sheltering the terrorist group responsible for knocking down two of our largest office buildings with thousands of people inside, and is not going to give them up. What do we do about it? How do we kill or capture the member of that group? More to the point, how do we stop them from striking us again and again? And then again? Still no nukes, but repeated conventional attacks on American civilians on American soil. How in the world would we stop them?
I don’t see how.
The Iranians are working on nuclear weapons, and they are run by a regime that has sponsored terrorist attacks against the West in the past. They see us as “the Great Satan”. If they get nuclear weapons, what possible reason would they have for not sponsoring repeated, conventional attacks against the Great Satan itself? What could we do about it? Would we accept a nuclear exchange to retaliate for another 9/11-style attack? Would we wait until we’ve suffered five of them?
I don’t want to find out.
We should have been recruiting like crazy since 2001 to provide ourselves a reserve in case drastic preventative measures proved necessary. I think the necessity is now undeniable, that Iran must be prevented from getting nuclear weapons by any means necessary, and that time is not on our side.