Call me ‘crazy’ yet let’s attack Iran before it goes nuclear

When the editorial boards of the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal both say essentially the same thing about Iran’s nuclear weapons program, we all better sit up and take notice.

Here is what the Times had to say this morning:

Like Mohamed ElBaradei, we want to make sure what he calls the “crazies” don’t start a war with Iran. We fear his do-it-yourself diplomacy is playing right into the crazies’ hands — in Washington and Tehran.

Last month, Mr. ElBaradei, the chief nuclear inspector for the United Nations, cut his own deal with Iran’s government, intended to answer questions about its secretive nuclear past. Unfortunately, it made no mention of Iran’s ongoing, very public refusal to stop enriching uranium — usable for nuclear fuel or potentially a nuclear weapon — in defiance of Security Council orders.

We fervently wish that Mr. Bush and the American Congress had listened to Mr. ElBaradei in 2003 when he said there was no evidence that Iraq was rebuilding its nuclear weapons program. But the key to Mr. ElBaradei’s credibility then, and what makes the International Atomic Energy Agency so indispensable, is he was offering his agency’s clear scientific judgment.

Once he started making diplomatic deals, that judgment — essential not only for ensuring that Iran, but also a half-dozen other states, don’t go nuclear — immediately becomes suspect.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice complained last week that the I.A.E.A. shouldn’t be in the business of diplomacy. Yes, that’s her job. And she’s not done nearly enough to try to get the Iranians to sit down at the table with a credible offer of comprehensive talks. Sanctions alone are unlikely to restrain Iran’s nuclear program, especially at the rate the Security Council is moving.

And here is what the Journal wrote:

The Administration seemed prepared last month to name the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (which runs the Qods Force) as a terrorist organization, a designation that would be amply justified. But once again, the State Department is equivocating amid Russian, Chinese and European opposition.

Meanwhile, on the nuclear issue, Mr. Ahmadinejad declared this week that he’ll no longer cooperate with the U.N. Security Council, but only with Mohamed ElBaradei, the accommodating Egyptian who runs the U.N. nuclear agency. Our readers will recall that former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton warned Mr. Bush about Mr. ElBaradei and tried to block his wish for a third term. But Mr. Bush sided with State Department officials who supported Mr. ElBaradei, and now the U.S. has to live with his pro-Iranian machinations.

The Bush Presidency is running out of time to act if it wants to stop Iran from gaining a bomb

Those two newspapers both are essentially saying that just living with ElBaradei’s blind appeasement will result in the United States someday confronting Iran the nuclear power. Yet the Bush administration seems to agree more with the Times than the Journal that Mr. ElBaradei’s errant wandering from his field of expertise has run out most of the clock on diplomacy.

Call me crazy yet our ultimate goal is to prevent a future nuclear exchange between the United States and Iran. To do that, we must actually stop Iran from acquiring those weapons, one way or the other.

Why should the administration follow the Times’ advice and give ElBaradei the scientist one more chance to actually do his job? Mr. ElBaradei the diplomat has failed to stop Iran. We need to fire him from the process and send one last clear message to all that we will strike Iran with conventional weapons in order to prevent our two nations from setting vast tracts of our world afire.

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