Sunday, September 03, 2006

Getting 'Eyes On' Iran

If it's one thing I've learned in over 2 years of construction management in Iraq, it's that you must get 'eyes on' something in order to know what the real status is. Ask an Iraqi how much progress has been made on constructing a building, and he'll say they are hanging the curtains and painting the doorframes as we speak. Go see for yourself, and you'll be lucky if they've poured the foundation yet.

Middle Eastern Muslims, such as Iraqis, have some fairly well developed traits, none more refined and pervasive than the trait of Deception. Their first instinct when confonted with possible embarrassment or the loss of something (like money) is to lie. They lie to each other, to Westerners, to the press, to their relatives, to bosses, to subordinates, to everybody. It is simply a way of life here, where wisdom is considered to be never revealing the truth about yourself, and always being able to determine what your opponent is trying to conceal. Lying is accepted and normal in the Muslim Middle East.

Which leads us to Iran. America's opinion is that Iran is developing its nuclear capability in order to manufacture nuclear weapons to be used against, well, whomever. Iran claims its work on nuclear energy is for strictly peaceful public energy purposes, and it has absolutely no intention to develop nuclear weapons.

So how do we find out the truth once and for all?

Simple: Get American 'eyes on' Iran, and focus the debate on that fact.

We should not make the same mistake we did in Iraq, asserting that the weapons of concern actually exist. Rather, we must state that the problem is the lack of transparency concerning Iranian capability and intent. We must not insist that we know about their programs; we must insist that we do not know, and that is the problem.

Does this mean we must admit we do not trust anything that comes out of the mouth of Iranian Presidents and Ayatollahs? You bet.

Why do we not make the same demands of other countries, like Finland or Fiji or Belize? Because none of those countries have routinely funded global terrorism; none of those countries have secretly developed nuclear sites for over a decade; none of those countries have procalimed America as the Great Satan and stormed our embassies; none of those countries have vowed to the world to implement a myriad of supremacist, violent, and fanatical religious beliefs; and none of those countries have claimed a divine right to wipe neighboring countries "off the map".

Being modern Westerners, we must provide Iran with the opportunity to avoid war, and we can do this by announcing that we will be inspecting any and all Iranian facilities and areas that concern us. We should not ask for inspections, we should simply declare that they are going to occur. If the Iranians choose to consent to inspections, then war can be avoided - the choice is theirs.

Assuming consent [insert laughter here], we send a very large inspection team to Iran divided into a multitude of squads. Each squad of inspectors will be self sufficient and deployed to the facility of their choice, without warning, and be provided with unfettered access to it. Once a site is 'cleared', they will camp out and never leave that site until America has fully addressed all areas of concern within Iranian territory.

As soon as our inspectors smell obstruction, obfuscation, deceit, resistance, or anything of the kind, they are all immediately recalled. This will not be like the yo-yo inspections at the end of Saddam's digits that plagued us in the 90s. The fact is, if there is nothing to hide, and consent has been given, then there is no reason to obstruct - ever. And it is under that premise that we must operate.

But the overwhelming likelihood is that Iran would never allow this, claiming injured pride, sovereignty issues, unfair harassment, racism, Islamophobia, yadda...yadda...yadda. But none of that will matter, because ours would not have been a request for inspections; it would have been a declaration of inspections.

Assuming refusal of consent, we send in our inspection teams anyway, just after our military has devastated their armies and government, and just before our demolition teams arrive to destroy any technical capability Iran may still have beyond manufacturing butter, turbans, and sandals.

The problem is not what we know; it's what we do not know. We simply must get 'eyes on' Iran, and how we go about doing so is entirely up to the Iranians.

This is how the debate over Iranian nukes should be framed.


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