First Posted: 1/15/2009
According to a Zogby poll taken last week after President Bush's State of the Union address, almost two-thirds of Americans would favor military action against Iran - either in conjunction with European nations or the United Nations - in an effort to prevent that nation from obtaining nuclear weapons.
Just fewer than half would OK our military moving unilaterally.
Here's what we know: Iran does not possess nuclear weapons and isn't an imminent threat to our nation's security or to the world's. Does that recall another Mideast rogue state whose name shares the first three letters with Iran?
So why is it that in a nation where half the people believe the war in Iraq was a mistake, almost two-thirds believe that military action in Iran is appropriate? At the time we invaded Iraq, everyone believed WMDs were there, but Iran is several years from obtaining them - at least two and as many as six, depending on the expert.
But there is more working against military action in Iran. It isn't guaranteed to be effective because Iran has scattered its weapons facilities across the country and hidden them underground. Had Iraq possessed WMDs, they would have been found.
The only answer we can think of for our country's hawkishness is that the populace is too easily maneuvered by headlines. Americans are reacting to Iran's well-publicized nuclear weapons pursuit and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's calls that Israel be wiped off the face of the Earth.
We are thankful that President Bush has never been one to establish policy based on polls. In fact, in this instance, Bush has been dovish - but engaged - in his approach.
We don't want to diminish the Iranian threat. The country is pursuing nuclear weapons and cannot be allowed to obtain them. If it does, there is nothing to guarantee the weapons would not be used to wipe out Israel, putting heat to the Mideast powder keg.
For now at least, the better option is to get the matter to the United Nations Security Council, which will have another chance to prove its legitimacy. Absent that, the day may come when military action is needed.
That time isn't now - nor is it near.