I was surprised and dismayed to read your editorial (“Israel’s Inalienable Right,” Sept. 25) suggesting not only that Israel should retaliate in the event of an Iraqi attack, but that the United States should fully support retaliation. The authors point to the bombing of the Osirak reactor over 20 years ago to support this argument, but this misses the essential issue at stake: whereas 20 years ago Iraq had no nuclear capability, today we are at least expected to believe that they may. Certainly, Israel now has nuclear weapons. And let us not delude ourselves into thinking that if Israel is attacked, particularly by weapons of mass destruction, that it will retaliate conventionally; the government has made clear in myriad ways that it is not afraid of international rage—weapons of mass destruction would be met by weapons of mass destruction.
Aside from the obvious moral issues posed by the use of such weapons by what the editors characterize as “the only modern, democratic nation in the Middle East,” a nuclear exchange in such a delicate region cannot possibly be a helpful step—neither is a unmet nuclear provocation, but we must remember that there are many eager for a casus belli against Jews half as convincing as that they employed nuclear weapons against Muslims and Arabs.
Of course, we all hope that Iraq will not attack Israel, but in the event they do, Israel must take the moral high ground- for their own sake and the sake of the world. By encouraging the madness that retaliation is not only justified but desirable, Crimson editors are (perhaps inadvertently) aligning themselves ideologically with the most radical and bellicose hawks on both sides in the Middle East.
James W. Honan-Hallock ’06
Sept. 26, 2002