Thursday, July 16, 2015

Obama: Only Alternative to a Nuclear Deal with Iran is War

With virtually every important issue facing the nation, today's Republican Party attacks whatever Obama and the Democrats propose, but have no serious alternatives that (i) have a chance in hell of being enacted, and/or (ii) of actually fixing the problem.   The latest issue to join this list of issues is the newly announce nuclear deal with Iran.  Republicans are falling all over themselves to condemn the agreement and seeking to scuttle the deal.  There alternative? None other than ultimately war with Iran. The majority of the American public wants nothing to do with a new Middle East war, especially since the fool's errands launched by Bush/Cheney have been such losing disasters.  But for the GOP, war is enticing: (a) the Christofascists relish the thought of killing more Muslims, and (b) GOP defense contractor donors will make another financial killing even as thousands of young Americans will likely forfeit their lives.  A piece in the Washington Post looks at Obama's calling out of the GOP on this reality.  Here are highlights:
President Obama’s defense of the complex and painstakingly negotiated nuclear deal that his administration reached with Iran boiled down to a simple, if controversial, contention: The only real alternative to the deal was war.

Obama returned to that conclusion repeatedly Wednesday at a news conference that stretched for more than one hour.

“Without a deal,” he said in his opening statement, “we risk even more war in the Middle East.”

A few minutes later, in response to a reporter’s question, Obama dismissed concerns that the House and Senate might vote down the deal, forcing him to use his presidential veto. Wouldn’t a rejection of the deal by lawmakers make him question its wisdom?

“Either the issue of Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon is resolved diplomatically through a negotiation or it’s resolved through force, through war,” Obama countered. “Those are — those are the options.”

“If the alternative is that we should bring Iran to heel through military force, then those critics should say so. And that will be an honest debate.”

The president’s news conference in the White House’s East Room came a day after his negotiators concluded contentious marathon talks with Iran. The deal they reached to limit Iran’s nuclear enrichment program — more than six years in the making — was swiftly condemned by virtually every major Republican presidential candidate.

Obama’s defense of the deal wasn’t designed to win over dug-in critics, whom he dismissed as illogical and unrealistic. His audience was an American public worried about the threat posed by a nuclear-armed Iran but also exhausted by more than 14 years of war in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Obama has speculated in recent weeks that the nuclear deal could empower moderates in Iran who are eager for better relations with the rest of the world. “What I’d say to them is this offers a historic opportunity,” he told the New York Times in an interview Tuesday.

Obama hit on almost all the major criticisms of the deal during the news conference.

Republicans have criticized the deal for allowing Iran as many as 24 days before it grants inspectors access to military sites that could house covert programs. The delay could give Iran enough time to conceal illegal activity, critics said. Obama dismissed the charges as unrealistic and not grounded in science.

“This is not something you hide in a closet,” Obama said of the centrifuges and other sensitive equipment needed to make weapons-grade uranium. “This is not something you put on a dolly and kind of wheel off somewhere.”

Even if the Iranians had moved nuclear material from the site, Obama said, inspectors would find it. “Your high school physics will remind us that leaves a trace,” he said. “And so we’ll know, in fact, there was a violation of the agreement.”

He countered that the inspections would still be in place 20 years from now. So, too, would Iran’s Non-Proliferation Treaty commitments. Iran would be about one year away from developing enough fuel for a nuclear bomb — a longer time frame than its current two to three months.

Yet another worry is that the lifting of tough economic sanctions on Iran would provide it with as much as $150 billion in revenue. Some of that money would be spent on infrastructure and the Iranian people. Some of it, critics say, would go to the likes of Hezbollah, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Iraqi militias that not long ago were killing Americans.

Here Obama suggested that the deal was better than any alternative. If negotiations broke down, Obama said, the United States would maintain tough sanctions but many of its partners, eager to do business with Iran, would drop them.

There is more, so read the entire piece.   I nearly lost a son-in-law in Afghanistan.  He was badly wounded but survived.  Thousands did not.  I am against throwing away more lives and billions of dollars.   Let the GOP war mongers all enlist in the military or have their children do so.  I suspect their war fever would quickly abate.

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