Ted Koppel: Let 'em have the bomb

They think Iraq is Vietnam. I guess it follows that they’d think Iran is the Soviet Union.

If Iran is bound and determined to have nuclear weapons, let it.

The elimination of American opposition on this issue would open the way to genuine normalization between our two nations. It might even convince the Iranians that their country can flourish without nuclear weapons.

But this should also be made clear to Tehran: If a dirty bomb explodes in Milwaukee, or some other nuclear device detonates in Baltimore or Wichita, if Israel or Egypt or Saudi Arabia should fall victim to a nuclear “accident,” Iran should understand that the U.S. government will not search around for the perpetrator. The return address will be predetermined, and it will be somewhere in Iran.

Deterrence, in other words.

If a dirty bomb went off in Milwaukee and Bush answered with a nuke on Tehran, the left would start shrieking instantly about genocide, disproportionality, and the lack of evidence of culpability. Same playbook as their carping about “collective punishment” of Palestinians by Israel, only writ much, much larger. And they’d have a point: a dirty bomb could just as well come from AQ using material obtained from North Korean or Russian agents, with no assistance from Iran. It wouldn’t bother me if we held them responsible anyway. But I bet it’d bother Ted Koppel.

Nightline might even run a special two-hour episode where they read the names of some of the Iranian dead.

One of Iran’s deputy nuclear chiefs made a surprise announcement yesterday offering to let France handle their uranium enrichment — which would, in theory, solve the problem. Assuming, that is, that you trust the French not to weaponize it for them on the sly, and that this isn’t merely another bid to stall for time, with the offer to be withdrawn later at an appropriate moment.

And assuming, of course, that Iran wouldn’t continue to do some covert enrichment of its own back home.

France has already rejected the offer. They want everything done multilaterally. Which, for once, is probably a shrewd move.

Update: Sanctions are coming next week. Maybe.