by David Isenberg
Dear Senators Kaine, Warner, and Congressmen Beyer,
First, thank you in advance for taking the time to read this. Of course, that assumes you are actually reading this, and it hasn’t been sent to one of your aides for the standard, impersonal, “thank you for writing” response.
Second, I write in regard to the proposed nuclear agreement between Iran and the P5+1 nuclear agreement (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), 14 July 2015).
Third, there are a few things you should know about me. Specifically, I am an honorably discharged, Navy, Vietnam era veteran. So I think a bit more about ensuring U.S. national security and the costs of wars than the average person.
I am also Jewish. So issues such as the security of Israel and U.S. responsibilities for, and obligations to, are also something I think about.
Fourth, I know a bit more about Iran than the average person, if only because I was there, on a port call before the Islamic Revolution that brought Ayatollah Khomeini to power. I have sailed in the Persian Gulf and transited the Straits of Hormuz.
I remember the casualties Iran took during its subsequent war with Iraq and how chemical weapons were used against it; something the United States mostly ignored at the time. I think about what the United States would subsequently have done if it had been in an analogous situation
Fifth, I know more than the average person about the Iran nuclear program. As an analyst who has worked on international security issues for decades I have frequently worked on nuclear proliferation issues and have read extensively over the years as Iran’s nuclear program has progressed. At this point there are very few, if any, arguments about a nuclear deal with Iran that I am not familiar with.
I mention all the above to let you know that I am not some average person on the street. I believe the dangers of nuclear proliferation are real and that nations should make special efforts to prevent other countries from joining the “nuclear club.”
That said, I believe the JCPOA is the best way to do it. All the arguments I have read against it since the agreement was announced earlier this month are either simply wrong or outright falsehoods. You might consider that most of the people making such arguments are the same people who urged the U.S. to invade Iraq in 2003, which should give you pause.
Those against it are not interested in preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. They are against it because they want to see the current government of Iran overthrown or they do not want to give the Obama administration credit for a significant diplomatic achievement.
I rarely write my legislators. In fact, I can’t recall the last time I did so, although I am sure it has been decades, so this should give you some idea of how important this issue is to me.
To me it is quite simple. Those who oppose this agreement are simply saying that they want war. Specifically, they want the U.S. to engage yet in another unnecessary war of choice. That, of course, would be a disaster; both for the USA and the world. In short, this agreement is good for the U.S. I also believe it is also good for Israel and there are Israeli Jewish political and military leaders who would tell you the same, despite what Prime Minister Netanyahu says.
I do not know where you stand on this issue. I understand you must, as a part of your deliberation process, consider all sides. I am not against that. But when the time comes to make a decision I believe the only rational, sane thing for you to do is to support it. As this article, by another veteran puts it. “The bottom line is pretty simple: Iran gets to continue a peaceful, civilian nuclear policy while the world gets an end to its weapons grade nuclear program.” (Shawn VanDiver, “A Veteran’s Reaction To The Iran Deal,” Task & Purpose, July 27).
Perhaps you think what does it matter what I believe. I don’t make political contributions. That is true. So I’ll simply say this with the utmost respect. If you vote against this, and I will be watching what you do when it comes time for a vote, you can be sure I would vote against you if you choose to run for reelection.