Letter: Negotiating with Iran better than fighting

From: Isaac Marr Wilkins


As Congress prepares to debate and vote on the nuclear proliferation deal with Iran, many of the loudest voices of opposition to it are from those who were most vocal in urging us into war in Iraq in 2003.

Loudest of all is former Vice President Dick Cheney, who told us in the months running up to our invasion that it was absolutely vital to disarm Saddam Hussein of weapons of mass destruction, which could be used against us at any moment. Cheney assured us that such a war would be over in weeks, cost less than $50 million and lead to us being greeted as liberators.

As we all know now, these weapons of mass destruction did not in fact exist, and over the next eight years the U.S. would spend over a trillion dollars, lose over 4,500 American lives, suffer countless casualties and leave an Iraq torn by sectarian war.

Meanwhile, as Chris Wallace pointed out in an interview on Fox News with Cheney, it was under the Bush-Cheney administration that Iran went from having no nuclear centrifuges in 2001 to over 5,000 at the end of 2008. But Cheney again assures us that the only way to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran is through military action. Why should we trust him now?

Contrast this with the way President Ronald Reagan engaged with the Soviet Union, supporting the bilateral Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty in 1986. This was at a time when the USSR was committed not only to the destruction of the U.S. but to the complete and global eradication of democracy itself.

As Americans, we need to ask ourselves: Do we want another costly, bloody and destabilizing land war in the Middle East? Or do we want the kind of strong diplomacy advocated by President Reagan that reduced nuclear proliferation while strengthening America in the world?