Why Sabotage Iran?

Andrew Sullivan —  Dec 6 2011 @ 11:46am

Larison asks why I'm ok with sabotaging Iran's nuclear program but not with assassinating Iran's nuclear scientists:

If the U.S. reserves the right to sabotage another state’s nuclear program because of an irrational fear of it, it is hard to see why it would distinguish between destroying facilities and equipment and killing personnel. If Andrew believes sabotage is the “best way forward,” that will include targeting the people involved in advancing the program with their knowledge and expertise. Since that part of it seems like dangerous overreaching to him, doesn’t that imply the same thing for the entire effort to sabotage Iran’s nuclear program?

Well, I have this bizare concern with human life as somehow more valuable than technology. But I take Daniel's point. I worry that the precedents we are setting in sabotaging Iran's nuclear program will come back to haunt us. I don't want sudden assassinations of America's nuclear scientists, or mysterious explosions at military research facilities. I also worry that it could lead to a spiral of confrontation which could spark conflict. But given the alternative – a full-scale Israeli war with Iran – I can live with it.