Early last month Israel bombed a site that Israeli and American intelligence analysts judged was a partly constructed nuclear reactor. The Syrian government says Israel bombed an abandoned military facility.
What the bombing raises again is this question: when is a pre-emptive military strike against a sovereign nation justified?
Apparently even the hawks in the Bush administration debated whether the Israeli strike should go ahead. Secretary of State, Condoleeza Rice and Defense Secretary, Robert Gates were particularly concerned about the ramifications of a pre-emptive strike in the absence of an urgent threat. (Shades of the attack on Iraq).
American foreign officials said it would have been years before the Syrians could have used the reactor to produce the spent nuclear fuel that could, through a series of additional steps, be reprocessed into bomb-grade plutonium. In point of fact, Syria would have had the legal right to complete construction of the reactor, as long as its purpose was to generate electricity.
But the Israeli’s clearly agree with the Bush doctrine that any country that even thinks about developing nuclear weapons can find itself the target of a pre-emptive military strike.
Does a pre-emptive military strike on Syria strengthen Israel’s security or does it further de-stabilize the region?
Would it not be better for both the U.S. and Israel to engage Syria diplomatically?
Does it strike you as ironic that those countries that have a plethora of nuclear bombs (the United States and Israel) have appointed themselves arbiters of those countries who can’t have them?
Update: (Oct. 29)
UN nuclear chief, Mohamed ElBaradei, has accused Israel of “taking the law into their own hands” by bombing Syria”: “To bomb first and then ask questions later, I think it undermines the system and it doesn’t lead to any solution …”