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With Iran, all U.S. options are difficult

The fast and loose talk being thrown around by the Israelis, the administration and the Romney camp about drawing lines in the sand for Iran to cross should be very worrisome to all Americans. All parties mentioned above share the imperative that Iran should not have a nuclear weapon, but getting there is the problem.

The Israelis and Mitt Romney embrace the line in the sand approach; if the line is crossed, a military attack will be imminent. The consequences of this approach can be very troubling. There is no doubt that if the attack is carried out, Hezbollah (a client of Iran in southern Lebanon) will rain down on Israel a hellfire of rockets not seen before in the region. The Palestinians on the West Bank and Gaza will join in the madness, and whatever strides that have been made toward peace will be long gone. Every American Embassy in the Middle East will be under siege. Oil will shoot to $300 a barrel. Gas in the U.S. may cost $8, maybe $10 a gallon. And this could very well be the best-case scenario.

The route desired by President Barack Obama is for continued diplomacy and sanctions. Not a guarantee by any stretch of the imagination. And if this fails, then we will have no choice but to take military action. But we should all recognize that we have been at war for over 10 years, and our all-volunteer military need some down time. Will there be a need for boots on the ground if Israel is in danger of collapse due to all the above? I'll let the reader answer that one. Consequences, yes, some very severe to all Americans, but are we prepared to accept them? No one said protecting our way of life would be easy, and it looks like one of those moments is almost upon us.

Robert M. McDonough, Columbia

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
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