Get unlimited digital access to baltimoresun.com. $0.99 for 4 weeks.
News Opinion Readers Respond

Obama's calm is needed to balance the hotheads calling for war with Iran

For op-ed writer Robert O. Freedman, it's not a question of if Israel is to launch an attack on Iran, but when ("Is reelection driving Obama's Israel policy?" March 7).

I am tired of the hawks' view that every Middle Eastern episode of tension can be solved by military force. True, Iran has said it would "wipe Israel off the map." But this talk — absurd on the face of it — sounds like the posturing of a street corner punk. Iran surely knows that any attack on Israel would be suicidal because Israel could strike back with overwhelming military force, and perhaps with nuclear weapons.

President Obama is wise to hold firm to his policy, borrowed from Theodore Roosevelt, to "speak softly and carry a big stick." Sanctions clearly have already seriously hurt the Iranian economy. Mr. Obama has tried to tamp down Israeli alarmism, and he should keep pushing to resume the negotiations the Iranians now say they want to reopen.

As a result of President Bush's ill-conceived preemptive attack on Iraq nine years ago — supposedly because Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction he turned out not to have — the U.S. must advocate restraint. Going on the offensive prematurely would produce an ugly chain of consequences throughout the Islamic world, where American good will is worth less and less these days.

Moreover, U.S. or Israeli aggression against Iran would almost certainly obscure the horrors of Syrian President Bashar Assad's brutal repression of his own people. And the price of oil would certainly spike.

Since he came to power in 2009, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has had little regard for the Obama administration's opinions — because the president has not been afraid to speak his mind about Israel's intransigence and a policy which might be dubbed "shoot first, ask questions later." Let us hope that President Obama can remain firmly for a peaceful resolution to an increasingly tense situation.

Bruce R. Knauff, Towson

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
Related Content
  • Why Israel belongs to the Jews
    Why Israel belongs to the Jews

    There can be no question about the centrality of Israel to the Jewish and Christian religions, but the Muslim claim is tenuous to say the least.

  • Cancel the Netanyahu speech
    Cancel the Netanyahu speech

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu intends to go ahead with his speech to Congress on Iran's nuclear program despite the accusation by Deputy Foreign Minister Tzachi Hanegbi that House Speaker John Boehner misrepresented the invitation. The whole thing is so disingenuous given the...

  • Making a claim on Israel
    Making a claim on Israel

    G. Jefferson Price's commentary refers to the Arab concern for Palestine ("An odd start to America's romance with Saudi Arabia," Feb. 13). But others have claims to that area. What the Arabs now consider Palestine, Jews call Israel or the Promised Land and Christians call the Holy Land. It...

  • Netanyahu speech: Neither unprecedented nor unwise
    Netanyahu speech: Neither unprecedented nor unwise

    Op-ed writer Frederic Hill ("Netanyahu invitation unwise," Jan. 28) faults House Speaker John Boehner for inviting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak to Congress two weeks before Israeli elections. "Democratic nations usually do not interfere in another country's vote," Mr. Hill says.

  • Congress has right to hear Netanyahu
    Congress has right to hear Netanyahu

    In his commentary ("Boehner's unwise move," Jan. 28), Frederic B. Hill claims it was unwise for House Speaker John Boehner to invite Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak at a joint session of Congress because it shows deference toward him before an Israeli election.

  • Let Netanyahu speak
    Let Netanyahu speak

    I find it necessary to respond to Frederic B. Hill's odious and erroneous op-ed, "Boehner's unwise move" (Jan. 28).

  • Netanyahu needs to address Congress
    Netanyahu needs to address Congress

    Contrary to Frederic B. Hill's assertions ("Netanyahu invitation unwise," Jan. 27) both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and House Speaker John Boehner have had little option, considering how the nuclear negotiations with Iran have proceeded.

  • Netanyahu visit: Maybe Congress should delegate all its policy work to foreign leaders
    Netanyahu visit: Maybe Congress should delegate all its policy work to foreign leaders

    Has Speaker John Boehner has a brilliant idea in inviting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak to Congress on the subject of Iran ("Netanyahu invitation unwise," Jan. 27). What else can he do when, apparently, no Republicans in the House have what it takes to address the issue?...

Comments
Loading