This article by a former NSA/NSC and Reagan-administration official adds further credence to the "October Surprise" theory that the White House may initiate a pre-election attack on Iran. It's interesting because of the source, who is presumably both more reliable and more connected and "in-the-know" than the usual rumor sources on the Web. Let's hope he's wrong or that the action is cancelled.
A pre-emptive strike on Iran could quickly spiral out of control and involve other nations -- for example Russia. Iran has a huge military and would be a much more serious opponent than Iraq. There is no immenent threat from Iran -- there is time to solve the situation through diplomacy. Considering that we are currently losing the war in Iraq and facing severe troop shortages, I don't see how we could fight another ground war against a country as powerful as Iran.
A further complication is that a limited strike on just the disputed nuclear installation would run a high risk of major retaliation by Iran against the US, Israel, our forces in Iraq and other allies. The only way to protect against that risk would be to NOT do a limited strike but rather to do an instant decapitation attack in order to wipe out any potential retaliatory capabilities. It seems unlikely that such an instant decapitation attack could have a high probability of success without the use of nuclear weapons. And this is what worries me. There is certainly a risk if Iran continues to build up its nuclear capabilities. But is this risk worse than the risks of a nuclear conflict in the region?
The USA is still the first and only nation to ever use nuclear weapons in the field of battle. Let's hope we don't use them again. If we do, I think we will certainly have lost all moral-imperative on the world stage. Nuclear weapons should never be used unless there is no alternative, and certainly not pre-emptively. To do so would set a terrible precedent, weakening our case against nuclear proliferation in other nations, and will make the world a more dangerous place.
If Russia and China witness us making a pre-emptive nuclear strike against Iran, why should they not think we might do the same against them? Actions speak louder than words. We have to be very careful and think about future generations, not just in our own country, but in others. While the danger of nuclear weapons being used by terrorists or against Israel is certainly something to combat, if we use those same weapons ourselves (which will inevitably result in mass civilian casualities no matter how careful we are) are we any better than the terrorists?