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An opportunity for freedom

Israel vs. Hezbollah, Round 2” by Arnaud de Borchgrave (Commentary, yesterday) is a no-nonsense, brief and correct analysis of the multilevel Iranian challenges to the United States and its strategic interests in the Middle East.

Iran is constructing duplicate and more robust nuclear processing plants and other related assets in hollowed-out mountains, as per recent intelligence.

The time is fast approaching when Iran’s efforts would make its nuclear-related facilities virtually impregnable, without strategic nukes that would cause huge collateral damage.

There is a price to be paid, but it is wiser to bear a smaller cost associated with pre-emptive actions by the U.S. and/or Israel now to remove the Iranian threats to U.S. strategic Middle East interests and the very existence of the state of Israel.

An effective demonstration of U.S. power would also have a salutary effect on other Islamic terrorist organizations and rogue countries like Pakistan, making fighting a war in Afghanistan a less difficult job for the U.S.-led NATO forces.

Pakistan uses a revolving-door policy in Afghanistan and replaces any terrorist losses with militants from Pakistan’s madrassas and terrorist training camps. It has also helped Gen. Pervez Musharraf continue to collect billions of dollars from the U.S. for years.

Then even China might think twice before starting an adventure to regain Taiwan. President Bush has a chance to transform the Iranian challenges into opportunities for the U.S. and to free democratic societies globally.

VIPUL THAKORE

London

Baker-Hamilton is badly flawed

“The appeasement caucus” (Editorial, Monday) makes an excellent, well-argued point that the worst course in the midst of a deadly war is to attack the commander in chief for failure to speak with and beg our enemies to desist from their enmity. Their support of the forces that oppose us in Iraq are attacking Israel and in general are arrayed against the West.

Despite its length, the editorial understandably could not contain all of the reasons why S.1545 — the bill to turn the Baker-Hamilton recommendations into policy — and its sponsoring senators are gravely mistaken.

A few of the added problems with the proposal involve the impact on Israel and upon our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Baker-Hamilton recommendations press for an Israel-Palestinian Arab peace settlement as a means of appealing to the Arab regimes and Iran.

This proposal, ill-founded when first proposed, now is irrelevant since even the Arab League delegates to Jerusalem reportedly stated that the “Saudi plan” is off the table due to the Palestinian Authority-Hamas split. And Gen. Moshe Ya’alon, ex-Israeli Defense Force chief of staff, recently declared that land for peace has failed and should be scrapped.

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