The people who suggest we should preemptively bomb Iran to prevent them from getting a nuclear bomb base this on the belief that due to Iran’s particular Shiite theology they will not be deterred from using it by the normal MAD type considerations and will surely bomb the US, Israel or both. The case for preemptive bombing then depends entirely on how accurate this assessment is. So is it accurate? This Foreign Policy article says no. The whole article is a must read.
… conservative Hot Air blogger Ed Morrissey helpfully explained that deterrence wouldn’t work against Iran, because “The mullahs’ strategic goals are metaphysical; they want their Messiah to arrive and establish a global Islamic rule. According to their view of Islam, that will come at the end of a great conflagration, and there isn’t a much better way to start one of those than by lobbing nukes at Israel, the US, or both.”
It’s tempting to dismiss this as simply the raving of Congress’s leading anti-Muslim hysteric (West), accompanied by the usual noise from the right-wing blogosphere. But similar assertions about Iran’s supposedly suicidal tendencies have been made by other conservative leaders. Indeed, the belief that Iran is some sort of “martyr state,” and therefore uniquely immune to the cost-benefit calculations that underpin a conventional theory of deterrence, seems to have become something of an article of faith for many Iran hawks…
“Given the novelty of the martyr state argument,” Grotto continued, “and how unequivocally its proponents present it, one would expect to encounter an avalanche of credible evidence. Yet that is not the case.” Finding both that “references are scarce in this line of writings, and certain references are cited with striking regularity,” Grotto determined that the “martyr state” view essentially rests upon a few neoconservative op-eds and a report by a right-wing Israeli think tank, whose claims have been bounced endlessly around the internet.
Daniel Larison comments on the article here.