Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Majority of Americans would support attacking Iran

A new and alarming poll has 61% of Americans supporting a military strike to stop Iran's nuclear programme.

Nearly two thirds of Americans support negotiations with Iran but a similar number say they won't work. Only 24% of Americans believe military conflict should be avoided even if Iran acquires a nuclear weapon as a result.

I want to know more, however, about how this question was asked. For example, if I was told that a military strike would knock out Iran's nuclear programme, end of story, I would feel very differently than if I was told what would actually happen, which is that a strike would delay Iran by a year or two at most and give it an excuse to withdraw from the IAEA and the NPT and fast-track its nuclear weapons programme in secret. If Americans were told, for example, that the only way to prevent Iran from achieving a nuclear weapon militarily was to launch a massive invasion of a country more powerful and populous than Afghanistan and Iraq combined, I think (hope?) support would be rather low for something like that.

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