Jim Winkler is in a quandry. The general secretary of the United Methodist General Board of Church and Society is a pacifist, so he thinks nuclear weapons are bad, BAD, BAD, and that no one including the Iranians should have them. On the other hand, the evil Americans and their puppet Israel (or it is the other way around?), have them, so nothing should be done to stop the Iranians from getting them. Whatever should a peace-and-justice bureaucrat advocate? In the latest GBCS newsletter, he does both:

The drums are pounding once again for war with Iran. This seems almost incomprehensible to me when you consider that the United States has just been defeated in wars with Iraq and Afghanistan, futilely expended trillions of dollars, killed hundreds of thousands of innocent people, and lost thousands of soldiers. Besides these indicators of fruitless endeavors, are proponents of war with Iran not aware it is much larger in both geography and population than either Iraq and Afghanistan and is far more developed in terms of infrastructure?

Really, Jim? Wow, that’s fascinating. I’m going to have to give the Defense Department my copy of the World Almanac so that they can study up.

Who remains to fight this war? The exhausted soldiers who have been sent on three and four tours of duty already? Are there millions more young men and women eager and ready to fight in the hot deserts of Iran? I doubt it.

It is lunacy to think that a successful war with Iran can be accomplished by aerial bombing to destroy its nuclear facilities or by assassinating Iranian nuclear scientists. Those who desire war know full well it will involve vast numbers of soldiers and private military contractors, today’s mercenaries.

Jim may be the one who needs the Almanac. He seems to have confused Iraq with Iran.

He also seems to have adopted a favorite technique of the political left, which is to make stuff up and argue against that, rather than against what your opponents actually say. If Winkler has bothered to follow the actual debate at all, he knows that no one–no one, not even the nefarious neo-cons–have suggested putting boots on the ground in Iran. To the extent that there’s a military option at all, it involves using air assets exclusively. Same for Israel (though there’s been talk there of using a limited number of special forces as well, but that’s for Israel to decide). No one is talking about overthrowing the mullahs, but instead taking out the Iranian nuclear weapons development program. Period.

It remains unknown whether Iran actually is developing a nuclear weapon.

Only to those who spend their time with their fingers stuck in their ears shouting “I CAN’T HEAR YOU!” According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Iran already has 74 kilograms of 20% enriched uranium. Thing is, all you need for commercial electricity-producing reactors is 3% enrichment. While 20% is nowhere near ideal for a bomb (that would be 93%), it still makes bomb construction feasible. And the point is that there’s no other use for uranium enriched to that level. But Winkler gets his information strictly from his far left pals who have taken to considering Iran a paragon of virtue because is opposes The Empire and its Israeli puppet (or is it the other way around?).

Nevertheless, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and 43 other U.S. Senators have introduced Senate Resolution 380 demanding that Iran sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The resolution is prominently posted on the Web site of the principal arm of the Israeli lobby, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). Ironically, AIPAC does not insist Israel sign the very same treaty.

It never occurs to Winkler to ask, “if Iran isn’t developing nuclear weapons, why won’t it sign the NPT?” As for Israel, I know it’s impossible for Jimbo to wrap his mind around this, but it’s Israel that has been invaded several times in the last sixty years, Israel that has been threatened by Iran rather than the other way around, and Israel that requires a deterrent that balances out the vast numerical disadvantage that it has vis-a-vis its enemies.

I do not want to see Iran develop a nuclear weapon. I don’t want Israel or the United States to possess nuclear weapons. I don’t want any country on earth to possess nuclear weapons. They are immoral, useless weapons of mass destruction.

You can almost see the But sign go off in his head.

It is not any more moral for the United States or Israel to possess a nuclear weapon than it is for Iran to own one.

Think about the implications of that. Imagine if instead he had written in 1938 (as pacifists in the West did, in fact), “It is not any more moral for Great Britain or France to have a bigger or more powerful military than Germany.” It’s a formula for war, not for avoiding war. To say a thing like this, one would have to believe that the political intentions, not to mention social and political structure and military history of a given country, is irrelevant. It is just as immoral for Switzerland, which has never in its united history ever attacked another nation (but has also not been attacked because it has been militarily prepared) to possess nuclear weapons to defend itself as for North Korea (which has attacked and tried to conquer its southern neighbor within living memory) to possess them for the purpose of intimidating and possibly attacking its neighbors. That’s a view of the ethics of force in a fallen world that is naive at best, delusional at worst. Of course, if you think the U.S. and Israel are no better than Iran…

I personally think Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is half-mad. But, I confess at times to believing U.S. and Israeli leaders are half-mad, too. I can find no paragons of virtue in this situation.

Barack Obama, Benjamin Netanyahu, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Yeah, I can see how you could confuse the three of them.

I suspect even the “Just War” advocates, who always seem to find a convenient justification for war, are having a hard time right now. This would be a war of choice, not a war of last resort.

That’s certainly true–if you’ve been asleep for the last twelve years. Ever since it was first discovered that the Iranians were working on nuclear technology (for “peaceful” and “economic” reasons, in a country sitting on top of one of the world’s largest fossil fuel reserves), the West has tried everything it could think of–diplomacy, sanctions, sweet-talking, threatening–to avoid having to use force to stop them from building The Bomb. Winkler evidently believes that no nation, under any circumstances, has the right to use force before force has been used on it. There’s just one problem with that, and the Iranians are well aware of it: one nuclear weapon with enough power exploded over Israel would destroy the entire nation (not to mention most of the Palestinians, but hey, that’s just collateral damage if we can annihilate the Joooooooos). That’s why the threat to Israel has been spoken of as “existential.” Winkler probably thinks that means Israel is afraid all its copies of Sartre will be torched.
So, here’s what I get out of this: nuclear weapons are bad, and no one should have them. No action, however, beyond what has been shown to be ineffectual should be taken to stop any nation from obtaining them, no matter what it has done or said in the past, or threatened to do in the future, because the United States and Israel have them. Israel, in particular, should take no action to stop the Iranian program until it has been incinerated, because the ethical sensitivities of a mainline Protestant bureaucrat who knows little or nothing about things military would be shattered by Jewish people under threat of annihilation failing to live by an ethical view on the use of force held by only a small portion of Christians.
Glad we got that cleared up, Jimmy. Now, why is it that United Methodists pay you to speak for them again?