The intentions of Iran's rulers could not be clearer. They have repeatedly threatened and incited genocide. Most recently, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called Israel "a cancerous tumor" which will "soon be excised." He added: "The nations of the region will soon finish off the usurper Zionists." The website of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei declared that there is religious "justification to kill all the Jews and annihilate Israel, and Iran must take the helm."
To achieve these goals, Iran's rulers have been developing nuclear weapons. That, too, should no longer be a matter of debate. Nor is the fact that their nuclear weapons program violates international law.
For these reasons, the Israelis would be very much justified in using military force to prevent the revolutionary Islamist regime from acquiring nuclear weapons. That is not the same as saying Israel should strike or even that using force would be the best — or least worst — option. I don't have enough information to know that. No one writing editorials or op-eds on this issue has enough information to know that.
It may be that the Israelis, even at the highest levels, also do not have all the factors necessary to decide how best to defend themselves, and the West, from a regime that has vowed to bring about "a world without America and Zionism."
But if the Israelis know where the centrifuge factories are, and if they are confident they can destroy or seriously degrade them, that course of action deserves serious consideration. Diplomacy has run its course. Sanctions have damaged Iran's economy but do not appear to have weakened the will of the theocratic regime.
Winston Churchill called World War II an unnecessary war because it could have been prevented: The Nazis should never have been allowed to obtain the weapons they would use to overrun Europe. Hitler marveled to one of his generals that no one challenged him while he was weak. They waited until he was at his strongest, thus guaranteeing a much bloodier conflict.
That mistake should not be made again — never again, as we used to say.