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Israel Adds Subs to Nuclear Arsenal

October 16, 2003

Re "Israel Ups Ante With Subs," editorial, Oct. 14: The Times' contention that Israel's placement of nuclear forces at sea to avoid destruction is an "aggressive step" is curious considering that the strategy -- by assuring a second-strike capability -- will make Jerusalem less nuclear-trigger happy in an acute international crisis. While The Times sympathizes with Tehran's "irritation" over Washington's blind eye toward Israel's nuclear program, it should be more charitable to Jerusalem, considering that the mullahs have called for the extinction of the Jewish state and supported groups bent on that objective. Under the circumstances, it is not surprising that the Ariel Sharon government would contemplate military action against Iran's plants.

After all, the United States has similar contingency plans governed by President Bush's concerns that a nuclear-armed Iran could destabilize the region while abetting the nuclear ambitions of terrorists. Utterance of military contingencies should be sobering to Tehran and, hopefully, prompt it to abide by the obligations it voluntarily assumed when it entered into the nuclear nonproliferation treaty.

Bennett Ramberg

Los Angeles

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