Indiana Daily Student

LETTER: Reflecting on the Iran deal as a young veteran

In the summer of 2015, following my first year of law school at IU-Bloomington, I was fortunate enough to be selected for an internship in Israel with Shurat HaDin, Israel Law Center.

As a Marine Corps veteran, my unit confronted terrorists in Afghanistan, and when I returned home I learned about groups that fight terrorism in different ways.

Shurat HaDin is an Israeli nongovernmental organization with the stated mission of bankrupting terror — one lawsuit at a time.

The organization recently won a milestone judgment in U.S. Federal Court for more than $600 million for victims of terror during the Second Intifada in Israel.

Having spent the summer in Israel, I gained a very personal perspective on why our ally opposes President Obama’s proposed nuclear deal with Iran.

No one I have met said they believed the president is wrong for wishing to avoid war.

All of the Israelis I have encountered are desperately hoping to avoid war as well.

The conflict is, after all, in their backyard.

However, most said they believed relieving pressure before our opposition makes meaningful concessions only ensures Iran will become a stronger, economically more stable and nuclear-armed foe in the future.

The goal of the sanctions against Iran was never to starve the Iranian people, but rather to starve the Iranian regime of its appetite for aggression.

The ultimate expression of that aggression is their desire to develop a nuclear weapon — but even more fundamental is their continued refusal to recognize Israel’s right to exist.

It remains the stated goal of Iranian leaders to wipe Israel off the map.

We can get rhetorically lost in the weeds of the nuclear question, but until, at the very minimum, Iran renounces its vow to destroy Israel, and “Death to America” ceases to be an obligatory chant for Iranian politicians and clerics, we should not delude ourselves into believing any agreement will
be honored.

How can we ask Israel to trust the intentions of a nation that refuses to recognize Israel’s existence, arms its closest enemies and unabashedly calls for its destruction?

If I had not lived in the Middle East and seen the landscape with my own eyes, perhaps I too would be naïve to the plight of Israel and to the destructive and unrelenting nature of its enemies.

Israel is a strong nation, but too many American leaders fail from afar to grasp the existential threat Israel faces every day.

I urge my generational contemporaries to become active and let their representatives know this deal is not in the best interest of the U.S. or Israel.

Far from avoiding conflict, the current nuclear proposal ensures future generations will be forced to engage a stronger, financially secure and potentially nuclear aggressor.

War can be averted, but not if our resolve weakens and we lift sanctions before Iran’s leaders are truly motivated to abandon their path of aggression.

Jamal Allen Sowell
Bloomington, Indiana

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