Foreign policy expert Barry Blechman [letters, Oct. 1] asked whether the “United States has lost its moral compass, as well as its respect for international law,” because the country dares to contemplate a preemptive attack on Iran. He concludes that nuclear weapons are utterly useless because even Israel does not believe that its own nuclear capability can deter the Iranian government.

I agree, but not because I think that our goal should be to out-moralize Iran, whatever the consequences. U.S. and Israeli nuclear capabilities are useless in the case of Iran because its government is a paranoid and messianic regime that appears to think that a nuclear Armageddon is not a bad thing.

Had our government done anything to support the cause of political freedom (the Green Movement) in Iran, we might not even be having this discussion. But we are. And unless the Iranian regime renounces its pursuit of nuclear weapons, the United States and its allies should launch a decisive conventional strike on Iranian nuclear facilities. This would be far preferable to, and considerably more humane than, the consequences of an Iranian nuclear attack on Israel, or on U.S. interests, and the retaliation that would follow. What would it say about our “moral compass” to allow such a slaughter of Israeli, American and Iranian civilians?

Jack Lichtenstein, Alexandria