BACKGROUND: For more than a year our government has been quietly moving toward an attack on Iran. Voices in the know have sounded a warning, but this has gone largely unattended to. We're talking about credible people, including award-winning journalist Seymour Hersh, who first exposed the My Lai massacre and also broke the news on torture at Abu Ghraib. Just like they did nearly five years ago, when they attempted to justify launching a war of aggression on Iraq, the U.S government is focusing on the supposed threat of weapons of mass destruction.
The hypocrisy here is rank. Of course, Iran has no nuclear weapons, while the U.S. and several of our major allies, including regional powerhouse Israel, do. Moreover, our nation is the only country to ever use nuclear weapons in war, killing hundreds of thousands of innocent Japanese civilians at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Further, the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) that the U.S. signed and ratified close to forty years ago, commits the U.S. and all nuclear weapons states to eliminate our arsenals, while it provides assurances that non-nuclear weapons states have the right to develop and utilize fuel cycle technology, including uranium enrichment, provided they agree to inspections. So, the U.S., which has absolutely no intention of ever living up to its NPT obligation by eliminating its vast arsenal of n-weapons, is vilifying Iran for doing something it is actually permitted to do under the NPT.
Our government has been alleged by several credible sources, to be funding, arming and training armed groups--Kurds and other ethnic minorities--to destabilize Iran. These sources also maintain that U.S. covert ops forces are already on the ground in Iran. Meanwhile, the Bushies are making allegations regarding Iran's role in Iraq, which, even if they were all true, which is highly dubious, pale in comparison to the scope and scale of the U.S.'s illegal invasion/occupation/virtual economic annexation of Iraq. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black.
It really appears that they are looking for some provocation to justify launching an attack. And the Pentagon has moved at least two naval carrier groups into the Persian Gulf, so they are ready to devastate Iran from the skies, if the order comes.
While many of us hoped that a new Congress would put the brakes on Bush's push for a wider war, this, unfortunately, has not been the case. As the Democratic-majority House debated the war funding resolution, Speaker Nancy Pelosi removed a provision that would have required Bush to come to Congress for approval before attacking Iran. The Dems have, it appears, in addition to fully funding the ongoing Iraq War, have given the administration a blank check to go to war with Iran.
The consequences of this course of action would be disastrous. If the U.S. bombs Iran's nuclear facilities, there will be massive "collateral damage." Moreover, the Iranians are unlikely to let the U.S. bomb their nation without responding. The resulting war could lead to a far greater bloodbath in Iraq, where Iran has influential allies. to the blocking of oil shipments out of the Persian Gulf, and possibly to a regional war that would bring in other powers. The Bushies have miscalculated before, but this is a mistake waiting to happen that would make their attack on Iraq look like a stroke of brilliance.
WE MUST STOP THIS: While many of us are dead-set against an attack on Iran, our government either doesn't seem to recognize this, or doesn't seem to care. And after the massive groundswell of public opposition to an attack on Iraq four years ago failed to stop Bush and Co., many are dispirited and think nothing we do will make an difference anyway, so why bother.
This is exactly what they want us to feel. And we can't afford to let our past frustrations stop us from taking action now. While there is no guarantee that our actions will succeed, if those in power think they can launch another war of aggression and pay no political price, they almost surely will.
** Make your voice heard through writing letters to the editor and calling your Congressional delegation. You can find links to letters columns of Missouri daily papers at www.mosafeenergy.org/papers and find contact info for elected officials at www.mosafeenergy.org/officials
** Join in visible demonstrations. We strongly urge you to come out any Wednesday for any time between 4:15-5:45 p.m. to the Rush Hour Peace Demonstration at B'way & Providence. We also support the weekly peace vigil at the Columbia Post Office each Saturday, 10-11 a.m. and Women in Black each Tuesday, noon-1 p.m. at MU's Speakers' Circle.
** Urge others to join in speaking out. Talk this up at your house of worship, at you workplace or school, with your family and/or neighbors, etc. Urge all to be as outspoken as possible on this matter. This is no time to be shy or to hesitate.
** Become better informed. There are lots of excellent resources on the Iran situation. On the web check out:
United for Peace & Justice Iran resources
Council for a Livable World Iran resources
Hands off Iran
Seymour Hersh's most recent article on Iran
Important Hersh article from April 2006
Also, check out Scott Ritter's new book: "Target Iran: The Truth About the White House's Plans for Regime Change"
SOME ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS ON THE ISSUE:
Nuclear Power: The technology for nuclear power is inexorably linked to nuclear weapons. If the U.S. and its allies continue to promote and proliferate nuclear power for civilian purposes, we will continue to spread the know-how and wherewithal for developing nuclear weapons. The Bush regime has implicitly acknowledged this by refusing to allow Iran to develop enrichment technology for civilian purposes as is allowed under the NPT.
The Non-Proliferation Treaty should be amended so that it no longer encourages the development of civilian n-power. Only by giving up nuclear power ourselves, and stopping the marketing of nuclear technology, can we make any attempt to develop nuclear weapons capacity unambiguous. Moreover, as n-power it more expensive than getting needed energy by investing in efficiency and renewables, we will be better off all around if we eschew this dangerous, dirty and weapons-connected technology.
Ahmadinejad: Iran's president is in many ways a horrible reactionary, and arguably an anti-Semite and holocaust denier. This is unfortunate, but it is no reason to start a war. It is important to understand that under Iran's system the president is more of a figurehead than an actual ruler. Much of the real power is in the hands of the mullahs. Moreover, there are many countries around the world whose rulers are bigots or people with strange and unfortunate ideas. This, again, is not a legitimate ground for making war on a nation and taking the lives of tens of thousands of innocent people.
The time for action to prevent a war with Iran is now. Unlike the 1991 Gulf War or the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, what is contemplated for Iran is not a ground invasion, but an aerial assault. There is not the need, therefore, to build up a large force on the ground. The forces needed for an air attack are already in place. It could come at any time, so please don't put off making your voice heard.