April 29, 2008

One Final Goodie from Bush & Co.

Ruining our economy wasn’t enough. Nor was waging an immoral, unnecessary war. No, it seems that the Bushies might have one final goodie for the American people. Yes, that’s right, a war with Iran.

Not only does the administration continue saber rattling over Iran, but it’s now known that the Pentagon is planning for “potential military courses of action.”

The stated reasons for this potential attack are that (1) Iran is currently developing nuclear weapons and (2) Iran has for some time been waging a proxy war against the U.S. in Iraq.

So these are the charges. Of course, charges are not always factual, and we should keep a few things in mind.

First, according to the U.S. intelligence agencies, Iran terminated its nuclear weapons program in 2003. Now, of course, Dick Cheney claims that he knows better, that he knows what Iran is really up to with its uranium enrichment program. But this guy doesn’t have a very good track record when it comes to making predictions; moreover, I think it’s safe to say that the 16 U.S. spy agencies know more about the inner workings of Tehran than our Rambo-wannabe vice president.

But why then, some have asked, does Iran insist on enriching uranium? Surely, they must be lying when they say they have peaceful intentions; surely they must want to blow up the world. But that doesn’t at all follow. Just three short decades ago, Henry Kissinger claimed that Iran needed nuclear energy because its economy demanded that it save its oil for other purposes. (We should also keep in mind that, as a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Iran is permitted to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes.)

Let’s move on to the second charge, which is that the Iranian government is arming many of the Iraqi insurgents. Now, for obvious reasons, even if it could be shown that the insurgents have arms that were made in Iran, it wouldn’t follow that the Iranian government was responsible for the attacks. Among others, this point has been made by Gen. Peter Pace, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In February 2007 when the Bush gang began claiming that the Quds Force was sending explosives to Iraqi insurgents, Pace told the Voice of America, “It is clear that Iranians are involved, and it’s clear that materials from Iran are involved, but I would not say by what I know that the Iranian government clearly knows or is complicit.”

This should all sound very familiar. The same people who lied about Saddam Hussein having WMDs and al Qaeda ties (and in case you didn’t hear, there were no WMDS and no al Qaeda ties)—these same people are now trying to hoodwink the country into another war.

I’m certainly not defending Tehran, which is repressive and undemocratic. I personally think the Iranian people were much better off under Mohammad Mossadegh, who was a peace-loving and democratically-elected prime minister in the 1950s, a man who—oh by the way—was driven from power by the CIA and replaced by a brutal monarch. (And what, you’re asking, did Mossadegh do to deserve such treatment? The answer is that he thought Iran’s oil reserves should be owned by Iran, not the British government. A very heretical belief in Western minds.)

Now it’s certainly possible that, despite its claims, Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons. And I certainly don’t think the world would be a better place with a nuclear-armed Iran. But it’s simply absurd to believe that, if Iran got nukes, it would use them against the U.S. and/or Israel. If nothing else, the Iranian government is rational. And therefore it realizes that using nuclear weapons against nations with superior military forces and enormous nuclear stockpiles would result in its own annihilation. So if Iran is seeking nukes—and again, our intelligence agencies tell us that such is not the case—but if it is, then it would only want them as a deterrent.

Now is not the time for another war. Now is the time to talk, something the Iranians have been trying to do for several years. In May 2003, for instance, Iran’s leaders sent a negotiating package to the U.S. through a Swiss diplomat. There wasn’t anything Tehran wasn’t willing to discuss: “everything was on the table—Iran’s nuclear program, policy toward Israel, support of Hamas and Hezbollah, and control over al-Qaeda operatives captured since the U.S. went to war in Afghanistan.” Yet the Bush administration not only refused to talk to the Iranians but even reprimanded the Swiss diplomat for conveying the message.

It seems that all we can do at this point is pray.

Also published at ZealForTruth.

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