War With Iran?

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The United States has a history of interfering with Iran’s
development. In 1953, the United States collaborated with
Britain to overthrow the democratically elected Prime Minister
Mohammed Mossadegh, and put the Shah Mohammed
Reza Pahlavi back into power. His rule quickly became a dictatorship.
After the Iranian seizure of the American Embassy
in Tehran in 1979, the United States froze $12 billion in Iranian
assets, which have still not been released. In 1995 President
Clinton, under pressure from Congress and the pro-
Israel lobby, imposed a total embargo on trade between Iran
and U.S. companies, and the following year Congress passed
the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act that imposed sanctions on Iran’s
trade with non-U.S. companies as well. Although the European
Union denounced it and declared it void, it blocked
some needed investment for Iran.
Today, the United States government claims to be concerned
about Iran’s alleged efforts to make nuclear
weapons. President Bush named Iran a threat to the U.S.
during his “Axis of Evil” speech in January of 2002. The
Bush administration’s official position is that a nucleararmed
Iran is not acceptable.
Western intelligence agencies say that Iran’s nuclear program
has serious technical problems right now and, if it
gets no outside help, is at least a couple years away from
being able to develop actual nuclear warheads. Since the
Israeli Air Force set Iran’s nuclear program back several
years when it destroyed Iraq’s Osirak reactor in 1981, the
Iranian program has moved to underground, more dispersed,
and harder to find sites. This means that the U.S.
would have to use mini nukes to actually reach Iran’s
nuclear development sites, if they were to attack.
When asked about how he plans to deal with Iran, president
Bush has repeatedly stated that all options are on the
table, including those nuclear options. In 2005, the U.S.
revised its Doctrine For Joint Nuclear Operations to include
preemptive use on states with no nuclear weapons. The
administration has denied that the U.S. is currently preparing
for war with Iran, but a look at the facts suggests we are
on the brink of one.
Journalist Seymour Hersh reported in 2005 that the U.S.
Central Command, the main unit of the American Armed
Forces whose jurisdiction is the Middle East, has been
requested to revise the military war plan so that it will allow
for maximum air and ground space in Iran. But the Administration
has been conducting secret reconnaissance missions
inside Iran since the summer of 2004, and has been
flying unmanned armed vehicles into Iran from Iraq since
2003, a couple of which have crashed in Iran. According to
Hersh, these incursions have reportedly found hardly any
new information and the Iranian government has formally
denounced them as illegal. Meanwhile, the U.S. could
launch covert missions into Iran. In 2005, Hersh reports,
president Bush also “signed a series of findings and executive
orders authorizing secret commando groups and other
Special Forces units to conduct covert operations against
suspected terrorist targets in as many as ten nations in the
Middle East and South Asia,” which, Hersh explains, will
allow these operations to be run without the legal restrictions
that are imposed on the CIA.
Recently, ABC News reported that the United States has
been waging a “secret war with Iran.” The U.S. has been advising
and encouraging Pakistani militant group Jundullah, a
force of several hundred that has been leading guerilla raids
into Iran with the goal of destabilizing the country. They have
captured and executed a dozen Iranians already, attacking
military and intelligence officers. The U.S. government says
the U.S. provides no direct funding to the group, because that
would require Congressional oversight, but has maintained
close ties with its leader, former Taliban fighter Abd el Malik
Regi, since 2005. War with Iran could happen without any
public declaration of it from the American government.
As Joseph Cirincione, director of non-proliferation at the
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace has said, “a military
strike would be disastrous for the United States. It would
rally the Iranian public around an otherwise unpopular
regime, inflame anti-American anger around the Muslim
world, and jeopardize the already fragile U.S. position in Iraq.
And it would accelerate, not
delay, the Iranian nuclear
program. Hard-liners in
Tehran would be proven
right in their claim that the
only thing that can deter the
United States is a nuclear
bomb. Iranian leaders could
respond with a crash nuclear
program that could produce
a bomb in a few years.”
It is not hard to see why Bush ‘N’ Friends are having
such a relatively easy time passing conquest off as selfdefense
and liberation. The U.S. media portrayal of Iran is
as a totalitarian theocracy bereft of free speech, equal rights
and opportunity—and most of all, bereft of the ability to
change. Our government wants us to think that Iran does
not deserve the right to determine its own destiny; its goal
is to coax us into believing that the only way that we can be
safe and Iran can have freedom is if we invade, nuke some
“key places”, and smudge some collateral damage statistics.
What one does not hear, of course, is that Iran is not synonymous
with its President Ahmadinejad. In truth, suggesting
the invasion of Iran due to the words and actions of this
fellow is startlingly comparable to espousing an outside
takeover of the U.S. due to our own president’s lunacy.
Iran, like our United States, is a country made up of people,
not policies. The Iranian people have been, and still are,
making great strides in the areas of free speech and equal
rights, areas which Americans have become increasingly
comfortable with losing in recent years. Women are gaining
power and prominence in both social and political arenas,
and the gradual movement towards a better Iran persists
despite the presidency of Ahmadinejad, who is to former
president Khatami as Bush is to, well, Clinton (or Carter, if I
can be so bold). If our government tries to speed up this
gradual movement with an invasion or a nuclear or conventional
attack, it will only incite a rage and hostility towards
America that will unite the dissenters with the oppressors in
an effort to keep the real villains out of their homeland.
The occupation of Iraq has completely failed and we now
have a civil war on our hands. There will be no civil war in
Iran, only fear, then anger, then hate, then suffering and
bloodshed that will take the life of not only innumerable
Iranian lives but also those of the boys and girls of the poor,
working-class family. All of these lives are equally valuable,
but guess which loss will be a greater motivation for Americans
to speak out? Thanks to the dehumanization of people
of Middle Eastern origin in the American media, the beautiful,
rich country of Iran can be turned into a war zone, and,
just like Iraq, no one will care until it’s too late. Iran is growing,
and it will continue to grow. If we stunt its growth with
our bombs, we will turn a hopeful, promising nation into
exactly what Bush wants it to be: a radicalized, volatile, dangerous
state, ready for corporate pillaging.
For the anti-war community out there, it is time we
stopped denying the possibility of war with Iran and realized
it is already beginning. While we sit and complain about the
government’s reluctance to provide a timetable for withdrawal
from Iraq, a deceitful debacle of even more monstrous proportions
is beginning, right before our eyes. The New Yorker’s
Seymour Hersh wrote, almost a year ago:
“He [a White House military
planner] added, ‘People think
Bush has been focussed on Saddam
Hussein since 9/11,’ but,
‘in my view, if you had to name
one nation that was his focus all
the way along, it was Iran.’ ”
Americans can not afford
another war financially or
politically. The Middle East
cannot afford more destruction.
A war with Iran would be more than an expansion of
the War on Terror we are already waging in Iraq; it would
draw in other world powers like Russia and Japan and make
nuclear war a possibility.
Recently, Iran released the 15 British sailors and marines it
had captured and we all sighed a little with relief that no larger
conflict arose, but we must now consider how to oppose a
war with Iran that is not even made public, for that seems to
be the real of path the Bush administration.
We urge those who oppose the current war with Iraq or
those who have misgivings about the use of military force in
general to act against the coming war with Iran. Phone your
representatives and tell them to support HR 770 to prevent an
attack on Iran without Congressional authorization. The
number for the Capitol switchboard is 866-340-9281. Come
out to AWARE’s anti-war protests at One Main in downtown
Champaign from 2-4 the first Saturday of every month. Most
importantly, keep yourself informed. As a former high-level
intelligence official told Seymour Hersh, “It’s not if we’re going
to do anything against Iran. They’re doing it.”

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