'Intelligent discontent is the mainspring of civilization.' -- Eugene V. Debs

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Stop the War on Iran Before It Starts 

There is an online petition effort to mobilize opposition to an impending war with Iran: StopWarOnIran.org, and you can additionally send an e-mail to specified recipients, such as the President, the Vice President, members of Congress and others, if you are so inclined. A proposed one is thoughtfully provided, and it can be edited to personalize one's perspective, as I did:

It is with grave concern that I observe the growing threat of a new U.S. war--this time against the people of Iran.

The media is filled with reports of an alleged nuclear threat posed by Iran and the assumed need for the U.S. to take military action. Credulous journalists, as they did before the war in Iraq, rely upon purported intelligence sources, while an array of politicians and analysts create a climate of crisis. Meanwhile, dissenting voices are concealed from public view.

And, again, there is the effort to manipulate international institutions to legitimize war. The International Atomic Energy Agency succumbs, and describes an Iranian project as one that presents the possibility of developing uranium enrichment for weapons development, based upon, naturally, unspecified US intelligence.

Despite the fact that Iran has submitted to inspections beyond what is required by Nuclear Weapons Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), it faces the prospect of a referral to the UN Security Council for sanctions. None of the inspections have found any evidence that Iran is developing a nuclear weapons program.

Has the catastrophe of the UN sanctions regime in Iraq, a catastrophe in which poverty, disease and infant mortality spiralled out of control, been forgotten? Are we now to exponentially replicate this hellish experience in Iran? And, if sanctions fail to compel Iran to comply with the demands of the U.S. and the UN, the next step is inevitable, a war even more violent and destructive than the ongoing one on Iraq.

Only one government has used nuclear weapons against civilian populations, the U. S. Predictably, the U. S. also continues to have the largest stockpile of weapons of mass destruction on the planet. Alarmingly, it has developed a new generation of tactical nuclear weapons, weapons that can be launched by military commanders without the approval of the President merely to deter potential threats.

Could it be that there are some in the U. S. military and foreign policy establishment that want to provoke a war with Iran to legitimize their use? It certainly sounds implausible until one observes intensified political opposition to the U. S. around the world, even as the U. S. military is bogged down in Iraq. In the absence of troops, tactical nuclear weapons may be the only alternative remaining for a country insistent upon maintaining global hegemony.

It also seems to have been forgotten that Iran has suffered greatly at the hands of the U.S. The U.S. overthrew the democratically elected government of Dr. M. Mossadegh and returned the Shah to the Peacock Throne - 'the proudest achievement of the CIA'. As a result, Iran lost not only lost a progressive government, but the ability to utilize its oil resources for its own development as well, as the Shah autocratically ruled Iran for the benefit of U.S. oil corporations.

It is essential that all voices opposed to the devastation of a new war in the Middle East speak out now. I urge an immediate end to Washington's campaign of sanctions and threatened military action against the people of Iran. We need funds for human needs, not endless war for empire.

Please consider adding your name to this effort as well, and informing others about it.

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