The Bush administration, in rhetoric that is eerily similar to that used to build the case for a war against Iraq, asserts that the Iranian Quds Force is arming anti-U.S. groups in Iraq and providing them with high-tech roadside bombs and sophisticated rockets.
It dismisses the National Intelligence Estimate conclusion that Iran suspended its nuclear weapons program.
The White House has not provided evidence to back up its claims. I suspect it never will. And when Israel's Deputy Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz tells the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth an attack on Iran is "unavoidable" if Tehran does not halt its alleged nuclear weapons program, what he is really telling us is we should prepare for war.
An attack on Iran by either the U.S. or Israel and the ensuing regional war will propel us into the Armageddon-type scenario in the Middle East relished by the lunatic fringes of the radical Christian right. And so, we barrel mindlessly toward a Dr. Strangelove self-immolation. No one will be able to say we did not go out with a spectacular show of firepower, gore and death. Our European and Middle Eastern allies, who are numb with consternation over our death spiral, are frantically trying to reach out to Tehran diplomatically.
The instant we attack Iran, oil prices will double, perhaps triple. This price increase will devastate the U.S. economy. The ensuing retaliatory strikes by Iran on Israel, as well as on U.S. military installations in Iraq, will leave hundreds, maybe thousands, dead. The Shiites in the region, from Saudi Arabia to Pakistan, will see an attack on Iran as a war against Shiism. They will turn with rage and violence on us and our allies. Hezbollah will renew attacks on northern Israel, while Hamas increases its attacks in southern Israel. And the localized war in Iraq will become a long, messy and protracted regional war that, by the time it is done, will most likely end the American empire and leave in its wake mounds of corpses and smoldering ruins.
The Israeli leadership, like the Bush White House, is increasingly bellicose and threatening. The Israeli prime minister, after a recent 90-minute meeting with Bush in the White House, said the two leaders were of one mind. "We reached agreement on the need to take care of the Iranian threat," Ehud Olmert said. "I left with a lot less questions marks (than) I had entered with regarding the means, the timetable restrictions and American resoluteness to deal with the problem. George Bush understands the severity of the Iranian threat and the need to vanquish it and intends to act on the matter before the end of his term in the White House."
This time around, unlike the war with Iraq, the Washington bureaucracy, loathed by the Bush White House, did not remain silent and complicit. The NIE on Iran's nuclear program released Dec. 3 distinguished Iran's enrichment of uranium at Natanz and Arak from its formal nuclear weapons program, which it said had halted in 2003 after the U.S. invasion of Iraq.
Adm. Fallon, who put his country and his integrity before his career, spoke out against a war with Iran, tried to stop it, and lost his job as the head of Central Command. He has been replaced with Gen. David Petraeus, whose devotion to his career admits no such moral impediments.
The American people must act to stop this madness. We must raise our voices in protest. We must demand that Congress exercise its constitutional authority and block a war on Iran. We cannot allow the Bush neocons to act out their final bloody fantasy and destroy all hopes for peace in the Middle East.
Joe Parko is a retired college professor. He lives in Crossville, where he serves on the steering committee of Cumberland Countians for Peace and Justice.
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