"There's an old saying in Tennessee — I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can't get fooled again." – George W. Bush, September 2002
"This notion that the United States is getting ready to attack Iran is simply ridiculous... Having said that, all options are on the table." - George W. Bush, February 2005
The Bush administration continues moving closer to a nuclear attack on Iran, and we ignore the obvious buildup at our peril.
Russian media are sounding alarms. In February, ultra-nationalist leader Vladimir Shirinovsky warned that the US would launch a strike against Tehran at the end of this month. Then last week, the Russian News and Information Agency Novosti (RIA-Novosti) quoted military experts predicting the US will attack Iran on April 6th, Good Friday. According to RIA-Novosti, the imminent assault will target Iranian air and naval defense capabilities, armed forces headquarters as well as key economic assets and administration headquarters. Massive air strikes will be deployed, possibly tactical nuclear weapons as well, and the Bush administration will attempt to exploit the resulting chaos and political unrest by installing a pro-US government.
Sound familiar? It’s Iraq déjà vu all over again, and we know how well that war has gone.
Seymour Hersh has published numerous articles in The New Yorker detailing the Bush administration’s plans to invade Iran. His latest, "The Redirection," discusses US participation in Iran-based clandestine operations, the kidnapping of hundreds of Iranians (including many "humanitarian and aid workers") by US forces and the shocking revelation that an Iran-Contra-type scandal has been run out of Vice President Dick Cheney’s office with some of the illicit funds going to groups "sympathetic to al-Qaeda."
"The Redirection" also reports that the Pentagon has been planning to bomb Iran for a year and that a recently-established group connected to the Joint Chiefs of Staff is formulating a assault strategy to be implemented "upon orders from the President, within twenty-four hours." Hersh notes that current capabilities "allow for an attack order this spring," possibly when four US aircraft-carrier battle groups are scheduled to be in the Persian Gulf simultaneously.
Meanwhile, the Democratic Congress busies itself with non-binding, timid resolutions on Iraq and recently altered a military-funding bill to make it easier for Bush to invade Iran. As Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-NV) explained, language demanding that Bush seek congressional approval before attacking Iran "would take away perhaps the most important negotiating tool that the U.S. has when it comes to Iran."
Such sheer ignorance and blind denial would be laughable if it weren’t marching us into Armageddon.
But with this Administration (and this Congress, apparently) diplomacy be damned.
It’s now widely known that Iran had broached peace talks with the US in 2003 - Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice admitted as much in 2006 when she said, "what the Iranians wanted earlier was to be one-on-one with the United States." Yet the White House rejected Tehran’s overture outright and Rice has since developed selective amnesia, later saying of the Iranian proposal, "I don’t remember seeing any such thing. "
For its part, the UN Security Council recently tightened sanctions aimed at pressuring Iran to cease uranium enrichment, and in response, Iran announced it would cooperate less with the International Atomic Energy Agency.
It’s worth noting that Iran is a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and says that its program falls under the legally permitted right to "peacefully use nuclear technology." In contrast, Israel has neither signed nor ratified the NPT and the US would breach the Treaty by conducting a nuclear attack against Iran.
Besides, the Bush administration's message to its enemies has been very clear: if you possess WMD you're safe, and if you don't, you're fair game. Iraq had no nuclear weapons and was invaded, Iran doesn't as well and risks attack, yet that other "Axis of Evil" country, North Korea, reportedly does have nuclear weapons and is left alone. When considering that India and Pakistan (and presumably Israel) developed secret nuclear weapons programs yet remain on good terms with Washington, the case for war becomes even more tenuous.
What consequences would arise from a US attack on Iran? Retaliation, for one. Tehran promised a "crushing response" to any US or Israeli assault, and while the country - ironically - doesn't possess nuclear weapons to scare off attackers, it does have other options. Iran boasts a standing army estimated at 450,000 personnel, as well as long-range missiles that could hit Israel and possibly even Europe. In addition, much of the world's oil supply is transported through the Strait of Hormuz, a narrow stretch of water which Iran borders to the north. In 1997, Iran's deputy foreign minister warned that the country might close off that shipping route if ever threatened, and it wouldn't be difficult. Just a few missiles or gunboats could bring down vessels and block the Strait, thereby threatening the global oil supply and shooting the price of crude oil to over $100 a barrel, with untold negative consequences for the world economy.
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