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Even though President Bush has already over-extended our military in his no-win war in Iraq, he now seems determined to start a war with Iran.
"They're using the same dance steps--demonize the bad guys, the pretext of diplomacy, keep out of negotiations, use proxies. It is Iraq redux." --Former C.I.A. counterterrorism specialist Philip Giraldi, Vanity Fair, March 2007
In the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, President Bush repeatedly claimed that he was doing everything possible to avoid war. Do you believe that?
According to the New York Times (11/6/03), in the weeks before the invasion of Iraq, Saddam Hussein's chief of intelligence Tahir Jalil Habbush and Iraq's Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz desperately sought to meet with American officials in an effort to prevent war.
"[I]f this is about oil, we will talk about U.S. oil concessions. If it is about the peace process, then we can talk. If this is about weapons of mass destruction, let the Americans send over their people. There are no weapons of mass destruction. ...Americans could send 2,000 F.B.I. agents to look wherever they wanted." --Hassan al-Obeidi, Chief of Foreign Operations of the Iraqi Intelligence Service
The Bush Administration refused to meet with the Iraqis. The message to the Iraqis was, "Tell them that we will see them in Baghdad."
Does that sound like someone doing everything they could to avoid war?
Well, we met them in Baghdad. We've been there for almost four years, sacrificed 3,135 American lives (and counting), and there is no end in sight.
Now the Bush Administration is doing exactly the same thing with Iran--pretending to seek peace, while avoiding it at all costs. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice claims that she is prepared to talk to "anybody, anywhere, anytime" , but only if she believes that progress is possible; and since the Bush Administration refuses to admit that progress is ever possible--why bother to talk to anyone.
"Is there anything about Iranian behavior that suggests that they are prepared to contribute to stability in Iraq? And I have to say that at this point I don't see it." --Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, quoted in the Washington Post, 11/16/06
Consider these facts, and then decide if we should talk to Iran or start another war:
Within weeks [of the attacks of 9/11/01], Iran, Syria, Libya, and Sudan all approached the United States through various channels to offer their help in the fight against al-Qaeda. ...Iran offered search-and-rescue help, humanitarian assistance, and even advice on which targets to bomb in Afghanistan, according to one former administration official." --The American Prospect, 6/6/06 (Iran was already fighting the Taliban when the Bush Administration was bribing them with millions of dollars to allow a pipeline across Afghanistan.)
In December 2001, a conference was held in Bonn, Germany to establish a post-Taliban government in Afghanistan.
"The Bonn Conference would not have been successful without [Iran's] cooperation. They had real contacts with the players on the ground in Afghanistan, and they proposed to use that influence in continuing coordination with the United States." --U.S. Special Envoy James Dobbins
President Bush repaid Iran for its help by naming it as a part of the "axis of evil" in his 2002 State of the Union Address. In spite of this, Iran agreed to assist American pilots downed in Iran and to refrain from sending forces into Iraq (This was at a time when the Decider was still pretending to be undecided on going to war in Iraq.). All Iran asked in return was a pledge that the United States would not attack Iran after it invaded Iraq. The Bush Administration refused to make that pledge.
In the spring of 2003, the Swiss Ambassador in Tehran relayed a message from the Iranian Foreign Ministry to the U.S. State Department, proposing negotiations between Iran and the US to resolve their differences. Iran offered to submit to tighter controls by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), in exchange for access to peaceful nuclear technology. They offered the IAEA ready access to any facility, and offered "full transparency" to prove that they were not developing and did not possess weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Iran also offered to moderate its policy toward Israel and end its support of Palestinian opposition groups (Hamas, Jihad, etc.) Instead, Iran offered to apply pressure on these groups to stop their violence against civilians.
The Bush Administration responded by instructing the State Department to ignore the proposal, and a message was sent to the Swiss Ambassador, chastising him for relaying the message from the Iranian government.
...in October 2003, the Europeans got Iran to agree to suspend enrichment in order to pursue talks that might lead to an economic, nuclear and strategic deal. But the Bush administration refused to join the European initiative, ensuring that the talks failed." -- The New York Times, 1/24/06
In May 2006, Iranian President Ahmadinejad sent a letter to President Bush, expressing Iran's concerns and attempting to open a dialogue aimed at resolving the problems between the two countries. President Bush dismissed the letter because it "didn't offer enough compromises" and refused to reply--thus confirming that America was not interested in Iranian concerns--or in avoiding war.
...and that is the bottom line. The Bush Administration is not interested in peace with Iran--any more than they wanted peace with Iraq. The neoconservative masterminds in the Bush Administration have marked Iran for regime change, and the plan is moving forward.
"In recent weeks the threat of war in Iran has qualitatively escalated. Provocative U.S. attacks on Iranian diplomatic offices, arrests of Iranian officials inside Iraq, and the installation of a second U.S. aircraft carrier group in the Persian Gulf seem all but openly designed to goad Tehran to respond. Repeated Bush administration threats about "dealing with" alleged Iranian involvement in attacks on U.S. soldiers resonate back to equally unproven claims about Iraq's WMDs. Both have been calculated to ratchet up public and media support for a U.S. attack-on Iraq then, and on Iran now-and to undercut any potential congressional move to stop a new attack." -- Phyllis Bennis, Institute for Policy Studies, TomPaine.com, 2/7/07
Members of Congress do not seem to appreciate the urgency of this situation. If they did, they would not waste time playing partisan politics, passing nonbinding resolutions, and debating about what they should debate. The Bush Administration is deliberately starting a war with Iran, and Congress needs to stop it NOW! Once bombs start falling, it will be too late.
Congress must repeal the "authorization to use force" given to President Bush after the attacks of 9/11/01. Mr. Bush has used that authorization to justify everything from torture to illegal spying; and now he is using it to start a war with Iran.
Call your Senators and Representative today, and demand that they revoke President Bush's authority to use force--anywhere, anytime. Mr. Bush has proven that he cannot be trusted with this kind of power, and it is up to Congress to stop him from starting another war.
Mick Youther is an American citizen, an independent voter, a veteran, a parent, a Christian, a scientist, a writer, and all-around nice guy who has been aroused from a comfortable apathy by the high crimes and misdemeanors of the Bush Administration.