As the UN prepares to issue its report this week about Iran’s nuclear build-up there is a marked increase in anti-Iranian rhetoric and military threats by Western nations.
Attacking a country that has not attacked you is unjust. Did we learn nothing from the fear-mongering about nuclear weapons that led a coalition of nations into attacking Iraq, a country that had not attacked them? This is ‘deja vu all over again.’
Sixty-two percent of all Americans now say the Iraq war was not worth its costs.
Let’s remember that today, before we get drawn into another war in the Middle East, this one with Iran.
The rhetorical build-up has already begun. There are increasingly bellicose statements from Israel about Iran’s developing nuclear capability, and from Republican presidential candidates such as Rick Perry who has said the U.S . should support Israel’s attacking Iran “every way we can” up to and “including military action.”
This mirrors the kind of escalation in rhetoric that led us into engaging in “pre-emptive war,” the so-called “Bush Doctrine,” and attacking Iraq.
Attacking a country that has not attacked us violates Just War Theory; to attack Iran because theoretically it is closer to gaining nuclear capability is immoral. It is an unjust use of force. If that attack is led by countries that already have nuclear capability, is hypocrisy. It will also harden the attitudes of the other countries in the Middle East against the U.S., Israel and the “West.”
One of the supreme ironies here is that one can argue the real winner of the Iraq war was probably Iran, as Mohammed Brazzi, Adjunct Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, has done. Brazzi observes that despite President Bush’s declaration in 2003 that “’A new regime in Iraq would serve as a dramatic and inspiring example of freedom for other nations in the region,’” what happened instead is that “the Iraq war has unleashed a new wave of sectarian hatred and upset the Persian Gulf’s strategic balance, helping Iran consolidate its role as the dominant regional power.”
The “Arab Spring” has eroded Iran’s regional influence, however, and the renewed drive by Iran to acquire nuclear weapons may be driven by Iran’s desire to regain that influence.
An attack on Iran by Israel, supported by Western allies, might or might not be able to retard Iran’s nuclear development but it would serve to raise Iran’s stature in the Middle East once again. It would unite the Iranians against Israel and the West and turn the Iranian opposition from opposing Iran’s tyrannical leadership to opposing Israel and the West. It would also serve to increase Iran’s power in the region as the one country deemed so dangerous to the West and its allies it is attacked.
Is raising the profile of Iran again really in the interest of long-term security for Israel, for the region, and for the world? I think not.
There is also a disturbing anti-religious tone in some of the language of “concern” about Iran acquiring nuclear weapons as in this statement that there are “deepening concerns that Iran is preparing to cross a threshold that will bring the country’s ruling clerics within easy grasp of nuclear arms.
Are the “ruling clerics” of Iran inherently more unstable as leaders of a nuclear power than those of other ideologies? More inherently unstable than the Communists were during the Cold War, for example? There is plenty of instability in political leadership around the world; we need not single out religious leadership as especially to be feared.
Look. We already know what has to happen here. The approach to Iran’s nuclear build-up needs to be increased diplomatic pressure such as China and Russia (and the U.S.) are already advocating, along with international sanctions, inspections and continued observation. Other Gulf States can quietly be engaged in this effort as they too have reason to fear a nuclear armed Iran.
Let’s remember what a disaster the attack on Iraq has been for the Middle East, for Israel’s security, for the United States in terms of blood shed and huge deficits acquired.
Don’t tell me the ‘window is closing’ for military action against Iran’s developing nuclear capability. There are many options still on the table short of bombing and the consequent possibility of another war in the Middle East.
Let’s not support attacking Iran. It is immoral, it is unjust, and it will be as disastrous as the attack on Iraq.