Iran, the weapons, and how America gets into wars
So what’s up with these weapons they’re telling us about? Supposedly, they’re turning up in Iraq, and causing Americans casualties.
Before launching the B-1’s, let’s insist there are good answers to important questions. For, at the moment, the answers are much worse than the original news suggested:
1. How big an issue are these Iran-made weapons?
SIGNIFICANT: “Iran is a significant contributor to attacks on coalition forces.” – Sunday, 2-11-07, US briefing. Boston Globe, 2-14- 07
OR, NO MATERIAL EFFECT: “It seems to be a relatively small segment of anti-US activity. Even if this activity were to completely stop, that would not materially affect the threat to US troops.” Kenneth Katzman, Middle East analyst, Congressional Research Service (the research arm of Congress) – Boston Globe, 2-14-07
2. Are smugglers taking them to Iraq, or is this an Iranian government action against American troops?
IT’S OFFICIAL: “US officials in Baghdad who spoke on condition of anonymity alleged that Iranian officials at the ‘highest levels’ of the government in Tehran, including Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, were behind the smuggling of a deadly type of explosive device used against US forces in Iraq.” – Boston Globe, 2-15-07
BUT WE HAVE NO PROOF: US officials from President Bush to a top general in Iraq said yesterday that there was no solid evidence that top officials in Iran had ordered deadly weapons to be sent to Iraq for use against American soldiers… Boston Globe, 2-15-07
EVEN THOUGH WE CAN’T PROVE IT, WE’LL KEEP SAYING IT ANYWAY: President Bush said Wednesday that he was certain that factions within the Iranian government had supplied Shiite militants in Iraq with deadly roadside bombs that had killed American troops. New York Times, 2-15-07 This is the strategy the President and Vice President successfully used to link Iraq with 9/11 in popular opinion.
3. So, is the Bush Administration planning an invasion of Iran?
NO WAY: Mr. Bush has said that he has no intention of invading Iran … New York Times 2-15-07
CONVENIENTLY, HOWEVER: “Bush’s speech … asserted that Iran was ‘providing material support’ for fighters who were killing US troops. By international law, that means you literally have a cause under the UN charter to justify an attack.” Hillary Mann Levitt, who served on the National Security Council dealing with Iran during President Bush’s first term. Boston Globe, 2-14-07
AND WHAT HAPPENS WHEN BOYS PLAY WITH GUNS? Gary Sick, an expert on Iran at Columbia University, said there was a “danger of accidental war.” He said, “If anything goes wrong, if something happens, there’s an unexplained explosion and we kidnap an Iranian, and the Iranians respond to that somehow, this could get out of control.” New York Times, 2-15-07.
4. Accidental war? Isn’t that a little paranoid?
Think, “Remember the Maine!”– the battle-cry of the Spanish-American war, in memory of battleship that sank in Havana. We still don’t know why it blew. 200,000 Filipinos died as a result of U.S. invasion of the Philippines.
Think, “Lusitania” – the British passenger liner sunk by the Germans before World War 1, galvanizing U.S. popular opinion toward participation in the war. We now know it was loaded to the gills with munitions.
Think, “Gulf of Tonkin,” the “aggressive” and “unprovoked” action in international waters by the North Vietnamese against the U.S. Navy destroyers Maddox and Turner Joy, which galvanized American public opinion in favor pursuing the Vietnam conflict. We now know the ships were in Vietnamese waters, that they were on secret intelligence missions, that the CIA had been assaulting coastal Vietnamese installations, and, of the particular attack to which they responded with shellings: “Captain John J. Herrick even admitted that it was nothing more than an ‘overeager sonarman’ who ‘was hearing his ship’s own propeller beat.'” (Wikipedia)
Nevertheless, 50,000 Americans will die (and God only knows how many Vietnamese) before Americans awaken and drag their own government to a halt.
Or, more recently, think, “Weapons of Mass Destruction.”
It’s the way democracy goes to war. Get Americans in harm’s way, make a battle-plan, inflame the public, wait for an excuse, invade. Then say, “But if we pull back before the task is complete, our enemies will be emboldened…” Or, “Let’s not let it be said that these who have sacrificed their lives have done so in vain.” Or, “In time of war, let’s support the troops.” And leave them there to die.
Better put on the brakes, however we can, whatever the intentions.
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