Good citizens: I-ran away from a third overseas war

by Beacon Staff • October 3, 2007

Diplomacy may soon be forsaken as a means of dealing with the Iranian impasse.,Can you hear the war drums sounding? If not, wait a few months-perhaps just a few weeks. The grim beat grows louder and stronger in Washington and Tehran; in Jerusalem and Paris.

Diplomacy may soon be forsaken as a means of dealing with the Iranian impasse.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad continues to ignore the West's criticisms and defy its demands. His government appears determined to harness the full, malicious potential of the atom.

It is the duty of every good citizen, then, to resist a war with Iran absolutely, through political, electoral and activist means.

With more than a year left in office, President Bush and his neoconservative counselors are hot to do battle with Iran. The White House, acting as judge and jury, has condemned the country as a terrorist state. Now that the administration's half-hearted diplomatic overtures have started collapsing, it can justify the path to war.

As tensions mount and events edge toward the point of no return, raising awareness of the unfolding danger is a primary civic duty. Energy wasted on protesting the deadlock in Iraq would be better spent stopping the Iranian conflict before it begins.

More and more, war with Iran is a matter of "when," not "if." This is a scary prospect. Have no doubts about it-a war cannot be won against Iran with a volunteer army.

It would require an enormous military machine composed of drafted soldiers or private contractors, i.e. mercenaries.

There is also no guarantee that hostilities would stay confined to Iran, given that the Middle East is a veritable powder keg. A total regional war could erupt, with myriad fronts-some conventional and others not.

Possibly-even probably-the conflict could come to our own cities and suburbs. Bombs falling over Tehran could easily be met with terrorist actions in New York, Los Angeles or, yes, Boston.

Despite this, the push for a preemptive offensive is somehow gaining strength.

This summer, Norman Podhoretz penned a telling article in Commentary Magazine titled "The Case for Bombing Iran." It was devoured by belligerent parties in the White House, for whom conservative publications like Commentary and The Weekly Standard are must-reads.

Of course, more than mere propaganda is at work; the military is crouching into striking position. In August and September there were reports about operations planning by the U.S. military, including a list by the Pentagon which names 2,000 targets to be struck during an air blitz against Iran.

In a Sept. 17 article in The Telegraph, an anonymous high ranking intelligence source said "many if not most" CIA officials, as well as the "top brass" within the Pentagon, believe war is inevitable. It suggests the rightfully hesitant Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice has begun to cave into Dick Cheney's war mentality.

Meanwhile, in Paris, newly-elected President Nicolas Sarkozy's right-wing government has inflamed the situation with pugnacious words atypical of the French.

"We must prepare for the worst. And the worst, sir, is war," said Bernard Kouchner, French minister of foreign affairs.

Additionally, during General David Petraeus's recent testimony before Congress, he made mention of an Iranian "proxy war" happening in Iraq. This neoconservative notion is certain to be trotted out as justification for war when the time comes.

The obvious end of these converging streams is this: the United States will engage Iran in the not-too-distant future. President Bush's influence may be waning at home, but he remains commander-in-chief of American forces.

He is enamored with the idea of a "war presidency," and his commitment to checking Tehran's nuclear ambitions wears no disguise.

The Islamic Republic also seems hungry for a scrap. Ahmadinejad has boasted of his country's strength and resolve, essentially asking the West to "bring it on."

The Iranian government announced last month that 600 Shihab-3 intermediate-range missiles are now aimed at strategic targets throughout Israel. To make matters worse, Tehran is supremely aware of its ability to deal real damage to American lives and interests in the Middle East. Recently, a top Iranian general declared: "[U.S. forces] are encircled...and within our range."

Whether these Iranian provocations are saber-rattling or not is ultimately irrelevant. They reveal that Tehran is considering an American attack a possibility that seems more probable with each passing day.

Given ongoing difficulties in Iraq and Afghanistan, the military's degenerated state and incompetent political leadership, there seems only one logical stance-resist.