We might be on the verge of starting World War III and everyone seems decidedly calm. The administration is thinking of dropping nuclear bombs on a Muslim country that did not attack us. What do you think Muslims throughout the world will do in reaction? Do you think they'll be calm?
If you thought they didn't like Danish cartoons, wait till you get a load of them after we start another unprovoked war in another Muslim country. And this time we use nuclear weapons!
We are going to light this world on fire if we do this. This is not theoretical. The Washington Post is reporting that the plans have already been drawn up and the administration has been advised that it must act within a matter of months.
My God, do we have no conscience? Nuclear weapons?!!! And in a historic act of irony, we are saying we have to do this because Iran might develop nuclear weapons. Yes, God forbid they should develop nuclear weapons and consider using them on other countries - like we are about to do them!
Imagine if the shoe were on the other foot. If Iran dropped nuclear weapons on us (or Israel) in a "preventative war," we would call them barbarians and war criminals - because they would be. Well, what separates us for them?
You know what's the best way to prevent a war? Don't start one!
Another word for preventative war is simply - war. We would be starting a war to theoretically avoid one. That's it. It's official, George Orwell is a genius. When I read 1984, I thought no state -- no matter how authoritarian -- could convince its population that "War is Peace." He was resoundingly right. Apparently, it's not even that difficult.
When you attack a country that didn't attack you (and, by the way, is nearly defenseless - how in the world would Iran stop us, with their awesome Iranian Air Force?) - that is not called a preemptive strike - that is called a war of aggression. And it is a war crime.
If President Bush and/or Vice President Cheney were to give that order, it would not be a legal order - and the United States military should not carry it out. They should tell the president to stand down.
Luckily, it appears that the Joint Chiefs of Staff are on the verge of doing something similar. Seymour Hersh is reporting in The New Yorker that the Joint Chiefs will give a formal recommendation saying they are strongly opposed to the nuclear option in Iran. Luckily, not everyone in the government has lost their mind.
Unfortunately, Hersh is also reporting that the administration is considering this option very seriously. There are at least three top advisers of the president who have signed on to the idea of using nuclear weapons as a tactical part of our arsenal, including Stephen Hadley, our national security adviser. Over the weekend, the administration has been backing off their earlier aggressive public stance on this because of political pressure, but you will not be surprised to find out I don't believe them.
A senior member of the House Appropriations Committee says George Bush has a "messianic vision" in foreign policy. A government consultant with close ties to the Pentagon says that Bush believes no one else has the courage to act on Iran, so he must "save Iran," by, of course, bombing it. The president believes this will be his legacy. At least he's right about that.
Nuclear planners who are warning of radiation fallout, mass casualties and contamination over years, have already been "shouted down" in meetings. That's great, don't listen to the experts. Shouting down people who have actual facts and information - the Bush White House in a nut shell.
It was one thing to be catastrophically wrong about post-war planning in Iraq, it's another to be wrong about the consequences of nuclear war.
My God, how can we look ourselves in the mirror if we allow our government to launch an unprovoked nuclear attack on another country? We cannot incinerate any more innocent people without incinerating the idea of America.
And if you don't care at all for the people who live in Iran and you are perfectly comfortable being an animal that kills people without the slightest bit of concern for others, then at least consider what you will be doing to our boys and girls in the Middle East. Our soldiers in Iraq will be sitting ducks if we launch any type of air strikes against Iran, let alone nuclear ones.
A Pentagon adviser said that if we go into Iran, "the southern half of Iraq will light up like a candle." Even though there are 8,000 British troops in Basra, that Iraqi city could be taken by the Iranians "with ten mullahs and a sound truck."
The minute the first bomb lands in Iran, we will instantly lose the support of all of the Shiites of Iraq. Iran and Iraq will join forces in fighting us to a bloody end. We will be fighting the Sunnis and the Shiites in Iraq, we will have no friends left in the region, no purpose and nothing but more death waiting for us.
How could anyone with an ounce of sense think that bombing Iran would be helpful to our cause? Iraq is predominantly Shiite, and so is Iran. Does any serious person believe that the Shiites of Iraq will not help their Shiite brothers in Iran?
And we will have proven our worst critics right. We will be attacking another oil-rich Muslim country without any provocation. Who in their right mind doesn't think that will cause a catastrophic reaction in the Muslim world?
And we read in the papers that it is the Israeli government pressuring us to act now. Again, this would prove our worst critics right - that we are the puppets of Israel. With all due respect to our allies, we shouldn't be invading countries at any of their behests. If they would like to take on disastrous invasions, they have their own armies.
Please prove me wrong. Show me we aren't go listen to Israeli reactionaries (who I don't believe represent the majority of Israelis). Show me we aren't considering dropping nuclear bombs on a country that didn't attack us.
I would love to be viewed as a needless alarmist in the future. Richard Clarke was also accused of being an alarmist about an imminent al-Qaeda attack in the US. He was proven right. I hope I'm proven wrong.
But if this administration does carry this act out, we are all accomplices. This is a democracy. We re-elected this guy and we are not doing anything to take him out of office.
The minute I saw this news story, I thought we should start immediate impeachment proceedings - not for political purposes and not even for past crimes (though there appears to be plenty of those), but for practical reasons - to get them out of office so they won't do something criminally stupid like this.
I'm scared to death that these neo-clowns are going to feel trapped in a corner and with dropping approval ratings, they are going to think that the only way to regain popularity is to rally the country around them by starting another war. This is why we have to get them out of office right now.
I don't care about the politics. I don't care about how this will be portrayed on Fox News Channel. I don't care how scared the Democrats will be of being called weak on security. This is a matter of life and death. You're going to get all of our troops in Iraq killed.
You are going to start a war you will not be able to stop. We're going to have a draft and we're all going to have to risk the lives of our children for this madness.
And the great irony is that it doesn't even help. The military strikes against Iran will only strengthen the grip of the mullahs in charge of that country. They don't care about their nuclear weapons program - they don't even have one. The same weapons inspectors who were right about Iraq are saying that Iran is at least five years away from such a program.
The military option should be taken off the table because it would only help the current government in Iran and could not conceivably help us. We concede that we don't know where their theoretical weapons plants are or whether we could effectively destroy them. But the neo-cons aren't really concerned about that because their real goal is "regime change." Where have I heard that before?
They've already drummed up some "intelligence sources" from the Middle East who are willing to tell them what they want to hear. One of them is dealing with the German government, though the Germans aren't sure he is credible. And the neo-cons are saying they have an Iranian laptop that is the smoking gun, though our intelligence departments say they are not at all sure. I've seen this movie before. And I didn't like the ending.
In reality, the Iranians can be contained just like we contained the Soviet Union. The Soviets were an enormous threat and they actually had weapons of mass destruction. But that didn't mean war was the right answer. The argument is that Iran is different because they're "certified nuts." Well, how sane are we when we are the ones threatening to start a nuclear war with them? Even Britain's Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw thinks the idea of a nuclear strike against Iran is -- "completely nuts."
Come on, does anyone seriously believe Iran is about to strike Cleveland? The International Atomic Energy Agency says there isn't an "inch of evidence" of a nuclear weapons program in Iran. Now, we are supposed to believe Iran is a threat to the United States of America.
Really? Which city do you think the Iranians will take first, Philadelphia or St. Louis?
The Iranians have no desire to attack America. They are posturing because they are a lot more concerned about their internal politics. What the mullahs care about is protecting their power. Right now there is a growing grassroots democracy movement in Iran. It is by far and away the biggest threat to the current Iranian theocracy.
The best way to crush that movement is for Iran to provoke a US attack. The minute the first bomb lands, every Iranian will have to rally around the nationalist mullahs. And democracy will be set back for decades in Iran.
Anyone but the most desperate neo-con can see this. Why are a couple of dozen madmen, who no one agrees with in this country, still in charge of our foreign policy? You cannot find a non-neo-con military, political, historical, cultural or diplomatic expert in the country who thinks a first strike against Iran is a good idea. Why is this miniscule minority in the country starting wars for us?
And if we do start this war of aggression against Iran, let me be on the record - I think President Bush and Vice President Cheney will be war criminals and they should be tried and convicted as such.
I challenge anyone in the country to debate me on this issue. If you use nuclear weapons against a country that did not attack you, you are a war criminal.
One of the reasons we gave for launching an invasion of Iraq was that Saddam had used chemical and biological weapons to brutally contain his enemies. And how would we be any different if we used nuclear weapons to contain our enemies?
And how could we argue against any future enemy who chooses to launch a "preemptive strike" against us when we have been championing that idea for years now? If we can start "preventative wars," why can't they? We are setting a terrible example for the rest of the world - and for our enemies.
Actions have consequences. If we start something we have no idea how to end, in this case, the consequences will be historically disastrous.