I’m Already Against the Next War

Originally appeared in the Fort Collins Forum

December 2006
Eric Fried

First, a mea culpa. In cheerleading for SoPro last time, I inadvertently annexed a half mile up Lemay. Obviously, Poudre Valley Hospital has always been north of Prospect…

Now, if you think THAT was a bit off, consider this: hopelessly stuck in the middle of a bloody civil war in Iraq, and rapidly losing Afghanistan to a resurgent Taliban, the lame-duck Bush administration is moving ahead with plans for war with Iran.

I’m no fan of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinajad, who denies the Holocaust and says he wants to destroy Israel. But he was elected with over 60% of the vote, and Iran has every right under international law to develop nuclear energy (even though it is a horrible idea). How do we know Iran is instead trying to build nuclear weapons? Because the Bush Administration says so. Since they also said Saddam and bin Laden were buddies, Saddam had weapons of mass destruction, and Iraqis would greet our troops with flowers and chocolates, their credibility is a bit lacking.

For argument’s sake, let’s say Iran is trying to develop nukes. Can you blame them? Of the three countries labeled the “Axis of Evil” by Dubya, North Korea acquired The Bomb, and we treat them with kid gloves. Iraq was all but defenseless, and we blew them away. The real message we are sending Iran is: get The Bomb as soon as you can! Israel, Pakistan and India have all acquired nuclear weapons in violation of international treaties, and we’ve rewarded them with military aid and foreign trade.

Some cheerleaders for war say you can’t negotiate with “evil”, so why even talk to the “enemy”? I mean, how do you dialogue with an ultra-nationalist hard-line President who has to placate religious fundamentalist power brokers, despises dissent, and who apparently believes God has picked him to hasten the End of the World? And it’s no better talking to Ahmedinajad . . .

Iran has made repeated overtures to us in recent years, but they’ve all been scorned. Hard-liners won the last Iranian election partly because we spurned the peace feelers of the prior President, moderate Mohammad Khatami, who had nothing to show for advocating dialogue with the US. Contrary to the neo-conservative ideology of the “geniuses” advising Dubya, threatening another nation causes its people to rally around their government, not overthrow it.

War in Iran would be far worse than the current debacle in Iraq. Iran is much larger, more populated, and much stronger militarily than Iraq was, and its government enjoys much greater popular support than Saddam’s did. True, Iran’s national elections are not totally free, as the ruling conservative clerics decide who can run for office, but compared to our close ally Saudi Arabia, whose national elections…oh that’s right. Saudi Arabia is an absolute monarchy, and they don’t bother with national elections. (Maybe that’s where we should be seeking regime change!)

Even if you think a war with Iran is a jolly good idea, is this the crew you want running it? Look how badly they bungled the Iraq war from day one. And do the words “Hurricane Katrina” ring a bell?

We can work things out diplomatically with Iran, if we choose. We’re still mad they seized our hostages, and they’re still mad we overthrew their democratically elected government in the 1950’s and imposed the tyrannical Shah. They want security guarantees, and we want them not to develop nuclear weapons. We need their help in preventing Iraq from totally exploding (which is also in their interest) and they want recognition as a regional power. Why not recognize reality as a starting point, for once?

Since our intelligence experts say Iran is at least five-to-ten years from developing The Bomb, we don’t need another rush to war under false pretenses. As Dubya says about possible troop withdrawals from Iraq, that’s a decision best left to a future President. We can all sleep better knowing Barack Obama will handle the problem sanely and competently.

CALENDAR NOTE: Poudre Valley Green Party hosts a Winter Solstice celebration on Thursday, Dec. 21 from 6-8 p.m. at Avogadro’s Number, 605 S. Mason St., Fort Collins. Food/beverage provided – free admission – donations welcome.

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