Back on April 3, 2007, I published a Commentary under this title on BuzzFlash. I started off by saying in part that:
“There is currently a huge amount of speculation and alarms and excursions, mainly on the left-wing Web media, that there will soon be a massive U.S. air/missile attack on Iran on (you name it): Good Friday (April 6), Easter Sunday (April 8), or ‘sometime in June’ (2007). Most recently, these predictions have been fed by a report from official/semi-official/un-official Russian sources that such an attack, rumored for more than two years, is imminent.
“On this side of the Atlantic, authorities considered to be reliable and to have reliable sources have provided details of the planned attack and how the military is being organized to carry it out. Scott Ritter, the former Iraq U.S. weapons inspector, has been a strong and vocal critic of the CheneyBush Administration over their War on Iraq and their stated reasons for it. As reported to me by a friend, at a meeting at the District 8 Democratic Club in Arizona on March 31, he said the attack on Iran will occur ‘by the end of June.'”
In that column, I went on to say that I didn’t think that such an attack would occur for one or more of the following reasons: “the security position of the United States, the future of any Jewish state within the current confines of the borders of Israel, the future of the American military, the price of oil, the economic status of the Western democracies and Japan, the explosion of anti-Western terrorism around the world, the U.S. national budget, to say nothing of the tens of thousands of Iranian citizens who would be murdered in such an attack.”
Obviously the attack, either by the U.S. or Israel did not occur, for the reasons stated above and then some. But once again, the pressure and the speculation are being ratcheted up, this time of course on a Democratic rather than a GOP administration. President Obama is being pushed on Iran and on Afghanistan as well by the same U.S. imperialist forces, the same GOP now totally politically motivated, and by the same U.S. supporters of the Israeli Right. One big difference this time is that the Congressional Democratic Party, even including some of the not-so-usual suspects, is lining up for sure against expanding the war in Afghanistan (and hopefully beginning to wind it down to an anti-terrorism campaign a la Joe Biden) and to some extent against any military adventure against Iran. For the latter, a political strategy that is some version of what I wrote in the BuzzFlash Commentary cited above and another might be useful.
Here are a few pointed questions to be asked:
1. There already is a “Muslim Bomb” in Pakistan. Pakistan, which shares a border with Iran, could all of a sudden become an “Islamic Republic” which would be only too happy to share its bomb with Iran. So why bother bombing Iran when they don’t even have The Bomb yet and may be as much as 10 years away from getting one?
2. How is this war going to be paid for? Are the Republicans who are clamoring for it, and who have also suddenly become “deficit hawks,” going to support raising taxes, say on the rich, to pay for it?
3. North Korea already has The Bomb, or is fairly close to getting it. We are negotiating with them endlessly. Why not just do the same thing with Iran?
4. Our armed forces are already stretched to the breaking point in Iraq. Beyond the U.S. special operation executive that, according to Seymour Hersh, is already on the ground there (which were under Cheney’s direct command and for all we know might still be, privately funded), which land forces would be used in Iran, or are the air war plans of such magnitude that you figure land forces will not be necessary?
5. We have not achieved “victory,” at least as the Georgites defined it before the Iraqis arranged to eventually force us out in Iraq. Its definition for Afghanistan remains very elusive. How would it be defined for Iran?
6. We know that the Obama Administration (unlike the Georgites) is very concerned with the onset of global warming and the predictable drastic climate changes that will, if it is unchecked, result from it. If the President were to go ahead with a military attack on Iran, or allow Israel to do so, and it escalated to the use of nuclear weapons, would the hidden agenda be to solve the global warming problem by creating a Nuclear Winter?
Unlike what they did with President Bush, the Democrats are going to have to stand very tough on this one (and on Afghanistan as well). According to an article in The Washington Post of Oct. 1, 2009: “With much of his party largely opposed to expanding military operations in Afghanistan, President Obama could be forced into the awkward political position of turning to congressional Republicans for support if he follows the recommendations of the commanding U.S. general there.” That would be an incredibly foolish mistake, for oh-so-many reasons. But for reasons primarily of “being strong on national security” and “demonstrating their anti-Communist credentials,” Democratic Presidents from Harry Truman onwards have done just such things. Perhaps on both Iran and Afghanistan, the liberal-left wing of the Democratic Party will work to save President Obama from just such temptations. We can only hope that he will see the light before they would come to be tested.
Steven Jonas, MD, MPH is a Professor of Preventive Medicine at Stony Brook University (NY) and author/co-author/editor of 30 books. In addition to being a Columnist for BuzzFlash, Dr. Jonas is also a Contributing Author for TPJmagazine; a Featured Writer for Dandelion Salad; a Special Contributing Editor for Cyrano’s Journal Online; a Contributing Columnist for the Project for the Old American Century (POAC); and a Contributor to The Planetary Movement.