Reality, insanity and Iran
Waging a pre-emptive war against Iran over its nuclear program is a really bad idea
By John Grula 03/15/2012
Just as they did 10 years ago before our invasion of Iraq, warmongers are fanning the flames of hysteria and insisting we have to bomb another Middle Eastern nation into submission.
The nation this time around? Iran. Its alleged crime? Same as Iraq — possessing or otherwise trying to obtain weapons of mass destruction. In the case of Iran, specifically a nuclear weapon.
The historical record on Iraq is now clear. It had no weapons of mass destruction, and the claims that it did turned out to be bogus nonsense. But after the expenditure of more than $1 trillion, the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and more than 4,000 American troops, only the most foolhardy and gullible would now argue that it would be smart for us and/or the Israelis to shoot first at Iran and ask questions later.
How true is the warmongers’ assertion that Iran is trying to build a nuclear weapon? If one looks beyond mainstream media propaganda, apparently it ranks right up there with the false claim that Saddam Hussein was trying to get yellowcake uranium from Niger.
If you haven’t already done so, please check out the Feb. 24 Los Angeles Times news report, “US does not believe Iran is trying to build nuclear bomb.” This is a shockingly underreported story, which has received little, if any, discussion by TV’s talking heads. The Times article highlights the fact that two separate National Intelligence Estimates (NIE) issued in 2007 and 2011 concluded that Iran stopped its efforts to develop and build a nuclear warhead in 2003.
These NIEs should not be taken lightly or dismissed; they represent a consensus of all 16 US intelligence agencies. After getting burned by the faulty and/or faked intelligence that led to the disastrous Iraq War, this time around our intelligence community is apparently trying to stay reality-based and working hard to get its facts straight.
And, we don’t have to just take the word of our 16 intelligence agencies on the question of Iran’s bomb (or lack thereof). During an appearance on the Jan. 8 broadcast of CBS’s “Face the Nation,” Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta (who is also a former director of the Central Intelligence Agency) said the following about Iran: “Are they trying to develop a nuclear weapon? No. But we know they are trying to develop a nuclear capability.” Sure, trying to develop a “nuclear capability,” but NOT a nuclear weapon.
Is Iran enriching uranium? Yes. But as a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), Iran has every right, according to the terms of this treaty, to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes. This is what Iran says it is doing, and so far inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have not found any evidence that Iran has enriched uranium beyond 20 percent. Such lowly enriched uranium can be used for generating nuclear power and creating medically useful isotopes. To build a nuclear weapon, uranium must be enriched to at least 90 percent.
By the way, and to put this all into proper context, it is the case that Iran’s primary nemesis, Israel, has never signed the NPT and over the last several decades has secretly amassed a nuclear arsenal of 50 to 100 warheads. No IAEA inspector has ever been allowed to examine an Israeli nuclear facility. In sharp contrast, IAEA inspections of Iranian nuclear facilities are commonplace.
How insane would it be for Israel and/or the US to launch a war against Iran? Answer: Totally insane. First of all, Iran has vowed major retaliation against any such attack, and its formidable conventional arsenal has the potential to inflict major casualties on Israeli citizens and US personnel in the region. In addition, the LA Times has reported that Israeli intelligence estimates that Iran and its proxies, Hezbollah in Southern Lebanon and Hamas in the Gaza Strip, have as many as 200,000 missiles aimed at Israel. Both Lebanon and Gaza share a border with Israel. Hezbollah and Hamas missile attacks in support of their sponsor, Iran, would be catastrophic for Israeli civilians.
Throw in the distinct possibility that an attack against Iran could start a major Middle East war that might also drag in Arab nations such as Saudi Arabia and Syria, and the very high probability of huge oil disruptions that could collapse the still-struggling world economy, and you start to get the picture.
Waging a pre-emptive war against Iran over its nuclear program is a really, really bad idea. So bad that we the people should fervently hope cooler heads prevail and engage in political action to prevent yet another Middle East war. The long-term solution to this situation is for all Middle East nations to sign the NPT and then work toward eliminating all of their nuclear weapons. The same applies to the rest of the world. Comprehensive nuclear disarmament remains as urgent as ever.
John Grula, PhD, is affiliated with the Southern California Federation of Scientists.