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Gelb writes: "We're doing this terrible thing all over again. As before, we're letting a bunch of ignorant, sloppy-thinking politicians and politicized foreign-policy experts draw 'red line' ultimatums. As before, we're letting them quick-march us off to war. This time their target is Iran."

An Iranian navy vessel fires a Mehrab missile during the 'Velayat-90' naval war games in the Strait of Hormuz off southern Iran, 01/01/12. (photo: Ebrahim Noroozi/Getty Images)
An Iranian navy vessel fires a Mehrab missile during the 'Velayat-90' naval war games in the Strait of Hormuz off southern Iran, 01/01/12. (photo: Ebrahim Noroozi/Getty Images)



Put Iran War March on Trial

By Leslie H. Gelb, The Daily Beast

17 January 12

 

America is once again stumbling toward war. If we've learned anything from the past, it's that we'd better debate Iran policy before, not after, the fighting begins. By Leslie H. Gelb.

e're doing this terrible thing all over again. As before, we're letting a bunch of ignorant, sloppy-thinking politicians and politicized foreign-policy experts draw "red line" ultimatums. As before, we're letting them quick-march us off to war. This time their target is Iran. And heaven knows Iran's leaders are bad guys capable of doing dangerous things. But if we've learned anything, anything at all, from plunging into war in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan, it is this: we must have a public scrubbing of fighting rhetoric before, not after, the war begins.

Sure, there are risks in acting so sensibly. It does signal hesitation, even weakness, to the adversary. But to me, the far greater risk lies in not hesitating. The real risk is not fully, thoroughly, and publicly laying bare the case for war. In every major war of the last decades, the public assumed the government and the experts knew what they were talking about and proposing to do. But after a year or so, that faith collapsed. Except for those who would bless the sound of the cannon wherever it led, everyone soon realized the terrible truth: that government leaders had little or no idea what they were doing, what the invaded country was really like, and what could and could not be accomplished at what cost. By then, it was too late. Once our truly precious troops had been sacrificed and our prestige had been cast upon the waters, patriotism and politics overwhelmed reason.

For our own sake, don't let this happen again. Let's have carefully planned and extended public hearings on the pros and cons of war with Iran. Let those hearings be conducted by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee or a special public commission established by President Obama. Let's do the job painstakingly and systematically, especially because Election Day beckons with its talons of stupidity and rashness. Yes, yes, I realize full well that a public pretrial is far from a perfect or even a good solution. But I cannot think of another way to slow down our familiar passive march toward war, and compel its drum majors to parade their plans on why the war must be fought and how it can be won. Hearings will surely confuse a lot of people, but at least give them their democratic chance to judge.

Iranian navy fires a Mehrab missile during the "Velayat-90" naval wargames in the Strait of Hormuz in southern Iran on January 1, 2012. Iran defiantly announced that it had tested a new missile and made an advance in its nuclear programme after the United States unleashed extra sanctions that sent its currency to a record low., Ebrahim Noroozi / Getty Images

To step back, there are two issues likely to spark fighting with Iran: Tehran's threat to block an internationally recognized waterway at the Strait of Hormuz, and its relentless moves toward acquiring nuclear weapons.

On the surface, the strait question is open and shut. If Tehran violates a fundamental principle of international law and closes an international waterway, that waterway must be reopened by whatever force necessary. My gut reaction is right there. But then the questions arise: Why does this burden fall almost entirely on the United States? What of the other states that buy and sell the Gulf oil that moves through the strait? How long will it take, and at what cost, to reopen the strait and keep it open? Is it necessary to attack shore targets to accomplish the job? How far ashore? And what of economic destruction and, above all, civilian casualties? Is such a military action likely to convince the Iranians that they must acquire nuclear weapons, or would it dissuade them? Would a U.S.-led naval action in the strait make it more likely that Israel would use this as cover to launch a full-scale attack against Iranian nuclear facilities? And would this broader action trigger Iranian retaliation against both Israel and the United States? There are no hard and fast answers to most of these queries. And yes, some military plans would be aired partially to Tehran's advantage. Nevertheless, their being raised and addressed gives Americans a much clearer sense of what they're getting into—and, more, compels Congress and the executive branch to think much harder about their intended actions. Often, administrations don't answer the toughest questions themselves until they have to, until it's too late.

I realize full well that a public pretrial is far from a perfect or even a good solution. But I cannot think of another way to slow down our familiar passive march toward war.

The red lines being drawn against Iran's growing capability to construct nuclear weapons are even more tortured and dangerous. These lines are all to the effect that if Tehran continues to move toward a nuclear-weapons capability, President Obama will attack and take out Iran's nuclear facilities. I won't bore you with the exact formulations, which are not intended to be exact. The administration doesn't want to be exact and thus to tie its own hands. Nor could administration officials formulate exact words, because they can't yet agree upon them.

The bottom line is that the administration is firming up its threats without absolutely committing itself to any particular action beyond ratcheting up rhetorical pressures and economic sanctions. Obama has been mostly careful to avoid pronouncements recently and has put that burden at a little distance from himself—onto the worthy shoulders of Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. Panetta's now famous "red lines" have been a bit pinkish, for good reason, leaving some things to Tehran's imagination. Or perhaps his intention is just to say enough to keep Israel from pulling its own unilateral trigger.

It doesn't take a genius to see what lies ahead in our nation's election year. Most Republican presidential candidates are saying that Iran will never get close to nukes if they're in the White House. The candidates are outdoing one another in outrageous commitments to sound tough. Recently, Mitt Romney put it like this: "If we reelect Barack Obama, Iran will have a nuclear weapon … If you'd like me as the next president, Iran will not have a nuclear weapon." And though we all know how careful Obama is, the dynamics of campaigns are bound to push him toward incaution to fend off charges of "weakness." This is what happens to presidents in most elections.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee or some public commission has to pose the tough questions here: Do we really know enough to hit and destroy the key underground targets? If not, why go ahead? How long will it take for Tehran to rebuild the facilities and make them less vulnerable? What's the potential for collateral damage on oil prices and lives? If Washington doesn't use force, will Israel go it alone, and will Tehran regard this as a quasi-American attack anyway? If Iran actually acquired nukes, why wouldn't prospects of an overwhelming Israeli or American attack in a crisis deter it? Iranian leaders haven't acted like crazy Hitlers. They've been pretty cautious, forever issuing threats and making trouble behind the scenes, which suggests they're deterrable. Would war on Iran trigger worldwide terrorist attacks? Is it in the overall interests of the United States, given our worldwide security needs and economic weaknesses, to enter another war? And don't fool yourselves, this would be war.

As is our tragic pattern, almost all these tough questions are unasked and unhonored. All one hears is the familiar boasts and threats. They are rarely probed by our media stars.

Senator J. William Fulbright's brilliant hearings on Vietnam and the James Baker/Lee Hamilton Iraq Study Group both came far too late to save us. But there's still time now for a full-scale, nonpartisan, and systematic examination of policy. Don't let the usual hawks stop us with the argument that we'd be giving away too much information and signaling weakness to the enemy. What we'd truly be giving away if we heeded these hawks is not our military plans, but our constitutional and democratic rights to freely and openly debate whether our sons and daughters once again must fight and die.

 

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+41 # shortonfaith 2012-01-17 14:39
The Military is totally running Washington DC & the President & Congress all made too much money off the last one. They just can't seem to stop themselves from doing it again?

80% of the people don't want anything to do with war but when was the last time we passed anything for the American people? In 3 years we gotten a health give-away to the Insurance companies & a credit card bill.

As far as leaders go these people really suck. Democrats included. Hopefully I'm jumping to conclusions but this type of media advertisement suggest an oncoming event. De-fund the military now so they can't continue harming the planet & terrorizing its people.
 
 
+8 # hasapiko 2012-01-17 16:57
...I don't think it's the military necessarily. More likely it is political posturing ahead of the elections (in Israel too for that matter). If the US went to the UN Security Council, the only way it could get permission to attack Iran is if Iran were found to be in violation of its agreements with the IAEA. But, Iran is not in violation right now. All they are doing is carrying out research and planning, which are not violations.
 
 
+11 # AndreM5 2012-01-17 18:05
The military is depleted and partly broken so it's the industrial-Cong ressional complex we have to stop.
 
 
+56 # bugbuster 2012-01-17 15:05
There's a reason why it's supposed to take an act of Congress to get into a war. This is Israel's problem pure and simple, not ours. If they feel threatened, they won't hesitate to act. In fact, they already are killing people over this issue. I think the Republicans just want to pander to rich supporters of Israel for campaign bucks.
 
 
+33 # Barbara K 2012-01-17 16:14
bugbuster, the Republicans count on fear and ignorance to win elections. I hope no one falls for this stunt. We don't need more stinkin' wars! We will need to be loud about this. Don't let them bankrupt us with wars.

NEVER VOTE REPUBLICAN !!

our future is at stake
 
 
+10 # X Dane 2012-01-17 18:47
Right on Barbara, maybe the OCW could start some marches aginst war, they already have a lot organized, and I am sure a lot of people would join them.

We have to WAKE UP our population,..NO W BEFORE we find ourselves in another war.

We also need to write our representatives and TELL them to vote and work AGAINST WAR. We need to be very forceful in our DEMAND. What else can we do??

Suggestions anybody??
 
 
+8 # John Gill 2012-01-17 19:33
Yeah! Never vote Republican cuz if we get a Republican in office, he's likely to do crazy stuff like military detention of American citizens, or the extra-judicial assassination of American citizens, or the extraordinary rendition of American citizens, why he'll probably just keep on torturing people like that last Repub, an he'll probably...hmmm ....wait....er. ..never mind.
 
 
+2 # Pickwicky 2012-01-19 16:05
Barbara--and one of the biggest lies is: we must act swiftly and decisively or the enemy will think us weak. This is what I thought first when Gelb wrote: " . . .must have a public scrubbing of fighting rhetoric." Would someone explain to me why any nation would think the US weak? Whether we like it or not the US was first to drop the atomic bomb, won WW II, invaded Iraq on a whim, etc. etc. Not to mention our military and nuclear might--last time I heard we have the biggest War Engine on the planet. That "mustn't show weakness" line is simply laughable. But just listen to it roll off the lips of politicians any time another nation spits at us.
 
 
+70 # 1984 2012-01-17 15:05
The article's intentions were good, but the author still fell into the trap of assume Iran was in fact up to no good. The author failed to point out the following: 1. Iran's threat to close the straights of Hormoz came only AFTER the US threatened to disrupt Iran's central bank(as a sanction for failure to do as the US dictated)which would have impacted the oil sales on which Iran depends for its economy. 2. Iran has signed the nuclear non-proliferati on treaty....Israe l has not and therefore its nuclear threat is never investigated. 3. The treaty permits Iran to develop nuclear energy to the point where the next step would be a bomb. Other countries (I.e, France)have done have done that. 4.Why do the US and Israel have a right to have nuclear bombs but Iran does not. 5.Israeli leaders are crazier and more dangeroous than Iran's and have demonstrated their monstrosity over and over again. There are over 150 sanctions against Israel, but none are followed throught on.6. Iran's people are against the current regime (a dictatorship) and will unseat these greedy mullas in time, themselves. Starting a war would only help the present leaders since the citizens would coagulate to fight for the love of their land...not their leaders...their land. 7. the US and Israel are really only interested in Iran's oil (as with Lybia.)If they could successfully stop Iran's energy sources, they would have a much easier time to take over.
 
 
-23 # Todd Williams 2012-01-17 15:51
I'm sure you posted this commentary with all good intentions. However, it is replete with innacuracies and misplaced suppositions. I do want to say upfront that I am and was against the Vietnman War, the war in Afghanistan and the war in Iraq. That said, I disagree with your point #1 that Iran has threatened to take this action multiple times in the past. On point #2, you are assuming Israel has treatened another country with nuclear weapons. Whom? I don't understand your point in #3. What's France have to do with this issue. On #4, you make a point about America and Israel having the right to possess nucs, but not Iran. How about North Korea? How about the Taliban? How about the Congo? So it's fine for any country to have them because we do? On point #5, prove to me that Israel leaders are "crazier" (whatever that means) than Iranian leaders. This is just a wild supposition on your part. On #6, although there are factions of dissidents within Iran, there is no proof that "Iran's people are against the current regime" and no evidence that they are even capable of overthrowing the dictatorship. And on #7, this might have a kernal of truth to it, but is an overblown exageration.
 
 
+17 # hasapiko 2012-01-17 17:17
The real issue underlying the tension with Iran (IMHO at least) is whether Iran in fact imposes a security threat to the US and to the world, or whether it represents a threat to US hegemony in the area. There is ample evidence of the latter. Very simply, during WWII Iran was occupied by the British (later the US) and by the Russians and as a result suffered severe famine. After the war, Iran got rid of a US puppet installed after the US deposed a democratically elected leader. Then Iran thumbed its nose at the US by invading its embassy and taking hostages. Then the US backed Iraq into starting an aggressive ground war against Iran that lasted for years and caused hundreds of thousands of deaths. Then the US provided military and other aid that allowed Iraq, Iran's neighbor to the west, to develop weapons of mass destruction. Then the US allowed Pakistan, Iran's neighbor to the east, to have nuclear weapons. On the other hand, where is the evidence that Iran has aggressive intentions towards its neighbors? Yes, it may be supporting Hisb'alla and Hamas. Did the US not support the Taliban at some point? In any case, this in itself is not a direct security threat to the US or Europe. What else? I am open to responses.
 
 
+4 # Dufetel 2012-01-17 23:13
Many people in Iran are not at all happy with the regime. On a daily basis, people disappear at the whim of a policeman. Normal people are humiliated by civil servants. Helicopters are used to identify satellite dishes in urban areas, to prevent people from watching foreign TV. Girls have to bathe in the sea in a big robe, youths cannot even ski down the same slope in the Alborz mountains. At parties in Tehran, the girls look more attractive, and dare I say it, sexy, than in Europe or the US, and they also enjoy a (bootleg) alcoholic drink. Iranians would most probably be quite happy to have a more relaxed regime, but to effect this change will likely have to come about through an internal uprising, not through heavy-handed US intervention.
 
 
+3 # Todd Williams 2012-01-18 10:41
Who said Obama is ready for "heavy handed intervention? Proove that to me. I think we should be more worried about a Republican winning the White House. These contenders all want to attack Iran with the possible exception of Paul.
 
 
+17 # hasapiko 2012-01-17 17:02
Nancy is right. Iran threatened to close the straits only after the enactment of punishing sanctions, which are a casus belli. But, Gelb is an establishment figure, therefore this article is a step in the right direction. Note that Obama cancelled the planned military exercises with Israel. Also a good sign. Still, more pressure must be put on Washington to back off from its belligerence.
 
 
+2 # Todd Williams 2012-01-18 10:42
Hate to tell you, but Iran has threatened to close the straits on several occasions in the past. Not new behavior.
 
 
+12 # Doubter 2012-01-17 20:45
"It doesn't take a genius to see..." that if we don't raise a stink to high heaven our owners are going to kill millions more people for profit.
Don't let them lie us into ANOTHER doozy of a war!
NO IRAN WAR!
 
 
+26 # alan17b0 2012-01-17 15:07
The public, at least the D.C. public, is
against these wars. I know, because for
the past 2.5 years I've been selling our
great "NO AFGHAN WAR" buttons for a dollar.
Each sale brings in 73 cents, and I can
sell between $25 and $40 in an hour.

With the profits, we buy equally gorgeous
yard signs "NO WAR IN AFGHANISTAN". I go
out, knock on doors and offer these signs
Free to a Good Yard. In an hour I get
between 4 and 8 of these signs accepted
on any stretch of street 300 yards or so
long in the D.C. area.

The problem: no one will help! Not
Vets for Peace, not Washington Peace
Center, not Peace Action, not Code Pink,
not WCW, etc etc.

If you are in the D.C. area, get in
touch! Visit www.waifllc.org to find
out how to get your own signs, for you
and a few neighbors.

Best wishes,

Alan McConnell, in Silver Spring MD
 
 
+39 # bugbuster 2012-01-17 15:08
It's not "our" sons and daughters. There's no draft. There should be. It was essentially the draft that ended the Vietnam war. *Everybody* had skin in the game and finally demanded that the game end. All right-minded people should get real and push to re-instate the draft. But I don't expect a lot of ideologues on either side to support that idea.
 
 
+11 # Todd Williams 2012-01-17 15:53
HELL NO WE WON'T GO!!!!
 
 
+8 # bugbuster 2012-01-17 18:05
Of course not. We leave it to others. That makes it easy to have wars. Now it's all done at enormous cost by private companies, not your countrymen as such. One day those companies will find work pointing their guns at you. Draftees tend not to do that.
 
 
+2 # John Locke 2012-01-17 16:12
bugbuster: They are going to reinstate the Draft, and that is a mistake, the only people with skin in the game then will be the middle and lower class, the elits class will have their loop holes, like school deferments,and specific types of employment...th e draft is a bad idea for us, but they do have that on the drawing board...
 
 
+6 # bugbuster 2012-01-17 18:08
School deferments don't last. I joined the Navy to avoid the Army because they drafted 3,500 students in my area. Rich guys went to officer candidate school to avoid being grunts. They served for a longer time and took bullets too.
 
 
+4 # John Locke 2012-01-17 20:28
bugbuster: They will build in loop holes, believe me, very few members of congress will allow their children to get hurt. I remember Viet Nam they had at first school deferments and then the marriage exclusion. and there is always the conscientious objector! Today every one should become religious and pronounce their inability to kill
 
 
+1 # Todd Williams 2012-01-18 10:43
Proove it to me.
 
 
+4 # Glen 2012-01-17 17:28
Bugbuster, if there were a draft, it would be tantamount to setting in stone the fact that the U.S. is now in endless war. Citizens against bogus wars should fight the draft ferociously. With a draft we then would have no choice in the matter of giving up our youth, and not one of the wealthy, unless they volunteer, will ever go into war.

A lot of young in the military would die to prove your point.
 
 
+9 # bugbuster 2012-01-17 18:02
That's what is happening now. When I was at the age to be drafted, Congress was asking a lot of questions about Vietnam because some of their own kids where there. No more. It's nice to think that the rich would avoid the draft in large numbers, but in fact they didn't. They joined as officers. It was disgraceful not to.
 
 
+2 # Glen 2012-01-18 08:26
This is not the world or the government of the Vietnam era. If the draft is reinstated it will never be rescinded. Citizens do need to fight the endless warring government because congress will not maintain oversight. We are governed by the wealthy in spite of some members having kids in the service. Also, the attitude of attacking countries, assassination, torture, and all else attached to their agenda has been supported by both parties, regardless of a handful of members objecting. You saw where that got them. Nowhere.

Having a draft will not eliminate mercenaries, either. Between them and the CIA the universal war agenda is growing beyond what the CIA has always conducted.

Supporting a draft is a flippant fad with folks who don't remember the pure hell of waiting for your number to come up and the numbers of deaths in Vietnam. Want your son or daughter have their number come up to be sent to Africa or wherever the new killing fields will be for American kids?
 
 
+3 # soularddave 2012-01-17 22:10
At some point, after I was drafted, there was a lottery before it ended. I say go to a draft where anyone is eligible, allowing some deferments (NOT "avoidments"). This makes all families think twice about electing anyone who would shuffle us into avoidable wars.

Yes, it's about having "skin in the game".
 
 
+36 # grouchy 2012-01-17 15:08
The important question to ponder here is "WHY"? Demand an answer to that one and watch them spin their nonsense, then demand TRUTHFUL answers. Of course, this is how we were lied into the Iraq mess--no one really asking the hard questions. This time let's do it right and save a few thousand lives and tons of money!
 
 
+21 # DurangoKid 2012-01-17 15:24
It's a dangerous notion to believe that US foreign policy is somehow clumsy or stupid. Far from it. The people who profit from war either as a profit center in itself or by the spoils are perfectly rational. They got what they wanted from Iraq and now their turning toward Iran. Believe it when the elites call Iran a threat. It is a threat to the elites, just not to us the 99%. The 1%, or more properly 1/10% wants the Middle East to be their rigged game. For that to happen, there can be no other power player in the region. It's really that simple. The devil, as always, is in the details. Just how to neuter Iran is the problem. Getting the politicians and a sufficient fraction of the unwashed hordes to go along with it is conversely, not a problem. That's what the propaganda machine is for. It's so effective that even those who oppose an attack on Iran debate the issue in terms defined by the corporate media. And, as a wise old Jewish gentleman once told me, 'He who defines the argument has it 90% won.'
 
 
+3 # shortonfaith 2012-01-17 19:10
"DurangoKid" "He who defines the argument has it 90% won."


I've heard it said the reason we pulled out of Iraq is we haven't the troops to stay there? That our soldiers did 6 to 8 tours & even our National Guard was sent. We had to take in foreigners with promises of citizenship? We now need to fight drone wars & what better defense than the sprinkling of nuclear sites & radiation that crosses borders killing without regard to nationality?

Also, maybe it's just my ignorance but, why would any country looking for electrical power waste money on Nuclear considering what's happened around the world? Doesn't the sun come out in this desert nation? Don't they have wind & tidal flats to produce clean energy? Are their deserts too salty & corrosive? Maybe Iran will accept our Nuclear waste & we won't have to pollute our own rivers? Nuclear seems to be the fastest way to self-destruct? The more I consider it the crazier the entire argument seems? Do they believe their God will stop radiation?

Does anyone really believe in their Navy? Do we really need to rattle our sabers at all? Is this not a miniature poodle nipping at the heals of a T-Rex? Is it just more shock & ah as congress continues selling our resources @ the present spending rate of $700,000 per second? (Much faster than the speed of light which is approx. 100,000 per second) How do we rid ourselves of reporting like this & the non reporting of today's really critical issues?
 
 
-1 # reiverpacific 2012-01-18 21:56
Also, maybe it's just my ignorance but, why would any country looking for electrical power waste money on Nuclear considering what's happened around the world? Doesn't the sun come out in this desert nation? Don't they have wind & tidal flats to produce clean energy? Are their deserts too salty & corrosive? Maybe Iran will accept our Nuclear waste & we won't have to pollute our own rivers? Nuclear seems to be the fastest way to self-destruct? The more I consider it the crazier the entire argument seems? Do they believe their God will stop radiation? .
Thank Gawd that somebody else has brought this up! I voiced this question a couple of weeks ago on RSN and have been pondering it for a while.
Why DOESN'T Iran and desert nations get into Solar, Wind, who knows what they have at their disposal (much of the desert used to be green so?? I'm not a biologist or geologist but common sense seems to indicate this. And what a chance for internationally co-operating with the likes of Germany and Scotland, highly respected and leading-edge engineering nations who are pioneering alternative sources (Scotland is working with Cuba on a weed that is fast becoming a miracle-fuel plant; look it up on the BBC website)?
But wait -that would mean diminished need for wars and aggression, right?
Ah well -another fertile bit of common-sense gone in the name of keeping hostility and international angst going.
Thanks "Shortonfaith" for bring it up tho'.
 
 
+8 # Trish42 2012-01-17 15:29
I have a way to prevent the war: re-institute the draft.
 
 
+3 # Glen 2012-01-17 17:31
No, Trish, the draft is NOT a way to end coming wars. See my response to bugbuster. You want even more kids to die? The government doesn't care anything at all about our kids, much less the pentagon.
 
 
+6 # Billy Bob 2012-01-17 18:11
True, but the draft will quickly make the need for endless war become a front burner issue on the minds of nearly all Americans, and these wars for corporate colonial profit wouldn't hold up to all that scrutiny.
 
 
+2 # Glen 2012-01-18 08:29
So once these wars are a "front burner issue", what then? Do you actually believe the government cares what citizens are concerned with. They certainly didn't care when there were thousands of citizens in the streets worldwide protesting the attack on Iraq.

Why do you think the government and military are developing weapons and skills for dealing with citizens violently?
 
 
+12 # LeeBlack 2012-01-17 15:31
Too often a rush to war is a short-term look at a current issue. Forgotten is the long-term result. If we had thought that we'd be in Iraq or Afghanistan for 10 years there would have been a lot longer discussion of other options.

I'm concerned that the Pakistan issue is being dealt with in the same way as Iran.
 
 
+22 # Christopher Marlowe 2012-01-17 15:40
Ever since 9/11 this country has been attacking the enemies of israel. Lt. Col. Karen Kwiatkowski recounted how generals from israel were working in the Doug Feith's Office of special plans to cook up intelligence supporting the war. We're bombing Pakistan, we bombed Libya and killed Ghadaffi. Now US intelligence agencies are supporting Arab spring movements and "rebels" (terrorists) in Syria and Iran. The US/mossad just killed the 4th Iranian scientist in 2 years. (If Iran had blown up 4 scientists in israel, you can bet the media would be calling Iranians "terrorists".)

We will continue to be a nation of warmongers for as long as israel/AIPAC controls our congress.
 
 
0 # Pickwicky 2012-01-19 16:21
Christopher Marlowe says "We're bombing Pakistan, we bombed Libya and killed Ghadaffi."

Pickwicky adds:
And burnt the topless towers of Ilium.
 
 
+4 # MidwestTom 2012-01-17 16:07
I wonder if we would be going to war if only people with U.S. citizenship were making the decisions?
 
 
0 # Billy Bob 2012-01-17 17:17
Do you think this is all about Israel?

Interesting how much access Iran has to the Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf though, huh? Ever thought about the fact that, in order to profit from all the Iraqi black gold, we have to get it to market (i.e. by water) and the best ways to do that would... COINCIDENTALLY be through IRAN and SYRIA?
 
 
+4 # rsb1 2012-01-17 16:10
everyone is so 'PC'(politicall y correct), it's like nobody wants to point the finger at the real culprit in this farcical reality. It's always 'the military' this, and 'the politicians' that - almost like you're trying to convince yourselves that you have some say-so or some control over what is happening. YOU DON'T. The same International Puppetmasters who really 'run things' decided long ago what the long-range plan was - and NONE OF YOU has the grit to say "NO MORE". Wesley Clark old you in 2001 this was the plan. You can 'PC'-intellectu alize as much as you want - just like you've been trained... BUT YOU'LL CHANGE NOTHING
 
 
+4 # Glen 2012-01-17 17:34
I'm not certain what your message is over all, rsb, but true: we will change nothing. The plan is bigger than all of us.
 
 
+24 # EEzell 2012-01-17 16:15
This article seems more like a rationalization for an attack on Iran pretending to be a call for cautious consideration, but actually delivering the standard propaganda for attack en passant.

I see no significant threat from Iran against the US or anyone else - nor evidence of even the capabilities for violence on hand to many other countries in the region. Certainly the history of Iran over the last hundred years shows no violence and outlaw behavior comparable to the violence and outlaw behavior perpetrated by the US and NATO over the same period of time.

It's time to put a stop the US reign of terror if we can.
 
 
+3 # hasapiko 2012-01-17 17:22
Quite right Eezell. The real issue underlying the tension with Iran is does Iran in fact impose a security threat to the US and to the world, or rather does it represent a threat to US hegemony in the area. There is ample evidence of the latter. Consider the history, as you suggest. During WWII Iran was occupied by the British (later the US) and by the Russians and as a result suffered severe famine. After the war, Iran got rid of a US puppet installed after the US deposed a democratically elected leader. Then Iran thumbed its nose at the US by invading its embassy and taking hostages. Then the US backed Iraq into starting an aggressive ground war against Iran that lasted for years and caused hundreds of thousands of deaths. Then the US provided military and other aid that allowed Iraq, Iran's neighbor to the west, to develop weapons of mass destruction. Then the US allowed Pakistan, Iran's neighbor to the east, to have nuclear weapons. Should Iran not feel threatened? On the other hand, where is the evidence that Iran has aggressive intentions towards its neighbors? Yes, it may be supporting Hisb'alla and Hamas. How does this threaten the US or Europe? And, did the US not support the Taliban at some point? What else?
 
 
-1 # Todd Williams 2012-01-18 10:51
Gee, i wonder why you don't get negative votes for this post? I said the same thing and I got a rash of negs. People, go back and read what I said. Nobody ever could prove me wrong.
 
 
+3 # Fraenkel.1 2012-01-17 17:21
If we instituted highway speed limits we would save 2 million barrels of oil a day which is 2/3 of the total import from the Middle East. A little more simple conservation could reduce that to zero. Consequences here will be less pollution, highway accidents, road maintenance. medical costs and stress in general. Simple conservation actions could reduce energy consumption by 50%.
Middle East oil will then be the problem for someone else. As for nuclear weapons, even if we don't talk them out of it, their use would lead to mutually assured destruction. Everybody understands that.So that's why they will not be used.
 
 
+11 # ozken 2012-01-17 17:35
"It's time to put a stop the US reign of terror if we can." Is violence part of your culture? I ask this sincerely because last night I watched a TV program on the Gold Rush in California. I had no idea that four fifths of native American Indians were murdered by whites during this period.
 
 
+5 # soularddave 2012-01-17 22:29
I agree, but violence has always been in the culture. There are more guns in America that there are people, and everyone has learned to be afraid.

The fact is, now, that it's self perpetuating, and the people who think they're the big thinkers have their guns pointed at other countries. The one big group that was instituted to create dialogue in hopes of maintaining peace has been demonized by the "big thinkers". That noble group, of course, is the United Nations.
 
 
0 # Phlippinout 2012-01-18 08:41
That is genocide, and that is how the US began and continues its existence, murder and corruption.
 
 
+7 # Helen Marshall 2012-01-17 18:43
"To step back, there are two issues likely to spark fighting with Iran: Tehran's threat to block an internationally recognized waterway at the Strait of Hormuz, and its relentless moves toward acquiring nuclear weapons."

What Bovine Excrement!! What is driving the push to war is the relentless need of the neocons for war, and the Israeli government's desire to destroy Iran as a rival - and of course our fully bought-and-paid -for Congressional subsidiary of the Israeli government.

Someone - Mr. Gelb has not - kindly explain to me why we should attack Iran; what threat does it pose to US??? There is not a mention in here of the 1953 overthrow of the constitutional Iranian republic at the behest of the oil companies - and how that led to the Iranian revolution in 1979. And then our encouraging Hussein to attack (while Reagan's people sold arms to Iran just to ensure that the hostages were not freed until Carter was out.

This is a sad excuse for analysis, and it essentially says "let's delay our attack while we make sure every one agrees that Iran is a monster."

Please don't publish any more of this stuff.
 
 
+4 # RMDC 2012-01-17 19:28
Why would anyone ever listen to Leslie Gelb -- a propagandist from the NYTimes, a CIA paid propagandist, and president of the Council on Foreign Relations. Everything he says is calculated to insure a war against Iran. He recommends a debate in the Senate. We had that before the attack on Iraq. We had a debate at the UN where Colin Powell lied through his teeth. The Obama regime can put on dog and pony show as good as the Bush regime.

And what about this lie -- "To step back, there are two issues likely to spark fighting with Iran: Tehran's threat to block an internationally recognized waterway at the Strait of Hormuz, and its relentless moves toward acquiring nuclear weapons." Iran is not doing either, and not likely to. These are the "red lines" that Obama has drawn with no basis in international law. Gelb trys to make it seem like Obama's red lines are Iran's policies.

Or this lie -- "And heaven knows Iran's leaders are bad guys capable of doing dangerous things." No Iran's leaders are not bad guys. The bad guys are Obama and the psychopaths at the CIA and Pentagon, whose jowls are still dripping from the blood of 40,000 murdered Libyans.

Gelb is old. He will be dead soon and it cannot be too soon. I have no respect for this member of the ruling elite whose life work has been to legitimize the murder of the poor and dark skinned people of the world. There's a place for him in hell -- right underneath Satan's tail.
 
 
+1 # reiverpacific 2012-01-17 20:24
"What's the potential for collateral damage on oil prices and lives?" .
Is this perhaps a taste of what priorities are?
"And what of economic destruction and, above all, civilian casualties?" . Above all????
My take is, however well intentioned this article is, the subject matter connotes the conundrum inherent in all the sabre-rattlin', drum-whackin' and chest-puffin'! Somebody's going to break and unleash the dogs of war. You can't make bargains between a plutocratic state who won't recognize that it is an Empire in decline, and and theocratic state who finds threats in every shadow (possibly with good cause) but will not be pushed around by a schoolyard (as in middle-East) bully.
Add Israel's also theocratic and aggressive posturing but with the backing of the schoolyard bully and very much inclined to throw the first punch, and you have a situation which is becoming more tense and volatile hourly.
I have no answers, including the aforementioned "stepping back" -from what?
The brink is already within reach and needs but a spark in this desert parched of reason, fueled with the inflammable fuel of mutual animus and lack of willingness to communicate (at least Iran has formerly shown some willingness in this direction) to set of the tinder-box and overwhelm all involved and beyond in a conflict which will make Iraq seem insignificant in it's global consequences.
Would that Mossadegh would have prevailed in 1953!
 
 
+3 # wfalco 2012-01-17 20:58
The author's article is too diplomatic. It seems it is written to acknowledge that the U.S. has some legitimacy in the region. The author writes "that waterway must be reopened by whatever force necessary" when referring to the hypothetical closing of the international straight. Gelb only offers it should not be the U.S.'s entire responsibility.
Why not take a radical approach. Let Iran do as they wish. Take the high road. Isn't it more in Iran's interests to keep the straight open?
Regarding the nuclear issue. What issue? They don't even have a bomb yet. And if they develop one, then what? Will they be capable of a strike on the shores of Long Island? It's not a threat. Another fabricated war is not an option. War is never a solution-it is MURDER.
 
 
-5 # Todd Williams 2012-01-18 11:02
This is the same position we took on Hitler. Naw, he'll only screw with the Europeans. No problem. Sure, we should take the high road. That's preferable. But it's not unreasonable to warn the Iranians not to close an INTERNATIONAL shipping lane, unless you happen to believe free trade routes should be manipulated by hostile nations. if you believe that, then you are living in an alternative universe.
 
 
+6 # Willman 2012-01-17 21:04
It is ALL about the OIL.
 
 
+3 # heraldmage 2012-01-17 22:57
A real easy way to slow the march to war is to stop lying to the people!!!!!
Iran is NOT developing nuclear weapons!!!!!
Leon Panetta said so just recently, the National Intelligence report says so.
Even the IAEA report didn't find any diversion of nuclear material or any evidence of development of WMD.
What the IAEA reported that the USA & its allies are using is old news at least 5 years old the smoking gun laptop that the USA says indicates Iran was looking at plans for nuclear weapons, but won;t let anyone see or verify not only the existence of the laptop but its content. There is absolutely no verifiable evidence of Iran's development of nuclear weapons.
Iran has been sanctioned ever since it threw out the brutal USA puppet Shah that was installed after the USA lead a military coup against the elected government. Why? because they nationalized their natural resources to support the needs of the people & nation instead of the 1% like we do.
Its not just Iran's oil its Iran economic policy. It works it takes care of the peoples needs has rebuilt & modernized the infrastructure. The 1% doesn't want you & I to know that there is another & probably a better way then they owning & profiting from everything.
62% of Iran's people voted for the current government. The people put down the USA attempt to overthrow the government after the election not government repression. So stop helping USA spread lies & stop the war
 
 
+5 # E-Mon 2012-01-17 23:45
We are being told that Iran is actively working towards building nukes. Maybe they are.... But then again maybe they aren't. Personally I no longer believe everything I hear in the news. Sounds way too much like the (nonexistent) WMD excuse to invade Iraq, which I never believed from day one. And.... If we assume it is true, Iran really is seeking to make a nuke... Don't get me wrong, I do agree with the surface logic. The fewer countries that have nukes the better, but... "nancyakbariesq " says in her point #4 above; Why do the US and Israel have a right to have nuclear bombs but Iran does not.... I see what she's saying but I would word it a little differently. My point would be.... Why is Iran all of a sudden so "special" regarding nukes (again assuming they really are trying to make one) when all these other countries have them. Why didn't we raise a stink about Pakistan or N. Korea, or even Israel for that matter? Sounds like standard fear-mongering tactics to me as an excuse for a whole different agenda. Like control over their OIL maybe, and the strait of Hormuz. Also the Mil. Ind. Complex makes their billions off of war. The vampire has an insatiable appetite for blood. It must always have an enemy and continuous war to justify it's existence. A couple of artists that "nail it" quite nicely.... Bruce Cockburn spells it all out in his song "Call it Democracy". It's on Youtube. Also Bob Marley's "Babylon System". Speaking truth to power...
 
 
+2 # Phlippinout 2012-01-18 08:37
Lets pass a law that anyone who profits off war will be put on trial. War is too dangerous to be throwing around as a way to make money. MAKE IT STOP!
 
 
+3 # reiverpacific 2012-01-18 13:32
Quoting fightback:
Lets pass a law that anyone who profits off war will be put on trial. War is too dangerous to be throwing around as a way to make money. MAKE IT STOP!

Nice idea, like trying to get Israel's LIKUD-driven, nuclear-armed government to stop demolishing Palestinian houses and razing ancient olive groves, or Republican's to listen to any kind of progressive reason.
Just how d'you get anyone in power to do it or even suggest it?!
 
 
+2 # ozken 2012-01-20 07:51
Yeah - these right wing neocon fascist bastards just love America, hard work & free enterprise & low taxes for themselves & their mates. Hey baby - let's privatize WAR - free enterprise can do a much better job than the government - kill more people for less dollars and still make a healthy profit that can be parked in, oh let's say the Cayman Islands.

Here's an idea for next Christmas in America. Real toy drones that fly around and fire rubber tipped missiles into your kid’s favourite Barbi or Ken doll.(Muslim clothing for Barbi & Ken optional) Yeah baby -kill kill kill!

Hey remember MAD? Mutually Assured Destruction? The cry when I was a kid was that BECAUSE the Soviets (remember them - they used to be 'The Evil Empire') could destroy America and because America could destroy the Soviets then nuclear war would NEVER happen – and it hasn’t.
Solution – GIVE the Iranians 200 nuclear missiles to match the Israelis nuclear stockpile– THEN we’ll all feel much safer!

After all - in the end - it's probably all about missile envy.
 
 
0 # TheDeprogrammer 2012-01-20 17:24
There is great need for everyone to join Lyndon LaRouche and the efforts being waged within his organization.Th ere are far to many comments and no real action from this bunch of pet peeve driven groupies.Commen ts do not bring about actions and they are worthless unless directly followed with the latter.There is great action in the correct direction within the LaRouche PAC! Everyone of you are needed there.
 

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