by Ed Kinane
Men keep going to war. They go for many reasons. The only defensible reason, however, is self-defense - of one's family, one's community, one's country.
With war many suffer and suffer profoundly. But few gain. Why then do men go to war so often? In one way or another most soldiers are coerced or brainwashed into battle.
The few who gain keep the pot boiling. Even as they themselves avoid battle, those few force others to kill and risk death.
Many are the reasons for not going to war. Just count the victims.
Years ago a group of anti-war activists brainstormed reasons to oppose the imminent US attack on Iraq (see Ed Kinane, "'Violence Bounces': 48 Reasons to Oppose the US Invasion of Iraq," November, 2002 Peace Newsletter). Not much tweaking would be needed for that long list to apply equally to a US invasion of Iran.
That tweaking would be no academic exercise. Mr. Cheney and Mr. Bush, having despoiled two Islamic nations, are poised to despoil a third.
What follows draws on our brainstorm of years ago. As we did then, we begin here with reasons to oppose war in general:
breeds war. War is contagious. Violence breeds violence. "Violence bounces"
(e.e. cummings). War unleashes reactive terrorism, retaliatory terrorism. War
War is about killing. Killing violates virtually every spiritual heritage. That the killing is at a distance or from a high altitude, or that it is multiple, doesn't absolve it.
In war soldiers lose not only their limbs but their lives. They lose not only their psyches but their souls. Thanks to propaganda and misrepresentation, soldiers are put in harrowing circumstances no human should have to endure. To avoid killing or for the shame of having killed, some commit suicide. (According to an April 21, 2008 Associated Press dispatch, "An average of 18 military veterans kill themselves each day ." This is many more than are killed on the battlefield.)
War corrupts. Wars of aggression corrupt absolutely. In war, profiteering is rife. Our taxes finance war while the corporations cash in. The profiteers both promote and perpetuate war.
War demands censorship. War demands disinformation. The first casualty of war is truth. War stifles dissent and erodes civil liberties. Benito Mussolini told us fascism is the merger of the corporations with the government. War cloaks and consolidates fascism.
The US is the unopposed master of aerial warfare. Air war doesn't discriminate between civilian and military. It targets and destroys infrastructure essential to civilian life. For the past century civilians have been the vast majority of war casualties. Killing civilians is cowardly. It is terrorism.
War spreads, surges, spills over, escalates. It ignores borders. War trickles down; it comes home to roost. War cheapens and brutalizes a people and their culture. Domestic abuse rises as soldiers - many suffering post-traumatic stress disorder - return home.
Pre-emptive war violates national sovereignty. Pre-emptive war violates the UN Charter and international law. Violations of law - especially by the only superpower - undermine global security.
Financing war becomes a pretext to scale back social programs essential for the quality of life, essential for distributive justice, essential for real democracy. War, especially repeated war, bankrupts. For better or worse it overextends and implodes empire.
The US now uses depleted uranium in its armor and ordinance. Upon returning home many soldiers, exposed to toxic and radioactive d.u., fall ill. Some conceive babies congenitally deformed. In Iraq d.u. leads to epidemic childhood leukemia.
War pollutes and otherwise subverts the environment. War squanders the earth's resources.
War on Iran
In 1953 a CIA coup toppled the democratically elected statesman, Mohammad Mossadegh. The CIA then installed the Shah, a tyrant and friend to US oil companies. In 1979 a popular revolution overthrew the Shah.
Iran, a cradle of civilization, has twelve next-door neighbors. In the past two centuries it hasn't invaded any of them. Needless to say it has never invaded the US or toppled any US president. Nor has Iran looted US oil.
Iran has never provided any credible threat to US security. Yet Bush Inc. keeps saber rattling, brazenly threatening to attack Iran. The folly and viciousness of such provocation is clear:
1979 diplomacy between the US and Iran has barely been pursued.
War against Iran is a neo-con dream. It's about controlling the oil faucet. It's about bending the Middle East to US imperial will. It's about world domination.
Despite the hype, despite the lies, a war on Iran would be one of naked, Nazi-like aggression. As they did with Iraq, Israel and AIPAC, its US lobby, incite hostility to Iran, distorting a realistic assessment of our interests in the Middle East.
War is unpredictable. The contemplated air war may morph into land war: thousands of US soldiers may die; hundreds of thousands of Iranians may die. Millions may be displaced.
War on Iran risks drying up Iranian oil on world markets. If an attacked Iran succeeds in blocking the Strait of Hormuz, other Middle East oil will cease to flow. Oil companies may profit from the scarce supplies, but prices at the pump will spike.
A US invasion pre-empts the choices of the Iranian people. It would undermine those (many) progressive Iranians struggling for reform.
|Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded,
because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent
of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes; and armies, and debts, and
taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination
of the few. In war, too, the discretionary power of the Executive is extended;
its influence in dealing out offices, honors, and emoluments is multiplied;
and all the means of seducing the minds, are added to those of subduing
the force, of the people. The same malignant aspect in republicanism may
be traced in the inequality of fortunes, and the opportunities of fraud,
growing out of a state of war, and in the degeneracy of manners and of morals
engendered by both. No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of
-James Madison (1795)
Muslims are a quarter of the world's population. They may grow impatient with the US attacking yet another Islamic country. US soldiers in Iraq will reap the blowback of Shia rage.
Yet another invasion may further undermine US ties with its allies as the US further proves itself a global outlaw, a rogue state.
Like the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq, the invasion of Iran would be a war of distraction. That distraction might temporarily obscure those two failed wars and the deepening recession. Domestic opposition here to the war on Iran might somehow provide Bush and Cheney the pretext to suspend the 2008 presidential elections thus postponing their indictment for war crimes.
The US has no legal or moral standing to pre-emptively target Iran's alleged nuclear capacity. The US is the world's only perpetrator of nuclear holocaust - not once, but twice, not against military targets but against civilians. The US abetted the nuclearization of Israel.
Given its nuclear arsenal, its use of depleted uranium, its arms export industry, its support for the Israeli air war on Lebanon, and its own terrorist training camps (e.g. the US Army's School of the Americas), it is sheer hypocrisy for the US to claim it is waging "war on terrorism."
Lastly: for five fierce years a battered and factionalized Iraq - without a national army or air force - has withstood and humbled the mighty US military. Iran is even larger, richer, more intact and more united than Iraq. As Iraq learned when it tried to invade Iran in the eighties, a righteous Iran is no foe to mess with.