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Is U.S. planning a military attack on Iran?

Jan 28, 2010

The following letter was written by Iranian progressives.

Today the big question facing the peace and justice movement is whether Washington is planning a military attack against Iran. Shocking as such a thought might be, this is exactly what is being debated and contemplated at the highest levels of American politics.

The Obama administration came into office promising a break with George Bush’s policies. Many progressives voted for him because of that. He promised change and dialogue with Iran instead of confrontation. In June 2009 he traveled to Cairo in a highly publicized trip and made a beautiful speech calling for “a new beginning with Muslims” and mutual respect. He even questioned the policies of his predecessors, including the CIA-engineered coup in 1953 in Iran, and promised dialogue.

After his election millions of people both here in the U.S. and around the world, and in particular in the Middle East, were hopeful that Obama would make a serious change from the insane and militarist approach of the previous administration.

Unfortunately we were mistaken. Since that speech President Obama has not pursued dialogue and respect for the sovereignty of nations in the Middle East but has carried out more bombings and military strikes, stretching from Iraq to Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen. In addition, he has sent tens of thousands more troops to Afghanistan. In Palestine, the White House is following the same script: turning a blind eye to Israel’s aggression against the Palestinians.

In Iran, the State Department has been carrying out what amounts to a “soft war” by aiding and abetting the opposition to Tehran’s government, both prior to the June 2009 presidential election (many believe that Obama’s Cairo speech was a direct intervention in Iranian elections) and after. The American media has been saturated with coverage of the opposition news from Iran with a biased lens, totally misrepresenting the actual events taking place there.

The goal of the American administration and its various entities was to overthrow the Iranian government from inside by aiding the opposition. The U.S. and European involvement in the internal politics of Iran has had a reactionary effect and is only retarding the natural development of events there.

Today, it seems that Washington has concluded that its “soft war” has failed. The voices for attacking Iran militarily are getting stronger. And as in 2003, when Bush and Cheney’s lies about WMD in Iraq found their echo in the so-called “objective and skeptical” media, today the lies about the Iranian “nuclear threat” are being reinforced by a compliant media.

Iran has repeatedly stated that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes for use in medical and electricity generation. It is a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and has opened its facilities to inspection by the International Atomic Energy Agency. The nuclear story as presented in the U.S. media is only a cover — as it was with WMD in Iraq.

Since its independence, Iran has advanced enormously in all economic, social and cultural spheres, with a very strong sense of national identity. Today women make up the majority in Iranian universities and colleges. The illiteracy rate has dropped greatly. Despite an imposed sanctions system ever since its revolution and many obstacles, it has achieved great growth in both industrial and agricultural sectors.

Iran faces many challenges, both internally and externally, but as long as its sovereignty is not in jeopardy it will be able to overcome these obstacles and be a strong and thriving economy in the Middle East. And it is exactly this that is so threatening to the West: Iran as an independent and sovereign nation with a strong economy will be an example for the rest of the Middle East and show that it is possible to challenge Washington’s agenda.

Now that the U.S. has exhausted all non-military means of overthrowing the Iranian government and has failed, it is teetering towards a military attack. Any military attack against Iran would be a monumental tragedy resulting in many thousands of deaths and enormous material damage. It would set Iran back many years in its attempt for progress and development and would humiliate it in the Middle East.

This is precisely what such an attack is meant to achieve, not the hypocritical scenario of preventing a “nuclear threat” from Iran. Today, even if Iran had the intention of developing nuclear weapons, under the most suitable circumstances it would take many years for it to be able to reach that point. So even if one were to believe these lies, the question is: what is the urgency now? The right wing in the United States, which lost its credibility because of the Iraq war disaster, wants Obama to do the dirty job of attacking Iran before leaving office.

This Jan. 6, the New York Times carried a front-page story titled: “Iran is Shielding Nuclear Efforts in Tunnel Mazes.” The story was accompanied by a big picture of the Iranian president and other officials, purportedly in a tunnel and all wearing hard hats. Presumably this looks very threatening to Western audiences. The story has all the hallmarks of the now totally discredited aluminum tube article written by Judith Miller and Michael Gordon and published in the Times on Sept. 8, 2002. That article was meant to persuade the skeptics that Cheney’s concocted stories about WMD hidden in Iraq were credible and to sway them into going along with the White House’s plans for invading Iraq. That was the New York Times’ contribution to paving the way for the invasion of Iraq six months later.

Today, the paper is doing the same. While Judith Miller lost her job for that article and even spent some time in prison as a sacrificial lamb, the editors and publishers were fully aware of what they were doing. Now they are repeating it with Iran. It is not that other media, be they print, radio or television, are not doing the same thing, but the New York Times plays a special role in the American media as the so-called “dean.” Other publications pick up its stories and, by extension, its political line.
The recent Times story on Iran is filled with quotations from the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCR). It is the main source for the article’s information. However, the article never mentioned that NCR is affiliated with the People’s Mujahedeen of Iran, which is on the State Department terror list and acts as its front in the U.S. The People’s Mujahedeen is based in Iraq and protected by American troops. It practically acts like a paid spy agency for the U.S. inside Iran.

In the Iraq aluminum tube story, the Times used Ahmed Chalabi to make its story believable. Chalabi, who was on the CIA’s payroll at the times, was portrayed as a genuine opposition figure. In the Iran story, the paper uses NCR (read People’s Mujahedeen) in the same way.

It is important here to quote the article directly to see the absolute madness and criminality of the war planners in the Pentagon:

“American war planners see Iran’s tunnels — whatever their exact number and contents — as a serious test of military abilities. Most say there is no easy way to wipe out a nuclear program that has been well hidden, widely dispersed and deeply buried.... Doubts notwithstanding, the Obama administration has been careful to leave the military option on the table, and the Pentagon is racing to develop a deadly tunnel weapon.... The device, 20 feet long and called the Massive Ordnance Penetrator, began as a 2004 recommendation from the Defense Science Board, a high-level advisory group to the Pentagon. ‘A deep underground tunnel facility in a rock geology poses a significant challenge,’ the board wrote. ‘Several thousand pounds of high explosives coupled to the tunnel are needed to blow down blast doors and propagate a lethal air blast.’... The bomb carries tons of explosives and is considered 10 times more powerful than its predecessor. It underwent preliminary testing in 2007, and its first deployments are expected next summer. Its carrier is to be the B-2 stealth bomber.”

The Pentagon is planning for mass murder in Iran with its Massive Ordnance Penetrator and the Times justifies it with statements from a shady organization having a history of lies and collaboration with different U.S. agencies about alleged Iranian nuclear activities.

Washington never reconciled itself with Iranian independence and sovereignty, which emerged from the 1979 revolution against the Shah. It never retreated from its course of “regime change.” This has been the official policy of different administrations in the past 30 years.

Since 1979 six different presidents have been elected in Iran, each with different foreign and domestic policies representing the dynamic of the relationship of social and political forces there. In the different U.S. administrations over this period, Republican and Democrat alike had the same end game in mind: to turn the Iranian clock back to before February 11, 1979, when Washington was directing the show in Tehran.

In the 1980s Washington instigated hostility between Iran and Iraq and persuaded Saddam Hussein to invade Iran. Donald Rumsfeld traveled to Iraq as Ronald Reagan’s emissary and met with Saddam Hussein, promising American aid in his war effort against Iran. Over one million Iraqis and Iranians were killed; hundreds of billions of assets on both sides were destroyed. The goal of Washington’s policy makers was to weaken both countries. This was clearly articulated by Henry Kissinger when he said, “Let them kill each other.”

The Iran-Iraq war arose out of a border dispute that could have easily been resolved via the United Nations and other regional entities. The story of American culpability in the devastation that was created by the war has yet to be told.

On July 3, 1988, U.S. Navy ship USS Vincennes attacked an Iranian civilian airliner (Iran Air flight 655) on a routine flight from Bandar Abbas to Dubai, killing 290 passengers and crew, including 65 children. Later, the captain of the Vincennes was awarded the Medal of Honor. There has not been any accountability for this clear act of state terrorism. No American official responsible for the loss of innocent lives on that flight has ever been prosecuted or punished.

The list of U.S. efforts to destabilize Iran and destroy its economy goes on and on, from direct military strikes to economic sanctions, such as banning the sale of civilian aircraft and spare parts to Iran Air, which has resulted in many preventable accidents causing much loss of life and hardships. Today, Iran Air is forced to use old airplanes which would otherwise have been retired due to normal wear and tear.

It is not that policy makers in Washington and Europe have sold their souls to the devil and are just purely evil; no, these horrendous crimes are the result of a foreign policy based on colonialist domination of the natural resources of the Middle East, going back at least to World War I and the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. Since then, first the British and now the U.S. have played a never-ending game of pitting countries against each other and maintaining control of the region’s natural resources, mainly oil and gas.

So when a country like Iran emerges as an independent nation, which is a totally natural thing for a country and as American as apple pie, it becomes a serious threat. The same is true about Iraq and Afghanistan.

The American people do not gain from this disastrous foreign policy. They have had to pay for totally unnecessary military expenses in excess of one trillion dollars over the last decade alone. American working people have been paying for these insane policies not just with a big portion of their wages, in the form of various taxes and deductions, but also in terms of the loss of lives of thousands of soldiers coming from mostly poor families. These policies also generate indignation and anger towards the United States and are the biggest cause of violence.

The progressive forces in the United States over many decades have worked hard for peace and justice and have selflessly sacrificed and contributed enormously to end wars, such as Vietnam, or end injustice, such as the racist apartheid system in South Africa. Today those truly concerned for human rights and genuine democracy see that the biggest obstacle to achieving these goals is the colonialist policies of Western countries against the majority of the world’s population, primarily in the underdeveloped countries which are trying to escape the scourge of backwardness and oppression. These policies, pushed under different banners and guises as liberalism, neo-liberalism, conservatism and neo-conservatism, all have had the same intent — to keep the targeted countries under the control of the Washington/European axis. These policies do not cause or bring about human rights like democracy, but rather promote dependence and poverty for hundreds of millions of people and enormous profits for a tiny class of the super rich, mostly concentrated in the Western countries.

A strong and united opposition to war and intervention in the Middle East and elsewhere, combined with a campaign against racism and injustice, is the best insurance and guarantee for a better and secure world. In our humble opinion there is no more urgent task than for the progressives community to unite, based on a basic platform against war, racism and injustice.


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