Last Chance to Spare Iran: You Can Do It
by Dr. Mary Maxwell
January 1, 2006
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According to Scott Ritter, we Americans have been sending aerial vehicles (unmanned drones) into the Iranian hinterland for some months now. And, according to Kurt Nimmo, the CIA has put Turkey on notice for “the possible US air operation against Iran and Syria.” The fact that our newspapers and
Network television refuse to tell us about this does not absolve us of responsibility. You must, and I repeat, must, do all you can to stop this.
Reasons to Spare Iran
Why should we act decisively to stop the Pentagon from bombing Iran? Of the following five reasons,
I cannot say which is the most important – they seem equally to merit priority. Still, for practical reasons, one can be singled out as the absolute top priority. Namely, the US should not engage in nuclear war – whether in Iran or anywhere else in the world. True, the US has already used bunker buster weapons and munitions with depleted uranium in Iraq, but nuclear weapons should NEVER be used. We must draw the line even against so-called ‘mini nukes’.
Four specific reasons why we should protect Iran are:
Quite simply, a consensus has been reached since 1945 that crimes against humanity are off-limits (not a bad consensus when you think of it – we may be on the receiving end someday)
Iran should be respected for its cultural achievements that date back to the Persian empire, and which were appropriated liberally by European civilizations (ah, Persian carpets…ah, glazed tiles)
‘Regime change’ sparks recollection of the fact that the CIA already changed Iran’s regime once – in 1953. It helped overthrow the popular leader Mossadegh, and then trained the horrific secret service, SAVAK, for the Shah
We Americans would be wrecking our own future, and our self-esteem, by engaging in such a war
Then there is the matter of neocon authorship of the proposal to strike Iran. Most neocons think destruction is wonderful! I ask: is there any reason for us to click our heels in response to the orders of the neocon dimwits? I’m reaching for my Slang Thesaurus (edited by Jonathon Green) to find a better word, as I don’t think ‘dimwit’ does justice to the neocon situation. Let’s see, Section 431 offers these synonyms:
airhead, boob, cementhead, clod, diphead, dork, drongo, dumbellina, dumbski, horse’s arse, lunchbox, mental job, mule, musclehead, room to rent, thickie, thicko.
Let me mention that I am a Johns Hopkins alumna and every time I read that Paul Wolfowitz, a former professor at that university, has an impressive intellect I cringe. By the way, despite my alluding to my education, I am well aware of my own innocence and stupidity. Part of me feels that it is entirely wrong for me to issue recommendations such as “Hold back those bombs” or “Let Iran be free.” Almost certainly I am in the dark about many things that could alter my views. This explains why I relied above on five arguments that appear unassailable: don’t nuke, eschew crimes against humanity, respect Persia’s history, remember our role in SAVAK, and preserve America’s self-esteem. Moreover, caution is especially due here because I am not just offering my viewpoint, I am explicitly urging you, dear Reader, to do what you can to restrain America.
Hence, let me air a few more issues. We hear that a reason to suppress Iran has to do with its audacious plan to shift oil sales from US currency to euros. Fair enough, but does that really justify all the risks of a war? We hear also that regime change in Teheran would be beneficial. Go to the website called regimechangeiran.blogspot.com and you will find a large banner in which the red, white, and green flag of Iran merges imperceptibly into the stars and stripes. Under that banner is the statement “The blogosphere supports real democracy in Iran” (By the way, let’s not forget the rumor that Paul Wolfowitz’s Iranian girlfriend favors regime change in Teheran). Again the question arises: is war a logical way to provide a nation with less dictatorial rule? Look at Iraq. Saddam may yet re-attain power.
There is also a purely selfish reason for us to help Iran that should not be overlooked. Namely, if citizens use enough muscle on this isolated issue “Stay the hell out of Iran”, and thereby chalk up a victory, it would bode well for when we take a stand against domestic incursions such as the all-too-imminent threat of martial law on our shores.
A Crucial Preliminary Obstacle: Lulling
So why is every decent American citizen not jumping to denounce the likely invasion of Iran? (And, down the road, the threatened invasion of Syria and North Korea?) Insularity and laziness are not the explanation, in my opinion. Rather, we get fooled by frequent statements that all options are still open. Sec. of State Rice has said as much. Also, the new head of Israel’s Likud party, Benjamin Netanyahu – Bibi – indicates that if he wins the March elections he will ‘take out’ Iran’s nuclear reactor the same way Israel took out Iraq’s nuclear reactor, Osiraq, in 1981 (which was a clean, non-war move.)
It is essential not to let ‘options’ or the promise of a delayed timing fool us. Bibi’s mention of a March date could be a calculated method of putting us at ease during January and February – to our detriment. We are forever being fooled, not only by those who plant future dates in our mind, but also by our human-nature tendency to bank on the most favorable scenario. For example, lately I have been unconsciously treating myself to the optimistic pretense that Iran will be spared from the coming hell of bombs, maimed bodies, and destroyed homes.
For us to call attention to any situation where there is a danger that we might be lulled into inaction, it would be useful to have a new word or concept. Just call it the ‘anti- lull signal’, or for those who thirst for acronyms, ALS. In the lead-up to America’s attack on Iraq, I can remember a series of televised interviews, in 2003, in which the late Professor Edward Said and other experts were asked to predict the likely outcome of a military attack. All interviewees came up with hopeful statements except Said. He painted a picture that later materialized. Roughly, his words were “It would be an absolute disaster to attack Iraq. Necessarily it would bring about a civil war, and a destabilization of the region.” Maybe it would have helped if someone screamed ALS! ALS! to the other interviewees.
As a rule, as long as our personal survival is not at stake, we unconsciously opt to be lulled. Just like a casino patron sitting in front of the slots, our hopes are higher than they should be. Today many people understandably entertain the hope that we will stay out of Iran. Wayne Madsen, in his ever-juicy gossip column, mentioned a few months ago that Iran’s leaders are in possession of an incriminating photo of George W. Bush, taken in his younger days that could be used to blackmail him. Who knows, maybe it is true.
Another notion that is circulating is that Russia, possibly possessing far greater war power than it admits, will be Iran’s protecting ally. Or that the European Union, in its desire to show defiance of US aggression, would endorse peaceful negotiations with Iran. Of those two bases for hope, I don’t take the latter seriously, as I think the EU’s independence is largely feigned. The former, however, is plausible: classic balance-of-power theory supports the notion of a Russia-Iran alliance.
The ‘Surprise” Element
An excellent reason to be circumspect about starting a war is the matter of unforeseen outcomes. Are you old enough to recall the bumper sticker “Nuke Iran” that was popular in 1980? What brought on that display of jingoism? It was the Yankee shock at the fact that Islamic revolutionaries had taken 52 Americans hostage in Iran. These unfortunate men were captured at the American embassy on November 4th, 1979, and held for over a year. Pride being what it is, we were dying to punish Iran. Of course at that time, the American public had no inkling that the final three months of the hostages’ ordeal was a product of the Reagan-Bush election strategy. They wanted to prevent the incumbent president, Jimmy Carter, from having the glory of getting the hostages freed just before the November elections.
To deprive Carter of just such an ‘October Surprise,’ George Bush, Sr. reportedly did a deal with the Ayatollah on October 19th, 1980 to make our 52 Americans suffer ‘bonus time’. They would not be liberated before the election – indeed the day of their release was the exact day of Reagan’s inauguration in January 1981. This proves, does it not, that our patriotic lust for war against the mean old Ayatollah was misplaced. Nuking Iran at that time (25 years ago) would have punished the wrong wrongdoer!
Reading about Iran
Two bestsellers are worth reading simply for pleasure. One is Lipstick Jihad: A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America and American in Iran by Azadeh Moaveni. The other is Reading Lolita in Teheran by Azar Nafisi, about a discussion group run by a teacher of English literature for her students, in her home in Teheran. Another old chestnut, but still riveting, is the autobiography of Sattareh Farman Farmaian Daughter of Persia. What you will come away with from these books, besides a sense of the inevitable role of the female in the future development of that country, is the sense that the people of Iran are refreshingly open to new social arrangements, and that the world could be their oyster.
Mary Maxwell, Ph.D., P.O. Box 4307, Ann Arbor, MI, 48106, USA is a political scientist. She can be emailed as ‘mary’ at her website: marymaxwell.us She hereby permits anyone to copy or distribute this article as long as it remains unaltered and carries this notice.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Centre for Research on Globalization.
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