My Tuesday take: Iran and talk of war

From the New York Times, February 24, 2012: Recent assessments by American spy agencies are broadly consistent with a 2007 intelligence finding that concluded that Iran had abandoned its nuclear weapons program years earlier, according to current and former American officials. The officials said that assessment was largely reaffirmed in a 2010 National Intelligence Estimate, and that it remains the consensus view of America’s 16 intelligence agencies.

Sixteen!  Not one, not ten, but SIXTEEN of our own spy agencies essentially are telling us that there is no bomb being made in Iran.  Enriched uranium?  Yes, but NO BOMB.  Do you hear that Israel?  Mitch McConnell?  Do you hear that Rick and Mitt?  Do you hear that, all you crazy, stupid hawks out there beating the drums of war?  Have you no sense of life and death?  Have you simply, astonishingly forgotten what happens when we bomb a country that has not threatened or attacked us?  Have you forgotten what happens when we ignore evidence and make preemptive strikes in lands we do not understand?  Do 4804 lives make no difference to you, as long as they are not your sons or daughters, husbands or wives?  Does $801,649,050,949 and counting not make you just a wee bit nervous for the future bottom line of our country?

By criticizing President Obama and his choice in allowing diplomacy and sanctions to take hold in Iran – rather than using rhetoric like ‘military action’ or ‘my dick is bigger than yours’ (sorry Mom) – these macho yahoos are being hateful.  It’s a strong word but war is hateful and anyone even suggesting it must associate themselves with all that war entails.  It involves blood, guts, death, dying, torture, rape, debilitating PTSD, innocent children blown to pieces.

Rick Santorum had this to say: “The best thing that could happen in the world markets is an Iran without a nuclear weapon and a new Iranian regime, neither of which he (Obama) is doing very much about to make happen.” First, Iran does not have a nuclear weapon, and second, Rick, you think regime change is the way to go?  And you believe we should force that upon Iran?  I’ll give you a minute to think that through.  In the meantime, let me just mention to you that the Pope, the head of the Catholic Church that guides your soul and every move you make, was against the Iraq war (regime change, preemptive) from the very beginning.  So if you’ve misspoken, if in fact you don’t mean that we should threaten war with Iran, please clarify.

This from Mitch McConnell: “In the weeks and months ahead, Israel and the United States face a day of reckoning.  We either do what it takes to preserve the balance of power within the broader Middle East or risk a nuclear arms race across the region that’s almost certain to upend it.” What are you saying, Mitch?  In the weeks ahead?  Do you have information that before we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, the Iranians will have enriched uranium to weapons-grade, or in fact built a bomb, despite those SIXTEEN agencies’ assertion that no such thing is happening?  Is that what you’re implying?  Because talk of war – which is what you’re doing – is irresponsible and only serves to make the likes of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad a little crazier than he already is.  You’re the dangerous one right now, Mitch.

Read Mitt Romney’s opinion piece in Monday’s Washington Post.  In it, he calls Obama ‘America’s most feckless president since Carter’ because, ya know, Obama didn’t get Osama bin Laden killed, or aid Libya in saying goodbye to Moammar Ghadaffi, or support the dissident uprising against Yemen’s and Egypt’s autocratic regimes.  Oh wait, yes he did.  (Though why we’re not helping in Syria is hard to understand.)  What Mitt doesn’t explain in his manly pronouncements – “I have put forward a comprehensive plan to rebuild American might…” – is that his idea to comprehensively manage Iran is much like Obama’s, without the saber rattling and scare tactics.  Quick, when’s the last time you stayed up at night, unable to sleep, because Iranian scientists were dickering with uranium?  Probably about the last time, before 2003, you really thought about Saddam Hussein and his phantom WMD, right?  Am I right?

Which brings me to Israel.  Our relationship is complicated.  Benjamin Netanyahu isn’t the kind of guy who’s going to wait around for permission to do anything, so implying that Obama has turned his back on our friends in the Middle East is just a lot of hot air.  We understand why Israel hates Iran.  They’ve got good reason to feel as they do and therefore, Israel will ultimately take care of itself should the need arise.  But we must, absolutely must, insist on diplomacy before we talk of war.  We must punish with sanctions before we threaten bloodshed.  Any and all non-military measures are required before we commit our soldiers to help Israel, to kill and be killed.

Are the hawks immune to the hangover we all feel after Iraq, even as Afghanistan continues?  WAR IS TERRIBLE.  Join me in beating the drums of anything but war, even if it means that we scream and shout, point fingers, call each other names, threaten hardships, talk incessantly, finagle, cajole, marginalize, isolate, impose sanctions so severe as to border on inhumane.  It’s still better than war.  Hands down, it is.

No more talk of war.  No more.

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