Saturday, April 29, 2006

The war in the distance: Why the U.S. should not attack Iran

By Philip Terrie

I wonder how many Americans are paying attention to an important international drama that could determine the fate of our country and our place in the world. President Bush and his neocon cheerleaders are preparing for air strikes against Iran, possibly, according to recent reports, with nuclear weapons. Their claim is that Iran is itself developing nuclear capabilities, despite expert opinions that Iran is at least ten years away from deployable nuclear devices.

While the emergence of yet another nuclear power is surely not something we want, all Americans should think very carefully about what the likely consequences of an American attack on Iran will be. To Iranians, this will be what Pearl Harbor was for the United States in 1941: an unprovoked attack on their homeland by an aggressive, expansive power. It will set them violently and implacably at war with the United States.

Iran, unlike Iraq, is a relatively wealthy and developed country, with a population approaching 80 million and a well-equipped military. While there is widespread opposition to the authoritarian theocracy maintained by fundamentalist mullahs, there is also a profound sense of patriotism and loyalty to the Iranian state. Nothing would unify the country more than an attack by the United States. The notion of regime change, precipitated by American military intervention, is a neocon fantasy.

It is equally absurd to imagine that Iranians would passively accept an assault on their sovereignty. With its air force and missiles, Iran can stop the movement of oil from the Persian Gulf; this would inevitably lead to a world-wide economic depression, lasting as long as the Iranians want it to. Michigan will hemorrhage jobs, and our state will sink closer to third-world misery. Iran commands allegiance from Shiite militias throughout Iraq; if they are ordered to conduct operations against American troops, the result will be horrible loss of American lives, on a scale far beyond anything we have seen so far.

Iran is capable of unleashing terrorist attacks in Israel and in the United States that will make 9/11 seem tame. If attacked, what is to prevent them from striking back with any means at their disposal? If they do, Israeli and American civilian deaths will be counted in the tens of thousands, if not more. It will be a war without end. Does the United States have an army ready and willing to invade and occupy, indefinitely, a country larger, more unified, and better equipped than Iraq was in 2003? If not, will we launch nuclear warheads against Iranian cities?

I do not like the idea of Iran’s joining the nuclear club; Iran is an unpredictable, anti-Semitic theocracy. But we should remember that for decades the United States faced a far more menacing adversary in the Soviet Union. The doctrine of containment and engagement was hardly perfect, but World War III did not break out, and the Soviet Union collapsed.

The Bush administration invaded Iraq on the basis of faulty or contrived intelligence and clearly had no idea what the consequences of an occupation of that country would mean. Can we be confident that it can accurately assess the long-term consequences of an attack on Iran? Given the debacle in Iraq, can we ever trust this administration?

Friday, April 28, 2006

The People's Platform: We are all in the same boat

Visit BlueNovember.Org to read The People's Platform: We are all in the same boat.

The People's Platform includes twenty statements demanding new directions in American politics. The platform addresses our individual needs and collective responsibilities.

The truth is that our fate is sealed with those with whom we share a community. And, now, in the twenty-first century, our communities start locally but also reach around the planet.

Not many of us can be insulated from the effects of our neighbor's fate. And, although the greediest among us may ignore the needs of our fellow humans, most of us would not trade our visceral shared experience for their insensate ignorant bliss.

The People's Platform calls on us all to restore the values inherent in our democratic ideals with the hopeful language of community and respect.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Rescuing Democracy One Person at a Time

BlueNovember.Org is a St. Clair County, Michigan, grassroots, progressive group of citizens who are working to transform our local, state, national, and world communities. We might not be able to change the social conscience of the world in a giant leap, but we can surely make progress toward rescuing our democracy one step at a time, one person at a time.

BlueNovember.Org began when we held a Funeral for the American Dream on January 20, 2005, the dark day that gave the Bush administration four more years to do things they so love to do: gut our economy, weaken our standing in the world, torture more people, wage an immoral war, ignore the needs of our Katrina victims, vilify science, kiss up to the religious fanatics (American al Qaeda), provide millions in corporate welfare, ruin public education, spy on people without court order, and create more hate in this country than we've had since the civil rights era.

A funeral might sound like the end, but for BlueNovember.Org, it was the beginning.