November 10, 2012

Thirty-Five U.S. Bases Surround Iran - Who’s Threatening Whom?

Iran, which has not invaded another country for hundreds of years, has no nuclear weapons and may legally produce reactor fuel and medical isotopes as a party to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty. The U.S. and Israeli governments, which have repeatedly bombed and invaded and militarily occupied territories in all directions around Israel, have been ironically considering military strikes against Iran’s uranium processing facilities, all the while maintaining nuclear arsenals that include Israel’s 150 to 600 and the United States’ 5,000 deployed warheads.

U.S. Senators Ron Johnson, Herb Kohl, Amy Klobuchar, and Al Franken must speak out urgently against any U.S. military attack on Iran. Voices of reason are needed to rebut the irrational, ignorant, and dangerous threats coming from the likes of Senator Lindsay Graham, R-SC, who declared two weeks ago, “The time for talking is over.” Sen. Graham’s provocation is preposterous considering the U.S. has had no direct talks with Iran for decades. 

As Ambassador James Dobbins, a Director of RAND, has pointed out, “We spoke to Stalin’s Russia. We spoke to Mao’s China. In both cases, greater mutual exposure changed their system, not ours. It’s time to speak to Iran, unconditionally and comprehensively.” Even former U.S. Ambassador to Israel Thomas Pickering recently wrote, “Patient, committed diplomacy is the only way to realize the long-term and durable objectives of an Iran without nuclear weapons and a region without war.… It is a grave and uncertain time.”

Nothing could be more grave or uncertain than the consequences of a
U.S. bombardment of Iran.

But two things are known about any such bombing: civilians would be the victims, and since
Iran hasn’t attacked anyone, it would be another example, as if history needs one, of unprovoked, unlawful aggression. After invading Iraq in 2003, two UN secretary generals said the adventure was unlawful. U.S. invasions and occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan have caused the death and dismemberment of hundreds of thousands of innocent and often illiterate civilians. All aerial bombing of cities destroys civilians and civilian objects, and consequently violate the U.S. Air Force’s own law, which prohibits attacks when civilian deaths are inevitable.  The city of Tehran alone has 8.8 million inhabitants.

Security Hawks Warn Against Long War, Call for Negotiations

On Oct. 15, a group of national security experts including prominent Republicans such as former deputy secretary of state Richard Armitage and ex-Senator Chuck Hagel issued a report under the name Iran Project. They predicted that it could take many years of
U.S. bombing to ensure that there is no regrouping and restart of an Iranian nuclear program, following a much-discussed but limited initial U.S. bombing of the facilities. The report warns that preventing a restart would require a “significantly expanded air and sea war over a prolonged period of time, likely several years.”

The experts note that a
U.S. attack would invite endless retaliation. Their report anticipates the possible closure the Strait of Hormuz for days or weeks, devastating the world’s oil racket — as if gas prices weren’t high enough already. Iran could also sponsor rogue attacks on U.S. facilities around the world using mercenaries and surrogates, conceivably setting off a regional war, they said.

Moreover, the report warns that an attack would strengthen, not weaken,
Iran’s leaders’ hold on their country. Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has noted that in addition to merely delaying Iran’s nuclear program, military strikes could be counter-productive. War, “as far as I’m concerned…will bring together a divided nation, it will make them [Iranians] absolutely committed to attaining nuclear weapons, and they will just go deeper and more covert,” Gates told the Wall Street Journal CEO Council.

The Iranians claim their nuclear program is for power reactors and medical isotopes. Unless and until
Iran proves otherwise and moves to attack another state, there is no lawful or justifiable reason for the U.S. to bomb, and then only under strict UN Security Council authority. Indeed, how threatening can Iran really be?  It is the U.S. that has built at least 35 military bases that surround Iran (see map), and the U.S that maintains a fleet of Naval warships in the Persian Gulf.

ABC News reported in July that Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, of
Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Aerospace Force, told reporters the U.S. has 35 bases around Iran and all are “within the reach of our missiles” and could be hit “in the early minutes after an attack.”

After decades of bloody
U.S. quagmires in Afghanistan and Iraq, our U.S. senators should help cooler heads prevail by demanding that diplomacy be put to work rather than more mayhem and wider war.

> This article was written by John LaForge of Nukewatch, a nuclear watchdog and anti-war group in
Wisconsin.  This article is reprinted from the Reader Weekly newspaper.


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