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Taking a Stand Against War
Posted on May 11, 2008
By Scott Ritter
As someone who has been urging focused citizen activism for some time now, I find it heartening that there are those in the United States who put action to words and seek to lead by example. This is the case with Chicago Alderman Joe Moore, who, together with seven of his 49 colleagues (Toni Preckwinkle, Sandi Jackson, Eugene Schulter, Robert Fioretti, Freddrenna Lyle, Ricardo Munoz and Mary Ann Smith), has prepared a resolution for the Chicago City Council opposing war on Iran. By itself, this resolution most probably will not serve to alter the policies currently being pursued by the Bush administration. But when a great American city such as Chicago takes the lead in expressing its rejection of irresponsible national policy, other cities should, and will, take notice.
I have been asked to be a witness, together with other experts on Iran and U.S. Middle East policy, before the City Council as it considers this resolution. I think it is of great importance that the representatives of the people of Chicago vote to adopt it in its entirety. I would also encourage other municipalities to consider similar resolutions opposing war on Iran, and to express their concern through the adoption of resolutions which, collectively, might serve as a notice to the United States Congress, as well as the administration of President Bush, that a war with Iran would not be supported by the citizens of this land.
In preparing for my role as witness, I carefully considered the Chicago resolution in its entirety, and offer my analysis of its content as a primer for interested parties. I sincerely hope that the leadership and courage exhibited by the Chicago council members can be replicated across America in a timely fashion, and that the resultant will of the people is recognized by the Congress in time for effective legislation to be drafted and passed which reduces the threat of U.S.-Iranian conflict.
“WHEREAS, The Bush Administration and its Congressional allies are engaging in a systematic campaign to convince the American people that the Islamic Republic of Iran poses an imminent threat to the American nation, American troops in the Middle East and U.S. allies.”
The propaganda war being waged by the Bush administration in this regard has been as intense and relentless as any in recent memory. Either directly or through proxy, the administration has painted a one-sided portrait of Iran which is inaccurate and misleading in the extreme. To have a nation of nearly 80 million people, possessing a history and culture several thousands of years old, suddenly personified in the image of a single individual, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is a gross misrepresentation. Imagine if one tried to characterize the entire American people in the form of George W. Bush. Iran is a diverse nation, with numerous political and social constituencies which compete across a broad spectrum of forums, governmental and nongovernmental alike. To take the words and deeds of one man, out of context in some cases and inaccurately in others, and use them to paint a picture of national policy is as wrong as it is deceitful.
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The fact that the current Iraqi government is drawn primarily from two political entities (the Da’wa Party and the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq) that are closely allied with the Iranians not only belies the U.S. claim that Iran seeks to undermine security in Iraq (since to accept this proposition one would have to embrace the premise that Iran is fighting itself), but also illustrates the inherent inconsistency of the U.S. position in Iraq, which is to oppose the one regional power which supports the stated U.S. objective of empowering the Shiite-dominated government in Baghdad. The reality is that it is bad U.S. policy, not any concerted action on the part of Iran, which serves as the greatest threat to U.S. forces in the Middle East.
“WHEREAS, This campaign bears a strong resemblance to that waged during the lead-up to the Iraq War and occupation, with the use of unreliable sources, exaggerated threat assessments, the selective use of information, unsubstantiated accusations about Iran’s nuclear program and its supply of weapons to Iraqi forces as centerpieces of their case to the American people for aggressive action against Iran.”
If the current war in Iraq has taught the American people anything, it is that we can never again have our nation led to war based upon unsubstantiated data, rumor and speculation. Effective congressional oversight could have retarded the Bush propaganda on Iraq, especially concerning the WMD issue and the allegations of ties between Saddam’s regime and al-Qaida. The fact that Congress accepted, without question, every negative story produced by the Bush administration, and that the product of this abrogation of constitutional mandate was parroted as fact by a too-compliant media, should serve as a wake-up call that past patterns of behavior are repeating themselves today, this time in the case of Iran.
If one replaces Ahmed Chalabi and the Iraqi National Congress with Alireza Jafazadeh and the Mujahedeen Khalq, and “Curveball” (the disgraced INC-planted intelligence source cited by then-Secretary of State Colin Powell in his infamous February 2003 presentation before the U.N. Security Council) with the “magic laptop computer” (provided by the MEK to U.S. intelligence, and cited by the U.S. as the sole source for many of its claims concerning an ongoing Iranian nuclear weapons program), it is clear that there is much to be suspicious of regarding the Bush administration case against Iran.
When the United States cites the capture of alleged Iranian “Quds Force” officials as proof of Iranian perfidy inside Iraq, and then releases these same individuals months later, citing a lack of intelligence value and the fact that these prisoners pose no security threat, it becomes clear that the U.S. case against Iran is built primarily upon ideologically motivated smoke and mirrors. The Congress must never again allow itself to be used as a rubber stamp for unnecessary war, but it will act only when pushed to do so by an alarmed and awakened constituency.
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