Friday, September 28, 2007

On the Probability of War with Iran

Those who make a habit of reading the tea leaves related to the Bush Administration's obsession with provoking war with the Iranians know that the U.S. has been actively drawing up war plans against Iran since at least 2004. The debate among administration officials these days seems to revolve around the type of war that will be delivered to us.

One scenario envisioned by the war hawks involves merely targeting suspected nuclear facilities in Iran, while other Bush advisors call for attacks on up to 2,000 of Iran's military installations, communications centers, and related targets.

The Bush administration has even managed to convince many Democrats to join in on the anti-Iranian festivities, as the Senate, in a 76-22 vote on Wednesday, approved a non-binding amendment to the 2008 defense authorization bill that designated Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) a "foreign terrorist organization". This is in response to claims that Iran is providing weapons and training to Shi'ite militias in Iraq, but the net result of this action will be to drive even more support behind Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the Iranian hardliners. Here are some of the relevant paragraphs of Senate Amendment 3017:
(3) that it should be the policy of the United States to combat, contain, and roll back the violent activities and destabilizing influence inside Iraq of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran, its foreign facilitators such as Lebanese Hezbollah, and its indigenous Iraqi proxies;
(4) to support the prudent and calibrated use of all instruments of United States national power in Iraq, including diplomatic, economic, intelligence, and military instruments, in support of the policy described in (3) with respect to the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran and its proxies;
(5) that the United States should designate the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps as a foreign terrorist organization under section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act and place the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps on the list of Specially Designated Global Terrorists, as established under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and initiated under Executive Order 13224;
Senator Clinton voted for the amendment, while Senator Obama abstained. The only significant criticism of this piece of noxious legislation came from Senator Jim Webb, who called the move Vice President Dick Cheney's "fondest pipe dream."

The demonization of the Republic of Iran began many years ago after the Iranian Revolution, and the visit this week by Ahmadinejad to Columbia University ended up being another public relations coup for the Bush Administration. University President Lee Bollinger played an important role for the Bush administration in the run-up to a war with Iran, introducing the Iranian President as a "petty and cruel dictator" and someone whose comments on the Holocaust demontrate that he is "either brazenly provocative or astonishingly uneducated."

While Ahmadinejad is indeed a poor historian, he is the leader of a sovereign nation, and it is clear that there is a concentrated effort by American elites such as Bollinger to justify war with Iran through the process of demonization, whether as willing participants or as unwitting dupes. This is regrettable, because an attack on Iranian military targets will likely mean at least a significantly wider regional war, and perhaps be a trigger for a new world war.

I am of the opinion that military actions against Iran will commence in February or March 2008, and that the net result of this foolhardy plan of action will be an inescapable escalation of the conflict into a wider war with the use of nuclear weaponry for the first time since 1945.

May God have mercy on all of our souls if this comes to pass.

This essay on the probability of war with Iran was also cross-posted on the historymike blog.

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