Is U.S. planning a military attack on Iran?
Published Jan 28, 2010 8:42 PM
The following letter was written by Iranian progressives.
Today the big question facing the peace and justice movement is whether
Washington is planning a military attack against Iran. Shocking as such a
thought might be, this is exactly what is being debated and contemplated at the
highest levels of American politics.
The Obama administration came into office promising a break with George
Bush’s policies. Many progressives voted for him because of that. He
promised change and dialogue with Iran instead of confrontation. In June 2009
he traveled to Cairo in a highly publicized trip and made a beautiful speech
calling for “a new beginning with Muslims” and mutual respect. He
even questioned the policies of his predecessors, including the CIA-engineered
coup in 1953 in Iran, and promised dialogue.
After his election millions of people both here in the U.S. and around the
world, and in particular in the Middle East, were hopeful that Obama would make
a serious change from the insane and militarist approach of the previous
Unfortunately we were mistaken. Since that speech President Obama has not
pursued dialogue and respect for the sovereignty of nations in the Middle East
but has carried out more bombings and military strikes, stretching from Iraq to
Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen. In addition, he has sent tens of thousands
more troops to Afghanistan. In Palestine, the White House is following the same
script: turning a blind eye to Israel’s aggression against the
In Iran, the State Department has been carrying out what amounts to a
“soft war” by aiding and abetting the opposition to Tehran’s
government, both prior to the June 2009 presidential election (many believe
that Obama’s Cairo speech was a direct intervention in Iranian elections)
and after. The American media has been saturated with coverage of the
opposition news from Iran with a biased lens, totally misrepresenting the
actual events taking place there.
The goal of the American administration and its various entities was to
overthrow the Iranian government from inside by aiding the opposition. The U.S.
and European involvement in the internal politics of Iran has had a reactionary
effect and is only retarding the natural development of events there.
Today, it seems that Washington has concluded that its “soft war”
has failed. The voices for attacking Iran militarily are getting stronger. And
as in 2003, when Bush and Cheney’s lies about WMD in Iraq found their
echo in the so-called “objective and skeptical” media, today the
lies about the Iranian “nuclear threat” are being reinforced by a
Iran has repeatedly stated that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes
for use in medical and electricity generation. It is a signatory to the Nuclear
Non-Proliferation Treaty and has opened its facilities to inspection by the
International Atomic Energy Agency. The nuclear story as presented in the U.S.
media is only a cover — as it was with WMD in Iraq.
Since its independence, Iran has advanced enormously in all economic, social
and cultural spheres, with a very strong sense of national identity. Today
women make up the majority in Iranian universities and colleges. The illiteracy
rate has dropped greatly. Despite an imposed sanctions system ever since its
revolution and many obstacles, it has achieved great growth in both industrial
and agricultural sectors.
Iran faces many challenges, both internally and externally, but as long as its
sovereignty is not in jeopardy it will be able to overcome these obstacles and
be a strong and thriving economy in the Middle East. And it is exactly this
that is so threatening to the West: Iran as an independent and sovereign nation
with a strong economy will be an example for the rest of the Middle East and
show that it is possible to challenge Washington’s agenda.
Now that the U.S. has exhausted all non-military means of overthrowing the
Iranian government and has failed, it is teetering towards a military attack.
Any military attack against Iran would be a monumental tragedy resulting in
many thousands of deaths and enormous material damage. It would set Iran back
many years in its attempt for progress and development and would humiliate it
in the Middle East.
This is precisely what such an attack is meant to achieve, not the hypocritical
scenario of preventing a “nuclear threat” from Iran. Today, even if
Iran had the intention of developing nuclear weapons, under the most suitable
circumstances it would take many years for it to be able to reach that point.
So even if one were to believe these lies, the question is: what is the urgency
now? The right wing in the United States, which lost its credibility because of
the Iraq war disaster, wants Obama to do the dirty job of attacking Iran before
This Jan. 6, the New York Times carried a front-page story titled: “Iran
is Shielding Nuclear Efforts in Tunnel Mazes.” The story was accompanied
by a big picture of the Iranian president and other officials, purportedly in a
tunnel and all wearing hard hats. Presumably this looks very threatening to
Western audiences. The story has all the hallmarks of the now totally
discredited aluminum tube article written by Judith Miller and Michael Gordon
and published in the Times on Sept. 8, 2002. That article was meant to persuade
the skeptics that Cheney’s concocted stories about WMD hidden in Iraq
were credible and to sway them into going along with the White House’s
plans for invading Iraq. That was the New York Times’ contribution to
paving the way for the invasion of Iraq six months later.
Today, the paper is doing the same. While Judith Miller lost her job for that
article and even spent some time in prison as a sacrificial lamb, the editors
and publishers were fully aware of what they were doing. Now they are repeating
it with Iran. It is not that other media, be they print, radio or television,
are not doing the same thing, but the New York Times plays a special role in
the American media as the so-called “dean.” Other publications pick
up its stories and, by extension, its political line.
The recent Times story on Iran is filled with quotations from the National
Council of Resistance of Iran (NCR). It is the main source for the
article’s information. However, the article never mentioned that NCR is
affiliated with the People’s Mujahedeen of Iran, which is on the State
Department terror list and acts as its front in the U.S. The People’s
Mujahedeen is based in Iraq and protected by American troops. It practically
acts like a paid spy agency for the U.S. inside Iran.
In the Iraq aluminum tube story, the Times used Ahmed Chalabi to make its story
believable. Chalabi, who was on the CIA’s payroll at the times, was
portrayed as a genuine opposition figure. In the Iran story, the paper uses NCR
(read People’s Mujahedeen) in the same way.
It is important here to quote the article directly to see the absolute madness
and criminality of the war planners in the Pentagon:
“American war planners see Iran’s tunnels — whatever their
exact number and contents — as a serious test of military abilities. Most
say there is no easy way to wipe out a nuclear program that has been well
hidden, widely dispersed and deeply buried.... Doubts notwithstanding, the
Obama administration has been careful to leave the military option on the
table, and the Pentagon is racing to develop a deadly tunnel weapon.... The
device, 20 feet long and called the Massive Ordnance Penetrator, began as a
2004 recommendation from the Defense Science Board, a high-level advisory group
to the Pentagon. ‘A deep underground tunnel facility in a rock geology
poses a significant challenge,’ the board wrote. ‘Several thousand
pounds of high explosives coupled to the tunnel are needed to blow down blast
doors and propagate a lethal air blast.’... The bomb carries tons of
explosives and is considered 10 times more powerful than its predecessor. It
underwent preliminary testing in 2007, and its first deployments are expected
next summer. Its carrier is to be the B-2 stealth bomber.”
The Pentagon is planning for mass murder in Iran with its Massive Ordnance
Penetrator and the Times justifies it with statements from a shady organization
having a history of lies and collaboration with different U.S. agencies about
alleged Iranian nuclear activities.
Washington never reconciled itself with Iranian independence and sovereignty,
which emerged from the 1979 revolution against the Shah. It never retreated
from its course of “regime change.” This has been the official
policy of different administrations in the past 30 years.
Since 1979 six different presidents have been elected in Iran, each with
different foreign and domestic policies representing the dynamic of the
relationship of social and political forces there. In the different U.S.
administrations over this period, Republican and Democrat alike had the same
end game in mind: to turn the Iranian clock back to before February 11, 1979,
when Washington was directing the show in Tehran.
In the 1980s Washington instigated hostility between Iran and Iraq and
persuaded Saddam Hussein to invade Iran. Donald Rumsfeld traveled to Iraq as
Ronald Reagan’s emissary and met with Saddam Hussein, promising American
aid in his war effort against Iran. Over one million Iraqis and Iranians were
killed; hundreds of billions of assets on both sides were destroyed. The goal
of Washington’s policy makers was to weaken both countries. This was
clearly articulated by Henry Kissinger when he said, “Let them kill each
The Iran-Iraq war arose out of a border dispute that could have easily been
resolved via the United Nations and other regional entities. The story of
American culpability in the devastation that was created by the war has yet to
On July 3, 1988, U.S. Navy ship USS Vincennes attacked an Iranian civilian
airliner (Iran Air flight 655) on a routine flight from Bandar Abbas to Dubai,
killing 290 passengers and crew, including 65 children. Later, the captain of
the Vincennes was awarded the Medal of Honor. There has not been any
accountability for this clear act of state terrorism. No American official
responsible for the loss of innocent lives on that flight has ever been
prosecuted or punished.
The list of U.S. efforts to destabilize Iran and destroy its economy goes on
and on, from direct military strikes to economic sanctions, such as banning the
sale of civilian aircraft and spare parts to Iran Air, which has resulted in
many preventable accidents causing much loss of life and hardships. Today, Iran
Air is forced to use old airplanes which would otherwise have been retired due
to normal wear and tear.
It is not that policy makers in Washington and Europe have sold their souls to
the devil and are just purely evil; no, these horrendous crimes are the result
of a foreign policy based on colonialist domination of the natural resources of
the Middle East, going back at least to World War I and the collapse of the
Ottoman Empire. Since then, first the British and now the U.S. have played a
never-ending game of pitting countries against each other and maintaining
control of the region’s natural resources, mainly oil and gas.
So when a country like Iran emerges as an independent nation, which is a
totally natural thing for a country and as American as apple pie, it becomes a
serious threat. The same is true about Iraq and Afghanistan.
The American people do not gain from this disastrous foreign policy. They have
had to pay for totally unnecessary military expenses in excess of one trillion
dollars over the last decade alone. American working people have been paying
for these insane policies not just with a big portion of their wages, in the
form of various taxes and deductions, but also in terms of the loss of lives of
thousands of soldiers coming from mostly poor families. These policies also
generate indignation and anger towards the United States and are the biggest
cause of violence.
The progressive forces in the United States over many decades have worked hard
for peace and justice and have selflessly sacrificed and contributed enormously
to end wars, such as Vietnam, or end injustice, such as the racist apartheid
system in South Africa. Today those truly concerned for human rights and
genuine democracy see that the biggest obstacle to achieving these goals is the
colonialist policies of Western countries against the majority of the
world’s population, primarily in the underdeveloped countries which are
trying to escape the scourge of backwardness and oppression. These policies,
pushed under different banners and guises as liberalism, neo-liberalism,
conservatism and neo-conservatism, all have had the same intent — to keep
the targeted countries under the control of the Washington/European axis. These
policies do not cause or bring about human rights like democracy, but rather
promote dependence and poverty for hundreds of millions of people and enormous
profits for a tiny class of the super rich, mostly concentrated in the Western
A strong and united opposition to war and intervention in the Middle East and
elsewhere, combined with a campaign against racism and injustice, is the best
insurance and guarantee for a better and secure world. In our humble opinion
there is no more urgent task than for the progressives community to unite,
based on a basic platform against war, racism and injustice.
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