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April 04, 2006

Iran as the Un-Iraq
Posted by Suzanne Nossel

Iran may be handing the Bush Administration the opportunity to prove to the world that its capable of behaving more multilaterally, more diplomatically, more legitimately and with more foresight than it did in the run up to the Iraq invasion.

Specifically, Tehran is making noises and taking actions that play right into the hands of an American and European effort to rally the world against the threat of a nuclear Iran.  Iran is demanding that the UN Security Council stop investigating its nuclear program.  It has said it will not abide by the Security Council's directive that it cease uranium enrichment.  It is bragging about new, deadly high-speed sea missiles and other breakthrough new weapons. 

In short, Iran is writing the script for a Western drive to rally the world behind the need to contain a menacing country that seems willing to flout the international system for its own greater glory.  Yes, Iran has economic and military ties that will cause some to hesitate to lock arms against it.  But, as Condi Rice has pointed out, many questioned whether the Russians and Chinese would ever allow Iranian proliferation to be brought before the UNSC.  If we and the Europeans tee this up methodically, we can build a broad coalition. 

But, as Kevin Drum notes, the Administration is starting to make the exact wrong noises, talking openly of strikes on Iran and letting it leak that at least some in the Pentagon have made up their minds already in favor of an attack.  Its playing up links between Tehran and 9/11 and exaggerating Iran's role in the Iraqi insurgency.

"Same song, new verse," Kevin writes.  He leaves out "second time, a whole lot worse."   It goes without saying that Iran cannot be another Iraq.  To avoid that, the Administration needs to do a few things:

- Stay calm and steely-eyed, making it clear to the world that those in the White House, the Pentagon, the party headquarters or wherever who would like to see another invasion for their own reasons are not at - - or close to - - the trigger;

- Work diligently to solder together a consensus on the nature of the Iranian threat and the importance of a forceful, unblinking global response.  Ambassadors should be making the rounds in capitals now, bringing forward the evidence and making sure everyone knows that Iran is bringing this upon itself;

- Keeping the threat of military action on the backburner.  The military option cannot be off the table.  Keeping it on the table is essential to getting other to realize that we won't tolerate open-ended wait-and-see policies.  But we need to make clear that while we're ready and able to launch strikes if necessary, we don't want or plan to do so.

- Get the straight facts on Iran's nuclear program, and have them validated by a group that includes American and foreign-born experts with 0 ties to the Administration.

But, of course, making Iran the un-Iraq requires acknowledging that mistakes were made in Iraq.  Condi Rice did that this week, but only figuratively.  Hopefully someone else will do so soon literally.


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Iran brought this on itself? How about you make sure that the US faces up the crimes it has committed and that both Bush Sr. and Jr. are tried for their crimes against humanity. George W. Bush's grandfathers made their fortunes working secretly for Nazi banks and Dutch criminals. Bush Sr. was involved in narcotics in Latin America. Look up General Noriga and how he is locked away illegally in Miami prison never talking to the public. Lady you should reasses what you say. The US came into Iran's backyard, not the other way. The US is developing weapons of mass destruction while it is being 'claimed' about Iran. No proof about any weapons in Iran. The US is one of the nations that is in breach of the NPT because instead of reducing its inventory it is building and further developing it. Even its deal with India is against the NPT. So what are you talking about? Please take a look in the mirror then think about what you wrote.

I guess the comment above is what the equivalent of a troll elsewhere would sound like here.

This is a thoughtful article. Democrats need to be concentrating on the Iran story even despite the string of distractions the Republicans are fueling: the Cheney incident, gay marriage, immigration, et al. Don't take your eye off the ball!

As a Democrat, sending troops to Iraq was the right move and the party is alienating many potential voters it needs to win by adopting a blanket anti-war policy.

We must remember that Iran is a nation devoted to a Holy War with the United States. That position will be proliferated so long as the history of their revolution is taught in their school houses. This is a nation which declares itself at war with America every time their government officials chant "Death to America" in Parliamentary session. We must recognize that and the danger which that presents.

It is indeed true what John Stuart Mill said "A man who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself."

Democrats who are not willing to fight for their beliefs, who are not willing to fight to secure the blessings of liberty, who are not willing to fight to defend the honor of the United States... or if there is a calling in your heart seperate from the advancement of U.S. interests, you have no business being Democrats.

And there's the equal and opposite troll.

The military option cannot be off the table. Keeping it on the table is essential to getting other to realize that we won't tolerate open-ended wait-and-see policies.

Compare this with the lead-up to the invasion of iraq.

If the american public, commentators, etc say that we need to maintain a credible threat against iran so they'll knuckle under to our demands, then we should blame ourselves when Bush orders the attack whether iran gives in to our demands or not.

Fool me once....

Given who the US president is, it's crazy to back threats against iran. Because even if you think he's bluffing, he isn't. If you support a bluff that's supposed to persuade the iranians, he's going to attack.

And then when iran declares war, he's really and truly going to be a war president, it really and truly will be wartime, and....

That is ludicrous. Iran has already declared war, the last thing we need are people with their heads buried in the sand thinking they can scapegoat the US while giving the Iranians the benefit of the doubt.

Scott, you are confused. Iran has not yet declared war.

When they declare war it will make a giant symbolic difference. We won't have to depend on the "War on Terror" to make a fake claim for war powers. We will literally be at war, and Bush will legitimately have all war powers.

This is insane. Attacking iran is an insane strategy, it's a crazy option. Anybody who talks seriously about doing it is making crazy talk.

It's absurd to take such fantasies seriously. Except that the inmates are running the asylum, and it might actually happen. Yes, it's ludicrous.

There are actually people who're seriously discussing the idea that we need to attack iran. These people need therapy. In a better world they would receive court-ordered therapy. They are dangerous to themselves and others.

J Thomas, you are living in denial. Cross-cultural differences not-withstanding, when the entire Iranian Parliament meets to unanimously chant 'Death to America' that is a de-facto Declaration of War. I see no reason why you would think that their war-formalization procedures match our own modus operandi. Just because a war would be difficult does not mean that it would not be worth fighting, had we used such a standard we would have never won our Independence.

Scott, you are confused. Declarations of war are delivered by diplomats. There's a protocol for that kind of thing. Iran has not declared war on the USA.

Attacking iran this year is insane. There's no way to argue for it that isn't insane. So what are you going to do? Are you going to present insane arguments for attacking iran or are you going to voluntarily go into therapy? Or have I misunderstood your position, and perhaps you aren't advocating unilateral acts of aggression after all?

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