Right now, it has become clear that the next target for war by the Bush Administration is Iran, a country that cannot now hurt the US except by terrorist proxy. Unfortunately for everyone, the neocons and their President still don’t seem to realize that Iran is a Shiite nation, and that Al Qaeda, unquestionably the primary terrorist danger to the US, is a Sunni organization. Al Qaeda in Iraq has deliberately and brutally targeted Shiites, and one would think that Iran would have noticed this and therefore be reluctant to work together with them (duh). One would also think that the neocons would remember someone explaining this to them, but don’t hold your breath.
Instead neocons will do what they do best; interpret foreign intelligence to suit their predetermined course of action, which is usually war.
According to an article from the LA Times, diplomats say “most US intelligence shared with the UN nuclear watchdog agency (IAEA) has proved inaccurate and none has led to significant discoveries inside Iran… None of the tips provided clear evidence the Islamic Republic is developing illicit weapons.” (Go to http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-usiran25feb25,1,488919.story?ctrack=1&cset=true .)
An IAEA diplomat is quoted: “Since 2002, pretty much all the intelligence that’s come to us has proved to be wrong.”
There is even a question of fabricated intelligence: a document (in English) uncovered by US intelligence from an allegedly stolen laptop computer from Iran is viewed suspiciously by IAEA officials since the document was not in Farsi, the Iranian language. How long will it be before VP Cheney begins to tout this piece of “evidence”?
Once again it would seem that reason and evidence is in short supply among those itching for war; what a shock! Like arguing with Creationists, arguing with neocons requires challenging their “evidence” for possible fraud and misrepresentation; and of course this is still not enough.
Obviously, a clear and convincing case for war has not been made. Worse, many Americans believe that this Administration is capable, not only of relatively minor intelligence fraud, but of staging an incident, much like the Gulf of Tonkin incident that was used to justify the Viet Nam War, that would then be used to justify an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities.
Now it may be true that Iran is developing nuclear weapons in violation of a treaty that they’ve agreed to honor. Such a thing is not impossible. Then again, if they are not doing so, and the US goes to war against Iran anyway, it will serve to alienate even more Muslims around the world and the West will fall even further behind in the real “War on Terror,” the one that involves winning hearts and minds.
The ill-advised war in Iraq has probably cost the world a decade or more in this war against terror; an unjustified war against Iran would be far worse and only serve to gain sympathy for the theocratic fascists that run Iran at the expense of the growth of a growing Iranian moderate secular movement!
What is the right course of action? It may be that nothing will work until an Administration is in place that values evidence and reason more than it values its own dogma. Nothing this Administration claims can be accepted with any confidence, and if that is the case, even if the Administration was right, the reasonable decision might be to not believe them. Yes, this is about as dangerous a situation as imaginable for the US, but it may be the case!
Even if the neocons were right, and the US was in imminent danger, there is absolutely no reason to believe them based on their history of distortion. With the situation such as it is,the best course of action for the US may be no action. One can only hope that any danger arising from Iran’s possible nuclear program does not increase in the remaining time this Administration has in office. Let the next Administration, whatever is, take care of it.