Thursday, February 9, 2012

Let's Think Twice about Bombing Iran

The Israeli threats to bomb Iran are nothing new. They’ve been going on for about five years. But this last week or so there’s been a disturbing upsurge. So I feel I have to say something. If there’s a one in a thousand chance someone might hear me, I have to try. And if no one listens, at least I’ve said it. So I’m double-posting this article in both my blogs, for what it’s worth.

Can we please think twice about bombing Iran? Let’s say we could actually stop them from getting the bomb. Even then, I’m not sure we should try. We have a bomb, what makes us think they shouldn’t have one? But that’s a moot point. Everyone agrees that the best case scenario is that we’d slow down their bomb program for a year or so. If we’re afraid they might use the bomb on us, doesn’t bombing them first pretty much guarantee it?

I know what’s going on. There’s an atmosphere of panic in Israel, whipped up by our leaders. “Achmadinejad is the new Hitler, and he wants to wipe out Israel and all the Jews.” Well, I don’t buy it. If they love killing Jews so much, why don’t they start with the 20,000 Jews living peacefully right in the middle of Iran? And by the way, if they tried to do that, I’d be the first to say let’s hit them with everything we’ve got, and damn the consequences. But life goes on pretty much normally for the Jews of Iran. Can’t we just leave it that way?

Iran is a proud country, the home of an ancient culture, that has not launched a war of aggression in some five hundred years. They have no love for Israel, but that is their business. It is true that they provide material support to our enemies in Lebanon and Gaza, but that is their perogative, just as America supplies us with arms. Iran does not threaten to bomb America on that account; why should we threaten to bomb them for the same reason? It is true they might have had a hand in the outrage committed twenty years ago in Buenos Aires, and that is arguably less forgivable; but equally despicable acts have been carried out by agents of the American, British, and other secret services. Do I need to mention Pinochet, the Contras, and even the SAVAK?  At least support of these kind of acts does not appear to be an element of current Iranian foreign policy. Can we say the same for ourselves? Before we climb up on our moral high horse, we ought to watch what we’re sitting in.  

The leaders of Iran are not shy about expressing their dislike of Israel; but at the same time, they have clearly stated that they have no interest in interfering with any agreement we might reach with the Palestinians. They have a legitimate interest in seeing that any such agreement is not arrived at through undue coercion, and we need to respect their support of Hizbullah and Hamas in that light. And other than the occasional tasteless comments questioning the Holocaust, I find their public positions on these matters are much more reasonable than Israel’s ongoing campaing of threats.

And what about the consequences? I don’t want to argue that we should hold back because we’re afraid of Iran’s response. If we need to do it, we need to do it. But let’s be realistic. We got away with this kind of thing twice before, in Iraq and recently again in Syria. Let’s not push our luck. Those enemies were not in a position to do us much damage. Iran is another ball of wax. If we poke them they will hit back with everything they’ve got, and it won’t be pretty. Think World War III, Armageddon, End of Days…you get the idea.

The point is it’s all so unnecessary. The surest way for us to avert the threat of an Iranian attack is to make peace with the Palestinians. The Saudis have done all the diplomatic leg work for us, getting the whole Arab League to sign on to their peace plan, and yet we just ignore them. I just don’t know where we think we’re going with all this.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I agree violence is not the answer and should be avoided if possible but a few points

1. ancient cultures have nothing to do with today's people, the middle east has actually gone backwards from being the leaders in maths and science, human rights especially women's rights have deteriorated since then.

2. Israel does not seek the destruction of another faith or people, Jews may think they are the true religion but recognise faith is just faith, behaviour is key.

3. They don't harm Jews in Iran or they know a war would be inevitable as it could be justified by Israel to the mainly pro Palestinian world.

4. You can always look back in history and every nation has done bad things, what is important is if they have learnt from it, such a bad way to construct an argument.

5. If I have a problem with Israel or you are Jewish they still have the independent institutions that make up a free society. This is not true with Iran, I believe most Iranians are not evil but there Government/society makes them at least appear to conform to this notion. look at it this way as an Israeli you can feel safe criticising the government, I fear the same is not true with Iran.

For me the best way to deal with places like Iran and the rest of the region would be to come up with viable alternatives to our reliance on oil. As to bombing Iran everything has to be done to avoid this as I have mentioned before most Iranians are not fundamentalists but just caught up in a totalitarian regime that actively sows the seeds of hatred. I am not really religious but remember a mantra of the Jesuits that taught me at boarding school "Give me your boy and I will return you a man", until tolerance is learnt by both states especially Iran all you get is subsequent generations of hatred and miss trust.