Bomb, Bomb, Bomb. Bomb Bomb Iran – Not!
There seems to be a never-ending insatiable desire for war among far too many of our leaders in Washington these days. No lack of advice exists for spreading more military mayhem in the Middle East, be it in Iraq, Syria, Pakistan, Afghanistan or that most recent member of Bush’s Axis of Evil to become the target of the animosity of hawks everywhere from Congress to Netanyahu – Iran. The vast majority of Republican Senators even went so far as to sign a letter to the leaders of that country not to get their hopes up about a deal with the US and other world powers concerning their nuclear program and sanctions levied on them because of it. They tried to gum up the works by threatening to nix it in the Senate.
The desire of Congress to become involved in foreign affairs and potential or actual wars is their right under the Constitution to a certain extent. They are responsible for declaring war and funding military engagements, as well as authorizing the use of military force, ratifying treaties and approving Presidential appointments for cabinet level officials and others who deal with foreign and military affairs on a daily basis. This sudden interest on their part with the situation in Iran, as well as the well-publicized invitation by House Speaker Boehner for a speech by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to Congress in the midst of a heated election campaign in that country seems to many to be a political gambit designed to thwart efforts by President Obama and his Administration to solve a tense situation diplomatically rather than through force of arms.
The dust-up caused by the letter still hasn’t resulted in any legislation to be signed or vetoed by the President, and the negotiations are still underway. Another deadline approaches in the negotiations at the end of June, at which point voices are likely to be raised about it again in Congress, especially if an agreement is reached between the two sides (UN Security Council plus Germany and Iran). Where were these concerns when Congress was led by the nose into approving authorization of the invasion of Iraq on evidence and intelligence that turned out to be both flimsy and false?
Earlier last year, when ISIS was seen as a threat in both Iraq and Syria, the President acted and went to Congress for approval of actions seeking to thwart the advance of the ISIS reign of terror. He has even requested a new Authorization of the Use of Military Force to set parameters for US military intervention in the region. No new authorization has been forthcoming from Congress since the authorization for the Iraq war over a decade ago. Congress and the media seem to have forgotten all about it, since no formal document has been approved by either House to date. Selective interference in the conduct of foreign policy seems to have joined failure to act on confirming Presidential nominees and refusal to pass needed legislation in the GOP Congressional Obstruction Playbook. Would that they had as much concern over the details of a proposed trade deal that promises to further impoverish their middle class constituents as they do over the details of an international deal that could avert a hot war that has the potential of making the last two wars in the region seem pale in comparison.
Other than Netanyahu, who may owe his continued position in Israel to the gamesmanship displayed by himself and his backers in Congress, the folks in Congress who are continuing to try to force a shooting war with Iran are a mixed lot. Some are military veterans like McCain who see a real threat in Iran’s nuclear program and worry that no negotiated deal that will stop Iran from getting a bomb is possible. Others are simply playing politics, acting like they are backing a longtime ally in Israel and being tough in response to a threat posed to world peace by a longtime nemesis. Few, if any, of them has real skin in the game. Most of those who do are those same small percentage of Americans who have been volunteers serving multiple tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan for practically all of this century (and their families, of course). The politicians don’t even feel the need to pay for the bombs, bullets and missiles needed to destroy yet another country or five in the region. They’ll just cut back on human services at home and watch the arms merchants continue to wrack up the windfall profits.
Current events in all the countries in the region, including the additional escalation involving Yemen, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states, illustrate how dangerous the situation has become. People like Tom Cotton displaying the sort of foreign policy and military acumen which asserts that a few bombing raids and a few weeks or months of military action would bring Iran to its knees and solve the problem for once and for all don’t deserve seats in the Senate, let alone on the world stage. Following in the footsteps of George W. Bush’s “Mission Accomplished” moment in Iraq in 2003 should inspire circumspection rather than further bravado.
As we approach the impending 2016 campaign season, the sensationalists seem to be more concerned with getting publicity and free airtime than with real problem solving. We’ve had enough war to last several lifetimes already. The time has passed for continuing along the path that has brought us to this place where too many people continue to want to waste too many other peoples’ lives, destroyed too many other peoples’ homes and have nothing of consequence to show for it in the end. Using improved technology to remove some of the people responsible for carrying out the orders to kill and destroy from directly experiencing personal danger while doing so does not negate the damage they cause or the immoral consequences of their actions. Just because we have become more efficient killers does not make us any less guilty of murder.
The number of nations currently capable of using nuclear armaments continues to rise. The number of those who have actually used them has not risen since 1945. Politicians in Washington and Tel Aviv only seem worried about Iran because they think they can most easily solve the problem militarily. Where was this outrage when all the other countries developed the weapons? Why aren’t more people working to disarm the weapons already in existence? We are currently seeing a very dangerous situation in the Middle East get even worse by the day. Our intervention is largely responsible for spreading the problem, not lessening the danger. Escalating the conflagration by throwing ever more weapons – conventional or otherwise, with boots on the ground or not – will not bring about a better result. More diplomacy is called for, not more war.
Tell the chicken hawks in Washington to sit down and shut up unless they can come up with a better solution to the current situation than throwing more explosives or cannon fodder at it. There is a big difference between defending oneself and attacking others. Our government seems to have forgotten that ever since they renamed the Department of War to the Department of Defense. 1984 may not have all come true, but our government has certainly perfected the art of doublespeak. Tell Congress to spend more time and money helping solve the problems of average people here, and less trying to enrich the oligarchs they have come to serve in their stead. I have no love for the terrorist tactics used by ISIS and other groups fighting us and our allies abroad (often with weapons we provided), but I have even less desire to continue contributing to the ranks of the innocents killed or made homeless by these wars we either started or fueled with no vision of how to end. Any signers of that letter to Iran or advocates of escalating the killing abroad do not deserve to remain in Congress, let alone become our next President.
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