Guest Post by Ian Welsh
I’m in the odd position of being a Canadian who does most of his blogging on American politics for US blogs. It’s a kafkaesque exercise at times, and the recent Iran mess has reminded me yet again, that to a foreigner, the US really is “through the looking glass”.
Because to me the conversation on Iran isn’t sane. In fact, the idea of bombing Iran, either large scale conventionally, or, even worse, with nukes, is one I’m astounded is even being considered.
Let’s deal with the specifics from one Canadian’s point of view.
First: bombing a country is a declaration of war and Iran will react to it as such. To meaningfully damage the Iranian nuclear effort will require massive bombing. This isn’t one pinpoint attack. Oil will soar to $150 a barrel or so, your economy will crater, so will everyone else’s, your allies will abandon you and you will be all by yourselves. And people won’t blame the Iranians, they will blame you.
Second: Proponents of bombing Iran spend a lot of time talking about how Iran is a state sponsor of terrorism. Iran doesn’t sponsor terror against the US, at least not recently. You do this, that’ll change. You do this, you will come to see 9/11 as the good ol’ days when you only lost a couple thousand people, because not only is Iran a State sponsor of terrorism – they are very very good at it and there is every reason to believe they have cells in the US. And we haven’t even talked about the fact that even if most Americans don’t know it, most foreigners are well aware that the US is, itself, a huge state sponsor of terrorism.
Third: A lot of this is being driven by the fact that Iran does sponsor terrorism against Israel and that Iranian nukes will threaten Israel (note that they will not threaten the US directly.) Israel is the nation which spies most on the US. They are not your friend, whatever you may think. Of course, given the power of the Israeli lobby, and the specter of being called an anti-semite, no one is willing to say this. Let the Israelis deal with their own damn problems, it’s their bed, let them lie in it.
Fourth: Bush brought this on America by invading Iraq. The lesson of Iraq is this: if you have nukes you won’t get invaded. If you don’t, the US will (compare and contrast: North Korea/Iraq). Iran is acting entirley rationally.
Fifth: I think Canada should have nukes, because I know you invaded Iraq based on lies. I don’t want Iran to have nukes, but if I were the mullahs I’d be doing the exact same thing. The Mullahs aren’t nuts – they’re acting in self preservation. I know why they’re doing what they’re doing and it is perfectly 100% rational
Sixth: I have to tell you, that from a foreigner’s point of view, and this is true even in your closest allies (the majority of Britains, for example) you are a rogue nation. You invade people based on lies. You have no credibility on Iran. You are the boy who cried Wolf. You don’t obey the Geneva conventions. You have secret prisons. You torture people, including the citizens of your allies. You have abolished habeas corpus for classes of people. You kidnap foreigners and secretly ship them off to be tortured. You have endorsed Bush’s war crimes – crimes for which Americans hung Nazis who had been in no way involved the with the Holocaust. You could produce pictures of nukes and missiles and half the world wouldn’t believe you. Even if we did believe you, we don’t care enough to endorse going to war with Iran.. There are only two nations in the world who constantly talk about how they’re willing to nuke people without even being attacked first: The North Koreans – and the UNITED STATES.
You gave up the ability to stop countries like Iran from getting nukes when you invaded a country like Iraq which had no nukes and no real possibility of getting them. That was your wad, and you blew it. You chose to be weak. At this point, for you to stop Iran would involve you in a war you cannot win – or at least no victory worth having. You can’t occupy Iran, so are you going to really glass Tehran or the entire country? Do you know what the world reaction would be? Do you know what would happen to the dollar? Are you out of your minds?
Why is this even being discussed? And why is it that I can’t simply dismiss it as diplomatic posturing? When did the US step through the looking glass? When did insanity become reasonable?
Update: To help us take action on Iran, please scroll down to read this entry about our Roots Project. Thanks! — Pachacutec