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Sunday, February 19, 2012

Like so many warmongering opportunists before them, Israel-firsters eager to rule out containment, rush U.S. to war

Neocon Arguments For Iran War Are Tired Cliche

(Foreign Policy Matters) -- by M.J. Ronsenberg --

Writing in today's Washington Post, columnist Fareed Zakaria does a terrific job destroying some arguments for war with Iran. He does it by, of all things, citing history.

First, Zakaria takes apart the argument, often made by Israeli Minister of Defense Ehud Barak, that the "window" to stop Iran from developing a nuclear capability is closing and that rushing to war — without, of course, knowing how a war would play out — is essential. Zakaria explains that this is one of the oldest justifications for war in the book:
The most famous example, of course, was Germany's decision to start what became World War I. The German General Staff believed that Russia — its archenemy — was rearming on a scale that would soon nullify Germany's superior military strength. The Germans believed that within two years — by 1916 — Russia would have a significant, and perhaps unbeatable, strategic advantage.

As a result, when turmoil began in the Balkans in June 1914, Germany decided to act while it had the advantage. To stop Russia from entering a "zone of immunity," Germany invaded France (Russia's main ally) and Belgium, which forced British entry into the war, thus setting in motion a two-front European war that lasted four years and resulted in more than 37 million casualties.
Zakaria then cites the Israeli argument that Americans cannot understand their fears because "Iran is an existential threat to them."
But in fact we can understand because we have gone through a very similar experience ourselves. After World War II, as the Soviet Union approached a nuclear capability, the United States was seized by a panic that lasted for years. Everything that Israel says about Iran now, we said about the Soviet Union. We saw it as a radical, revolutionary regime, opposed to every value we held dear, determined to overthrow the governments of the Western world in order to establish global communism. We saw Moscow as irrational, aggressive and utterly unconcerned with human life. After all, Joseph Stalin had just sacrificed a mind-boggling 26 million Soviet lives in his country's struggle against Nazi Germany.
Then there was the mad rush to war in Iraq:
Many in Washington in March 2003 insisted that we could not wait for nuclear inspectors to keep at their work in Iraq because we faced a closing window — the weather was going to get too hot by June and July to send in U.S. forces. As a result, we rushed into a badly planned military invasion and occupation in which soldiers had to endure combat in Iraq for nine long and very hot years.
In short, millions have been killed in wars that were based on faulty premises and lies. Happily, on the other hand, the ultimate war (a U.S.-Soviet war that might have ended civilization) did not come to pass because policymakers on both sides decided to contain the respective nuclear threat rather than blow up the enemy.

It is unlikely that Senators Joseph Lieberman (I-CT), Bob Casey (D-PA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) gave much thought to these historical precedents when they decided to introduce a resolution — promoted by AIPAC — that rules out "containing" the Iran nuclear threat in favor of going to war.

Their resolution is best described on Lieberman's website: "All options must be on the table when it comes to Iran — except for one, and that is containment."...MORE...LINK

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