The solution to differences with Iran is diplomatic engagement, not threats, ultimatums, sanctions and saber rattling.
"No strike, however effective, will be in and of itself decisive ... We haven't had a contact with Iran since 1979. Even in the darkest days of the Cold War, we had links to the Soviet Union. We are not talking to Iran, so we don't understand each other. If something happens it's virtually assured that we won't get it right -- that there will be miscalculations -- which would be extremely dangerous in that part of the world."
Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Michael Mullen (ret.)*
Rather than pour more destabilizing weapons into the Middle East, the U.S. should use its considerable diplomatic, political and economic influence to deescalate rather than inflame the situation so that serious negotiations can proceed.
It is up to the American people to put a stop to this madness BEFORE IT BEGINS. We need to drown our representatives in Congress and the President with protests demanding that our government seek a peaceful diplomatic resolution, and that it exercise the considerable influence it has over Israel and other allies to prevent actions that will embroil the U.S. and all of the Middle East in another war.
Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) has introduced legislation that directs the president to do just that.
H.R. 4173, the Prevent Iran from Acquiring Nuclear Weapons and Stop War Through Diplomacy Act would "direct the President of the United States to appoint a high-level United States representative or special envoy for Iran for the purpose of ensuring that the United States pursues all diplomatic avenues to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, to avoid a war with Iran, and for other purposes."
Please take moment to send your representative a message urging him or her to cosponsor and advocate passage of this important bill.
You can use USLAW's on-line message tool to do that. Just insert your zip code in the form and your representative's contact information will automatically be inserted in a message expressing your concern and making that request. You can modify it to personalize the message.
We need to make some noise and put the heat on Congress to prevent the disaster in the making from taking place.
PLEASE ACT TODAY!
"A military solution, as far as I am concerned ... it will bring together a divided nation (Iran). It will make them absolutely committed to obtaining nuclear weapons. And they will just go deeper and more covert. The only long-term solution in avoiding Iranian nuclear weapons capability is for the Iranians to decide it is not in their interest. Everything else is a short-term solution."
Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates*
"... the United States would obviously be blamed and we could possibly be the target of retaliation from Iran, striking our ships, striking our military bases ... I think that the consequences could be that we would have an escalation that would take place that would not only involve many lives, but I think could consume the Middel East in a confrontation and a conflict that we would regret."
Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta*
H.R. 780: Responsible End to the War in Afghanistan Act
Rep. Barbara Lee also reintroduced a bill to cut off funding for all military operations in Afghanistan other than for the safe return of our troops.
This bill provides that funds for operations of the Armed Forces in Afghanistan shall be obligated and expended only for purposes of providing for the safe and orderly withdrawal from Afghanistan of all members of the Armed Forces and Department of Defense contractor personnel who are in Afghanistan.
Click here to send an e-mail to your Member of Congress asking him or her to support H.R. 4173 and H.R. 780 or call their office toll-free a 877-429-0678.
At present the bill has 67 cosponsors. It needs many more. 60% of the people now say that the Afghan War is no longer worth fighting. They want our troops brought home now, not two or more years from now.
The surge of extra troops was supposed to turn the tide in Afghanistan. Instead, it has produced a record number of coalition and Afghan deaths, injuries and lost limbs.
The surge has not stopped the momentum of the insurgency. Just last year there were over 16,000 IED attacks against U.S. troops – a record number. As of March 4, 25% of 2012 coalition troop deaths have come at the hands of Afghan security forces - the very people we are supposedly there to help.
The recent horrific slaughter of cilivians in Kandahar, burning of the Korans, urinating on the corpses of alleged militants, deaths of innocent civilians as a result of mistaken or misdirected drone strikes -- all these and more are signs of military breakdown.
We don't have to go to Afghanistan to find evidence. A look at suicide rates among returning vets, chronic unemployment, drug addiction, alcoholism, spousal and child abuse - these are signs that the war has come home.
These examples of military breakdown are a product of armed forces who have been sent on an impossible and unwinnable mission. Just as there can be no military solution to problems with Iran, there is no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan. Both require patient persistent diplomacy and negotiation.
When our troops return, we must demand that they receive all the care and services they require to be able to return to productive civilian life.
Lt. Col. Daniel Davis, a highly respected military officer, who recently returned from Afghanistan, has written a declassified report detailing the actual state of affairs in Afghanistan. He states:
“Senior ranking U.S. military leaders have so distorted the truth when communicating with the U.S. Congress and the American people in regards to conditions on the ground in Afghanistan that the truth has become unrecognizable. This deception has damaged America’s credibility among both our allies and enemies, severely limiting our ability to reach a political solution to the war in Afghanistan.”
Please ask your member in Congress to cosponsor H.R. 780 to bring our troops home as rapidly as possible, if they are not already signed onto the bill.
Click here to send an e-mail to your Member of Congress asking him or her to support H.R. 4173 and H.R. 780 or call their office toll-free at 877-429-0678.
(Thanks to Friends Committee on National Legislation for providing the toll-free number!)
Why attacking Iran is a
The consequences of the use of armed force by either the U.S. or any of its allies will be tragic and severe not only for the Iranian people and the people of the Middle East, but also for the American people.
Violation of U.N Charter
and International Law
• First, the unprovoked use of force against Iran without the sanction of the U.N. Security Council would be both a violation of the U.N. Charter and a war crime under international law. Article 2, Section 4 of the U.N. Charter says,
"All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations."
Then Rest of the Middle East
• The first casualties of a military attack would be Iranian civilians living in proximity to the targeted sites (or wherever missiles and bombs land that miss their target). But Iran, unlike Iraq, has the military capability to retaliate with missiles that can reach most of the rest of the Middle East where civilians would also become casualties.
Rage and Anger Across the Region Will Put Americans at Risk
• Iran has considerable influence and a large following throughout the MIddle East, including in places like Afghanistan where U.S. troops are stationed. A military attack on Iran would trigger a wave of rage and anger across the region, with severe consequences not only for U.S. troops but also for Americans traveling or living in the region and businesses identified with the U.S.
No Evidence Iran Has Nukes
or Plans to Build Nuclear Weapons
• U.S. intelligence agencies determined that Iran abandoned its nuclear weapons program years ago. Both the CIA and the U.S. military (and even Israeli intelligence) have said that Iran has no current nuclear weapons program. Repeated inspections of Iran by the International Atomic Energy Agency have found absolutely no evidence that Iran is pursuing the development of nuclear weapons. Iran is a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty which recognizes the right of signatory nations to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. Iran is entitled to develop nuclear energy for civilian applications.
[click map for larger size]
By contrast, Israel, India and Pakistan do have nuclear weapons, have not signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty, and have never submitted to IAEA inspections.
It bears keeping in mind that Iran has never invaded any other country in the Middle East, but it has been attacked and invaded by Iraq, then led by Saddam Hussein, with which it fought a long bloody and costly war (in which the U.S. supplied arms and intelligence to Iraq).
Although we may have forgotten, Iranians recall vividly that the CIA engineered a coup d'état in 1953 that overthrew its democratically elected government, returning to the throne the ruthless Shah who ruled for the next quarter century until he was forced out by the revolution of 1979. The U.S. also supported and armed the Shah and his hated intelligence agency SAVAK.
An Attack Would Not
Eliminate Nuclear Threat
• Iran is ringed by hostile neighbors, including those possessing nuclear arms, as well as by the U.S. nuclear armed fleet in the Persian Gulf and a string of U.S. military bases throughout the region. An attack on Iran might destroy its present nuclear facilities but would not eliminate Iran's capacity to rebuild. And it would almost certainly rebuild in ways that are far more difficult to detect or destroy. If Iran has no nuclear weapons program now, after an attack it almost certainly would seek nuclear arms as a deterrent against future attacks.
U.S. Economy and Workers Would Suffer As Oil Prices Skyrocket
• Although Iran presently has no missile that can reach the U.S., Americans would suffer nonetheless. Almost immediately the price of oil and thus gasoline would skyrocket. Any hope of economic recovery would be blown away by the bombs and missiles that strike Iran. Rather than recovery, additional hundreds of thousands of Americans would lose their jobs (and homes) as energy costs forced businesses to cut back.
International Community Would React
• A military assault on Iran would also anger the international community, including some of the U.S.'s allies, and that plus the impact of higher energy costs would have potential consequences for U.S. trade relations, which in turn would also impact trade-dependent employment here.
A Disaster for Democratic Forces in Iran
• Meanwhile inside Iran, the government would rally the population to its defense and the sovereignty of the country. An attack would strengthen the hand of the Revolutionary Guard and reactionary forces. The government would crack down against any expression of popular dissent with the result that many of the most moderate, democratic and progressive forces would be silenced, imprisoned, driven into exile or murdered. An attack would reinforce the role of fundamentalists and extremists. It would produce another generation bent on revenge and thus would actually undermine the security of the American people.
Learn more . . .
USLAW Calls for More Diplomacy, Not the Military in Dealing with Iran
*Mr. President: Say No to War of Choice with Iran - full page ad in Washington Post, 3/5/12 signed by eight retired generals and intelligence professionals
Top Military, Intelligence Officials Join NIAC in Warning Against Iran War in Full-Page Washington Post Ad
Iran, threats and the UN Charter by Glenn Greenwald, Salon 3/3/12
Are We Sliding Toward War With Iran? by Kenneth Pollack, New Republic 1/18/12
Statement for the Record on the Worldwide Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Community for the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence
Iran in the Crosshairs: How to Prevent Washington’s Next War, a Primer by Phyllis Bennis, Institute for Policy Studies
FAQ on Iran from the Friends Committee on National Legislation
Panetta: No Decision Yet On Nukes – February 16,2012 Navy Times
We’ve seen the threats against Iran before – by Phyllis Bennis, February 19, 2012, Al Jazeera
USLAW website section on Iran
USLAW website section on Afghanistan