US-Iran Conflict – Reminiscent of the specter of Iraq war

Seventeen years ago, the US committed one of the worst foreign policy blunders in history by attacking Iraq. That war was sold to the American people based on a series of lies about weapons of mass destruction. The US killed between 150,000 and 1000,000 Iraqi civilians, in direct action or contingent and collateral results in the Iraq war. The US killed or maimed those people in a country that had been an ally, resulting in absolutely no advantage to the Middle East or to America, while depleting the military and the American treasury. One of the leading advocates for that war was John Bolton, who served as a member of the Bush administration and is now Donald Trump’s national security adviser.

American foreign policy has been to destabilize oil producing nations so that they could take over that oil production. Iran was one of the seven Middle Eastern countries on that takedown list. Unlike Iraq, Iran isn’t going to allow hundreds of thousands of its people to die because of US sanctions. The US sanctions are little different than a blockade of Iran, which is indisputably an act of war. Iran will make exporting oil through the choke point it controls, the Strait of Hormuz, very difficult. The Strait of Hormuz is a choke point for the world’s oil supply. The Iranians can shut it down for months.  That shut down could topple the economies of China, Europe, and India. If Iran is attacked, it will launch missiles directed against every US-allied oil producer within range. 40% of the world’s oil production capacity will be destroyed or at least taken offline. US bases and ships within range will also be targeted. 40% less oil will smash the world economy, including that of the US’s.

Iran was abiding by the nuclear deal and was being constrained from developing nuclear weapons. Trump abrogated international arms agreement-the JCPOA and started a whole new regime of crushing, unrealistic sanctions against a compliant Iran. Trump’s “maximum pressure” strategy is to strangle Iran slowly but surely via harsh trade blockades and military attacks on Iranian forces in Syria and Iraq. The neocon strategy has been to corner Iran into a choice between escalating on its side or submitting entirely to US’s terms. The US government figures it can just sit back and watch the Iranian nation suffer in the hope that the Iranian people will rise in revolt. Iran, in response to a year’s worth of increased US sanctions, would increase its stockpile of enriched uranium beyond the limits imposed by the nuclear deal. Bizarrely, Trump is now warning Iran not to violate an agreement his administration violated over a year ago.

Trump campaigned on getting the US out of “endless wars”. He blustered for years about using force unilaterally. Now, his sanctions seem to be taking the US down a path that has made war with Iran more and more likely. As if 22 trillion dollars in debt isn’t enough, America might have to spend another two or three trillion so that Trump can show the Iranians who’s the boss. Trump brags that America spent $1.5 trillion on the military in just the last two years alone and later says that Iran spends “all” its money on “terror.” Well, how much of America’s $1.5 trillion resulted in “terror” for people who were blown apart? American government spending on its military might be more than Iran’s entire GDP, but does that give America license to get into Mideast quagmires? By foolishly sinking into such quagmires and by unilaterally withdrawing from the nuclear deal, the US is isolating itself from its important allies.

US Congress must do everything it can to prevent this war. The constitution is very clear: it is Congress, not the US President, who decides when to go to war. It is imperative that Congress immediately make it clear to the US President that taking into hostilities with Iran without congressional authorization would be both unconstitutional and illegal.

The problem is that the US’ ethical energy has been eroded by a nationalist sense of superiority that has pervaded the American zeitgeist after too many successful military ventures, most of them of choice and many fabricated. They emerged superior in military power and imposed a victors’ narrative. To the point of unchallenged absurdity. Impunity has been the force that feeds their exponential power to dismantle civilization as we know it.

This militaristic behemoth is in cahoots with most totalitarian regimes across the world and their deeds speak for themselves to those who want to listen. It is using medieval siege tactics to starve the civilian population in places where it wants regime change. It exploits a morally dead mainstream media that meekly adopted its doublespeak and is besieged by censorship where the opinion of the oppressed is criminalized. The US is strong enough to deal with any issue diplomatically, working with allies around the world. America must not fight another unnecessary war.

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