Yesterday: Iraq. Tomorrow: Iran?

It was 10 years ago this week that George W. Bush launched his ill-fated war in Iraq. Will action against Iran be next?

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Joe Raedle / Getty Images

U.S. troops in the Kuwait desert hours before the 2003 invasion of Iraq begins.

It was 10 years ago this week that George W. Bush launched his ill-fated war of choice in Iraq. The anniversary comes as politicians in Washington and Israel continue to discuss the option of military action against Iran.

The parallels with a decade ago are striking.

Once again, we hear claims of a grave threat from weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East and the possibility of military action. Vice President Joe Biden recently told the convention of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) that “all options, including military force, are on the table.”

Then as now we are warned of the need to take action before it’s too late. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sent a video message to the AIPAC convention claiming that Iran will soon cross a nuclear “red line.”

We’ve heard this story before.

Who can forget former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s infamous line “We don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud”? Or former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s ludicrous attempt to explain the whereabouts of Iraq’s WMD: “They’re in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat.”

Some of us reported at the time that no evidence existed of Iraqi WMD, and that U.N. inspections during the 1990s had dismantled Saddam Hussein’s nuclear, ballistic-missile and chemical-weapons threat, but our voices were ignored in the march to war. Official investigations during the occupation confirmed the complete absence of any WMD threat.

Some politicians apparently never learn.

Today, prominent Democratic and Republican Senators are lining up behind Senate Resolution 65, which declares that “if the government of Israel is compelled to take military action in self-defense, the United States government should stand with Israel and provide diplomatic, military and economic support.” The resolution is in effect a backdoor authorization for war. It sets the stage for the U.S. being dragged into a future Israeli attack on Iran.

One of the authors of the resolution is Democratic New York Senator Charles Schumer. The Senator was sharply critical of Bush’s handling of the Iraq war, but now he is resorting to Bush-style misrepresentation to justify a potential attack on Iran. According to Jamal Abdi of the National Iranian American Council, Schumer is telling constituents that Iran “continues to enrich uranium into weapons-grade nuclear materials” and that the resulting fuel is “sufficient to arm a nuclear warhead.”

Not true.

The International Atomic Energy Agency reports regularly on Iran and has no evidence of uranium enrichment to weapons-grade level. This past week, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper was on Capitol Hill to repeat what U.S. intelligence agencies have reported consistently for years: Iran is not enriching uranium to weapons-grade and has not made a decision to build a bomb. Of course, real concerns exist about Tehran’s nuclear program, but there is no imminent nuclear threat from Iran or justification for threatening military attack.

Sanctions-based diplomacy offers a formula for resolving the nuclear standoff with Iran, just as sanctions and U.N. inspections were a viable alternative to war 10 years ago. Back then, my colleague George Lopez and I reported that targeted sanctions and renewed inspections were working effectively to prevent Iraq from acquiring nuclear materials and rebuilding its war machine. Today, U.S. and European sanctions are squeezing Iran’s economy and reducing its oil exports, providing significant leverage that could be used to negotiate a diplomatic settlement.

The 10th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq is a good occasion for trying to learn from the mistakes of the past — and to make sure we are not misled into war again.

David Cortright is the director of policy studies at Notre Dame’s Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies. He blogs at www.davidcortright.net.

23 comments
ShamsAci
ShamsAci

People who never care to learn lessons from their past mistakes they are obviously descending downwards to have themselves ruined ultimately.

   - A.R.Shams's Reflection - Press & Online Publications - Moral Messages for Humanity Worldwide...


Don_Bacon
Don_Bacon

The "sanctions-based diplomacy," a contradiction,  on Iran have been counter-productive, in fact they have encouraged Iran to expand its nuclear program. The sanctions have also served to benefit Iran's growing expertise in oilfield equipment manufacturing, shipping and insurance in the petroleum industry. In other field, Iran has increased domestic manufacturing and export of other products and services.

Iran will not "negotiate" under duress because it knows that there is no such thing as negotiations under duress.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, March 21:
"Americans constantly send us messages, telling us that they are sincere in their offers of rational negotiation. They claim that they sincerely want to have rational negotiations with Iran – that is to say, they claim that they do not want imposition. In response, I would say, we have told you many times that we are not after nuclear weapons and you say that you do not believe us. Why would we believe your statements then?  When you are not prepared to accept a rational and sincere statement, why would we accept your statements which have been disproved many times? Our interpretation is that offers of negotiation are an American tactic to mislead public opinion in the world and in our country. You should prove that this is not the case. Can you prove this? Go ahead and prove it if you can.
. . .
"They say they are concerned that we might go after producing nuclear weapons. The ones who are saying this are no more than a few countries whose names I mentioned earlier, and they call themselves “the global community”. They say that the global community is concerned. No, the global community is not at all concerned. The majority of the countries in the world are on the Islamic Republic’s side and they support our demand because it is a legitimate demand.
. . .
"If the Americans wanted to resolve the issue, this would be a very simple solution: they could recognize the Iranian nation’s right to enrichment and in order to address those concerns, they could enforce the regulations of the International Atomic Energy Agency. We were never opposed to the supervision and regulations of the International Atomic Energy Agency. Whenever we are close to a solution, the Americans cause a problem in order to prevent reaching a solution."
http://english.khamenei.ir/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1760

vstillwell
vstillwell

Why would we let reason stand in the way of starting another war in the Middle East? Besides, China could use another oil producing ally like Iraq. 

Don_Bacon
Don_Bacon

I was driven to poetry when the US military left Iraq, and in charity (though at the end  he fought leaving) I gave Obama credit.

Obama ran on Iraq,
and who would take his dare,
to remove troops in sixteen months,
And get us outa there.

Senator Obama voted for every penny
and every dollar we could spare
but huzzah and hoorah --
the U.S is outa there.

Iraq was a mistake
Who differs? Let's be fair -
Obama finally did something
And got us outa there.

No bases, no oil,
Americans don't care --
Iraq is old news,
And we're outa there.

Vinayprasad
Vinayprasad

There is a line in the Bhagawat Geeta - Vinaasha kale, vipareeta buddhi. This means that when an individual / entity's end is near, its mind becomes more and more adverse. Seems to be more relevant in todays world as much as it was thousands of years ago. America, in adopting the Senate Resolution 65 in supporting Israel, seems to be the one bordering the adverse.

Don_Bacon
Don_Bacon

The big difference between Iran and Iraq, and the difference the U.S. has been threatening Iran for years but has done nothing military ('only' cyber-attacks, assassinations, and financial attacks)  is that Iran has the capability to put a major hurt on the US and its Israel ally, including the sinking of ships. The Navy hates when that happens.

Regarding sanctions, they are a losing strategy. In recent testimony, DNI Clapper said: “Iran is growing more autocratic at home and more assertive abroad." Iran has responded to sanctions by withdrawing from the Additional Protocol and from the Brazil-Turkey enrichment offer. Iran has also expanded, protected and modernized its uranium enrichment facilities. Finally, sanctions hurt Iran's trading partners while they have forced Iran to develop its domestic capabilities, actually a good thing. Sanctions are losers.

Iran has broken no laws and has complied with the NPT. The real issue isn't nuclear, after all, but political. Iran has Middle East hegemony and the U.S. wants it.

jj.wyndham
jj.wyndham

"There is no question whatsoever that Saddam is seekingk (sic) and is workingk (sic) and is advancing toward the development of nuclear weapons.  NO QUESTION WHATSOEVER!"

-- Binyamin Netanyahu selling a US committee on the invasion of Iraq

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fpQdg4D78Jc

Here's the same used car salesman promoting war against Iran and Iraq in an interview with Charlie Rose several years earlier, September 24, 1998: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GVWdjeu4vns

Netanyahu primarily dredged up the Iran "crisis" to distract the world while he accelerates the theft of land needed for a Palestinian state, driving the final nail into the lid of the coffin for the two-state solution.  That's it!  And, as a diversion, he's willing to kill tens of thousands of Americans and Iranians so he can get away with it.  Certainly, getting rid of Iran would clear the way for Israel to conquer ALL of the ME, and that has always been central to Zionism since its inception in 1897, but job one remains finishing the ethnic cleansing of Palestine.

Surely we have learned to distrust this liar by now.  Right?

jamshidmehran
jamshidmehran

As in the case of Iraq, sanctions against Iran are not instead of war on Iran but simply a prelude to war.  You cannot seriously be against military intervention yet support unjustified sanctions against Iran which are meant to pave the ground for a military attack. Iran's nuclear issue  much like the non-existing WMD in Iraq is simply a pretext for regime change. 

 Dr Mohammad Elbaradei who as the DG of the IAEA worked with both the West and Iran for 12 years is crystal clear on this subject in his memoir where he said he doubted policy makers in Washington were ever truly interested in resolving the Iranian nuclear issue, but that they sought instead to achieve isolation and regime change in Iran.

DavidDaniel
DavidDaniel

Mr. Cortright claims in this article that "The International Atomic Energy Agency reports regularly on Iran and has no evidence of uranium enrichment to weapons-grade level" and nothing would please the world more than if that were true, but it is not. Iran has consistently blocked and obstructed the IAEA inspectors. Iran has used military installations as cover for developing and testing nuclear technology.

smehgol
smehgol

Right now, right here in United States, disproportionate Israeli/Jewish media, financial and political control is rampant. Our country, not just Palestine, has been occupied by Israel. The Wall Street felons remaining unpunished and AIPAC actually writing congressional legislation attest to the depth of the occupation.

Once great America has been bankrupted by: 1. Our Mideast wars instigated by Israel. 2. Our support for the Jewish state's Mideast conquests. 3. The Great Recession felonies of Wall Street's ethnic Israel Firsters and their traitorous ethnic Israel Firster government enablers.

As a post WW2 student, I was proud of my country's heritage of opportunity, democracy, honor, justice and stature among nations. Today, I grieve for our diminished America, for our future, for our children and grandchildren.

smehgol
smehgol

NO MORE WARS! The Jewish state has ICBM nukes and openly threatens Iran, actually campaigns for war against Iran. Israel, not Iran, is the warmonger. Resolution lies with lifting all sanctions and compensating Iran for damages from the $$$ billions we will no longer be giving the Jewish state. An Iran with nukes just might inhibit the Jewish state's brutish pursuit of invulnerability, territorial conquest and apartheid empire. Mutually assured destruction could actually make Mideast peace possible. NO MORE WARS!

boulderfinfan
boulderfinfan

The reason we go to war with Iran is the AIPAC control of our congress. You wonder why Schumer  wants war with Iran for Israel. Look at his Israeli passport and you'll have the response. Iran is no threat to the US and Iran and it's non existent nukes are no threat to Israel and it's arsenal of 300 illegal nukes. This is about Israel's nuclear hegemony in the middle east. If Iran is nuclear capable, Israel won't be able to attack it's neighbors every couple of years at will.

CrossWinds
CrossWinds

Trust in Christ, who loved, died, and rose again for you.........

......Matthew 24:6-8........

6 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of sorrows..........

Don_Bacon
Don_Bacon

@DavidDanielAccording to Article III of the NPT the IAEA is ONLY supposed to ensure non-diversion of nuclear fuel to weapons programs, which it has continually done in Iran. The IAEA has no authority to be a super-snooper spy agency. None.

NPT: "Each non-nuclear-weapon State Party to the Treaty undertakes to accept safeguards, as set forth in an agreement to be negotiated and concluded with the International Atomic Energy Agency in accordance with the Statute of the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Agencys safeguards system, <b>for the exclusive purpose of verification of the fulfillment of its obligations assumed under this Treaty with a view to preventing diversion </b>of nuclear energy from peaceful uses to nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices."
http://www.fas.org/nuke/control/npt/text/npt2.htm

drb
drb

@DavidDaniel  

The blockage or obstruction of IAEA inspectors, if true, has to do with the extra inspections outside nuclear issue, such as Parchin, which is a military site. Iran can not allow outsiders roam around wherever they want, find all the military secrets and then bomb them! Remember Iraq? US spies were going everywhere under the guise of IAEA inspectors and finding everything about its military, sharing it with Israel. Once Iraq was completely neutered, it was attacked.

jj.wyndham
jj.wyndham

@DavidDaniel

"Iran has consistently blocked and obstructed the IAEA inspectors."

Have a little self-respect.  That's a bald-faced lie, and you know it.

At least Iran has signed NPT and permits IAEA inspections.  Israel's aging stock of 200-300 nukes has NEVER been inspected, though JFK tried to force Ben Gurion's hand shortly before the former was assassinated, AND Israel flatly refuses to sign NPT.  And servile America continues to use its UNSC veto to shield the mad dog of the ME!  America's hypocrisy on this issue leads many to just shake their heads in disbelief.

And IRAN is the bad guy?

jihadsandmonkey
jihadsandmonkey

@smehgol Israel has not threatened Iran. It is Iran that has threatened to wipe Israel off the map.

Don_Bacon
Don_Bacon

@Crossroads"Trust, but verify" -- originated by Vladimir Lenin and used by Ronald Reagan

jj.wyndham
jj.wyndham

@jihadsandmonkey

"Israel has not threatened Iran. It is Iran that has threatened to wipe Israel off the map."

Two sentences and two OBVIOUS lies.  Care to try for strike three? 

Why should anybody believe ANYTHING that comes out of an Israel "supporter"?  How anybody thinks this is helping Israel is beyond me.  By all means, don't let that stop you.

smehgol
smehgol

@jihadsandmonkey@smehgol

Quoting an Imam, Iranian President Ahmadinejad was speaking of the Zionist control of Jerusalem. His correctly translated words were: “...this regime occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time.” The heavily publicized “wipe Israel off the map” threat is just usual Israeli warmongering propaganda. The Jewish state has ICBM nukes and openly threatens Iran; ACTUALLY CAMPAIGNS FOR WAR AGAINST IRAN. Israel, not Iran, should be sanctioned and forced to reveal its nuclear machinations to IAEA inspection.


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