Stopping the coming war with Iran is the imperative of our day. In addition to all the other horrors such a new war would bring, it would also prolong and intensify the nightmarish war crime in Iraq. Anyone concerned with the long-term interests of the United States — its security, its prosperity, its constitutional liberties — should be standing up right now in fierce and implacable resistance to the launching of another act of aggression.
So naturally, the national Democrats — who were returned to power on a wave of public revulsion against the radical militarism of the Bush Regime — are now trying to raise the war fever against Iran to the boiling point, in a bellicose bid to "outflank both the Bush administration and the United Nations with the toughest set of sanctions against Iran that have ever been proposed," as that right-wing calliope, the New York Sun, approvingly notes.
With legislation introduced by Rep. Tom Lantos, the Fightin' Dems propose to slap hars h new sanctions on any and every firm and nation in the world that dares do business with Iran's energy sector, with no waivers allowed for anyone, not even close American allies. What's more, the Democratic measure would re-impose set of of minor sanctions lifted by the party's own Bill Clinton in 2000, in a feeble, half-hearted effort to throw a few crumbs to Iran's beleaguered reformist president, Mohammed Khatami. (As we've noted before, the bipartisan Clinton-Bush refusal to respond to Khatami's openings and initiatives helped doom his reformist movement, and paved the way for the hardline, Bush-like jackanapes, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, to win the presidency.)
Thus, if Lantos and the Democrats have their way — and the bill has already attracted a companion measure from the Republicans — Americans will once more be protected from the importation of demonish rugs, caviar and pistachio nuts from the wily Persians. Don't you feel safer already?
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The Lantos version of the latest Iran Provocation Act is being pitched as a partisan swipe at George W. Bush. (In their PR packaging, at least, the Democrats are being responsive to overwhelming public sentiment.) Lantos emphasizes that the bill would prohibit the president from granting waivers to any oil companies or countries that sign new energy deals with Iran. "If Dutch Shell moves forward with its proposed $10 billion deal with Iran, it will be sanctioned. If Malaysia moves forward with a similar deal, it too will be sanctioned. The same treatment will be accorded to China and India should they finalize deals with Iran," said Lantos. [And isn't it wonderfully democratic of this Democratic leader, telling other countries who they can and cannot trade with, and how? Oh well; if these rag-tag nations want to be part of our Greater Co-Propserity Sphere, they have to toe the line, right?]
Of course, all these draconian efforts to cripple the development of Iran's oil and gas industries will only make it more imperative for Tehran to develop its nuclear power program — and therefore increase the likelihood that this program could one day be turned to the production of nuclear weapons. In other words, the bill is designed to exacerbate and accelerate the very danger — nuclear proliferation — that is the ostensible reason for keeping "all options on the table" against Iran.
But that's OK. We want them to keep building their nuclear program, so we can use it as an excuse to strike Iran. We want the people of Iran to suffer from crippling sanctions, as did the people of Iraq (while, as in Iraq, the leaders continue to live in luxury), because we want Iraqi society to deteroriate to the point that its leaders feel compelled to take some action that we can seize upon as a casus belli and launch a "retaliatory" attack whose real aim is "regime change." Both the Democrats and Republicans have very publicly committed the United States to this course.
So the Lantos law has nothing to do with bashing George W. Bush for giving his oil buddies waivers to work in Iran. That's just cornball for the rubes back home. It has everything to do with the pursuit of "regime change" in Tehran and the implanation of a friendly client regime that won't stand in the way of the long-held, bipartisan Establishment dream of unchallenged American dominance over world affairs.
And it It has nothing to do with punishing Iran for allegedly helping kill American soldiers in Iraq. Neither the Democrats or the Republicans, with a few honorable exceptions, give a damn about the American soldiers in Iraq. If they did, the soldiers would already be coming home — or never sent there in first place. If they did, they would also be passing sanctions against Saudi Arabia, from whence gushers of money, weapons and recruits are flowing into Iraq to support the Sunni insurgency that is actually killing most of the Americans in Iraq.
No, they don't care about the soldiers. They care about "regime change" and advancing the frontiers of dominance. In this, the American Dominationists have found common cause with the government of Israel, which also desperately wants regime change in Tehran. And here the other raison d'etre of the Lantos bill comes into play: kowtowing to the interests of the Israeli militarists, and thus securing the domestic support of the Israel Lobby in America. And the Democrats are not even trying to hide the influence of the Lobby on the bill. As the Sun notes: "The introduction of the new legislation comes as more than 5,500 members of America's largest pro-Israel lobby [the American Israel Public Affairs Committee] are set to arrive in Washington for their annual policy conference." Making their haj to this Mecca..House speaker Nancy Pelosi is scheduled to give her first major speech on Middle East policy as the House leader. Both the Republican and Democratic leaders of the House and Senate will make speeches at the event, which is also expected to draw presidential candidates such as Senators Clinton, Obama, Biden, and Brownback. Senator McCain is said to be likely to attend as well." Every one of these speakers will throw red meat to the crowd. Every single one of them will declare that "all options are on the table" against Iran. Every single one of them will wave the black flag of war.
Of course, most American Jews oppose the war in Iraq; So do most American WASPs — although not in as great a number as American Jews, as several recent Gallup polls show. (The American religious group most opposed to the Iraq war is Black Protestants, the surveys found.) Most Americans oppose launching a war on Iran. But neither the WASP Dominationists who control American policy nor the Jewish leaders of the Israeli Lobby give a damn about what Americans — of all faiths and none — want. These honchos serve only the interests of power. They may tell us — they may even tell themselves — that they are only pursuing, with unfortunate but unavoidable ruthlessness, the security of the American and Israeli people. But the record of the past decades gives overwhelming proof that these policies do not bring security; they bring only more death, more suffering, more fear — and more money for war profiteers, and more authoritarian power for government officials to wield with increasingly weak or non-existent restraints.
That is the reality, for anyone who cares to see it. Anyone who expects the Democrats to stand up against the coming war against Iran will be bitterly disappointed. The Democrats, again with a few exceptions, are abetting the Bush Regime's drive toward war. With every step, they are bringing us closer and closer to the abyss.
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