Opinion » Viewpoint

Another War For Israel?

Attacking Iran will result in the opposite of the intended effect.

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The Israeli lobby and the neoconservatives are beating the drums for war with Iran. I hope the president is not that dangerously stupid. (The betting on whether he is that stupid is about even.) The neocons are advancing the premise that a military attack on Iran will cause the people to lose faith in their government and result in regime change.

A military attack on Iran will have the opposite effect. The people will rally to their government, and any hope of regime change will be dead. That people will rally around their existing leaders in the face of an attack by a foreign power is as certain as sunrise. Neither Israel nor the U.S. could do a greater favor for the ruling mullahs and Iran's president than to launch an attack. It would cement their hold on power.

The neocons' fallacious premise has already been disproved. In the first Gulf War, the first Bush administration confidently incited the Shiites and the Kurds to rebel after Saddam Hussein's forces were expelled from Kuwait. The administration thought that Saddam, embarrassed by a crushing military defeat, would fall from power in Iraq easily. Instead, he rallied his forces and crushed both the Shiites in the south and the Kurds in the north. Oops.

In the first place, it is not embarrassing for a Third World country with obsolete equipment to be defeated by the world's strongest military superpower. In the second place, the Sunnis, however much they might have disliked Saddam, disliked even more the thought of being ruled by Kurds or Shiites. In the third place, after President George H.W. Bush's decision to not go to Baghdad, Saddam could say he duked it out with the world's superpower and was still standing after the fight. That, in most eyes, could be counted as a victory.

Some months ago, an Iranian human-rights advocate pleaded with the current Bush administration to cease its rhetorical attacks on the Iranian government. She said, quite accurately, that such attacks make life impossible for Iranian reformers. Needless to say, the blockheads in Washington ignored her.

What did we do when the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were attacked? We rallied behind George W. Bush -- Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives alike. That's the natural reaction of normal human beings, and the Iranians are normal human beings. Attack their country and they will rally round their flag.

The Iranians still insist they are not seeking nuclear weapons, and there's not a scrap of evidence to contradict that claim. They still adhere to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. They have often called for a nuclear-free Middle East.

Once again, the dead roach in America's salad is Israel. The U.S. is hypocritical when it says it opposes a nuclear-free Middle East because Israel has nuclear weapons. We hypocritically claim the Iranians are in violation of international law when, in fact, it is Israel that refuses to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and refuses international inspections. Given our craven obedience to Israel, we have exactly zero credibility in the Arab and Muslim worlds.

As I have said before, I don't care if the Iranians do develop nuclear weapons. My whole adult life was lived with 30,000 Soviet nuclear weapons aimed at me. I can certainly live with the six or seven Iran might be able to scrape together in the next five to 10 years. In the meantime, the U.S. government should kick the Israeli lobby out of the country and support Iran and the Arab League in pushing for a nuclear-free Middle East.

The Israeli lobby pushing America to fight yet another war for Israel reminds me of what the French ambassador to Great Britain said at a party a few years back: "Why does the world allow this [expletive deleted] little country to cause so much trouble?"

Why indeed? You should ask your politicians that question.

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