Same Mistake

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The Bush administration is making the same mistakes with Iran that it made with Iraq. It makes allegations unsupported by facts, refuses to negotiate and threatens sanctions or military action, neither of which is feasible.

In short, it has no rational Iran policy.

The Bush administration seems to be under the impression that the Iranians are pursuing the development of a nuclear weapon. Sound familiar? The Iranians deny it. The administration says, in effect, that they are lying. If the administration has any proof, let’s see it. It was so all-fired certain that Iraq was not only pursuing nuclear weapons but had stockpiles of other weapons, all of which has been proven untrue. That was a mistake that has cost us 1,400 lives and 10,000 wounded. Make that mistake with Iran, and you’ll see a heck of a lot more body bags coming back to the United States.

Our silly secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, says that the Iranians must live up to their international obligations. Again, a familiar propaganda note. The Bush people claimed Iraq was not complying with U.N. resolutions, but in fact it had. The trouble is that, so far as we can tell, the Iranians are also complying. They signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which the Bush administration’s pet country, Israel, has refused to sign. The Iranians are cooperating with the International Atomic Energy Agency and are allowing inspections, which Israel does not. They have a right under the treaty to enrich uranium, but are negotiating with the European Union to forgo that right.

The United States refuses to participate in those negotiations and several times has tried to get the IAEA to refer Iran to the U.N. Security Council, where it hopes sanctions will be applied. The IAEA has rightfully refused to do so. Even if it did so, China or Russia would certainly veto any resolution mandating sanctions.

Ms. Rice coyly said recently that a military attack against Iran is not on the Bush agenda "at this point." That’s a nothing statement, because it does not rule out a military attack.

Are the Iranians pursuing a nuclear weapon? I don’t know. They say they are not. But they are more or less surrounded by nuclear powers — the United States, Israel, India and Pakistan. Their reasoning for pursuing nuclear plants is feasible. They know their main export, oil, will run out one day, so by using nuclear to produce internal power, they can extend the life of their most profitable export. They are certainly wise to disperse their facilities, given the fact that the Israelis bombed Iraq’s only nuclear reactor in the 1980s.

But let’s assume Iran does develop a nuclear weapon. I don’t care. I’ve lived most of my life 30 minutes from total destruction by tens of thousands of the Soviet Union’s nuclear warheads. The Bush administration’s claim that nuclear deterrence, which worked against a superpower, will not work against a smaller and poorer country is bunk. Israel alone has enough nuclear warheads to pulverize Iran.

Oh, the administration says the Iranians will hand over a nuclear weapon to a terrorist organization. Well, where is any evidence of that? The evidence does show that once countries develop nuclear weapons, they keep pretty tight control over them.

But more to the point, if we don’t want Iran to develop a nuclear weapon, why not negotiate? Why keep threatening the Iranians? It doesn’t make any sense. If I were an Iranian, I would assume that President Bush intends eventually to attack the country. That would be stupid, but if you look at the stupidity of the Iraqi mess, you can’t rule it out. Never believe that Bush won’t do something just because it’s dumb.

Iraq, with just over 20 million people, a flat terrain and a dilapidated military, has given us quite a bit of trouble. Try Iran, which has nearly 70 million people, a mountainous terrain and a much more effective military. You Bush lovers should write your man and advise him to let that sleeping dog lie.

Charley Reese [send him mail] has been a journalist for 49 years, reporting on everything from sports to politics. From 1969—71, he worked as a campaign staffer for gubernatorial, senatorial and congressional races in several states. He was an editor, assistant to the publisher, and columnist for the Orlando Sentinel from 1971 to 2001. He now writes a syndicated column which is carried on LewRockwell.com. Reese served two years active duty in the U.S. Army as a tank gunner. Write to Charley Reese at P.O. Box 2446, Orlando, FL 32802.

© 2005 by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

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