Monday, March 5, 2012

Overturn The Table

When asked whether the U.S. will attack Iran, President Obama says that he is leaving all options on the table. It is exactly what President Bush said before he ordered the attack on Iraq.

Obama is not alone. Virtually every U.S. politician who has been asked about attacking Iran has said the same thing. Apparently, none of them learned anything from our disastrous wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. They are ready to start another war, and once again, it would be a mistake.

Before the first shot was fired on Iraq, we were told that we should attack Iraq because it had weapons of mass destruction. Then we were told that Iraq was developing the weapons. Then we were told that we shouldn't wait for Iraq to develop the weapons, because it had the capability of developing them. Then we were told that we shouldn't wait for Iraq to develop the capability to develop the weapons. Then we just attacked.

This time the rhetoric has taken the same course. Once again, we are pre-positioning troops and war material. Once again, we are being told that Israel is threatened. Once again, we are being told that we could launch a precision strike, with little or no risk to civilians. Once again, we are told it has nothing to do with oil. Once again, we are being lied to.

There are differences. When we launched the previous wars, our economy was in good shape and our government had surpluses. The wars were started in part to eliminate those surpluses, so that our government would be forced to cut back on non-military social programs that the Republicans didn't like. This time, our economy is weak, and our government has deficits and debt. We haven't even started paying for the last two wars, which were financed with borrowed money, so it is hard to see how we would pay for yet another war.

Last time, hundreds of thousands of Americans protested in the streets. Bush said he wouldn't listen to them. This time the number of protesters is much smaller. People have given up on the notion that their government will listen to them.

A Republican president started the last two wars. A Democratic president is threatening to start the next war. Both times, Lockheed Martin, General Electric, Raytheon, General Dynamics, Northrup Grumman, Boeing, and countless others weapons makers could be counted on to do whatever was needed to move the politicians into a war that would make the arms merchants billions of dollars.

Even though an election is not far off, there are no alternatives for the voters. There isn't a credible candidate in either the Republican or Democratic party who has expressed any hesitation about attacking Iran, and there is no viable third party option.

The situation is grim. We need leaders with the courage and wisdom to take certain options off the table. All we have now is politicians who are so thrilled to be able to sit at the table that they are willing to play the rigged hands they are being dealt and listen to the shills who are whispering in their ears. Time to overturn the tables. There is precedent for it.

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