Apolitical Deconstruction

The title of this blog refers to my journey of self-transformation from someone loathe to publicly express his personal opinions on political matters to...well, keep reading and see!

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Stopping The Rush To War Ver.2.0

Today, I sent a letter to my U.S. Senators in which I presented my views on why I think it would be a terrible mistake for the U.S. to launch a military attack on Iran. There is currently some very real tension between the U.S. House and Senate and the White House on this issue. Both Democrats and Republicans in Congress are very concerned that President Bush may order an attack on Iran without first gaining the explicit approval of Congress, which is not likely to be granted!

I have been thinking for some weeks about what I would like to write in a letter to my Senators about this issue. I have read various articles and watched lots of discussions on various news programs about the potential for a U.S. attack on Iran and what the consequences might be. Here is a link to a really excellent op-ed from the January 19, 2007 edition of the Christian Science Monitor written by Ali G. Scotten. He is a Ph.D. student in anthropology at the University of Chicago and a former Fulbright scholar who has traveled extensively in Iran. I found his article to be very well written, and its content, in part, was an inspiration for this letter to my Senators.

Dear Senator,

I have become very concerned recently about the possibility that the U.S. may start a war with Iran by attacking its nuclear facilities. I believe that such an action would be disastrous for America and for the proponents of political moderation and change within Iran!

It would be very unwise to assume that an attack by the U.S. on Iran would not be followed by devastating retaliation. Iran's military may be no match for the U.S. in a conventional sense, but Iranian special forces, by all accounts that I am aware of, clearly have the ability to dramatically escalate insurgent activity within Iraq and elsewhere against American troops, civilians, and material interests. Iran also has the ability to severely disrupt the flow of oil to world markets, the economic consequences of which could be dire.

Let me be clear that I am no friend to the leaders of Iran. Their human rights record is terrible, especially toward women, and they are taking actions in Iraq that are leading to the deaths of American troops and Iraqi people. However, I am a friend to a number of Iranians who live in the U.S., Iran, and various other countries around the world. They hate the Iranian government, but they love their country. They want to see positive change in Iran, but they believe that real change can only come from within the country. It is my understanding that the vast majority of Iranians within Iran have serious disagreements with their government. They want change! The recent elections in Iran, that resulted in the defeat of many hard-line candidates running for city council positions, are a good sign that the policies of Iranian President Ahmedinejad are widely unpopular.

I truly believe that the leaders of Iran would like nothing better than for the U.S. to attack. Their power is waning, but a U.S. attack would cause many Iranians, who are currently disillusioned with their leaders, to rally around their government. The tremendous good will that most Iranians have toward America would evaporate. Also, I believe that an American attack on Iran would give the Mullahs an excuse for eliminating thousands of dissidents within Iran. A similar crackdown happened during the Iran-Iraq War, and resulted in the imprisonment, torture, and execution of a great many opponents of the regime.

America has the power, in concert with our allies, to economically reward or punish Iran's government, depending on their behavior. While I do not think that sanctions are a very effective tool to encourage positive change, they are a far better alternative than going to war! In my opinion, we should focus on encouraging continued moderation within Iran through dialogue, diplomacy, and economic incentives. We have followed this path with China for more than thirty years, and I urge you to support this path with Iran.