Attack Iran? by Geronimo Tagatac
Each week the US government goes to the Peoples Republic for a 2 billion dollar loan. China recently surpassed Japan in its US debt holdings. The United States military is stretched to its limit, in Iraq, a conflict that costs the American taxpayer 3 billion dollars a week, with little to show for the effort and money. Iraq is rapidly sliding into civil conflict and there is nothing that the US, government, for all its vaunted power, can do about it. Nor, apparently, can the US do much about North Korea’s growing nuclear weapons arsenal or its missile tests, even though there were some conservatives who urged the Bush regime to launch a pre-emptive military strike against Kim Jong Il’s missile sites prior to that country’s recent test firings. No one in their right mind wants to antagonize Asia’s growing economic and military giant, China.
The attack on and occupation of Iraq was supposed to demonstrate American pre-eminence in the post-Cold War world. It has done the opposite. The war and occupation have underscored the limits of American power and influence. In Latin America, the leaders of Venezuela, Chile, and Argentina have decided to move away from the US sponsored economic models of development. Iran, looking at the examples of Iraq and North Korea, has apparently decided that defiance is the better choice. And who can blame them after what has taken place in occupied Iraq. The image of the America as a defender of justice and human rights has been demolished by the images of Abu Graib, and the stories emerging from the Guantanamo prison camp, the torture cells of Bagram and the descriptions of the Bush regime’s “extraordinary rendition” program which is nothing but outsourced torture.
And now, the Bush people and their highly placed, ultra right ideologues are planning an attack on Iran. The justification: weapons of mass destruction and regime change. Sound familiar? But Iran is not Iraq. Anyone doubting this should take a quick look at a topographical map of that country. First, it’s three times the size of Iraq and has a terrain, in many places, not unlike its neighbor, Afghanistan. Second, Iran has three times the population of Iraq, a population that is not riven with the divisions that we see in Iraq. Any attack will face a people united in its anger against the United States rather than each other.
Pentagon planners have warned the Bush administration that Iran has a “mature” anti-aircraft capability, thanks to Russian and Chinese arms sales to that country. Try to imagine a situation where Iran holds hundreds of American flyers as prisoners of war and decides to classify them as “enemy combatants,” treating them the same way that the Bush regime has chosen to treat its prisoners. Still think the Geneva Convention is “quaint,” Mr. Attorney General? The Chinese are heavily invested in the development of Iranian energy resources and will not look kindly on an American attack, nor will the Russians. US military planners have told the Bush regime that there is no guarantee that air strikes will eliminate or halt Iran’s nuclear weapons program. Air power alone won’t topple the Iranian government. That would require a ground invasion. With the American army pinned down in the occupation of Iraq, where are the troops to come from? Implementing a draft would be political suicide.
Maybe we could draft the ten million people whose phone calls the National Security Administration decided to bug because they might be Al Qaeda sympathizers. They could pick up their weapons at the Dallas, Texas Wal-Mart. Attention shoppers!
Geronimo Tagatac is a first generation Phillipine-American. He spent his childhood living and working in the fields and orchards of rural California. He has published short fiction in the “Writers Forum,” “Orion” and “Mississippi Mud.” He currently lives and writes in Salem, Oregon. He can be reached at [email protected].