by Charles Davis
In the mont
The release of the NIE — the
consensus view of all 16
intelligence services — and its conclusion that Iran halted efforts to pursue nuclear weapons `in 2003 primarily in response to international pressure' appeared to be a serious blow to proponents of military action.
Yet some believe the Bush
administration could still choose to attack
`Their intention to use fear
is very clear, and I think that you have to understand how they manipulate
American fear to keep power,' said Rep. Jim McDermott, a Democrat from the
`[President Bush] wants to find a way to provoke a military confrontation, or gin up some data to frighten the American people into believing a preemptive strike is defensible,' McDermott said at a recent forum in Washington organised by the group Just Foreign Policy.
`And I live in constant fear that he intends to do just that,' he said.
Entitled `The Folly of
Attacking Iran', the forum was aimed at encouraging support for direct,
unconditional negotiations with
Yet much of the discussion was rooted firmly in the past — in particular, 1953, the year U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower authorised the overthrow of the democratically-elected Iranian prime minister Mohammed Mossadeq.
Mossadeq had angered the British government
Though Mossadeq was in fact a committed nationalist who abhorred both socialists and communists, President Eisenhower, in a staunch Cold War mindset, was soon convinced by British arguments that he be overthrown. After just a few weeks of bribing and back-room dealing, `Operation Ajax', as the CIA-led plot was known, succeeded in overthrowing Mossadeq, who was then sentenced to house arrest until his death in 1967.
`That coup did not only result in the end of one man's premiership, it resulted in the end of democratic rule in Iran,' noted Stephen Kinzer, a former foreign correspondent for the New York Times and author of the book `All the Shah's Men', which details the U.S.-sponsored 1953 coup.
The overthrow of Mossadeq, followed by the successive support of six
Further, that revolution in part led the United States to provide military support for Iraqi strongman Saddam Hussein during his war with Iran in the 1980s — a conflict that cost upwards of one million lives.
`The great lesson that I draw from this is that when you violently intervene in the political development of another country, you can never predict what the long-term consequences will be. And most likely, although the consequences will be terrible and tragic for the target country, they will be even worse for the country that launched the intervention,' said Kinzer.
`The same thing will be true
if we fail to learn this lesson and launch an attack on
Other speakers suggested
that though the NIE seems to have diminished the chances of an attack on
`Neither Senator [Hillary]
Clinton nor Senator [Barack] Obama
has seen fit to openly discuss this issue' of dialogue with
Though Democrats have criticised President Bush's handling of the war in
And last year, after further
tightening economic sanctions against
`It would be a disaster for
Of the major party
candidates, only Senator Obama has suggested that he
would meet with the leader of
Still, speakers at the forum
urged attendees to lobby their members of Congress to support legislation
urging President Bush to engage
`I think if we passed that bill tomorrow, probably Bush would name [Vice President] Dick Cheney as his ambassador,' said Kinzer.
`Nonetheless, I think it would be a great symbol, a great sign, that Congress doesn't really want this military option.'
`It really is a question of whether we will learn the lessons of history or whether we will repeat them,' Rep. McDermott added.
© 2008 Inter Press Service