Once again, the U.S. is threatening war against a smaller and weaker nation, this time on Iran. Have we learned nothing from Washington’s catastrophic wars since 2001? Are we going to study, think about the issues, and stop a war on Iran?
The Brown University Costs of War Project (2018) has estimated the human cost of these U.S. wars: between 480,000 and 507,000 people killed in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq; some 500,000 killed in Syria, where Obama supported alleged rebels who were mostly al-Qaida/ISIS terrorists. Through 2017, the number of displaced people, external refugees and asylum seekers was nearly 13 million.
U.S. deaths in these wars total more than 7,000 U.S. soldiers and 8,000 military contractors. In addition, although the Congressional Research Service “has stopped releasing regular updates on U.S. military casualty statistics,” its most recent report in 2015 found “that more than 300,000 troops have suffered traumatic brain injuries.”
Trump, Pompeo, and Bolton threaten Iran, aided by Democrats. Presidents simply involve us in endless wars that violate the Constitution and the U.N. Charter, which states, “All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.” Since the Charter was ratified by the Senate, it is the law of the land and binding on our representatives.
The escalating U.S.-Iranian crisis comes without detail or public evidence; Iran allegedly poses an increasing threat to U.S. forces and facilities in the Middle East. A similar scenario was used to soften us up for the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Now, as then, lies and distortions are peddled by the corporate media. We know how the invasion turned out — a war crime that killed a half million Iraqis and created the virulent al-Qaida/ISIS terrorist franchise.
Recent history provides the context for the present crisis: the CIA-British 1953 coup against Iran’s democratically elected prime minister that put the Shah in power; an uprising in 1979 that overthrew him; and in 1980, the U.S.-supported Iraqi invasion of Iran that left 1 million people dead. Saddam’s forces “regularly employed poison gas to attack Iranian formations [and] … U.S.-supplied satellite imagery allowed Iraq to better calibrate these illegal, immoral, chemical attacks.” The U.S. Navy also waged an undeclared war in the Persian Gulf (Danny Sjursen, Truthdig, June 6).
What is unfolding, award-winning Alternative Radio producer David Barsamian writes, “are hyped-up threats” that are “never spelled out” but involve “Israel and the feudal, fundamentalist monarchies of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the [United Arab Emirates].” These U.S. threats “are never qualified as alleged, possible, supposed, rather they are stated as fact and are attributed to anonymous sources. The [corporate] media with few exceptions [parrot] the official line” (Counterpunch, May 17).
Peace activists Zeese and Flowers assert that the “root cause of the problems” between the United States and Iran “is not because [that nation] has oil, an Islamic government, nuclear weapons or [its] role in the Middle East — it is because in 1979, Iran ended 26 years of U.S. domination.” Iran’s crime is that it has successfully defied the U.S. and acted as an independent nation. Since then, “the U.S. has sought to dominate Iran using sanctions and threats of military aggression. Iran has responded by seeking negotiation with the U.S. … Although Iran fulfilled its side of the [recent] nuclear agreement, the U.S. did not relieve the sanctions, as promised, and under the Trump administration, increased the sanctions and left the agreement.” Instead of abiding by the agreement, the U.S. has engaged in a blatant aggressive move “to isolate [that country] politically and economically” (Counterpunch, March 13).
The U.S. has failed to live up to the carefully negotiated nuclear agreement between Iran, U.N. Security Council members, and Germany; Iran has complied with every requirement.
In such U.S. international crises, however, the very language we use becomes corrupted. Therefore, we must choose the right words in order to understand and end this danger. Washington is threatening war, not Iran. We must stop it.
John Marciano lives in Talent.