“If you are afraid to speak out, you are not in America any more”
The United States, once known as the beacon of democracy, finds itself in a dilemma. It is faced with a President that is deaf to the people. In his address to the nation on January 10, 2007 he left little doubt that he means to rule over the people he was ‘elected’ to serve. In tune with everything else he does, he has devalued the meaning of the word democracy and eroded its ideals; which explains why he is ‘dictating’ democracy to other nations.
“But victory in Iraq will bring something new in the Arab world – a functioning democracy that polices its territory, upholds the rule of law, respects fundamental human liberties, and answers to its people.”
Even if one were to allow for the fact that he is no longer in touch with his faculties, one would think that his speech writers would not make such a slip. Wasn’t there a clear indication from the people that in our so-called democracy the people to whom he is answerable, told him to deescalate the American presence in Iraq? He is obliterating the rule of the law, disrespecting fundamental human liberties and yet he is demanding that the Arab world exercise democracy. Clearly the Arab world fare far better not following his suit for at least hundreds of thousands of lives would be spared.
Much like the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, Mr. Bush is misleading the American people about what the mission in Iraq is and will continue to be. He had this to say:
“A democratic Iraq will not be perfect. But it will be a country that fights terrorists instead of harboring them – and it will help bring a future of peace and security for our children and grandchildren.”
He forgets that in a digital age, history, especially recent history, is recorded. It was Mr. Bush’s White House that offered sanctuary to terrorists in Iraq. Even the US Department Personnel as well as non-US personnel were taken aback when Mr. Bush ordered MEK terrorists to be granted ‘special persons status’ under the Geneva Conventions. Yet here he is, at the height of hypocrisy, relying on our short memories, asking for American soldiers to ‘sacrifice’ so that Iraqis will not harbor terrorists.
“Countries like Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, and the Gulf States need to understand that an American defeat in Iraq would create a new sanctuary for extremists – and a strategic threat to their survival.”
Mr. Bush is calling to his friends in the region, all of whom happen to be ruled by dictators, to cooperate in the war against Iran, the next war he has planned for the region. The stability of Iraq has never been his concern, nor the death of the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. Did he have these thoughts as the Mother Of All Bombs (MOAB) were sent to Iraq as part of the arsenal? Iraqis are irrelevant. Mr. Bush now needs the cooperation of Saudi Arabia. A country which due to its authoritarian rule and relationship with the United States gave birth to al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden’s hatred of the West. Is Mr. Bush’s love of Saudi Arabia simply the oil or is it the fact that the Sunni insurgents killing American soldiers, the al- Qaeda network that is spread over 60 countries, stemmed from Saudi Arabia and need to be controlled by Mr. Bush’s Saudi allies? Maybe it is their hatred of and rivalry with Iranians or simply it’s their fondness of democracy!
After all, there is no limit to this President’s love for ‘democracy’. While his aim is to uproot the Tehran regime with bombs, he appeals to the Saudi regime to understand that Iraq’s stability is paramount to their survival – the survival of their despotism. Not long ago, a $47 billion arms deal between America’s close ally the British and the Saudis was concluded and cleverly concealed from the public. There were two chilling stipulations to this deal: first, that the Brits would freeze their ongoing investigation into certain royal family members; and the second far more important stipulation was that they would expel from England two Moslem, Saudi progressive thinkers who were pro-democracy ; reducing the risk of contaminating the Saudis with the ideals of democracy. Those who believe Mr. Bush has a Wilsonian agenda may want to re-evaluate their supposition.
Clearly 20,000 soldiers will not be enough to confront Iran militarily. There are only two scenarios. The draft will be instituted early in 2007 and soldiers will be asked to serve a mad man – or worse still, there will be weapons of mass destruction deployed, the plans of which were drawn up in 2003.
In an August 1, 2005 issue of The American Conservative, Philip Giarldi, a former CIA officer, warned that Dick Cheney had issued a request for using tactical nuclear weapons against Iran. The more alarming aspect of his report was that the use of nuclear weapons was not conditional on Iran being involved in the act of terrorism against the United States. Otherwise stated, Iran is being set up for “an unprovoked nuclear attack”. Today, it seems, the plan is even more solidified. Iran is being baited, its consulate in Iraq attacked, personnel and computers seized. In other words, the US has declared war.
The unimaginable destruction that a nuclear attack would cause, as well as the burden of the responsibility, will fall on many. Let us remind ourselves of the Union of Concerned Scientists report that the kind of bunker-buster the administration wants to use on Iran’s nuclear facilities, would only penetrate a few feet into the ground, too shallow to contain the massive radiation fallout that could spread over 1000 miles. If the US dropped a single 1.2 kiloton bomb on Isfahan, the kind it is planning on using, 3 million people will be killed within 2 weeks of the explosion around Isfahan, and 35 million people in Afghanistan, Pakistan and India will be at high risk of cancer due to radiation. India chose to make a deal with the devil. Russia caved in. And the US will not stop with Isfahan alone. Other countries would be involved – radiation does not recognize boundaries.
We can no longer allow our fear of futility to restrain us from taking action. Only our collective sanity and compassion can prevail. Let us heed to our higher calling of saving lives and not forget Margaret Mead: “Never believe that a small group of people can't change the world…indeed, they are the only ones who do.” .
Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich has lived and studied in Iran, the UK, France, and the US. She obtained her Bachelors Degree in International Relations from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles. She is currently pursuing her education in Middle East studies and Public Diplomacy. Soraya has done extensive research on US foreign policy towards Iran and Iran’s nuclear program. She can be reached at email@example.com