Familiar but different

Adrian Hamilton makes some keen observations and reaches valid conclusions in his well-written article titled “The eerie familiarity of these preparations for war” [1] which begins with a good question: “Have we learnt nothing from the shameful and shameless run-up to the invasion of Iraq?”

Well, the short answer to that question is of course no. But there are far more embedded dangers in this latest gamble should the war-mongers deliver on their threats of using military force against Iran.

All the parallels he draws with 2003 — undermining of the UN inspection process; bellicose threats of military action accompanied by claims of giving diplomacy a chance; and portrayal of Iran as threat to security of the West are correct except for one thing. The war with Iraq did not begin in 2003. Commencement of the “shock and awe” military assault raining death and destruction on the Iraqi capital on the eve of March 20, 2003 was only meant as a spectacle of American fire power for public consumption.

After 12 years of “worthy” genocidal sanctions [2], and 11 years of bombings by U.S. and British planes [3], Iraq by that time was already overpowered and completely helpless to defend itself which is precisely why Ken Adelman, then assistant to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, came up with his prediction of the “Cakewalk in Iraq” [4] which has morphed into the present day quagmire costing the American taxpayer $2 billion a week [5] with half a trillion already spent and nearly 4,000 expendable members of its society, mainly the poor and underprivileged, sacrificed on what is now repackaged and sold to the same gullible public as part of the “Global War on Terror” meaning a war with no end.

What is completely lost in all the irresponsible saber-rattling and irrational rhetoric threatening the use of force is the failure to realize that Iran of 2007 is anything remotely resembling Iraq of 2003. Iran is a formidable military power in the region, second only to Israel. And as a direct result of Western sanctions with some help from Russia, China, Pakistan and North Korea – Iran has created a powerful military-industrial complex [6] which employs more than 200,000 engineers, technicians and skilled workers manufacturing almost two thousand military and defense related items — From munitions to aircraft and missile boats to satellites, it exports such equipment to over 50 countries, including seven in Europe.

While certainly not a match for the U.S., it is far better positioned to defend itself and respond to any foreign military attack. Iran is a multi-ethnic society three times the size and four time the population of Iraq with a strong sense of nationality tracing its roots to a proud Achaemenid Persian empire which was the largest the ancient world had ever seen. Iranians throughout their history have consistently shown that regardless of internal problems they will unite against any would be aggressor threatening its infrastructure and territorial integrity.

So yes while the preparations and rhetoric are eerily familiar, the calamitous outcome of such a reckless attack will be far more devastating with dire global ramifications which will dwarf those of the current Iraqi debacle.

[1] http://comment.independent.co.uk/columnists_a_l/ad…

[2] http://www.fair.org/index.phppage1084

[3] http://www-tech.mit.edu/V119/N9/Iraq_9.9w.html

[4] http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A1996-200…

[5] http://www.boston.com/news/world/middleeast/articl…

[6] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iranian_defense_indus…

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