Philip Terrie is a member of Blue November and a resident of Port Huron, Michigan. He was kind enough to allow me to post an article he wrote for the Port Huron Times-Herald which declined to print it for, as Philip states it, "a variety of quite unpersuasive reasons."
Philip, here is to free speech.
I wonder how many Americans are paying attention to an important international drama that could determine the fate of our country and our place in the world. President Bush and his neocon cheerleaders are preparing for air strikes against Iran, possibly, according to recent reports, with nuclear weapons. Their claim is that Iran is itself developing nuclear capabilities, despite expert opinions that Iran is at least ten years away from deployable nuclear devices.
While the emergence of yet another nuclear power is surely not something we want, all Americans should think very carefully about what the likely consequences of an American attack on Iran will be. To Iranians, this will be what Pearl Harbor was for the United States in 1941: an unprovoked attack on their homeland by an aggressive, expansive power. It will set them violently and implacably at war with the United States.
Iran, unlike Iraq, is a relatively wealthy and developed country, with a population approaching 80 million and a well-equipped military. While there is widespread opposition to the authoritarian theocracy maintained by fundamentalist mullahs, there is also a profound sense of patriotism and loyalty to the Iranian state. Nothing would unify the country more than an attack by the United States. The notion of regime change, precipitated by American military intervention, is a neocon fantasy.
It is equally absurd to imagine that Iranians would passively accept an assault on their sovereignty. With its air force and missiles, Iran can stop the movement of oil from the Persian Gulf; this would inevitably lead to a world-wide economic depression, lasting as long as the Iranians want it to. Michigan will hemorrhage jobs, and our state will sink closer to third-world misery. Iran commands allegiance from Shiite militias throughout Iraq; if they are ordered to conduct operations against American troops, the result will be horrible loss of American lives, on a scale far beyond anything we have seen so far.
Iran is capable of unleashing terrorist attacks in Israel and in the United States that will make 9/11 seem tame. If attacked, what is to prevent them from striking back with any means at their disposal? If they do, Israeli and American civilian deaths will be counted in the tens of thousands, if not more. It will be a war without end. Does the United States have an army ready and willing to invade and occupy, indefinitely, a country larger, more unified, and better equipped than Iraq was in 2003? If not, will we launch nuclear warheads against Iranian cities?
I do not like the idea of Iran’s joining the nuclear club; Iran is an unpredictable, anti-Semitic theocracy. But we should remember that for decades the United States faced a far more menacing adversary in the Soviet Union. The doctrine of containment and engagement was hardly perfect, but World War III did not break out, and the Soviet Union collapsed.
The Bush administration invaded Iraq on the basis of faulty or contrived intelligence and clearly had no idea what the consequences of an occupation of that country would mean. Can we be confident that it can accurately assess the long-term consequences of an attack on Iran? Given the debacle in Iraq, can we ever trust this administration?