Declare war on Iran
By Bruce Walker
The mullahs of Iran, quite properly included in the Axis of Evil, are vastly unpopular in their brutal regime of Iran. America has never recognized the legitimacy of that realm, which in violation of international law occupied our embassy and held our diplomatic staff as hostages in 1980.
Few, if anyone, in the democracies doubts the incredible danger which will be posed to world peace if Iran obtains atomic or thermonuclear weapons. Much of our work to democratize Afghanistan and Iraq will be in vain. The delicate balancing act the India and Pakistan are pursuing as two relatively new members of the nuclear club and each struggling with ethnic minorities will be unhinged. The new and democratic nations of Central Asia, which will increasingly apply pressure on both Russia and China to act decently to their own citizens will gravitate like satellites to brutal larger nations – Iran, China or Russia – none of which are friends of freedom.
Also, unlike Iraq or Afghanistan, the people of Iran are sophisticated and recall what life was like in the freedom of twenty-five years ago. They perceive how far their once very successful nation has fallen since a Shah supported by America lost power. Almost every dynamic works in favor of broad support for American intervention within Iran.
The ghastly, ten year war with Iraq was initiated by Saddam Hussein, the very tyrant who America has overthrown and handed over to the Iraqi people to try for his crimes against humanity. This terrible war could never have been started by Hussein had the mullahs not overthrown the powerful, pro-American Shah with his vastly superior military forces, leaving Iran to the military incompetence of the mullahs.
The liberation of Iraq allows the long persecuted Shia of Iraq, religious companions of the Iranian Shia, a voice, indeed a great voice, in the affairs of Iraq, and it also ends the long genocidal campaign waged by Hussein against the Iraqi Shia. While no one is seeking to "liberate" Iran from Shiite Islam, we would be liberating the Shiite majority of Iran from subjugation.
American forces – battle tested forces – are in both Iraq and Afghanistan, which border Iran from the southwest and northeast. Moreover, unlike Iraq and Afghanistan, where our goals were difficult to articulate, our goals in Afghanistan would be as clear as, say, our goals in Italy in the Second World War. We recognize that the Iranian people are not hostile to America and they do not require a long presence of American troops to establish a working, prosperous and peaceful democracy. All Iranians require is that a superior force overwhelm the utterly discredited fascist mullahs, establish a modicum of order, and quickly leave.
Moreover, the Iranian people listen to the world. Our goals could be explicitly stated before the attack, and a point by point document circulated among the huge Iranian underground. Our goals would coincide with what they want.
What would those goals be? First, the elimination of a religious theocracy and its replacement by a tolerant democracy based, generally, on Shiite Islam (which has proven historically tolerant toward minorities.) Second, true legal equality for all Iranians, regardless of faith, gender, or ethnicity. Third, the immediate cessation of any efforts to build nuclear weapons, accompanied by open inspections. Fourth, friendly and peaceful relations with Iraq, Afghanistan and the republics of Central Asia.
President Bush should ask Congress to declare war on Iran soon next year, after the composition of the Iraqi democracy is formed. This request should state our precise aims and it should include a hard timeframe for withdrawal of troops and transition to the Iranian people.
Why would this be possible? American forces have proven that they can win very quick, very decisive victories with a minimum of American military losses. That is all that is required in Iran. The very weak Iranian military could only withstand a serious attack from American forces for a few weeks or perhaps only a few days.
Which congressman would vote against declaring war on Iran – the constitutional way to wage war – when Iran is such an awful and dangerous threat, one that could go nuclear soon, one that held Americans hostage, when the precise objectives were plainly laid out? Which congressman would defend the oppression of women and religious minorities in Iran? Which congressman would defend a government which calls for a second Holocaust? President Bush should do this the old fashion way, the way that puts congressman on record – ask them, not him, to declare war on this awful government.
Bruce Walker is a senior writer with Enter Stage Right. He is also a frequent contributor to The Pragmatist and The Common Conservative.
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