May 06, 2006

The UNSC Talks Iran: Use of Force

The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, is busily working on rounding up support from fellow Security Council members to include authorization of the use of force against Iran in a resolution about its nuclear program:

The proposed use of force in dealing with Iran's nuclear defiance became a red line dividing the UN Security Council as it discussed a draft resolution on the matter.

The draft proposed by France, Britain and the US to force Iran to suspend its nuclear activities would have no teeth without enforcement measures - a provision embodied in Chapter 7 of the UN Charter.

Russia and China strongly oppose the inclusion of Chapter 7 in the draft resolution, fearing that it would lead the US to resort to military actions to stop Iran from producing nuclear weapons.

... Without an agreement on Chapter 7 by the five veto-wielding powers, it would be difficult for the other 10 council members to support the text, diplomats said on Friday. ...

Could it be more obvious that the Bush administration intends to go to war with Iran? They are laying all the groundwork to claim that both the U.N. and Congress have already said that Iran's nuclear program must be stopped, and therefore they will take upon themselves the burden of enforcing the dictates of two bodies of officials whose authority they respect only when it pleases them.

Has anyone forgotten that Congress never actually declared war on Iraq, but that the Bush administration argued that the use of force was implied by their previous measures insisting that they submit to weapons inspection and approving of regime change? Has anyone forgotten that the U.N. never explicitly authorized the Iraq war, but that the U.N. measure intended to insist upon compliance with weapons inspections was held up as an excuse? The Bush administration was simply, nay, nobly enforcing compliance with an otherwise toothless mandate.

It's all happening again. And with grim certainty, we will probably hear about how important it is to democratize Iran. Noted foreign policy author Chalmers Johnson writes about America's history of 'spreading democracy':

... The Federation of American Scientists has compiled a list of more than 201 overseas military operations from the end of World War II until September 11, 2001, in which we were involved and normally struck the first blow. (The list is reprinted by Gore Vidal in Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace: How We Got To Be So Hated, p 22-41.) The current wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are not included. In no instance did democratic governments come about as a direct result of any of these military activities.

The United States holds the unenviable record of having helped install and then supported such dictators as the Shah of Iran, General Suharto in Indonesia, Fulgencio Batista in Cuba, Anastasio Somoza in Nicaragua, Augusto Pinochet in Chile and Sese Seko Mobutu in Congo-Zaire, not to mention a series of American-backed militarists in Vietnam and Cambodia until we were finally expelled from Indochina. In addition, we ran among the most extensive international terrorist operations in history against Cuba and Nicaragua because their struggles for national independence produced outcomes the US did not like. ...

Do not buy the liberation snakeoil. Iran is not a threat to us now and having been on the receiving end of American interference in their government before, when they had a popular democracy stolen out from under them, there will be no welcome for an invasion.

Any U.N. resolution authorizing force, any congressional bill passed that authorizes efforts toward regime change, and it's probably all over but the shouting. This is an administration bent on another war and they will use any excuse. Perhaps it was a somewhat reasonable position in 2002, though proven wrong by events, that the Bush administration wouldn't do this sort of thing. But they've already done it and are setting up a particularly familiar legal scaffold and rhetorical onslaught.

The Iraq war may currently be sucking up most of the oxygen in the war opposition camp, but it's time to acknowledge that the president is preparing to move on in a way that will make our present days of only being at war with two countries seem like a picnic. So speak up. Now. Please.

Posted by natasha at May 6, 2006 02:27 PM | Iran | Technorati links |

The problem is, how best are we heard?

The Bush administration has seen worldwide protests, received various dignataries and experts that have told him and his administration that they are/have been/will be making a big mistake regarding Iraq in multiple ways, his own military brass has complained and provided dire warnings, and none of them - none of them - are responded to except via smackdowns, dismisal or threats.

Furthermore, once again, we have enablers of this abuse among our elected representatives of the Democratic Party, such as Senator Maria Cantwell, in their willingness to co-sponsor SB 333, which will be used as the excuse for taking whatever measures the Bush administration deems necessary regarding Iran.


Ready to deny your vote to Cantwell, Boxer and other Senate Democrats until she removes her name from SB 333? Ready to hang on to that pledge come November?

Ready to promote and enforce a one-week work stoppage?

Ready to go to Bangor Naval Base, knock down the fences and get arrested while on top of cruise-missle-equipped submarines?

Ready to go to the Congress and disrupt proceedings regarding both the House and Senate bills being passed?

Because I see no other "nice but firm" way to divert the momentum away from attacking Iran.

And I fear that more nasty ways will be considered, and, God help us, attempted to both ensure no diversion, and to ensure a whole LOT of diversion, over the coming weeks.

Posted by: palamedes at May 6, 2006 04:08 PM
Do not buy the liberation snakeoil.
Yeah, the neocons have got Bush believing that he's already established two democracies in full bloom in Kabul and Baghdad (on the strength of a couple of elections, and so, he's ready to roll the dice again. If he's not held to account by October, he'll attack Iran and we will be bled even more dry then we are now... Posted by: Vigilante at May 6, 2006 06:18 PM

U.S. air strikes on Iran may be sooner, rather than later . . .

Posted by: Tom Flowers at May 6, 2006 09:02 PM

Two main points need to be made on this Iran issue. (1) The Bush Administration is not the latest embodiment of the Illuminati that acts independently of its ruling class base. (2) Iran is over a decade away from being able to make a nuclear weapon.

This administration is not insane, as many people contend. This is just paranoid hyperbole. They are meaner than hell, because they can be, because they are in power. The Bush administration serves at the pleasure of the dominant class. Get your heads around that, folks. The last time a whole destabilized white middle class started convincing themselves that the world was run by a conspiracy, they identified Jews and elected a mediocre Austrian watercolor artist as Chancellor of Germany. This is a dangerous and inaccurate understanding of the world. What you are looking at is disequilibrated imperialism.

If they DID drop a nuke on Iran, and if we didn’t immediately start an open revolt that shut the whole fucking country down, we would deserve everything we get right until the next Zhukov walked his artillery across our own Berlin. We need to be telling them that. Drop a nuke, and we break things. I’ll go on the record right here and right now… modeling it for you… George W. Bush, if your administration drops a nuclear weapon on anyone anywhere, you need to lock me up before you do it. Because at that point, anything except open rebellion against you makes me no better than all the “good Germans.” I will not be your good German.

Posted by: frowning furiously at May 7, 2006 12:17 AM

palamedes - Would you really not vote in the Senate race? I still haven't been able to get to the point where I don't think I'd vote for her, ticked though I clearly am.

ff - Yeah, there doesn't have to be a conspiracy for things to simply be considerably frakked up. In some sense, it doesn't entirely matter why, it only matters that its wrong.

Posted by: natasha at May 7, 2006 01:07 PM

Once the bombs fall in Iran, either the public will rally behind the administration, in which case any attempt to "shut down the country" will be met with a great deal of force (From McCarthyite losses of jobs to violent force against public demonstrations), or the public will explode in rage by essentially loudly making it clear they will refuse to vote for the Republicans before November, W's popularity will crater, and Cheney and company will consider declaring a state of emergency.

(I should note that the reason I think that the last will be considered is because, given who is being considered to run the CIA next, I suspect it is highly probable that the wiretapping and worse of political enemies of the Bush Administration has been, and is, taking place. If I'm wrong, then I'm way off base regarding the likelihood of the latter, but on the other hand, the administration continues to redefine "Just how bad can it get?" almost daily. And if half of what these folks are doing ever seep into the public consciousness, the Republican Party, at least at the national level, could cease to function in any meaningful way for a generation.)


I have not decided if I can refuse to vote for Cantwell yet. But I think proof that the Democrats in both the House and Senate understand the seriousness of this matter will happen only through getting them to remove their names from co-sponsoring SB 333 and related House Bill, known as the Iran Freedom Support Act.

I need to think more about this. Back later.

Posted by: palamedes at May 7, 2006 09:42 PM