By the established policies of the American government, Iran would be justified in attacking American military installations in Iraq – including the fortified Green Zone of Baghdad – without any further provocation.
The right to “preemptive” strike, by any other term, as delineated by the Bush neocons in the “Global War on Terrorism”, holds that a nation has the right to attack any other nation that poses a threat or conceivably could pose a threat at some time in the foreseeable future.
Given that we have issued repeated threats and methodically followed the same path we used in the blood-letting ritual preceding the Iraq War, if Iran was in the least trigger happy or inclined to engage western powers militarily, they would already have struck.
Add to the equation America’s sordid history in Iran – specifically, deposing nationalist leader Muhammad Mossadegh and installing the tyrant puppet Shah Muhammad Riza Pahlevi – and you have a complete justification for first strike under the tenets of the Bush Doctrine’s “preemptive” war.
That Iran has not struck back is compelling evidence that they pose no threat either now or in the foreseeable future. The Ayatollahs of Iran are not insane. They know what the price of war with a wounded monster and a war mongering president might entail – namely, utter annihilation.
There is, however, a limit to the abuse any nation – particularly the proud and much abused nations of the Middle East – will take. If the clerics that hold the seats of power in Iran (the Iranian president is no more important to Iranian policy than Tony Snow is to ours) believe that an American or American-Israeli attack is inevitable, they could and likely would exact a toll in blood and black treasure that none in the western world would not feel to its core.
If Iran is pursuing nuclear weaponry, it is most certainly for deterrent effect. They are confronted by occupying armies on their western and eastern borders. They are the sworn enemy of the region’s most potent military and nuclear power.
For those who remain stuck in the Bush paradigm of Iran as an irreconcilable and evil enemy, you simply do not know the history of the region. We are the sponsors of dictatorship and oppression. We are the occupiers and usurpers of precious resources. We are accountable for hundreds of thousands if not millions of lives lost in our rise to prominence as a world power.
In our unquestionable arrogance, after a decade of deadly sanctions, we announced our supremacy by slamming down the hammer of vengeance on a defenseless nation – not only on a ruthless government that we had supported through its most egregious crimes against humanity, but on its innocent people.
We are still there.
Forget the Ayatollahs of Iran who might never have come to power had we not interfered in Iranian affairs. Forget that Iran might have become the beacon of a new Middle Eastern enlightenment had we not filled the Iranian heart with hatred and fear. Next to the occupiers, the deceivers, the thieves of Washington, modern Iran is a defender of Arabic pride and national sovereignty.
Combining Iran, Syria, Hezbollah, Hamas and the Iraqi resistance with Al Qaeda in the Bush war on terror is not only an affront to history, it is an insult to every contemporary inhabitant of the ancient lands of Persia and Arabia.
Hezbollah and Hamas are not Al Qaeda. Iraq and Iran are not and never were Al Qaeda allies. In fact, both nations were our natural allies in the mission to destroy Al Qaeda.
According to historian Gareth Porter, in the months following our invasion of Afghanistan, Iran was responsible for detaining eighty percent of those associated with Abu Musab al-Zarqawi as they crossed the border . While Pakistan was playing both sides of the Al Qaeda ledger, Iran was poised to become our most valuable partner in bringing “those who brought down [the towers]” to justice.
All that disappeared in the smoke of our president’s declaration of an “axis of evil” in his State of the Union address. An ally was declared an enemy.
Even now, if we are willing to be humble and admit the gross error of our policies, Iran may the hold the key to a satisfactory settlement of the disaster in Iraq. It is no more in Iran’s interest to have a broken and dysfunctional nation in Iraq than it is in ours.
The price of arrogance in blood and treasure has been profound. The benefits of humility may be equally so.
It has often been observed that Iranians (like Iraqis) are not a primitive people. They are educated and knowledgeable. Their pride is born of ancient tradition and centuries of progress. Iran may yet evolve into the beacon of democracy so many have hoped for but it will not be born of invasion, occupation and usurpation of its resources. Rather, it will be born of cooperation, communication and mutual respect.
If our president wishes to continue his march of war through Damascus and Teheran, let him march alone.
 Gareth Porter, “Terrorist Network Disconnect,” TomPaine.com, 9/13/06.
See also: Robert Dreyfuss, “There is No War on Terror,” TomPaine.com, 9/13/06.