Revolution#107, November 4, 2007

Danger of U.S. War On Iran

Let Us Not Talk Falsely Now, The Hour Is Getting Late

Editors’ Note: On October 27, demonstrations of tens of thousands took place in cities around the U.S., with the mainstream media reporting that protesters called for an immediate end to the Iraq war and for the impeachment of Bush. These demonstrations are important, and show some of the potential for much more resistance against the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, and against a war on Iran. Nonetheless, much more is needed.

There is an urgent need for people in this country to soberly and honestly confront the dangerous trajectory leading towards a U.S. war on Iran. And to massively oppose that war.

Bush invokes “World War 3.” Cheney is reported to be cooking up plans for Israel to attack Iran, and then for the U.S. to dive into the war when Iran counter-attacks. The massive concentration of U.S. naval power off the coast of Iran puts the U.S. in position to attack at any time. The placing of units of Iran’s army on the U.S. “terrorist” list puts a whole country in the crosshairs of the “war on terror.” As we go to press, the White House is demanding $88 million to modify B-2 Stealth bombers to carry a newly developed 30,000-pound bunker-buster bomb—very possibly for use in a war on Iran.

In the pages of Revolution, we have addressed and analyzed the factors that are driving events towards war (for a comprehensive overview, see “Bringing Forward Another Way,” by Bob Avakian at anotherway). But whether a war against Iran seems to make any sense at all to a normal person, the fact is that massive preparations are going on now for such a war.

Between punitive economic sanctions (remember the role sanctions played preparing for—not preventing—war on Iraq), and painting Iran into a military corner, the U.S. has created a tinderbox that could ignite at any time, whether by design or even accident.

Moral Clarity, Strategic Nerve, and a Clear Understanding

Here’s where the sober and honest part comes in: If you see the danger of this war, there is a need to act in a way commensurate with that danger. In these circumstances, we need moral clarity, strategic nerve, and a clear understanding of what is behind the U.S. moves towards war on Iran. Let’s cut to the heart of the matter: The people in power making accusations against Iran are the same proven liars who sold the Iraq war with the “Weapons of Mass Destruction” hoax, and nothing they say should be accepted as true. But even if all the things the U.S. says about Iran were true: that they are aiding forces in Iraq who are attacking the U.S., that they are an oppressive Islamic theocracy, that they have a nuclear program and aspirations to be a regional power… NONE OF THAT would make a U.S. attack on Iran anything but imperialist aggression.

Even on their own terms—which, to be clear, should NOT be accepted—the arguments made by the U.S. are blatantly hypocritical. The U.S. is the country that invaded Afghanistan, and that six years later rains bombs on villages—routinely killing scores of non-combatants. This government invaded Iraq under false pretenses and has brought massive death and destruction to that country, creating the greatest refugee crisis in the world, with more than 2 million Iraqis driven out of the country and another 2 million forced from their homes but remaining within Iraq. The U.S. has no right to attack yet another country because that country is (allegedly, or in fact) interfering in Iraq!

The puppet regimes that the U.S. installed and manages in Afghanistan and Iraq have embedded adherence to Islamic law into their constitutions. Throughout both countries, most women are forced into brutal and degraded conditions. U.S. ally Saudi Arabia does not allow women to drive. This country has no right to attack Iran to supposedly “liberate women.”

People are rightly horrified by the spread of nuclear weapons, and the increasing chances they will be used. But the U.S. not only has the largest stockpile of nuclear weapons, but is further developing its nuclear arsenal. And the only country in the world to ever use the atomic bomb, to purposely target over a hundred thousand civilians for horrific death (at Hiroshima and Nagasaki), the country that has the world’s largest arsenal of nuclear bombs…has no right to attack a country that might develop the capacity to build nuclear weapons.

The Need for Mass Resistance

Paralysis and passivity are complicity.

Many people say they are discouraged because the protests of millions, worldwide, did not stop the U.S. from invading Iraq. People are wondering if protest accomplishes anything. True, the unprecedented protests against war on Iraq did not stop that war. But without them, the rulers of the U.S. would have claimed international legitimacy for their invasion of Iraq, and very possibly be even further down the road of invading and/or imposing their agenda on other countries in the Middle East. It was fundamentally because of global protest that Bush couldn’t even get the U.N. to back the war.

The fact that the protests against the invasion of Iraq did not prevent war does mean we need to build a stronger, more determined movement to stop war on Iran. One thing that has become clearer since the invasion of Iraq is just how radical is the agenda of those at the core of power.  They are determined to tear up and radically re-order the Middle East. They lied to us about their motives, and they lied to us and deluded themselves about how easy this was going to be.

But what happened in reality is that the U.S. occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq has fueled Islamic fundamentalism. And now, stuck in a quagmire in Iraq, the U.S. rulers look to up the ante, and expand the war into Iran.

A war with Iran would compound the death and misery the U.S. has brought to the Middle East. And it would further fuel the deadly McWorld/McCrusade vs. Jihad clash, on a whole other level. A former high-level expert with the National Security Council told Esquire magazine that “an attack on Iran could engulf America in a war with the entire Muslim world.” (“The Secret History of the Impending War with Iran That the White House Doesn’t Want You to Know,” by John H. Richardson, 10/18/07)

No Excuse for Paralysis

U.S. imperialism has so much at stake in the Middle East crusade that, from their perspective, they couldn’t back out now even if they wanted to. To do so would open the door to the unraveling of their empire. And the whole ruling class, at this point, is onboard with this mission, grumbling or not.

Hillary Clinton is not going to stop a war on Iran. She just voted for the provocation of putting a section of the Iranian military on the “terrorist” list, in effect “tightening the screws” on Iran and forcing that regime’s back up against the wall in a way that increases the chances of war. Obama is not going to prevent a war on Iran. Part of his role is to make you feel OK about doing nothing real to stop the war. The worried (ex) generals, who warn about the strains that war on Iran will put on the U.S. military, are reflecting real concerns about real dangers for the ruling class if there is a war with Iran. But when push comes to shove, they will fall in line with the war. And anyway, why is it morally acceptable to say that Bush & Cheney might well be about to unleash a terrible war, but in 15 months they’ll be gone?!

In the face of all this, there’s no excuse for paralysis. It will take determined and massive opposition to stop a war on Iran. But the point of understanding this is to confront and act on the fact that we are what we are waiting for. 

Part of the paralyzing dynamic in the world today is that it is in the interests of both sides of the McWorld/Crusade vs. Jihad conflict to tell people that their only choices are one or the other of these oppressive and backward poles. This holds people back from acting. But critical to breaking out of that paralyzing dynamic is for a force of millions to step forward in this country, making it clear that this government does not speak for us! Such a movement will generate oxygen for secular, progressive, and genuinely revolutionary forces to emerge in the Middle East and Central Asia. And help bring a new, different dynamic into being, of global resistance to oppression in any form.

Bob Avakian, Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, posed the challenge this way: “We want to speak to those youth, and others, in Lebanon whose relatives have been buried under the rubble by U.S.-made bombs. We want to say to them: There’s another way beside that of religious fundamentalists. If you don’t bring something real into the light of day, you can’t speak to those people. You may have bumper stickers on your car expressing good sentiments, but they don’t see your bumper stickers. But if you mobilize in your masses against this regime, that could speak to them.” (“On the Importance of World Can’t Wait and the October 5 Day of Mass Resistance,” Revolution #62)

There Is a Way

There is a way to do this. The World Can’t Wait/Drive Out the Bush Regime organization has put out a call to WEAR ORANGE! As World Can’t Wait says at their web site, “Millions of people oppose the Bush Regime’s unjust war in Iraq and its mounting threats against Iran – but if you don’t show it, it doesn’t count; if you don’t act when it counts, it doesn’t matter. Wear and display orange all day, every day.”

Dennis Loo, of the World Can’t Wait Steering Committee, explained the significance of wearing orange: “People taking up orange and wearing it DAILY is designed to be both a statement against all of the horrid things that this regime is responsible for AND a statement to the rest of the people. It’s designed to provide people a vehicle to express their too long suppressed sentiments and to bring to life the people’s political potential. It’s designed to bring home to people the fact that we are the majority and it will be you and I and the rest of us in our millions who will make history, not the criminal president and vice-president, not the culpable and complicit Congress and the Democratic Party leadership, and not the corporate media who are largely merely the scribes to power.” (From “Shifting the Center,”

Wearing orange can help both spark and support other forms of political action, both broad and determined, which are urgently needed as this escalation looms.

The call by World Can’t Wait to wear orange is in the context of the challenge posed by their founding Call:

“That which you will not resist and mobilize to stop, you will learn—or be forced—to accept. There is no escaping it: the whole disastrous course of this Bush regime must be STOPPED. And we must take the responsibility to do it.

“And there is a way. We are talking about something on a scale that can really make a huge change in this country and in the world. We need more than fighting Bush’s outrages one at a time, constantly losing ground to the whole onslaught. We must, and can, aim to create a political situation where the Bush regime’s program is repudiated, where Bush himself is driven from office, and where the whole direction he has been taking society is reversed. We, in our millions, must and can take responsibility to change the course of history.”

Radical… Yes!  Necessary… Yes! Act now!  

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