I hope I’m wrong, but it looks like the United States is preparing to start another war.
While the dust hasn’t even settled yet from the Iraq war, hawks in Congress and the Obama administration are pushing to attack Iran. But because the fever to attack Iran is even higher in Israel, it appears more likely that President Obama will give the Israelis the green light to launch the initial strike with U.S. support.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta reportedly said that Israel would probably attack Iran between April and June. With two new U.S. aircraft carrier strike groups having entered the Arabian Sea, the U.S. could easily find itself fully embroiled in yet another war.
Is Iran building a nuclear weapon? On CBS’s “Face the Nation” Panetta answered that question. He said “Are they trying to develop a nuclear weapon? No.”
All of this sounds terribly familiar.
Remember President George W. Bush’s claim that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction? There was no solid evidence there either, but that didn’t stop the Bush administration and Congress from starting an immoral “preventive war” that caused the deaths of more than 4,400 U.S. military personnel, and hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis.
But even if Iran is attempting to build nuclear weapons, a U.S./Israeli attack upon that nation would be gravely immoral. A so called “preventive war” would not meet the very strict conditions of the Just-War Theory. It would not be a measure of last resort; it would surely kill many innocent Iranians, serve as a recruitment tool for terrorists’ organizations and could lead to an even larger regional war.
Following the 1991 Persian Gulf War, Blessed Pope John Paul II declared: “No, never again, war, which destroys the lives of innocent people, teaches how to kill, throws into upheaval even the lives of those who do the killing and leaves behind a trail of resentment and hatred, thus making it all the more difficult to find a just solution to the very problems which provoked the war.”
A nuclear armed Iran would certainly not be good for the Middle East nor the world. But it is the height of hypocrisy for the United States, which possesses over 10,000 nuclear weapons, and Israel which has approximately 200 such weapons, to insist that Iran must not be allowed to enter the nuclear club.
Furthermore, consider a report by former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury Dr. Paul Craig Roberts that the U.S. now has 44 military bases surrounding Iran. Isn’t it logical for Iran to feel threatened?
To be sure, some of Iran’s leaders have often sounded belligerent. And that is certainly counterproductive to peace. But in fairness consider that Iran is a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and Israel is not. Iran permits International Atomic Energy Agency inspections, and Israel does not. Israel is gearing up to attack Iran. Iran is not about to attack Israel.
Unfortunately, the most important issue here is not being addressed: the grave danger posed to humanity by any nation possessing nuclear weapons. The moral high-road the U.S. government should be on is the route that urgently leads to total multilateral nuclear disarmament.
But that road will never be traveled by our government until Christians stop trying to justify nuclear weapons, “preventive war,” as well as war in general, and start taking seriously Jesus’ teaching that God’s children are called to be peacemakers.
Tony Magliano is a nationally syndicated social justice and peace columnist.