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'All options on the table for Iran': Is Bush's 'Axis of Evil' turning?

by Lindsey Rowland

 

Bush’s ‘‘axis of evil’’ compass is turning once again, this time from Iraq in the direction of Iran. In his famous State of the Union Speech last year, Bush outlined his plan very clearly for us and even in chronological order (so we would not be confused about who was first, second, and third): Iraq, Iran, and North Korea.

 

“Their terrorist allies constitute an axis of evil arming to threaten the peace of the world,” President Bush stated. At the time it appeared to be a warning to those countries, but really it was a warm-up to the American people about his agenda for the next four years of his presidency. And now that Bush indeed has those four more years, his plan can unfold.

 

The war in Iraq started the same way. The government told us Iraq had nuclear weapons, and they must be stopped. The United Nations wasn’t going to get the job done the way Bush wanted it, so we discredited the United Nations, took them out of control, and put our own harsher tactics to work. The same pattern is unfolding for Iran.

Recently the news has been warming the American public up to the idea that Iran is still on the agenda, with aerial shots of possible nuclear weapons sites being investigated, and Condoleezza Rice admitting, while on her “world tour,” that an invasion of Iran has not been taken off the table.

Though this may be part of an initial attempt by the United States to scare Iran into giving up its nuclear program, Bush appears to be steering us in the same direction as Iraq.We can bet that Bush will not be a big fan of diplomacy. Is he ever?

France (which just starting speaking to us), Germany, and Britain (our allies), have asked Iran to stop its nuclear work in exchange for economic aid and trade benefits. According to the New Yorker, “Iran has agreed to temporarily halt its enrichment programs, which generates fuel for nuclear power plants but also could produce weapons-grade fissile material.”

Of course, the United States refuses to join the negotiations. “No diplomatic progress on the Iranian nuclear threat will take place unless there is a credible threat of military action,” stated the Pentagon in Seymour Hersh’s article called “The Coming Wars.” Bush says he wants to use diplomacy above all other options, but if he really meant this, wouldn’t he join with his European allies? Some think he wants to wait and watch the negotiations fail, and then he will make his move. And without United States participation, Bush guarantees these negotiations will not succeed.

Currently Iran is a participant in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, but once the United States makes it clear it will resort to “shock and awe” tactics, Iran is likely to abandon the treaty. Treaty or not, maybe cheating within the system. According to the New Yorker, Iran has successfully hidden its nuclear program and is thought to be three to five years away from producing nuclear warheads. But its missile-delivery system is far more advanced.

Though Iran is a potential threat, the timing just does not seem right for opening a new front. Aren’t we busy enough in Iraq and Afghanistan right now? Trying to work this out diplomatically with Iran seems to make so much more sense. Even if it just buys us time until we tie up loose ends in Afghanistan and reduce troops in Iraq. And time will allow us to verify that intelligence on Iran’s nuclear weapons program is accurate. Bush cannot afford to be wrong twice. If we attack all dimensions of the axis too quickly, are we really going to be effective in the long run?

Other factors to take into consideration are recent low recruitment numbers for the military. Many units are on their second and third deployments, many ranging from nine to 12 months. We cannot spread our resources out this thin without having some sort of repercussion.

Bush’s “axis of evil” appears to be a blue print for wars to come.

 

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