Dear MoveOn member,
Yesterday's New Yorker quotes a number of high-ranking administration and military officials on the possibility of pre-emptive war with Iran. Not only do the officials say war is really on the table, they report that the Bush administration is making plans to use nuclear weapons.1
Iran may well pose a threat. But people as diverse as Richard Clarke, Hillary Clinton2, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff agree that a nuclear attack-or even threatening one-is a terrible idea. Yet the White House insists on keeping the "nuclear option" on the table.3 And according to one member of Congress, "there's no pressure from Congress" for a more diplomatic route.4
This is one place where all of us can agree: Americans don't support a pre-emptive nuclear attack on Iran, and Congress must act to prevent the president from launching one before it's too late. Please send a message to your representatives at the link below and forward this message to friends and family who you think will be concerned.
We'll deliver your signature and comments to Congress as soon as they return from their spring recess.
The big question on all of our minds, of course, is whether the president really is willing to wage nuclear war with Iran. After the disastrous invasion and occupation of Iraq, would he really attack the much larger, much stronger, much better armed country next door with nukes?
As he did before Iraq, President Bush claims he's just pursuing a diplomatic route-but he still refuses to take nukes off the table. In the New Yorker piece, Seymour Hersh-who broke the Abu Ghraib story-quotes numerous administration and Pentagon officials who make very clear that war plans involving nukes are in the works.5
Even a conventional attack would likely be a disaster. But just the threat of a nuclear attack could close off our best diplomatic options. Ironically, it would also increase pressure within Iran to create a full-fledged nuclear program-strengthening Iran's hard-liners. With most experts estimating Iran is 5 years or more away from having a nuclear weapon, there's time for a diplomatic solution.
And the consequences of an actual attack would be horrifying. The civilian deaths from a nuclear assault could be in the thousands or hundreds of thousands. According to a front-page article in the Washington Post, CIA experts believe Iran would almost certainly counter-attack through its terrorist network, Hezbollah.6 With 150,000 American troops right next door in Iraq, Iran would have what security experts call a "target rich" environment. Even Jack Straw, the British Foreign Sectrary, said that the nuclear option was "completely nuts."7
It's possible that all of this is bluster. Then again, that's what most people thought in the run up to the war in Iraq. It's like that old saying: "Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me." Our country can't afford to get fooled again.
Please take a moment to add your name to our petition to stop a nuclear attack on Iran. You can sign on now at:
The prospect of a nuclear attack is unsettling, to say the least. But there's real hope in the fact that this time, we are starting three million strong-and we're organized to raise our voices. With the president's historically low approval, and broad public understanding of the pattern of deceit, recklessness and incompetence in Iraq, our voices will be heard.
-Eli, Joan, Nita, Marika and the MoveOn.org Political Action Team
Wednesday, April 12, 2006
P.S. By the way, there's a very eerie similarity between what President Bush and his allies are saying now and what they said in the run-up to war against Iraq three years ago:
THEN: George W. Bush, November 12, 2002: "We don't know how close he is today, but a Saddam Hussein with a nuclear weapon is a grave, grave threat to America and our friends and allies.
NOW: George W. Bush, January 16, 2006: "Iran armed with a nuclear weapon poses a grave threat to the security of the world."
THEN: Donald Rumsfeld, September 19, 2002: ". . . No terrorist state poses a greater or more immediate threat to the security of our people than the regime of Saddam Hussein in Iraq."
NOW: George W. Bush, March 16, 2006: "We may face no greater challenge from a single country than from Iran. (Thanks to this post at the Daily Kos for assembling these quotes.)
1. "The Iran Plans," 4/8/06, The New Yorker. http://www.newyorker.com/fact/conten.../060417fa_fact
2. Ibid.; On Clinton: "McCain, Clinton put down early election markers," 4/12/06, Financial Times. http://www.moveon.org/r?r=1632
3, 4, 5. See "The Iran Plans," above.
6. "Attacking Iran May Trigger Terrorism: U.S. Experts Wary of Military Action Over Nuclear Program," 4/2/06, Washington Post. http://www.moveon.org/r?r=1630
7. "We'd be nuts to nuke Iran, says Straw," 4/10/06, Daily Mail. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/liv...n_page_id=1770
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