Some devastating letters in the Guardian today pointing up the 'international community' doublespeak over Iran.
John Heawood (from York Stop the War) gives us a few facts which should have been dug up by the Guardian's journalists: Israel's nuclear weapons have existed for 30 years, but their existence is officially denied. It refuses to open up its plants for inspection, and won't sign the nuclear non proliferation treaty.
Even more astonishing is the equanimity with which Israel's threats against Iran are now used by the other western powers and are 'now discussed in the media in the same breath as sanctions,' according to another letter by Lawrence Glover. Yet that's what's happening.
While Obama's concessions over the missile shield have placated Russia, the quid pro quo is a tougher line on Iran. Horror at 'secret bunkers' (known about for two years) and missile tests play on a justified fear of nuclear weapons, but fail to look at the bigger picture, which is that Iran is surrounded by countries in possession of nuclear weapons.
Israel, for example, is estimated to have 200 nuclear warheads. Pakistan, India and China have nuclear weapons. The Middle East is surrounded by US bases and ships armed with nuclear weapons.
An attack on Iran genuinely frightens many people. Not surprising. Iraq has been destroyed by war. Iraqis who have visited recently talk about streams filled with sewage, a terrible water shortage and growing sectarian tensions exacerbated by the occupation. On the other side of Iran lies Afghanistan, sunk into a deepening and worsening war. Over a million people have died in these wars, even more are refugees, yet the answer from New York last week seemed to be more of the same.
If they send more troops to Afghanistan, it will take on more of the character of Vietnam, and will lead to the deaths of more soldiers. If they allow Israel to bomb Iran then the whole Middle East will become a theatre of war.
Few anywhere in the world can want the escalation of the war on terror (now given the anodyne name of 'overseas contingency operations' by the Obama administration), after what we have seen over the last eight years. One reason for the 12 percent vote for Die Linke in the German elections was the left party's strong opposition to the Afghan war.
There is a growing movement again, most importantly here in Britain. Unlike previous wars, military families are among the most disaffected at a war which they see as unwinnable and in which they understand their loved ones will be the ones to pay the price for bankrupt politicians.
As national convenor of the Stop the War Coalition, Lindsey was a key organiser of the largest demonstration, and one of the largest mass movements, in British history.
Her books include ‘Material Girls: Women, Men and Work’, ‘Sex, Class and Socialism’, ‘A People’s History of London’ (with John Rees) and ‘How a Century of War Changed the Lives of Women’.
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