The Politics of Madness: A Prelude to War
I’d like to think I’m still fairly new to this planet: 26 years and counting. However, I already feel a sad sense of déjà vu in the present situation. It seems to be deeply rooted in the politics of the moment; this thirst for violence, for war. We are approaching ten years since the United States invasion of Iraq in 2003 and it seems that another war may be on the horizon.
It is important to remind ourselves of the months prior to the invasion of Iraq. The initiative to invade Iraq was based on a variety of false accusations, predominantly its production, or possession, of nuclear weapons. Continually during the following months, UN weapons inspectors were sent to Iraq and found either nothing, or weren’t allowed access to the particular “nuclear sites” they were seeking. Still, we knew that the threat was present; Iraq had nuclear weapons.
True to the United States’ signature concept of shock and awe, we led an airstrike on the presidential palace of Iraq on the night of March 19, 2003. As Americans, we watched the event unfold on national television, some nervous with excitement, others paralyzed in horror. The invasion was clearly justified though; they had nuclear weapons, and it was up to us to see them dismantled. Besides, we figured they might have had ties with the terrorists that carried out 9/11.
Now, fast forward to the present day. We know through continual reports that Iran is potentially producing nuclear weapons. Yes, that’s right; they have nuclear facilities, which “might” be intended for use in military operations. The obvious answer, Let’s send in some UN weapons inspectors to figure this out. The answer from them is, “Unfortunately, we could not get agreement, so we could not get access and we could not finalize a way forward.”1 In other words, We didn’t find anything, but we weren’t allowed access everywhere, so yes, somewhere, they might be producing nuclear weapons. Knowing that they “probably” have nuclear capability, we assume that they will quickly use these weapons on the United States if fully developed.
The irony here, beyond the clear inaccuracy of the nuclear claims, involves the countries that are already armed with nuclear weapons. There are five officially recognized nuclear weapon states that have signed onto the nonproliferation treaty: China, France, Russia, UK, and the United States. Furthermore, India, Israel, and Pakistan, who remain outside of the nonproliferation treaty, also hold nuclear warheads.2 By the logic we are approaching Iran, it seems we had better carry out attacks on these countries as well, as they have nuclear weapons, and could at any moment use them.
The rhetoric emerging in the media, this growing sense of fear and aggression, the tension in the air—it all seems to be gearing up for the inevitable; another illegal, immoral, and disgraceful foreign war. It is my hope that by writing these words, I inspire some sort of resentment, anger, or energy that will spawn an action. I think at this point, without some sort of action, the people of Iran are doomed to a painful, tortuous, and deadly fate, carried out by the international police: the United States.