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A Third War for the United States?

June 25, 2008

Vice-President Dick Cheney is off and running overseas according to CBS in their version of the television pre-dawn news. While this has not been confirmed, the Joint Chiefs Chairman is confirmed in print to be on the way in a prescheduled meeting. What is going on? Israel is hopping mad and wants to take down Iranian nuclear power “wannabees” that threaten its’ security. Israel is asking that the United States make a preemptive strike against Iran or they are preparing to do so.

The reality is that this is old news. Since the January of 2005, Cheney has publicly warned of Iran as a nuclear threat. A numbers of news outlets and blogs have continued to show interest toward reigning in the zeal of Iran in obtaining the power they seek.

Israel is not generally known for welcoming public scrutiny of sensitive military plans. This occasion may be an exception considering the political circumstances. Israel has been actively involved in military exercises to prepare for action in the eyes of many. Meanwhile, six years have passed since Iran’s nuclear programs have been publicly exposed. Israel has waited while the Bush Administration and Europe have pursued diplomacy to persuade Tehran to cease enriching uranium. Instead, Iran has spread its nuclear facilities throughout the nation, building key portions underground to protect from possible Israeli or American airstrikes.

Iran has rejected repeated offers of technical and economic assistance, even as recently as this month. Despite four years of pleading, the Bush administration has not won anything aside from modest U.N. sanctions. Russia plans to sell advanced anti-aircraft missiles to Iran and finish work on a nuclear reactor. The fear is that spent fuel from that reactor could eventually be diverted and processed into weapons-grade plutonium. Despite the politics here in the United States, Iran continues with plans in progress.

Israel appears to have concluded that it will have to act on its own to prevent a nuclear Iran. Earlier this month, Deputy Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz, a former army chief of staff, warned that “if Iran continues with its program for developing nuclear weapons, we will attack.”

It stands to reason that such an attack would turn the Middle East into a “ball of fire,” to use the graphic words of U.N. chief, Mohamed ElBaradei. The Israelis see their lot as defending themselves against an enemy that vows to obliterate them if Iran acquires the weapon to do so. Diplomatic and surveillance evasions in the name of avoiding war with Iran have brought the Middle East to this place in history. This is nothing new, since appeasement resulting in war is a familiar theme of history.

The Bush administration has employed new economic sanctions to persuade Iran to give up its nuclear program. Meanwhile, Iran’s parliament speaker, Ali Larijani, who was once a top nuclear negotiator publicly warned that a “short opportunity is left” for a deal with Iran over its nuclear program. These deliberately ambiguous words leave little reason for hope of any agreement.

To the chagrin of the U.S. and the E.U., the persistence of independent thinking in the Middle East and Asia can only lead to war, a third war against Muslim-inspired thought and conquest that the United States can’t reasonably expect to win with any more ability than the first two wars that continue in Iraq and Afghanistan today.

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