Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Arthur Silber on Resisting the Next War

The war drums visa vis Iran are growing stronger, and time is growing short to stop what will surely be yet another criminal war of aggression (along with the on-going ones in Afghanistan and Iraq). Arthur Silber offers a half dozen actions that could be taken to educate and agitate a critical mass of Americans in the name of stopping the atrocities before they start:
ONE: If I had the money, I would take out full-page ads in the leading national newspapers -- at a minimum, in the NYT, the Washington Post, and the LA Times. The major focus of the ads would be the explanation of why an attack on Iran by the United States directly or by proxy (via Israel) in the present circumstances would be a criminal war of aggression, and a blatant violation of basic precepts of international law, including the Nuremberg Principles. If I had a lot of money, I would run a series of ads, or even the same ad every day for at least a week. After that, I would continue to run the ads (adding new material as appropriate and necessary, depending on events) at least every few days, two or three times a week in at least one of those papers, and preferably all three.

The ads should be written simply and directly, and they could provide supporting evidence needed to make a convincing case as required (there isn't that much needed in this respect; the case against an attack is starkly clear if one knows the relevant facts). At the conclusion, the ads should urge readers in the strongest possible terms to contact their Senators and Representatives, and demand that they take action along the lines noted in Point Two, below.

I don't know an individual or an organization that has the money or the willingness to run a series of ads of this kind. I hope someone who reads this might, or might be able to convince a person(s) or an organization(s) to undertake this critical task. In this connection and with regard to any of the other steps I suggest, if anyone thinks that some of my writing in my many essays on these topics would be helpful, I hereby grant full and irrevocable permission to use as much of my writing as you wish for this purpose, without credit and without compensation in any amount. In other words: steal whatever you want from this site and as much as you want, please.

TWO: Contact your Senators and Representatives, and demand that they take the actions I outlined here. Two of those are absolutely required: they must rescind both Authorization for the Use of Military Force resolutions, the one passed immediately after 9/11 and the one on Iraq. The Bush administration uses the AUMFs as the "justification" to launch any war of aggression of its choice, while they simultaneously use them to destroy our remaining liberties here at home. Wipe the AUMFs off the books.

You should also tell those in Congress to pass resolutions in both the House and Senate stating that if Bush attacks Iran without a Congressional Declaration of War, as provided in the Constitution, he will be considered to have committed an immediately impeachable offense. I myself prefer that the argument be made in this clean, straightforward form; let the lawyers and legal experts contend over how this fits into the relevant statutes, including the War Powers Act. I view that Act as pernicious in the extreme, and think we and the world would be infinitely safer if that too were wiped off the books. The founders got this one (and much else) entirely right in my view.

But at a minimum, Congress must tell Bush that he cannot attack Iran without specific, explicit Congressional authorization. If he does so, he will be impeached. As I also suggested, they should draw up Articles of Impeachment on this point now. Those too should be published in the major newspapers, with a brief explanation as to the reasons for them and their purpose -- which is to prevent a second war of aggression begun by the United States in less than five years.

Contact your Senators and Representatives and tell them this, as briefly as possible -- and tell them EVERY DAY. No, I am most certainly not kidding. EVERY DAY, until they do it. You only have to write the message once, and then deliver it repeatedly by fax, email and/or telephone as needed.

THREE: Tell every politician, Democratic or Republican, that they must stop repeating the Bush administration propaganda on Iran. Above all, they must stop saying that "all options are on the table," which in this context can only refer to a threat to launch an unprovoked war against Iran.

"All options" -- to do what? To start a war of aggression against a non-existent threat? To begin a second criminal war, in violation of every principle of international conduct that we demand all other nations follow? To act as Nazi Germany did? Are those the "options" we have to keep "on the table"? Every single time any politician repeats this and similar phrases, it makes an attack on Iran more likely, and provides invaluable help to the Bush gang. [Also read Gareth Porter on this issue and the Democrats' failure.] What they ought to suggest is blindingly obvious: the grant of full diplomatic recognition to Iran, with everything that entails, as I discussed it here:
[T]hink what might happen if we granted recognition to Iran -- and if we did so right now. Again, the entire dynamic would shift very profoundly. And such moves are not unknown in the history of our foreign policy, Nixon and China being perhaps the prime example. This is the kind of courageous and daring gesture that breaks stalemates apart -- and that possibly could halt the bloody insanity that threatens to engulf the entire Middle East. It requires at least one statesman of vision and bravery, one who knows what he is doing and is willing to take the long view. We have no such statesmen at the moment. The great loss is ours, and the world's. (I note that, at one time recently, even the otherwise detestable Christopher Hitchens saw the wisdom of this approach to Iran.)
If I were an influential blogger active in Democratic politics, I would inform every presidential candidate and would-be candidate that, until and unless they stop using this kind of gutter language about leaving "all options on the table," THEY WILL RECEIVE NO SUPPORT FROM ME AT ALL. I would urge everyone else to similarly refuse to support them. If that eliminates all the candidates you have at the moment, THEN FIND BETTER ONES. Alternatively, do everything you can to convince the candidates you have to become BETTER ones themselves.

This is, as they say, where the rubber meets the road. How one acts in this circumstance depends on how much one values his or her contacts with the Democratic establishment, as opposed to how much one cares about preventing the next catastrophe -- a catastrophe that could spread across the world, and destroy what remains of our own liberties. I will not prejudge how anyone will act in this situation and I recognize that an individual's specific personal context can be immensely complicated, but I will watch to see what people do with more than a little interest.

FOUR: Contact every politician you know who appears on television or gives newspaper interviews, and tell them they must be sure to explain briefly in every appearance they make why an attack on Iran at present would be a monstrous crime. IN EVERY APPEARANCE. As I noted above, if this catastrophe is to be stopped, it must be made the NUMBER ONE TOPIC IN THE NATION. If you're well-known enough to create interviews or appearances for yourself, THEN DO IT. Talk about Iran, and why we must not attack that country in the present circumstances.

FIVE: Talk to everyone you can, at work, in your family, among friends, and at social gatherings. Explain the issues to them in a way that is appropriate for the relationship and the occasion, and urge them to take all these actions themselves. Explain briefly why this might be the most important battle they will ever fight.

Talk to them as much as you have to, and take all the time you can afford. Where you can, create more time for this work. Talk to as many people as you can, every single day.

As is true of many actions in life, this work will become easier as more and more people are convinced to act. A greater number of people will be contacting Congressmen and women, more people will be talking about it privately and publicly, and once a critical number of people are involved, this movement will begin to take on a life of its own. My fantasy, and I hope that is not all it is, is that four or five weeks from now, there will not be a single television or radio program or issue of a newspaper that does not discuss these issues, with someone explaining why we must not attack Iran. That reminds me of a further point:

SIX: If you are a writer well-known to any extent at all (and even if you're not well-known, in which case you can contact your local paper), write several op-eds on this subject, and submit them to every newspaper you can. As I say, I look forward to the day very, very soon when every major newspaper will have at least one article every day explaining the immorality and criminality of an attack on Iran in the current circumstances. (Needless to say, I think every blogger who agrees with my overall perspective on this issue should write at least one post a day on this subject, and more if possible. Those entries can be very short, and perhaps only link to lengthier discussions elsewhere with a brief comment. But at least mention it once a day.)
Most of these are quite do-able on an individual level (the lone exception being mass advertising against any war of aggression against Iran). The likely consequences of what could easily include a nuclear bombing of Iran would make what's happening in Iraq look like a walk in the park.

Hat tip to Avedon Carol.

No comments:

Post a Comment