Monday, November 19, 2007

Commentary: Iran

By Alan Graf

All this talk about "jumping off on Iran" has me worried. Of course I don't want to see anyone else build atomic weapons but bombing yet another country starting with the letter "I" is not going to make us anymore secure. Remember when you were back in grade school. Almost everyone had to deal with the school bully. He, (it was usually a guy) would make everyone feel afraid by tormenting other kids so that he could keep control of the school yard. Some kids joined him figuring they were better off under his protection, but eventually, he lost it. He got expelled, he got into trouble with the law, he left town or he did something stupid which ended up hurting him. The long and short of it was that even the kids that were on his side didn't like him.

As a country we have a history of doing some good things, e.g., fighting the
Nazis, starting a government based on the Bill of Rights, putting together a
social security system, putting in place the Marshall plan, etc, and most
importantly having respect and tolerance for our cultural, ethnic and
religious differences. But in the words of the hippies, we are blowing our
good karma. We are now the bullies of the world.

Everyone, even our "friends" fear us. After all we jumped off on a country
that was not a threat to us, didn't have weapons of mass destruction, didn't
have an atomic bomb, wasn't working with Al Qaeda, and didn't do anything
to deserve the massive amount of destruction we laid on them. Thus,
everyone fears us. We have acted in an irrational and unpredictable manner
AND we have the most weapons and capable fighting force on the planet.

There is no longer a balance in the world between two world powers. It's
just us deciding what we want to decide, who we are going to bomb, who we
are going to declare war on and who we are going to make miserable. And
judging by Iraq, we don't even have to have a good reason for our actions.

Given this situation, and the fact that we have been manipulating Iranian
politics for many, many years (we installed the Shah of Iran), is it any
wonder that the Iranians don't trust the Big Bully?
Put yourself in their shoes. What would you do if you lived in Iran and the
US was sending war carriers to the Persian Gulf at the same time made public
statements about not taking "any options off the table." If it was me, I
would arm myself to the teeth given the situation in neighboring Iraq.

There is however a better way to accomplish peace for all of us. Armand
Hammer, a legendary businessman,
noted that the best way to deal with the former Soviet Union was to engage
in business and trade with them because in his words, "you are not going to
bomb someone that is making you money."

What we should be doing with Iran is raising the level of business, raising
the level of exchange, including the exchange of students, engineers and
artists, and raising the level of information exchange. The more we really
communicate with the Iranians, the better the world will be for it.

I am not naive. I am a descendant of a Holocaust family. I have heard the
inaccuracies about the Holocaust coming from the mouth of the Iranian
President. He needs an education. But he does not need a pounding on his
head. The Bible says that violence begets violence.

It is time for US to stop the violence and start talking with our enemies.
There is no other choice. Every other option will most likely lead to
another world war, which we cannot sustain.

It is up to US to make this happen. We have a proud history and great
legacy. My fellow Americans. Lets keep that dream alive.

Alan Graf is a Civil Rights and Disability Attorney


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