Generals, Ambassadors, Security Experts, Church Leaders, Female Nobel Peace Laureates All Say ‘No War on Iran’

Ann Wright says the people and groups now calling on Washington to re-engage diplomatically with Iran are speaking up at a time of maximum urgency.

By Ann Wright
OpEdNews.com

With tensions increasing in the Persian Gulf two groups of prominent American citizens  — national security experts and religious leaders — are speaking out against a U.S. war on Iran.

Two women who are Nobel Peace Laureates, including one from Iran and one from the U.S., are doing the same.

If President Donald Trump listens to any of them he will get a very different perspective from that of his in-house national security officials Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Advisor John Bolton and the White House’s resident religious leader Vice-President Mike Pence.

Pence delivers remarks at the Christians United for Israel convention in Washington, D.C., July 8, 2019. (White House/D. Myles Cullen)

There is no doubt where Pompeo, Bolton and Pence stand on Iran. On July 8 all three spoke in bellicose words and tones about the threat to the United States from Iran to the convention of the Christians United for Israel (CUFI) headed by mega-evangelical preacher John Hagee. 

For Pence, it was the longest foreign policy address of his term as vice president.  “Let me be clear,” he said, “Iran should not confuse American restraint with a lack of American resolve … we hope for the best, but the United States of America and our military are prepared to protect our interests and protect our personnel and our citizens in the region … and we will never allow Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon.”

Pompeo who in March 2019 said that God may have sent Trump to save Israel from Iran, continued his lambasting of Iran at the conference as did Bolton.

Top Brass Write Open Letter

On May 29, 2019, 76 U.S. military generals, admirals, ambassadors and national security experts wrote an open letter to Trump:

“We write to you to express our deep concern with the current escalation with Iran in the Arabian Gulf…  A war with Iran, either by choice or miscalculation, would produce dramatic repercussions in an already destabilized Middle East and drag the United States into another armed conflict at immense financial, human, and geopolitical cost…. As President and Commander-in-Chief, you have considerable power at your disposal to immediately reduce the dangerous levels of regional tension.  

“Crisis de-escalation measures should be established with the Iranian leadership at the senior levels of government as a prelude to exploratory diplomacy on matters of mutual concern. The protection of U.S. national interests in the Middle East and the safety of our friends and allies requires thoughtful statesmanship and aggressive diplomacy rather than unnecessary armed conflict.

“As national security professionals with extensive careers in the U.S. armed forces and diplomatic service, we have witnessed first-hand how quickly disputes can spiral out of control.  The lack of direct communication between U.S. and Iranian political and military leaders during a time of heightened rhetoric only increases the possibility of a miscalculation resulting in unintended military conflict.  Washington and Tehran are talking past each other and taking actions the other views as dangerously provocative at best and the beginning of forceful action at worst.”

Faith Leaders’ Statement

On July 9, at a press conference on Capitol Hill at the United Methodist Building, six religious leaders led by Jim Wallis of Sojourners announced that 200 American church leaders had signed an extensive statement and “a clear and emphatic NO to a war with Iran. Diplomacy is the effective and necessary alternative to what would be a disastrous and indefensible war.’

In “Back From The Brink,” those faith leaders call for diplomacy, not war, with Iran. They wrote that “a United States war with Iran would be an unmitigated disaster, morally and religiously indefensible.” They called on U.S. faith leaders “to rise up, and…demand that our political leaders seek real diplomatic and humanitarian solutions to the current crisis and refrain from military confrontation with Iran.”  

Jim Wallis, president and CEO of Sojourners. 2012. (World Economic Forum/Monika Flueckiger via Wikimedia Commons)

Wallis and the others also called on Iran to “repudiate terrorism and not increase uranium enrichment.” They said that a war would have disastrous human and environmental consequences, would be strategically unnecessary, and would lead to regional destabilization, increased terrorism, and unsustainable financial burdens. They pointed to the toll of the war in Iraq. “Since the start of the war in Iraq, the cost of wars in the Middle East has been almost $6 trillion and 500,000 lives lost.”

Reminding political leaders of the “failed policies of the past,” the religious leaders called preventing another costly and unjust U.S. war in the Middle East, a moral imperative.”

The statement called for three steps to prevent war- a different approach.

No. 1.    The United States should offer to return immediately to the Iran nuclear deal and use the resulting discussions with Iran to engage in an effective diplomatic process for enhancing regional security, including calling on the  United Nations and governments in Europe to create a new forum for diplomacy with Iran that could help restore the positive momentum created by the Iran deal and address the roots of the current confrontation, some of which were not covered in the agreement.

No. 2.    The United States should end its policy of harsh and punitive trade sanctions against the Iranian people. Some targeted sanctions may be appropriate to counter Iranian support for armed militancy and weapons proliferation in the region, but these measures should be multilateral in nature and targeted against Iranian officials, not against the entire economy or the general population.

No. 3.    If necessary, establish safeguards for commercial shipping in the Gulf. The international naval patrols that have helped to stem piracy off the coast of Somalia may provide a model. This would require agreement from multiple countries and a willingness by the United States to cooperate with other states in coordinated operations.

Women Nobel Peace Laureates Pen Op-Ed

In a July 8, 2019, op-ed  in The New York Times, “Here’s How to Stop War With Iran,” Nobel Peace Laureates Shirin Ebadi, from Iran, and Jody Williams, from the United States, provided a comprehensive analysis of the U.S.-Iran standoff.

Shirin Ebadi in 2011. (Fronteiras do Pensamento, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

They wrote:

“Iran wants its economic sanctions lifted. The United States wants an assurance that Iran will not acquire nuclear weapons. It is time to talk…The Trump administration’s maximum-pressure policy has brought us to the cliff of an armed confrontation and further inflamed the Gulf region. Although Tehran is far from producing a nuclear weapon, a failed agreement with Washington could lead it to pursue its nuclear program more aggressively. This could set a dangerous global precedent, potentially leading to unregulated proliferation of nuclear weapons.”

They continued:

“Iran wants its economic sanctions lifted. The United States wants, at the minimum, an assurance that Iran will not acquire nuclear weapons. Wisdom dictates that the United States and Iran commit to an agreement that addresses these mutual concerns.  On Wednesday, President Rouhani had made it clear that Tehran’s measures were fully reversible: ‘All of our actions can be returned to the previous condition within one hour.’ His statement indicates a willingness to negotiate.  Such openings offer a unique opportunity in conflict resolution and must be invested in immediately through expert and wise diplomatic engagement. The United States can reciprocate by committing to dialogue. Pursuing maximum pressure will only lead to greater ‘malign behavior’ on the part of Iran in Iraq, Yemen and Syria.”

Jody Williams. (Terry Ballard via Flickr)

Writing of the unintended consequences of U.S. “maximum pressure” campaign, Obadi and Williams said that:

“Inside Iran, intensified conflict with the United States will further embolden Tehran’s harsh stance on human rights defenders, labeling them terrorists and collaborators ….Tehran has already sentenced the human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh to 38 years and six months in prison and 148 lashes after two unfair trials. Narges Mohammadi, the vice president of the Centre for Human Rights Defenders, has been sentenced to 21 years in prison for her efforts to advance human rights in Iran…. These activists have endured repression for demanding the respect of their fundamental human rights. As tensions with the United States increase, Tehran tightens the screws on human rights defenders to not appear soft on those they accuse of conspiring with the United States and promoting ‘Western ideals.’ ”

They emphasize that:

“A military confrontation would not only endanger those struggling for freedom and democracy but also further damage the Iranian economy, which is already reeling under American sanctions…. Iranians are deeply affected by a currency that has lost 60 percent of its value since the sanctions were reinstated, and concurrent rising unemployment and living costs. The price of food has skyrocketed, making meat and vegetables unaffordable to ordinary people. Meanwhile those closest to the regime profit from the corruption that is fueled by the sanctions.”

Speaking of regional consequences, they write “Beyond Iran’s borders, a United States-Iran conflict will engulf Israel, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Syria and set the already polarized Persian Gulf region on an even more dangerous trajectory.  Of all the countries in the region, Yemen, which faces the most dire humanitarian crisis, continues to be the battlefield between Iran-backed Houthi rebels and the Saudi- and American-backed coalition. An escalation of tensions between the United States and Iran is endangering the Yemen peace process and could affect the opening of Red Sea ports and improving aid flows into Yemen.”

Finally they described the effect on the U.S. of another U.S. war:

“The costs are also high for Americans. For years, Iran has been preparing to attack American forces in the Middle East as part of its self-defense strategy. Tehran possesses an agile and sophisticated missile force and is well equipped to challenge American interests and its allies in the region. Ordinary citizens of Iran, Yemen and the United States­ — most of whom are women and children — would pay the highest cost of this avoidable conflict.”

Ebadi and Williams speak for those of us who want dialogue, not war ending their comments with “It is time to bring sanity back to Washington and Tehran and commit to a citizen-centered, maximum-diplomacy approach that protects the fragile equilibrium between our countries.

The call for peace in the region has never been more pressing, the stakes never so high.

Ann Wright served 29 years in the U.S. Army/Army Reserves and retired as a colonel.   She was a U.S. diplomat for 16 years and served in U.S. Embassies in Nicaragua, Grenada, Somalia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Micronesia, Afghanistan and Mongolia.  She resigned from the U.S. government in March 2003 in opposition to President George W. Bush’s war on Iraq. She is co-author of “Dissent: Voices of Conscience.”

This article is from OpEdNews.com.  

 

46 comments for “Generals, Ambassadors, Security Experts, Church Leaders, Female Nobel Peace Laureates All Say ‘No War on Iran’

  1. Tedder
    July 23, 2019 at 14:36

    I have to ask why these good people who claim to end the conflict with Iran continue to blame Iran for ‘trouble’ in the region. They propose, “Pursuing maximum pressure will only lead to greater ‘malign behavior’ on the part of Iran in Iraq, Yemen and Syria.” As far as I can tell, the Iraqis are in charge of their own destiny, as are the Houthis in Yemen, and Syria invited the Iranians to help against the Sunni radical insurgents.
    We constantly hear how the Iranians are great forces of disruption and terrorism in the Middle East. As far as I can tell, the greatest disrupters are the Americans and, of course, the Israelis, who are not mentioned in this essay.

  2. Zach
    July 20, 2019 at 17:13

    The region needs a surrogate that won’t abort croni capitalist ideologies; persuit of the middle class enigma; usury of neighbors, while being considered a benafactor of groundwork previously laid in prior conflict states of the U.S. and with the stigmatism the region has towards he blue and white flag, Irans’ propencity towards such, may serve well, given the incentives of widespread humibubuhoobigaga ok I’m done.

  3. Rob Roy
    July 18, 2019 at 23:51

    Guess my comment won’t be posted. Hmmmm?

    • Zach
      July 20, 2019 at 17:15

      It was.

  4. How Now Brown Cow
    July 18, 2019 at 23:18

    I’ll assume those behind this are acting in good faith, but they’re parroting a lot of propaganda (such as Iran’s “backing” of the Houthis in any substantial manner.)

    This really takes the cake:

    “No. 3. If necessary, establish safeguards for commercial shipping in the Gulf. The international naval patrols that have helped to stem piracy off the coast of Somalia may provide a model. This would require agreement from multiple countries and a willingness by the United States to cooperate with other states in coordinated operations.”

    So will Iran be a part of these operations?

    And how about a “No. 4. If necessary, establish safeguards for commercial shipping at the Strait of Gibraltar. Led by Russia and other countries including Iran and China, if Russia is willing to cooperate with other states in coordinated actions.”

    Sorry but No. 3 is ludicrous and belligerent.

  5. Pablo Diablo
    July 18, 2019 at 16:34

    First step, get rid of John Bolton (preferably put him in prison).

    • July 20, 2019 at 01:33

      A comment in BuzzFed News “Despite the slander you might have heard, US National Security Adviser John Bolton’s meeting in Mongolia this weekend — which kept him from joining President Donald Trump’s confab with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un — was long-planned and totally unavoidable.”

      I would give Bolton the post of cultural attache to the US embassy in Ulaan Baatar, and force him to stay there for at least two winters. Among capitals of various countries, this one has remarkable winters “Winter In Mongolia Is Cold But Incredibly Beautiful. Winters here are long and harsh, with temperatures here typically ranging from -20°C to – 45°C degrees.”

  6. July 18, 2019 at 16:29

    The Sojourners article “Back From the Brink” began with “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God.” – Matthew 5:9. The article ended with “We call for a different way: Our scriptures instruct us to avoid war and to live as peaceably as possible with all. We call on all our religious leaders, theologians, clergy, and laypersons to speak out against the option of war with Iran. Loving peace is never enough; we must stop making war and do the hard work of learning to make peace, which will require courage, calm resolve, and responsible leadership.”

    Given the profoundly precarious situation in the Middle East and elsewhere around the Earth, and considering the clear and stark contrasting interpretations of Christian theology between those aligned with Christians United for Israel and those aligned with the Sojourners, – the time for a debate on Christ’s message as it relates to potential war may now be not only clarifying but has become unavoidable and absolutely necessary.

    We ask that Reverend Jim Wallis and/or other men and women Christian leaders invite Pastor John Hagee to participate in an extremely serious and immeasurably important debate titled: “Christ’s Message and War in 2019” – as soon as humanly possible.

    Peace.

    • Zach
      July 20, 2019 at 17:23

      The tangibility of ecumenism will win over all, especially “true believers” of distraught nations, as well as the shirtsleeve-to-shirtsleeves. It’s getting close to Christmas, I can guarantee it’ll be under the tree. God already gave the tracking number.

    • July 24, 2019 at 16:05

      I don’t see the point of inviting this crop of political psychopaths to a debate. Their beliefs in war, death and destruction are very important to them emotionally, and they will not be argued out of them by any sort of straightforward logical procedure or common sense. I doubt if they would change their minds even if Jesus himself showed up and told them what he told Peter: ‘Put away your sword, because all those who take up the sword will perish with the sword.’

  7. dean 1000
    July 18, 2019 at 16:12

    I definitely support # 1. Number 2 is good if all sanctions are lifted. Iran gave up fundamental rights in the JCPOA. In return for its good faith it got more sanctions, economic war, and threats of hot war.
    Thanks for the link Jill at July 17, 2019 @ 17:19. Kudos to Trump for choosing Senator Rand Paul to negotiate.

  8. Brian James
    July 18, 2019 at 15:41

    Jun 13, 2019 Persian Gulf Tanker Attack: Iran Guilty? False Flag? Cui Bono?

    Just as the prime minister of Japan was in an historic visit to Iran (the first since the 1979 revolution), a Japanese-owned tanker (and one other) was attacked in the Persian Gulf. US neocons are pointing the finger at Iran. Does it make sense to attack Japan in the midst of productive talks? Will the propaganda machine ramp up war talk?

    https://youtu.be/Q4G8USEdhuY

  9. Brian James
    July 18, 2019 at 15:38

    The MIC and Pentagon do not care what all of the little people think or believe.

    Jun 13, 2019 Persian Gulf Tanker Attack: Iran Guilty? False Flag? Cui Bono?

    Just as the prime minister of Japan was in an historic visit to Iran (the first since the 1979 revolution), a Japanese-owned tanker (and one other) was attacked in the Persian Gulf. US neocons are pointing the finger at Iran. Does it make sense to attack Japan in the midst of productive talks? Will the propaganda machine ramp up war talk?

    https://youtu.be/Q4G8USEdhuY

  10. Jeff Harrison
    July 18, 2019 at 12:57

    The problem in the Middle East isn’t Iran. It is the United States and Israel. It wasn’t Iran that started the Iran-Iraq war. It was the United States. We encouraged Iraq to attack Iran and Saddam Hussein went for it. He wanted to control all of the Shatt-al-arab. The result? Hussein, using poison gas on Iranian troops with our acquiescence which officially speaking is a WMD, oversaw the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iranian and Iraqi military and civilians. Who was the malign actor here?

    In the 1991 first Gulf war which was between the “coalition of the willing” and Iraq, the United States shot down an Iranian commercial flight killing all aboard and sank several Iranian navy vessels that were in Iranian territorial waters. There is zero excuse for that. Iran wasn’t even involved in that damn war – neither as a US vassal… I mean willing coalition member or on Saddam Hussein’s side. Yet the US’s mindless hatred of Iran is such that we claim to this day that we were justified in shooting down a commercial flight whose IFF transponder was notifying everybody that it was an Iran Air flight. We paid Dane geld to Iran only after we lost the case in the International court.

    It was the United States that attacked Iraq in precisely the same style that Nazi Germany attacked most of the rest of the world. It was called aggressive war then and the triumphant allies executed a number of German and Japanese military officers for their role. You’ll notice that we got away with it. It helps to spend so much money on the military sometimes. I could go on like this for quite a while. Afghanistan? Why attack them? 9/11 was plotted and planned in Hamburg, Germany. We’ll just skip over Libya and Somalia but Syria is the result of the other malign influence in the Middle East – Israel. Israel wants a weaker government in Syria, one they can more easily push around. So naturally, the US stepped in to create regime change even though Syria’s “regime” was, in fact, elected. The problem with Israel is that that arrogant little pipsqueak of a nation (pop. ~9M) thinks that it will be the hegemon of the greater Middle East. And they expect the US to get them there. Sorta like Calvin who says that he wants to be rich when he grows up and then tells his father when the father says that he’d better get started if he expects to get rich that he, Calvin, expects his dad to make him rich. Funny when Watterson drew the cartoon, not so much so in real life.

    So, yeah, let’s do diplomacy but first the US has to start behaving like a normal nation and stop attacking countries and fomenting revolutions therein. Furthermore, we need to rein in Israel and make them give back the lands that they stole from the Palestinians and Syrians and stop messing with their neighbors. That alone might be enough to make diplomacy unnecessary.

    • dfnslblty
      July 18, 2019 at 13:28

      No “but” needed.
      Yes to diplomacy – which the current potus and secstate and admin are absolutely incapable of doing.
      potus, secstate & admin have no intention of stopping wars.
      Psychopaths all.
      Protest Loudly and Diplomatically

    • AnneR
      July 18, 2019 at 14:01

      Absolutely right on, Jeff. We have caused (from the late 18thC onward) so much if not all of the chaos, destruction, death in the middle east/north Africa – and by we I mean the 3 main imperial powers FR, UK and since WWII the US.

      And even when we “do” diplomacy, it is frequently reluctantly and untrustworthy.

    • Gregory Herr
      July 18, 2019 at 16:42

      Just to add to your astute comment Jeff, it should never be forgotten that chemical weapons used by Saddam against Iran were possible because HW supplied precursors. Poppy Bush also made sure to bomb out Iraq’s water treatment plants in ‘91. And then of course he lied about the Iranian airliner shoot down until he couldn’t—and then famously snapped off his surly “I will never apologize for America!”. What a freakin’ Nazi wannabe war criminal that guy was.

    • David Otness
      July 18, 2019 at 18:51

      And it is worth noting that Ayatollah Khomeini nixed retaliating with chemical weapons during that conflict.
      The Shah had plenty stockpiled, thanks to the U.S., before being ejected / overthrown.

  11. Charlie McCollum
    July 18, 2019 at 12:07

    This article is absolutely correct. We do not need war. Yes ,Iran has a horrible human right record but so does Israel. Israel punishes the families of those accused of terrorist acts. The homes of families are bulldozed without trial of any kind . The occupiers also treat the residents horribly. Israel should depart Palestine. Let the Palestinians live free. Just remember both sides have blame.

    • Rob Roy
      July 18, 2019 at 23:49

      Charlie, frankly, I would rather live in Iran than Israel. I’ve seen how both function and how the people treat each other. Israel is simply too scary and the people too arrogant.
      Thing is, if any here watched/heard the Consortium News with Francis Boyle being interviewed, they will realize that Trump will be blackmailed into bombing Iran. He pulled back recently ten minutes before he was going to bomb, and right away the Jeffrey Epstein thing rises up; since JE filmed and recorded all the rotten goings on on the Lolita, Orgy Island, and any place else that creep owns, all those despicable pedophiles’ actions are recorded. That’s the way Trump will give in to war on Iran. Bolton, et. al., finally realized Trump doesn’t want that war so they figured out how to get it. All the Russiagate crap was never going to take Trump down via impeachment, but even Trump would have to realize that pedophilia could actually get him removed from office.

    • July 20, 2019 at 01:13

      ” Israel is simply too scary and the people too arrogant.”

      I got weary of following news on Israel, kind of hopeless. But when I did, I was really surprised when I read an article about French tourists in Tel Aviv. You see, the locals complained that the Frenchies were too rude. Clash of the Titans!

    • Skip Scott
      July 20, 2019 at 06:52

      It will be very interesting to see how the Epstein case plays out, since consequences affect both sides of the aisle (Trump and Clinton), and there seems to be obvious connections to this being a “honey trap” by an “Intelligence” agency (or agencies) for the purpose of blackmail, most likely to control government policy, past and present.

      It is most likely that it will be white-washed, similar to the Warren Commission following JFK’s murder. The other possibility is that Epstein himself will be sacrificed, and will never reach trial. I can’t imagine that our current “justice” system is capable of seeing this episode through and exposing all the perpetrators, even in this #MeToo era. It will really expose the power of the “Deep State” for those of us paying attention if Trump takes us to war with Iran, and then somehow “dodges the bullet” of the Epstein trial.

      As for Iran, even in this era when it is fundamentally a theocracy, there are still nearly 10,000 Persian Jews living in Iran. I think we have picked the wrong horse in this race starting in 1953, and that the Iranians should be our allies instead of the Saudis. I can only imagine how different that part of the world would be if Mossadegh had been allowed to remain in power.

  12. Vera Gottlieb
    July 18, 2019 at 10:52

    Why is my comment not being posted? Am I being punished for telling the obvious truth?

  13. Vera Gottlieb
    July 18, 2019 at 10:50

    The US of A: the greatest terrorist nation of modern times.

  14. Vera Gottlieb
    July 18, 2019 at 10:48

    The US of A: the greatest terrorist nation on this planet….and apparently proud of it too.

  15. July 18, 2019 at 09:24

    I skimmed through the statements of the experts etc. and it really brings to my mind the cave metaphor of Plato. People watch shadows cast on a cave wall and some make better predictions what will be seen next than others, but none of them has an idea that what they see is a reflection of events outside the cave. These people sit in the cave and have no notions of solutions that can be obtained outside.

    If USA has a malign policy, then the only way to deal with it is to prostrate themselves before the powers to be in Washington D.C. and beg for deliverance. If that does not help. repeat. Perhaps again. Afterwards resign yourself to the sad fate, but perhaps you can repeat it a year later. The notion that other countries could nix American impositions in a flash, were they in possession of some resolve is totally outside the spectrum of options that sensible people may consider — as sensibility is interpreted inside the cave.

    Of course, the leverage of Russia, China, and Iran herself is rather limited, but the allies in EU/NATO that opposed the repudiation of the multilateral deal have all tools that are needed to counteract sanctions on their businesses. EU was specifically created to counteract hostile trade actions, a block can issue counter-actions. NATO allies subjected to punitive sanctions can suspend the use of American bases on their territories. Mind you, the repudiation does not have support of American Democrats and Administration fighting a war of mutual economic distraction would find itself on thin ice.

    What I am trying to say is that it is European powers that ostensibly support preservation of the deal should be target of remostrations. Administration is ‘intellectually consistent”, but Macron and Merkel and others act against their own words, their own national pride (perhaps a thing of the past?) and their own interests.

    • July 20, 2019 at 18:02

      The 3Ms macron Merkel and May have long since sold themselves and their countries out to the interests of the US. Concerted action by Europe in support of Iran might have saved the Iranian nuclear deal even after Trump’s the withdrawal of the US. But no real attempt has been made by Europe to neutralise US stupidity and the world is now moving ever closer to major conflict.

    • July 23, 2019 at 01:11

      … attempt … made by Europe to neutralize US stupidity …

      Whatever intelligence resided in Europe, it seems that it was wiped out by Mad Cow Disease (brain turns to a spongy mass). Since I do not know French or German, I can only observe the sad decline of the British brains. Germans seem to retain some vestiges of functional sub-cranial tissues, but British seem to oscillate between plodding stupidity and spectacular feats of unreason.

      There is a Russian joke that goes like that: a village boy sits in front of his family house and with enormous concentration in his face he maneuvers his open palms putting them together in different ways. A villager asks: what are you doing Vanuysha? I am trying to figure out how hedgehogs can fuck! Foreign minister Hunt is shown here as Vanyusha:
      https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/jul/21/iran-crisis-what-are-britain-options-tanker-standoff
      To emulate the golden age of Francis Drake, HMG government, apparently in the person of Hunt, gave go ahead for a heist of Iranian tanker. Although they claim now that Gibraltarians made them do it, “everybody” thinks they were prodded by USA. Then they learn that emulating Nelson is harder than random piracy: as British were escorting Swedish owned tanker under British flag, Iranians impounded the tanker for some claimed violation, IN SPITE of hollering from the HMS.

      So what the instigators say? “UK must look after its own ships in the Gulf, says Pompeo” (title in today’s Guardian). But we tried, doesn’t it count for something? This is what Minister Hunt would say, were he not busy figuring the reproductive habits of hedgehogs. But one should not be to hard on poor Hunt, the “expert advise” that I linked above is rather absurd. So “Hunt told parliament on Monday that he was seeking to develop a maritime protection mission with Germany, France and other European nations, but not including the US, because of their different agendas.” Isn’t it time to praise the foresight of prevailing upon Montenegro to join NATO? Germans may be loath to send their ships to the Gulfs of Persia and Oman, but Montenegro should be more amenable. Add Malta and Albania and voila — multilateral European force in the region!

      Did I mention that the seized shop was escorted? Those ships are long, hard to secure both ends. They are filled with combustible and, at times, explosive materials, not a good idea to make pitched battles on the deck. If you preventatively shoot Iranian helicopter down, the missile boats that are swarming around would fire their missiles. If it was an easy mission, countries would join in less time than it took them to expel Russian diplomats.

  16. David G
    July 18, 2019 at 04:59

    “Diplomacy is the effective and necessary alternative to what would be a disastrous and indefensible war.” … and various other versions of the same throughout this piece.

    This is a problematic approach for these probably well-meaning people to be taking.

    For weeks now, the U.S. – increasingly nervous about what its actions may lead to and aware of its limited ability to control events – has been publicly proclaiming it is eager to enter into negotiations with Iran, and it is Iran that has (quite rightly) said there is no basis for talks as long as the U.S. is flouting the JCPOA agreement to which it is a party, backed by U.N. Security Council Resolution 2231.

    This week the U.S. even took it on itself to claim that Iran had shifted its position and was now also interested in talks. Iran then said this was false.

    Because on the most superficial level it is the U.S. that is currently calling for negotiations, and Iran that is rejecting those overtures, the calls for “diplomacy” that fill this article risk validating – at least partially – the U.S.’s lawless aggression embodied in its repudiation the JCPOA and its subsequent campaign of economic warfare against Iran.

    Even if the U.S. were to return to implementing the JCPOA, there would be no point in Iran entering talks about dismantling its (conventionally armed) missile capability: this is a fundamental aspect of its national defense and will not be negotiated away.

    The U.S. has no legitimate grievances or claims to make against Iran relevant to the current crisis. And Iran is not disposed to negotiate what would amount to terms of surrender (which in any case it would have no reason to believe the U.S. would abide by any more than it did the JCPOA, or the NPT for that matter).

    People who want to promote peace in the Persian Gulf should unambiguously call on the U.S. to meet its international commitments and end its de facto blockade on Iran.

    • vinnieoh
      July 18, 2019 at 10:20

      David G:

      Yours is the honest assessment of the situation. Just to reinforce what you said: The JCPOA accomplished EXACTLY what it was meant to do – prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. Something rarely mentioned by any observer is the fact that this part was relatively easy for Iran to agree to because IN MY OBSERVATION AND OPINION they had long ago decided such a course was one of futility and waste.

      What Israel cum USA and the Sunni Gulf monarchies want is to completely strip Iran of any agency and legitimacy within their own region of the world. As you have said – for Iran to surrender completely. There is no incentive, absolutely no reason, for Iran to “negotiate” away their sovereignty and security under threat of annihilation or forced pauperism.

      After the signing of the agreement Netanyahu and Israeli/American Zionists set about actively to negate it. Iran received little if any of the benefits that were agreed to therein and are in reality still waiting for its implementation.

      With all due honest respect to the author and contributors to this piece regarding the humanitarian transgressions inside Iran today, I see this as throwing a bone to those whose ears they would like to address. I’ve written elsewhere about this long-perfected US technique of foreign nations’ destabilization. Infiltrators, spies, assassins, and saboteurs operate within those countries the US wishes to overthrow. In reaction the beleaguered governments of those nations react in quite predictable ways by seeing – rightly or wrongly – enemies within everywhere, and implementing mass arrests and imprisonment, harsh sentencing, and other repressive reactions. The news of these harsh reactions are then fed to US MSM to convince us how evil and despicable those governments are and that the US therefor has the right – No, the OBLIGATION (R2P) – to attack, invade, occupy, or overthrow those governments. Every action by the US since the revolution of 1979 has been intended to further radicalize and therefor vilify the Iranian government.

      There is nothing new here, not even the perfection of this method of vilification and justification of armed destruction. If the US truly wanted Iran to “behave” in the ME region the US should completely cut itself loose from the pariah known as Israel. No more money, no more arms, no more diplomatic shielding. Let Israel to deal with their Arab/Muslim neighbors in the harsh light of reality according to their size and perverted philosophy. There are many Jews both in Israel and the US that would work for peace and strive for justice if Israel had to navigate its way in this world honestly. Zionism is a death cult.

      But we understand that what is known as “the US government” is incapable of doing the right thing.

  17. Gregory Herr
    July 17, 2019 at 23:00

    “As national security professionals with extensive careers in the U.S. armed forces and diplomatic service, we have witnessed first-hand how quickly disputes can spiral out of control.”

    A near certainty with regard to military strikes in Iran. Iran will capably reciprocate—with devastating effect on the global economy from oil price spikes. U.S. forces and the Saudis will take losses. If Israel takes a hit, Katy bar the door—cause those crazies are pure batshit. And “by the way” (as the smirking chimp used to like to say), the Russian Federation and China have drawn their lines in the sand.

    It’s one thing for the U.S. to pick on a defenseless Iraq , or to hire mercenaries to wreak havoc in Syria, or to bomb the hell out of Libya—but’s it quite another to go off half-jacked into an actual war, 21st Century style, against those who can and will fight back with deadly considerable force. Cross that Rubicon and there will be no turning back.

    Good for the “religious” leaders who view war as morally indefensible. I wish more of them would do their moral duty more often and with more clarity and righteous passion. I wish the ones who spoke up here would also call on the U,S. to repudiate terrorism and denounce our ongoing nuclear weapons “upgrade” insanity.

  18. July 17, 2019 at 20:46

    Related:

    “That’s the main takeaway from the Pew Research Center’s latest rolling poll of U.S. veterans, published Thursday, in which solid majorities of former troops said the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria were not worth fighting. The gaps between approval and disapproval were not even close to the poll’s 3.9 percent margin of error; barely a third of veterans considered any of those conflicts worthwhile:”

    https://newrepublic.com/article/154471/veterans-say-americas-wars-waste-no-ones-listening-them

  19. Tom Kath
    July 17, 2019 at 20:37

    Iran’s supreme commander has repeatedly, clearly, and loudly assured the world that “THERE WILL BE NO WAR”. I find him uncannily far more credible than any “extremely concerned” statements coming from the West.

    My apologies if this appears twice.

  20. Tom Kath
    July 17, 2019 at 20:35

    Iran’s supreme commander has repeatedly, clearly, and loudly assured the world that “THERE WILL BE NO WAR”. I find him uncannily far more credible than any “extremely concerned” statements coming from the West.

  21. anon4d2
    July 17, 2019 at 20:20

    Unfortunately our utterly corrupt politicians and mass media feel much fulfilled and aggrandized that “the cost of wars in the Middle East has been almost $6 trillion and 500,000 lives lost.” At last they feel significant, and triumphant over those naughty kids who called them names when they were little. And so do most of the deluded and amoral population. And they Love the obvious scam of “antisemitism” accusations to cover zionist racism, the opportunity to be bribed by campaign payments or job security, the mortal attacks upon democracy disguised as defense. Lying and stealing are what America is about! They have defended our four freedoms of ignorance, selfishness, hypocrisy, and malice; and the sacred right and duty of all Americans to lie, cheat, steal, bully, harass, and vandalize; with liberty and justice for gangsters.

  22. anon
    July 17, 2019 at 19:58

    Thank you Anne Wright for this excellent and commendable argument against another Mideast war. The proposed solution No.1 (return to the Iran nuclear deal) is OK. But proposed solutions No. 2 and 3 are really the goals of US zionist warmongers:

    “No. 2. …end …sanctions [except] to counter Iranian support for armed militancy and weapons proliferation… targeted against Iranian officials…” There is no fact behind the propaganda of unilateral “Iranian support for armed militancy” of the Shiites vs. the armed militancy of the Sunnis (Saudi Arabia, UAE et al) supported by Israel and its US zionist puppets since the 1950s. Sanctions only against officials would have no effect, and sanctions against the people are counterproductive. It was the US that overthrew democracy in Iran in 1953 and supported Mideast terrorism against secular and progressive governments, pretending to fight communism that was never there, while raking in zionist political bribes. Any sanctions against Iran are economic war for zionist land theft, and nothing more.

    “No. 3. …establish safeguards for commercial shipping in the Gulf… international naval patrols … cooperate with other states in coordinated operations.” This is of course exactly what the extreme rightwing zionist warmongers want, military concentrations right next to Iran, to provoke and make pretexts for war, and to get zionist bribes ot US politicians.

  23. IvyMike
    July 17, 2019 at 18:38

    This is all great stuff but it doesn’t sound like it was actually communicated to Trump. I don’t think he reads ‘open letters.’ He’s like a bad dog, you have to grab him by the scruff of his neck and rub his nose in it if you want to impart knowledge to him.

  24. Sam F
    July 17, 2019 at 18:30

    The argument against another Mideast war is excellent and commendable.

    The proposed solution (No.1, US return to the Iran nuclear deal) is OK. But proposed solutions No. 2 and 3 are in fact the goals of US zionist-paid warmongers:

    “No. 2. …end …sanctions [except] to counter Iranian support for armed militancy and weapons proliferation… targeted against Iranian officials…” There is no fact behind this propaganda of unilateral “Iranian support for armed militancy” of Shiites vs. the armed militancy of the Sunnis (Saudi Arabia, UAE et al) supported by Israel and their US right wing puppets since the 1950s, so that is just more one-sided sanctions. Sanctions only against officials would have no effect, and sanctions against the people are counterproductive. It was the US that overthrew democracy in Iran in 1953 and supported Mideast terrorism against secular and progressive governments, pretending to fight communism that was never there, while raking in zionist political bribes.

    “No. 3. …establish safeguards for commercial shipping in the Gulf… international naval patrols … the United States to cooperate with other states in coordinated operations.” This is of course exactly what the extreme rightwing zionist warmongers want, military concentrations right next to Iran, to provoke and make pretexts for war, and to get zionist bribes ot US politicians.

    • Skip Scott
      July 18, 2019 at 08:00

      Sam F-

      I agree. I was going to write something similar, but I see you’ve beaten me to it.

      “The United States wants, at the minimum, an assurance that Iran will not acquire nuclear weapons.” The Empire wants far more than that. They want another regime change war (and either a new puppet or chaos), and they are looking for any excuse to get one. The only real deterrent is that anyone in Washington with two brain cells and a synapse knows that war with Iran will mean economic collapse as a result of the straits of Hormuz becoming impassable. That would likely lead to WWIII. We can only hope that somehow rational minds prevail.

    • AnneR
      July 18, 2019 at 09:29

      Yes, Sam F (or anon).

      I would only underscore that these protests at base accept fully the propaganda line (as apparently does Ms Wright) that Iran supports “terrorism,” that it is the middle eastern menace and that if it weren’t for western pressure it would have nuclear weapons. Moreover that it is – as is adumbrated almost daily on the lying MSM – Iran who is breaking the JCPOA (even when there is a passing mention of the US walking away from it) by increasing its uranium enrichment (and heavy water production) with the added scare tactics ‘Iran is likely just this long a time’ from having nuclear weapons capability.

      The Ayatollah put a fatwa on nuclear weapons. And that counts for a lot in Iranian society. Besides – Israel already has nuclear weapons and Saudia is on the way to doing so. Apparently, though, the fact that the real terrorist states (the aforementioned two) have (Israel) and may have them (Saudia) is no cause for alarm. They’re our “friends.”

      Since when is supporting morally, even economically, ones’ friends, religious and/or political soul mates bad? The USUKFR do it all the time – do it even when the governments of the countries chummied up to, supported are far from moral, ethical havens (think Israel, Saudia, a variety of Latin American countries, too many to name). As far as I am aware, the US, UK and FR are fully on board, making oodles of boodle for their military materiel corporations by supporting Saudia and the UAE in their buying of such materiel, providing “moral” support via training, re-fueling etc., for the abominable, unwarranted, criminal Saudian war on Yemen. Interestingly, Ms Wright only raises Yemen with regard to Iran….

      The JCPOA allows for Iran’s further enrichment – if that agreement is broken by one of the parties to it. Moreover, the US admin (and Congress hasn’t stopped any of what the Strumpet’s WH has done) put sanctions on the export/import of Iran’s excess uranium/heavy water. So Iran had no means to prevent the “transgressing” of that agreement. And the western-European parties to this agreement have proved – yet again – to be spineless and in total vassalage to the US.

      In addition – most Iranians who emigrated to the west are of the pro-Shah, Iranian wealthy, haute bourgeoisie and have been antagonistic toward the Iranian republic from the get go.

      Yes, Iran has imprisoned “human rights” people, journalists etc.; but let’s not pretend that we in the west, especially, in the US and UK are whited sepulchers in this regard. Julian Assange, anyone? Chelsea Manning? Leonard Peltier, Mumia Abu Jamal to name but a couple… (never mind Guantanamo)…..

  25. Drew Hunkins
    July 17, 2019 at 17:27

    If the Zionist Power Configuration is successful in getting Washington to wage a war on Iran it would be the biggest crime against humanity in 50 years, it would surpass the Bush-Wolfowitz-Perle-Feith-Abrams attrocity on Iraq.

    But here’s the crucial part of this that many skip over in the equation — Washington is unable to muster up a loyal and devoted group of soldier personnel for the job!

    Just imagine how dispirited the typical U.S. soldier would be fighting in some far off land. Part of the lies and propaganda aimed at him would be about how he’s fighting for the American Way. What American Way? Those tens of thousands of soldiers, if they weren’t killed in the vast expanse of Persia, would ultimately return home to a country that ultimately has no health coverage for them and their children (or extremely expensive premiums), they would return home to work for $9 per hour in some awful hole, they’d be in debt up to their eyeballs with student debt or regular consumer debt, numbed out on Oxy, their kids would be in public school classrooms with 35 students, most of their brethren would be working 60 hour weeks to pay exorbitant housing costs while their children would be in expensive day care.

    And our elites think they’re going to send them off to fight and die and that they’ll be a committed fighting soldier battling fellow proletariat in Iran?! Are you kidding me?! Are you kidding me?!

    • Lily
      July 18, 2019 at 04:19

      Very good comment. Thank you, Drew Hunkins.

      This should be read by each common soldier who is supposed to fight in a far away foreign country for human rights and democracy.

    • Drew Hunkins
      July 18, 2019 at 10:34

      Thanks Lily.

      Yes, if people were more cognizant of how corporate capitalism is robbing 90% of the population blind we’d be in a much better position to work for serious reforms.

    • Frank Lambert
      July 20, 2019 at 08:59

      You nailed it, Drew! Excellent and accurate statement on the reality which most Americans are faced with. I would only add that more young men and women are joining the armed forces and re-enlisting for job and financial security, health care and a guaranteed retirement pension, plus all the perks available while on active duty.

      I totally agree with you on paragraph one and three, but unfortunately, too many rationalize the killing and maiming of their fellow human beings as just cause in the name of “freedom” and “democracy” which we are losing more of in the U.S. because of the propaganda campaign of the MSM.

      Phil Donahue had the most profitable program on MSNBC (according to Jeff Cohen, the producer (and co-founder of FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting) but was taken off the station because Donahue opposed the invasion of Iraq.

      That Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists clock is getting closer to midnight. Scary!

    • July 21, 2019 at 23:27

      Exactly why the Pentagon’s “small” scale nuclear strategy may be considered. Once that happens, America will loose every shred of goodwill left towards it in the world.

  26. Jill
    July 17, 2019 at 17:19

    According to an article at Zero Hedge: “A huge development that could roll back fast escalating tensions between Washington and Tehran in the Persian Gulf: Politico reports that Sen. Rand Paul — the outspoken anti-interventionist Libertarian Republican from Kentucky — has been handpicked by President Trump as his emissary to mediate with Iran after the Kentucky senator proposed the idea.

    Trump has now reportedly signed off on the plan, first pitched over the past weekend by Paul at a golf outing as a way to avoid escalating toward military conflict with Iran, according to multiple US officials. ”

    https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-07-17/sen-rand-paul-represent-trump-admin-emissary-iran

    I am so happy to see as many groups and individuals speak out against this insanity. I hope everyone will continue to speak up!

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