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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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    Iran Could Be Iraq 2.0

    So far, it seems as if Iran is complying with the International Atomic Energy Agency. Requests by the IAEA that Iran hand over old documents outlining atomic weapons plans are being heeded. Currently, there is no evidence that Iran has any plans to use its nuclear power for anything other than turning on light bulbs. Why then, is the US and EU pursuing a policy of more sanctions against Iran? It’s a simple answer; Bush et. al. want to continue the war mongering that began in Iraq. They are fabricating excuses to start a bombing campaign or pre-emptive invasion. They are creating hysteria over a government that has not yet produced a single atomic weapon and has done no more than make empty threats. His only crime so far is making dangerous political statements designed specifically to provoke us. And provoke us, they have. The threats from the international community, unlike their stated intentions, actually promote Ahmadinejad’s support – Iranians see him as a leader who can protect them from meddling external forces. As a result, Ahmadinejad’s government is gathering support from people who once dissented against him. This has allowed him to gather more followers and build national unity under his banner. Far from hurting Ahmadinejad’s image and government, current policy is strengthening him. Meanwhile, at home, the US becomes increasingly afraid of this distant Persian country. This irrational public panic, similar to what happened after 9/11, allows politicians to take away civil rights and tax dollars from its citizens to pursue militaristic ventures overseas. These ventures benefit nobody except for the politicians and corporations, which are profiting economically off the backs of our soldiers. For example, KBR Inc., a division of Halliburton, has reported Iraq war profits of $17.2 billion dollars, mostly from construction projects, between 2003 and 2006. The Iraq war accounts for about 1/5 of KBR’s yearly profits. I don’t think I need to tell anyone which politicians have ties to the Halliburton Company. The Bush administration has recently made claims that Iran is supporting the Iraqi insurgency. I’ve seen no evidence of this, however, and considering the source of the information – the same people who told us there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq – I’d take it with a few grains of salt. And so what if Iran has an interest in the outcome of the Iraq war? As presidential candidate Ron Paul put it in an interview for Rolling Stone magazine: ‘Why wouldn’t they have an interest? It’s like saying that if the Russians were in Mexico, we wouldn’t have an interest in who wins that war. We’d have every right. They’re the next-door neighbor.’ Almost all the presidential candidates, of whom the notable exception is Ron Paul, have taken the hard line approach against Iran. Even democrats who are supposedly anti-war have come out in support of sanctions against Iran. I, for one, would not be worried about Iran if it weren’t for our troops in Iraq and our foreign policy in general. If we pull our troops home from Iraq, concentrate on border security, we would have virtually nothing to fear from terrorists trying to blow up our freedoms. Iran simply cannot touch us militarily. And, despite the threats, they are no match for the Israeli military either. Iranians have simply seen what has happened in Iraq and have become afraid of a similar situation in which foreign powers meddling in their affairs could literally destroy the nation. Ahmadinejad, as a power hungry leader, has taken advantage of that fear and used it to secure his political power. The politicians as home, especially the neoconservatives with ties to the military-industrial complex and oil companies, see the further involvement in Middle Eastern affairs as an opportunity to secure their economic and political power. If we simply leave the region, tyrannical leaders like Ahmadinejad will have no support. The only reason why the Iranian people tolerate his brutish and stone-age values is because they appreciate the way he can handle Western imperialism. If we leave Iran alone, Ahmadinejad will disappear into the footnotes of history. The CIA, the 9/11 Commission Report, Dr. Ron Paul and I agree that the number one factor that contributes to terrorism is blowback from US foreign policy. We, in the United States, have always valued small government, compared to, for example, the socialist institutions we see in Europe or the dictators of the Middle East. We don’t want our government to interfere in our lives. Why would we impose our government on the lives of people in other, sovereign, nations? The idea that we need to use preemptive military force to protect our freedoms is an outright lie. Our government’s involvement in the Middle East to secure oil rights and other get rich quick schemes is the spark that caused their animosity towards us. This has caused their people to be vulnerable to dictators and the institution of oppressive Sharia law. If we stop spending billions overseas and try to save our own fragile and downward spiraling economy we can show the rest of the world the benefits of adapting a capitalist-based democracy system. We can only show foreigners the way, we cannot force them, unasked, to accept it. We are seeing the economic loss and loss of life as a result of our ‘sacrifice the many to benefit the few’ policy in Iraq. Our politicians lied to us, and it is time for us to realize that they are up to the same tricks again in Iran. How many soldiers and civilians will we allow to die; how long will we let our economy suffer before we send a message to our government saying that it’s not ok? I plan on contacting my Congress and Senate representatives to inform them that I cannot support politicians who seek to profit off of the labor of my fellow citizens to satisfy their own greed in overseas ventures. I will tell them that I reject the notion that we need to have any troops in the Middle East for any reason and that a withdrawal of the troops from Iraq will benefit both Middle Easterners and Westerners. I urge readers to send similar messages to their representatives. Also, I plan on using the upcoming 2008 Presidential election to express my opinion by way of my right to vote. I will refuse to support any candidate who doesn’t promise to withdraw our troops, as soon as physically possible, from overseas, especially from the Middle East. So far, Ron Paul is a lone voice in calling for this measure. Either the public is not making its voice heard on this issue, or the politicians have the public duped better than I thought.

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