Saturday, August 18, 2007

Wing of the Iranian Military To Be Named A Terrorist Organization

The Bush administration has taken steps to add the Iranian Revolutionary Guard- a major branch of the Iranian Military- to the State Departments official list of Terrorist organizations. This would mark the first time, to my knowledge, that the U.S. has officially listed the military of a sovereign nation as a terror organization.

I believe this is part of a larger Bush Administration effort to lay the groundwork for taking military action against Iran, under the guise of "fighting the War on Terrorism". The Bush Administration will likely use the failure of Iraq as the excuse for attacking Iran. Lately, Iran has been a convenient scape-goat for the U.S. foreign policy disaster in Iraq.

I find it a little ironic that the U.S. wants to slap another nations military forces with such a label. I don't recall Iran misusing its military for invading other nations. The U.S. has more blood on its hands than most other nations in the world, including Iran, when it comes to the deaths of civilians over the past half century, attributable to the use of the American military. To the people being killed, wounded and beaten, I don't think that they distinguish between one kind of terrorism over another- whether from a fancy military or from a suicide bomber. To them, terrorism is terrorism. I'm not painting the U.S. military as a terror group, I am simply pointing out that to those who have suffered under wars in the last 50 years, the U.S. has a lot more to answer to than the Iranians. I just think about the situation regarding the My Lai village in Vietnam and the irony of this story just shines through even more.

No, the U.S. military is not a terrorist group, but conditions on the ground in Vietnam, Iraq, and other warzones, often brought on by political neglect and maleficence, created conditions that led to acts that could be perceived by the victims as being "terrorism".

This move just makes the U.S. look like the bully once again, arrogantly passing judgement on other nations, when its own house is not in order. It also makes any negotiations with the Iranians that much harder... Although I don't believe that the U.S. sincerely wants a peaceful political settlement on the issue of Iranian nuclear technology. The U.S. always seems to sabotage any progress towards a peaceful solution with Iran. Instead, the U.S. appears to be laying the groundwork for a non-peaceful, (non)solution to the issue. The Bush administration either plans a military strike before the end of the Presidents term, or they plan to hand the problem off to a new President in January of 2009.

Sadly, a Democratic President would simply pick up the relay baton and continue with the current race towards yet another military & foreign policy disaster- this time in Iran. Foreign policy is one area where the Republicans and the Democrats don't differ in any significant fashion. Having a Democrat dealing with foreign policy will be almost as bad as having the Bush administration for another 4 years.

As bad as Reagan was, as bad as George H.W. Bush was, and as bad as the current President has been.... none were as bad as Bill Clinton when it came to the number of foreign military interventions. This is why I get a headache whenever I hear ill informed Americans (usually Democrats) talking about how great Clinton was for the world.

The problem in this country, in terms of its relations with the rest of the world, has become less about people & political parties and more about bad U.S. foreign policy. U.S. foreign policy is like an engine- like a system, and the Presidents, and diplomats and the Political Parties represent the spark plugs and other parts that make the engine work. In other words, fundamental changes are needed in U.S. foreign policy before anything will improve on the international front. U.S. Presidents, their staffs and their political parties are simply interchangeable parts of the same engine.... how the engine runs will be fundamentally the same, no matter which brand of part you put in it.

The U.S. military has its hands full in Iraq....yet the political "leadership" seems eager to get tangled up in another conflict. They are betting that they can accomplish what they want by using airstrikes.... having no troops ready. But this will lead to disaster in my opinion.


The following is a great editorial that addresses the terror designation for the Revolutionary Guard.

After weeks of what seemed like a slow thaw in Iranian-American relations, the news that the United States may soon classify the Iranian Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization comes as both a surprise and a disappointment. If the measure is approved, it would mark the first time in history that the US government has designated a military wing of a foreign country in such a way. It would also mark another disastrous foreign-policy blunder in a what is already a long list of mistakes made by the Bush administration.

The possible move, which is at best a form of political posturing, is an obvious indication that the US is growing frustrated with the slow pace of a new sanctions package at the United Nations. By threatening to take unilateral steps of their own, the Americans are probably trying to pressure members of the Security Council into taking swifter action. But by breaking away from the international fold - again - the US will undermine united international efforts to encourage Iran to behave more responsibly.

Such a measure may be well received by the hawks in Washington, particularly those in Vice President Dick Cheney's office, but it would represent another dangerous foreign-policy gamble. The impact of any new sanctions that could be imposed on Iran through the use of the terror label would be limited, since the Islamic Republic has very few direct business connections with the US. In addition, the confrontational stance risks backfiring, since it will serve to further embolden the hard-liners in Iran.

The Bush administration's policy of dealing with Iran by using sticks, tough talk and threats has already proven ineffectual on all fronts. The only measurable impact of backing Iran into a corner - without offering a way out - is that the regime has been given a perfect excuse to impose domestic restrictions in the name of national security.

Labelling the Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist group will give the Iranian people even greater reason to rally together in the face of perceived American hostility and will strengthen the hand of those who are already restricting Iranian civil society. Such a move would serve to bolster the view that regardless of what the Iranian government does, the Americans will continue to pursue the objective of regime change in the Islamic Republic. The voices of those Iranians who have been calling for greater cooperation with the West over Iraq and the nuclear file will likely be drowned out by those who say that such a policy is futile.

As a result, a terrorist classification would undoubtedly undermine whatever progress has been made toward a cooperative approach to stabilizing Iraq. And in that regard, the American move will represent yet another tragedy for this crisis-plagued region.


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