This is the wrong time for the United States
to take on Iran, the dominant demographic, military and cultural force of
the Persian Gulf, as its new foe.

Yet, that is exactly where the Bush administration is headed.

In the past few weeks, Bush administration officials, including national
security adviser Condoleezza Rice, have said they will use any means to
stop Iran from pursuing plans to build nuclear weapons. They leaked stories
to the media about plans to bomb industrial sites in Iran, including the
Bushehr nuclear reactor.

Iran’s response was swift. Gen. Mohammad Baqer Zolqadr, the commander of
Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corp, said that if attacked, Iran would
“retaliate everywhere.”

Even the country’s defense minister, Ali Shamkhani, has warned that Iran
retains the option of pre-emptive strikes to prevent an attack on its
nuclear facilities. Such a strike would likely target Israel – which took
out Iraq’s nuclear facility in 1981 – virtually ensuring a widespread war
in the Middle East.

Nothing would unite Iranian moderates and hard-liners more than an attack
on their country and, above all, the destruction of their prized nuclear
reactor. Iranians are not easily intimidated. They lost nearly a million
people in the eight-year Iran-Iraq war, launched by Saddam Hussein in 1980.
In the end, the Iranians prevailed. Saddam backed down.

How quickly we forget..


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