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Stop full-scale war with Iran

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There is a growing body of evidence that President Bush is planning to order a bombing attack on Iran, possibly with nuclear weapons.

According to a report in The Guardian newspaper in London, "John Bolton, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, told Tory delegates today that efforts by the United Kingdom and the European Union to negotiate with Iran had failed and that he saw no alternative to a pre-emptive strike on suspected nuclear facilities in the country."

Similar views have been expressed by Patrick Cronin, director at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London. In an earlier report in The Guardian newspaper, he was quoted as saying, "Washington is seriously reviewing plans to bomb not just nuclear sites but oil sites, military sites and even leadership targets."

The Sunday Telegraph newspaper in London has also dealt with this subject. It reported that, "U.S. leaders would begin raids on Iranian training camps and bomb factories as a way to provoke a military response that would justify a much more powerful attack." The Telegraph added that Vice President Dick Cheney is said to advocate the use of bunker-busting tactical nuclear weapons against Iran’s nuclear sites.

Bob Baer, a former CIA senior analyst, has also predicted a U.S. attack on Iran. In an article for Time Magazine, he wrote that Iran’s Revolutionary Guards will be "portrayed as terrorists" and will be identified as the source of armor-piercing projectiles used to kill so many U.S. troops in Iraq. That claim will be used to justify a larger war against Iran.

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Seymour Hersh, an investigative reporter for the New Yorker magazine, has written extensive accounts of the Bush administration’s plans for attacking Iran, including the possible use of nuclear weapons.

While President Bush has not directly addressed this issue, he was quoted as saying the following in a speech to a veterans’ convention in Reno, Nev.: "Our strategy is this: every day we work to protect the American people. We will fight them over there so that we don’t have to fight them in the United States of America."

It is time for leaders in Congress to confront this issue and to do everything possible to avoid a full-scale war with Iran. The reasons are obvious:

• We are already losing two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and are in no position to fight a third war successfully.

• Our troops are over-stressed and have been deployed and redeployed with too little time between tours of duty.

• Iran is three times as large as Iraq and has far larger military forces.

• A full-scale war in Iran would create chaos in the entire Middle East and end all hopes for a peaceful settlement between Israel and the Palestinians.

• Israel could suffer as well. Iran, Syria and other Middle Eastern countries could launch attacks on Israel as the chief ally of the U.S. in that region.

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It is time for members of Congress of both parties to recognize the danger and take steps to stop full-scale military action against Iran. They have already forced President Bush to consider a small future reduction of U.S. troop levels in Iraq. They should take the next step and call for an end to any plans for broadening the war.

We need to get out of Iraq. Attacking Iran would simply kill any attempt to wind down the war in Iraq and would leave chaos in the Middle East and an unmanageable crisis for the next president.

Bill Boyne is a former editor and publisher of the Post-Bulletin whose column appears weekly. Respond to news@postbulletin.com

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