Sometimes history–and necessity–make strange bedfellows. The German general staff transported Lenin to Russia to lead a revolution. Union-buster Ronald Reagan played godfather to the birth of the Polish Solidarity union. Equally strange–but perhaps equally necessary–is the addressee of a new appeal signed by Daniel Ellsberg, Cindy Sheehan, Ann Wright and many other leaders of the American peace movement:
“ATTENTION: Joint Chiefs of Staff and all U.S. Military Personnel: Do not attack Iran.”
The initiative responds to the growing calls for an attack on Iran from the likes of Norman Podhoretz and John Bolton, and the reports of growing war momentum in Washington by reporters like Seymour Hersh of The New Yorker and Joe Klein of Time. International lawyer Scott Horton says European diplomats at the recent United Nations General Assembly gathering in New York “believe that the United States will launch an air war on Iran, and that it will occur within the next six to eight months.” He puts the likelihood of conflict at 70 percent.
The initiative also responds to the recent failure of Congress to pass legislation requiring its approval before an attack on Iran and the hawk-driven resolution encouraging the President to act against the Iranian military. Marcy Winograd, president of Progressive Democrats of Los Angeles, who originally suggested the petition, told The Nation:
If we thought that our lawmakers would restrain the Bush Administration from further endangering Americans and the rest of the world, we would concentrate solely on them. If we went to Las Vegas today, would we find anyone willing to bet on this Congress restraining Bush? I don’t think so.
Because our soldiers know the horrors of war–severed limbs, blindness, brain injury–they are loath to romanticize the battlefield or glorify expansion of the Iraq genocide that has left a million Iraqis dead and millions others exiled.
What could be stranger than a group of peace activists petitioning the military to stop a war? And yet there is more logic here than meets the eye.
Asked in an online discussion September 27 whether the Bush Administration will launch a war against Iran, Washington Post intelligence reporter Dana Priest replied, “Frankly, I think the military would revolt and there would be no pilots to fly those missions.”
She acknowledged that she had indulged in a bit of hyperbole, then added, “but not much.”