A Choice Without an Alternative

Will you be offered a choice without an alternative in November?

By now you must know that the Republican Party has been taken over by the neo-crazies, hell-bent on establishing American Hegemony in the Middle East on behalf of our "allies." But maybe you didn’t realize that the Democratic Party was taken over by the neo-crazies long ago.

How else to explain the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998 – passed at the urging of a Democrat president by overwhelming majorities of both parties – which "expressed the sense of Congress that it should be the policy of the United States to support efforts to remove from power the current Iraqi regime and promote the emergence of a democratic government to replace that regime"?

How else to explain the passage in 2002 by overwhelming majorities of both parties the "Joint Resolution to Authorize the Use of U.S. Armed Forces Against Iraq"?

How else to explain the passage this summer by overwhelming majorities of both parties "A Concurrent Resolution Expressing the Concern of Congress over Iran’s Development of the Means to Produce Nuclear Weapons," which – among things – condemns "the failure of the government of Iran for nearly two decades to report material, facilities, and activities to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in contravention of its obligations under its Safeguards Agreement."

How else to explain a speech – excerpted below – made in New York City by President Clinton to the World Jewish Congress on June 30, 1995?

"We have strengthened our efforts to act against groups like Hamas and Hezbollah, and we are encouraging Chairman Arafat in his efforts to crack down on arrests and prosecute those extremists who resort to violence.

"But individuals and extremist groups are not the only threat. Israel shares the lands of the Middle East with nations who still seek to destroy the peace – nations like Iran and Iraq and Libya.

"They aim to destabilize the region, they harbor terrorists within their borders, they establish and support terrorist base camps in other lands, they hunger for nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction.

"Iran has presented a particular problem to the peace process of the peoples of the Middle East. From the beginning of our administration, we have moved to counter Iran’s support of international terrorism, and in particular its backing for violent opponents of peace in the Middle East.

"At the same time, we have tried to stop its quest to acquire weapons of mass destruction, which would make it a threat not only to its neighbors, but to the entire region and the world.

"The most recent reports of Russia’s agreement to sell gas centrifuge equipment to the Iranians and to train nuclear technicians from Tehran are disturbing to me. Because Iran has more than enough oil to supply its energy needs, we must assume that it seeks this technology in order to develop its capacity to build nuclear weapons.

"The United States has an overwhelming interest in fighting the spread of these weapons. And Russia, as a neighbor of Iran, has a particular interest in the same goal. If Russia goes forward with the sale of nuclear reactors, it will only undermine that objective. We have strenuously urged the Russians to reverse these decisions, and I will make that case directly to President Yeltsin when I visit Moscow in just a few days.

"I speak especially to you when I say that many people have argued passionately that the best route to change Iranian behavior is by engaging the country. Unfortunately, there is no evidence to support that argument.

"It would be wrong to do nothing. It would be wrong to do nothing as Iran continues its pursuit of nuclear weapons. It would be wrong to stand pat in the face of overwhelming evidence of Tehran’s support for terrorism that would threaten the dawn of peace."

If you substitute "Putin" for "Yeltsin," it’s a speech that Bush could easily give today. It is easy to imagine Bush saying that "engaging" Iran isn’t working.

Of course, engagement is working in Iran, just as it was working in Iraq.

Iran has signed an Additional Protocol to its Safeguards Agreement, giving the IAEA unrestricted access. The result? After months of searching, the IAEA has found no "indication" that the Iranians have a nuclear weapons program.

Nevertheless, President Bush has just announced the sale of 500 "bunker-buster" bombs to the Israelis. Will President Kerry allow the Israelis to use them? Stay tuned.

Read more by Gordon Prather

Author: Gordon Prather

Physicist James Gordon Prather has served as a policy implementing official for national security-related technical matters in the Federal Energy Agency, the Energy Research and Development Administration, the Department of Energy, the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Department of the Army. Dr. Prather also served as legislative assistant for national security affairs to U.S. Sen. Henry Bellmon, R-Okla. -- ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee and member of the Senate Energy Committee and Appropriations Committee. Dr. Prather had earlier worked as a nuclear weapons physicist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California and Sandia National Laboratory in New Mexico.