Thursday, June 6, 2013

NO War with Iran!

While I disagreed with Rick Santorum on a number of items on his presidential campaign platform, one detail seemed to constantly stick out and it bothered me intensely.  Santorum had, and perhaps still has, a very hostile attitude toward Iran.  His statements led me to believe that under his presidency, the Global War on Terror would expand to include a new front in Iran.

2009 Iran election protests
Some may say that “we’ve been at war with Iran since 1979” and all that militaristic baloney, but the fact is that we really haven’t.  Our country’s armed forces are no more at war with Iran than with the Mexican drug cartels or the Canadian syrup smugglers.  Yes, I’m certain that the Ayatollah’s regime looks the other way as jihadists organize in rural Iran and make their way from Iraq to Afghanistan.  Such has been the case for years, but the very fact that the ex-Mujahadeen Taliban are armed with CIA-provided weapons from the 1980s is a testimony that our country really ought not to intervene in foreign conflicts when they don’t pose a direct danger to us.  After all, arming the Mujahadeen ended up arming the now-Taliban, and arming either side in the Syrian civil war will either support a bloody dictatorship or a rebellion whose ranks is rife with jihadists.

There are many reasons I can name why our country shouldn’t go to war against Iran.  The first is that we’re financially drained and our young veterans are incredibly war-weary after nearly twelve years in Afghanistan, Iraq, and North Africa.  Another is that I believe in the concept of blowback.  The combination of the CIA’s operations in 1980s Afghanistan and the permanent occupation of Saudi Arabia (the Muslim holy land) after Desert Storm both resulted in Al Qaeda’s war declaration on America, as well as the capability of radical Islamists to plan and carry out attacks on the West from Afghanistan.

Muqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army—a Shi’a Islamist militia—gave the coalition untold amounts of grief in southern Iraq.  Lord only knows what fragile stability in Iraq, paid for by the blood of American, British, and Iraqi troops—will be undermined if Sadr’s militia answered the call to help their Shi’a brothers in Iran.

I remember Santorum protesting against Ron Paul’s opinions by trying to spout out the militant nationalistic rhetoric that “we’ve been at war with Iran since 1979!”  Paul had an excellent point: the Iranian people’s grievances against American intervention pre-date the Ayatollah’s propaganda to 1953.  In the name of waging the Cold War, the CIA orchestrated the overthrow of the democratically-elected Iranian prime minister Mohammed Mossadegh, replacing him with a puppet prime minister and giving dictatorial power to the Shah, Mohammed Reza.  In the eyes of the Iranian people, it was America that instigated the dictatorship of 1953-79.  In their memory, they’re not blind to the fact that the Reagan administration supported Ba’athist Iraq during the Iran-Iraq War.  If we go to war against them, it will play directly into the xenophobic propaganda of the Ayatollah’s regime, and it will rally Iranian patriots to hold their nose and support the Ayatollah in fighting for their country.

However, there’s one reason in particular why I wish to avoid that war at all reasonable cost.  During the Iran-Iraq War, Iran sustained the majority of casualties.  The Iranian war machine was able to last as long as it did because Ayatollah Khomeini founded the Basij—the national militia—three million strong by 1985.  One of the main duties of the Basij at the front lines was to serve as human shields.

For every offensive, there were thousands of teenage boys, many as young as ten and twelve, who marched forward in columns toward the enemy.  Their job was to martyr themselves on the battlefields by stopping bullets with their bodies in order to draw the fire away from the army behind them.  They did their job exceptionally well and hundreds of thousands of Iranian teenagers died that way.

Scenes from the Iran-Iraq War
I disagree with their cause for dying.  Most of them were convinced they were simultaneously fighting for their country and for Islam.  I, on the other hand, am a Bible-believing Christian.  In Matthew 28 Jesus gives us the great commission to go to the corners of the world and teach the Good News of the Resurrection and afterlife.  I know for a fact that if my country goes to war against Iran, there will be many thousands of teenage boys meeting our troops at the border.  These boys’ job will be to serve as bullet catchers, and they’ll do their job exceptionally well.

This war with Iran will kill hundreds of thousands of Iranians—Basij, poor-bastard draftees in the army, and many civilians through collateral damage.  Not only will these human beings, created in the image of God, be slaughtered by the combined war machines of two countries, but they will never hear the Gospel.  They will never have the opportunity to be saved.  They will forever be robbed of the privilege of answering the great commission themselves, teaching other brothers and sisters about Jesus Christ and living in peace.  To make matters worse, dead people cannot build a libertarian society.  I don’t want these people to suffer or die in another decade-long war.

I know many people suffer under the Ayatollah’s regime today, but we must not free them through military might.  I believe the people who will free Iran are the Iranians themselves.  These people will be the internet hackers who bring Western books, movies, music, and ideas into a country where orthodoxy is the law.  These people will be the brave missionaries who risk their lives to teach the Bible and story of Jesus of Nazarethwhom I call the Christto the hungry souls in the Underground Church.  These people will be the black marketers, the rebels who ignore such anti-liberty policies like bans and embargoes and import merchandise to sell to Iranians under the table.

How many times now have they taken to the streets to protest against their government?  How many more times will their protests be silenced by riot police and the Basij?  It can’t be much longer until Khameini dies of old age, or the Iranian people rise up successfully.  Frankly, I’m in favor of new ideas—religious, political, and social—being the driving force behind the New Iranian Revolution.  That’s why I say NO war with Iran.

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Iran protest image by Milad Avazbeigi and used via CC BY 2.0 license.  Iran-Iraq War montage courtesy of Wikipedia and used via CC BY 3.0 license.  Both images were obtained from Wikimedia Commons.

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