Déjà Vu All Over Again

The phrase in the title is from Yogi Berra, that great American sage, captures all too well the latest campaign against Iran. We are seeing a repeat of the ploy used against Iraq and its nonexistent weapons of mass destruction. Our leaders lied repeatedly and the subservient corporate media were complicit in building support for the U.S. attack on Iraq.

Aggressive wars are war crimes

Robert Jackson, the chief U.S. prosecutor at Nuremberg, said: “To initiate a war of aggression, therefore, is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.” The U.S. attack on Iraq, a war crime, eroded U.S. credibility and standing worldwide, and an attack on Iran would only worsen this situation.

The campaign against Iran

It is alarming that only Ron Paul, among all the Democratic and Republican presidential candidates, has positions on Iran consistent with those of U.S. intelligence agencies and international law. Paul pointed out that Iran doesn’t threaten our national security and there is no proof that Iran is building a nuclear weapon. He also said that western sanctions are “acts of war” that are likely to lead to an actual war. Paul added that if Iran did build a nuclear bomb, “What are the odds of them using it? Probably zero. They just are not going to commit suicide. The Israelis have 300 of them.”

Many supporters of an attack on Iran point to the recent International Atomic Energy Agency’s report as proof of an Iranian nuclear weapons program. However, Scott Peterson of the Christian Science Monitor started his November 9th article with: “The latest United Nations report on Iran’s nuclear program may not be the ‘game changer’ it was billed to be, as some nuclear experts raise doubts about the quality of evidence — and point to lack of proof of current nuclear weapons work.” Several informed critics of the report consider it as being more of a political document than a credible scientific analysis.

Seymour Hersch’s November 18th New Yorker article also challenged mainstream reporting on the IAEA report, referring to, among other sources, an Arms Control Association’s assessment of the report. According to the ACA, the IAEA report suggested Iran “is working to shorten the timeframe to build the bomb once and if it makes that decision. But it remains apparent that a nuclear-armed Iran is still not imminent nor is it inevitable.”

Hersch added that Greg Thielmann, a former State Department and Senate Intelligence Committee analyst who was one of the authors of the ACA’s assessment told him, “Those who want to drum up support for a bombing attack on Iran sort of aggressively misrepresented the report.”

Estimate of U.S. Intelligence Agencies

The National Intelligence Estimate of 2007, a consensus estimate from the 16 U.S. intelligence agencies, expressed a high level of confidence that Iran had stopped work on its nuclear weapons program in 2003. The agencies also had a moderate level of confidence that the work remained frozen.

February 2011 testimony from James Clapper, Director of the National Intelligence Agency, reiterated many of the key findings from the 2007 report. Clapper also said that the advancement of Iran’s nuclear capabilities strengthened the intelligence community’s assessment that Tehran has the capacity to produce nuclear weapons eventually, “making the central issue the political will to do so.”

Irans Political Will

In 2005 the Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei issued a fatwa against the production, stockpiling and use of nuclear weapons and reiterated this idea in 2009 saying: “We fundamentally reject nuclear weapons.”


Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. We cannot allow nor afford a much larger version of the unnecessary, illegal and costly Iraqi debacle that left a devastated and unstable Iraq.

Ron Forthofer is a retired professor of biostatistics from the University of Texas School of Public Health in Houston and was a Green Party candidate for Congress and also for governor of Colorado. Read other articles by Ron.