I find it amazing to read stories that suggest that when President Obama links those who attack the Iran deal with the war-mongers who lied us into the Iraq invasion, that he is somehow going too far. I would propose that he is actually not going far enough.
Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu was one of those who advanced the thesis that the USA needed to invade Iraq and that this would bring peace and stability to the Middle East. I have never heard a self-criticism from the Prime Minister. In the USA, most of the war hawks hid in closets as the Iraq situation deteriorated, though some have been willing to uphold the delusional notion that the invasion was correct.
But in typical US fashion, rather than learn from history, the same rascals who lied and scared us into the Iraq invasion are attacking the Iran nuclear deal. I just read today that some of them are saying that President Obama is trying to scare the US public by arguing that the alternative to the deal is war. These opponents of the deal are claiming that there are other alternatives than war.
I do not think that Obama is overstating the case. When I listen to the rhetoric of the Republicans, and particularly their comparison of Obama to former British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain and the infamous Munich Pact signed with the Nazis (in 1938), I can come to no other conclusion than that most of the Republicans want war.
Let’s consider the analogy for a moment. In 1938 Nazi Germany was preparing to invade Czechoslovakia. They had been arming for years and had made clear that they had expansive territorial objectives. Britain and France were trying to channel the Nazis toward an attack on the then USSR. The Munich Pact was aimed at redirecting the Nazis away from a war with the West and toward an attack on the East. Britain and France were prepared to sacrifice not only the Sudetenland, but all of Czechoslovakia, toward that end.
In Iran there is simply no comparison. Even if one is deeply critical of the Iranian regime–as I am–Iran has not invaded another country in about 1000 years; has made no territorial threats on its neighbors; seeks to be a regional power (but, so what else is new?); and is a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The analogy simply does not hold.
But let’s go one more step. When anyone discusses the Munich Pact and appeasement what they are really saying is that military force should have been deployed against the Nazis. I think that such a proposal would have been absolutely correct in 1938, i.e., that a combined military force should have been prepared to defend Czechoslovakia and hit Nazi Germany. In other words, the alternative to appeasement in 1938 was not continued negotiations but a willingness to go to war.
For this reason, when the Republicans throw around this ahistorical analogy about Munich they ARE saying that we should be prepared to go to war with Iran, a war that would be an act of naked aggression against a country that represents no threat not only to the USA but also has no plans to attack another country. Ironically, the USA and Iran are cooperating in Iraq in fighting the Islamic State, though this cooperation is taking place in support of an intensely sectarian regime in Baghdad (but that is another story).
The punchline? President Obama is not only right to link opponents of the nuclear treaty to those who led us into Iraq, but he should not pull back from such a forceful articulation.
The second part of the punchline is that we need a broad front of peace and social justice forces to unite in support of the treaty and against the war hawks. This will mean more than sending emails but it actually necessitates swift and determined mobilizations. The proponents of war must be blocked and their plans derailed.