Let’s Not Beat the Drums of War Against Iran

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania — Marc Scaringi, candidate for the Republican nomination to the U.S. Senate from Pennsylvania, released the following statement today regarding the possibility of war with Iran:

The last time the political establishment beat the drums for war against a foreign nation on the grounds that it was developing a nuclear weapon, manufacturing weapons of mass destruction with the intent to use them against the United States and assisting al-Qaeda to attack us on 9/11, war came but none of the grounds used to justify the war turned out to be true. Yet more than 4,400 brave American soldiers were killed and over 30,000 were injured and nearly a trillion dollars were borrowed, spent and wasted on the War in Iraq.

In its rush to judgment and War in Iraq, our political establishment also made America less safe. It destroyed the regime of our former ally, Saddam Hussein, a secular ruler who with the support of Ronald Reagan fought a long war against Islamist Iran, and replaced it with a weak regime that is unable to contain the sectarian violence that erupted as soon as the last American soldier left. Now al-Qaeda, which did not exist in Iraq during the time of Saddam Hussein, is causing violence, bloodshed and threatens to overtake the weak Iraqi regime.

Undeterred by the colossal failure of their War in Iraq, and the death, disfigurement, debt, sectarian violence, and the rise of al-Qaeda left in its wake, and oblivious to the blowback these wars in the Islamic world engender and the jihad they help to inflame, the political establishment is once again beating the drums of war in the Islamic world. This time their target is Iran. Just like they accused Saddam Hussein of developing a nuclear weapon when he was not, our political establishment now accuses Iran of developing a nuclear weapon, even though the entire U.S. intelligence community says they are not.

The Republican presidential debates reveal that all the presidential candidates, save one, claim the recent International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report proves Iran is on the verge of acquiring a nuclear weapon. My former boss Senator Rick Santorum said the recent IAEA report shows that “[Iran] is on the verge of having a nuclear weapon.” The IAEA actually says there are, “…indications some activities relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device continued after 2003 and that some may still be ongoing.” It does not say Iran is developing a nuclear weapon let alone on the verge of having one.

Although it is possible Iran could have resumed its nuclear weapons program, our intelligence agencies do not make that claim. All 16 U.S. intelligence agencies, including the CIA and the Defense Intelligence Agency, concluded in 2007 that Iran ceased working on its nuclear weapons program in 2003. And, none of those agencies has changed its official position in light of the more recent IAEA report. After the IAEA report was issued the Pentagon stated, “…we have no indication that the Iranians have made a decision to develop a nuclear weapon” and U.S. Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta, stated earlier this month that Iran is not developing a nuclear weapon. Nevertheless, our political establishment continues to beat the drums for war.

Senator Santorum also claims, “The Iranians are the existential threat to Israel.” However, the head of Mossad, the Israeli defense agency, recently said Iran does not pose an existential threat to Israel. Although Iran does not border Israel and has never attacked Israel, Israel has defeated the combined Arab armies from surrounding nations several times in the past several decades and has the strongest military in the Middle East. Although Iran does not have a nuclear weapon at this time, Israel has between 100 to 300 nuclear warheads and the air force, submarine and intercontinental ballistic missile capability to deliver a nuclear attack that could wipe Iran off the map. To assert Iran is an existential threat to Israel defies reality.

Senator Santorum also said, “Iran is a country that has been at war with us since 1979…” On the contrary, Iran has not been at war with “us” – the American people. Iran has been at war with the interventionist foreign policy of our political establishment. In 1953 our CIA murdered Iran’s democratically elected leader and installed a dictator in his place. Today we surround Iran with our military and threaten to attack it. We recently annihilated non-nuclear regimes in neighboring Iraq and in Libya. Yet our political establishment wonders why Iran’s leaders may want a nuclear deterrent. Israel’s former military intelligence chief says the main reason Iran wants a nuclear weapon is as a deterrent to U.S. intervention, not to attack Israel.

While it is possible Iran is developing a nuclear weapon and understandable why it would, the entire U.S. intelligence community has not concluded it is doing so. We must not allow Iran or any other nation acquire a nuclear weapon. But, before we rush off to war, we must first conclude that Iran is in fact developing a nuclear weapon and, if so, that attacking Iran and causing another war in the Islamic world is worth the cost in American blood and treasure and the new logs it will put on the fire of Islamic jihad. We got it wrong in Iraq. Let’s get it right in Iran. We owe it to the brave American soldiers we ask to fight these wars, the American people we compel to pay for these wars and the innocent Americans who are killed and injured as a result of the blowback these wars create.

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