By J. Parnell McCarter


There is mounting evidence that the US may be preparing to carry out military operations to curtail Iran’s nuclear program.    This has been reported by a variety of news sources.  For example, here is information from a German newspaper (see http://service.spiegel.de/cache/international/0,1518,392783,00.html ):


“Recent reports in the German media suggest that the United States may be preparing its allies for an imminent military strike against facilities that are part of Iran's suspected clandestine nuclear weapons program…The most talked about story is a Dec. 23 piece by the German news agency DDP from journalist and intelligence expert Udo Ulfkotte. The story has generated controversy not only because of its material, but also because of the reporter's past. Critics allege that Ulfkotte in his previous reporting got too close to sources at Germany's foreign intelligence agency, the BND. But Ulfkotte has himself noted that he has been under investigation by the government in the past (indeed, his home and offices have been searched multiple times) for allegations that he published state secrets -- a charge that he claims would underscore rather than undermine the veracity of his work…In a January 2005 report in the New Yorker, US investigative journalist Seymour Hersh claimed that clandestine American commando groups had already infiltrated Iran in order to mark potential military targets.  At the time, the Bush administration did not dispute Hersh's reporting -- it merely sought to minimize its impact. In Washington, word circulated that the article was filled with "inaccurate statements." But no one rejected the core reporting behind the article. Bush himself explicitly stated he would not rule out the "option of war."…


That Hersh article can be read at http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/?050124fa_fact .  Here are excerpts:

“George W. Bush’s reëlection was not his only victory last fall. The President and his national-security advisers have consolidated control over the military and intelligence communities’ strategic analyses and covert operations to a degree unmatched since the rise of the post-Second World War national-security state. Bush has an aggressive and ambitious agenda for using that control—against the mullahs in Iran and against targets in the ongoing war on terrorism—during his second term. The C.I.A. will continue to be downgraded, and the agency will increasingly serve, as one government consultant with close ties to the Pentagon put it, as “facilitators” of policy emanating from President Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney. This process is well under way.

Despite the deteriorating security situation in Iraq, the Bush Administration has not reconsidered its basic long-range policy goal in the Middle East: the establishment of democracy throughout the region. Bush’s reëlection is regarded within the Administration as evidence of America’s support for his decision to go to war. It has reaffirmed the position of the neoconservatives in the Pentagon’s civilian leadership who advocated the invasion, including Paul Wolfowitz, the Deputy Secretary of Defense, and Douglas Feith, the Under-secretary for Policy. According to a former high-level intelligence official, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld met with the Joint Chiefs of Staff shortly after the election and told them, in essence, that the naysayers had been heard and the American people did not accept their message. Rumsfeld added that America was committed to staying in Iraq and that there would be no second-guessing.

“This is a war against terrorism, and Iraq is just one campaign. The Bush Administration is looking at this as a huge war zone,” the former high-level intelligence official told me. “Next, we’re going to have the Iranian campaign. We’ve declared war and the bad guys, wherever they are, are the enemy. This is the last hurrah—we’ve got four years, and want to come out of this saying we won the war on terrorism.”…

Rumsfeld will become even more important during the second term. In interviews with past and present intelligence and military officials, I was told that the agenda had been determined before the Presidential election, and much of it would be Rumsfeld’s responsibility. The war on terrorism would be expanded, and effectively placed under the Pentagon’s control. The President has signed a series of findings and executive orders authorizing secret commando groups and other Special Forces units to conduct covert operations against suspected terrorist targets in as many as ten nations in the Middle East and South Asia.

The President’s decision enables Rumsfeld to run the operations off the books—free from legal restrictions imposed on the C.I.A. Under current law, all C.I.A. covert activities overseas must be authorized by a Presidential finding and reported to the Senate and House intelligence committees. (The laws were enacted after a series of scandals in the nineteen-seventies involving C.I.A. domestic spying and attempted assassinations of foreign leaders.) “The Pentagon doesn’t feel obligated to report any of this to Congress,” the former high-level intelligence official said. “They don’t even call it ‘covert ops’—it’s too close to the C.I.A. phrase. In their view, it’s ‘black reconnaissance.’ They’re not even going to tell the cincs”—the regional American military commanders-in-chief. (The Defense Department and the White House did not respond to requests for comment on this story.)

In my interviews, I was repeatedly told that the next strategic target was Iran. “Everyone is saying, ‘You can’t be serious about targeting Iran. Look at Iraq,’ ” the former intelligence official told me. “But they say, ‘We’ve got some lessons learned—not militarily, but how we did it politically. We’re not going to rely on agency pissants.’ No loose ends, and that’s why the C.I.A. is out of there.” …”


Ray McGovern, a former CIA analyst, has described the situation this way at http://www.commondreams.org/views05/0302-31.htm :

”They have a clear ideology and a geopolitical strategy, which leap from papers they put out at the Project for the New American Century over recent years.  The very same men who, acting out of that paradigm, brought us the war in Iraq are now focusing on Iran, which they view as the only remaining obstacle to American domination of the entire oil-rich Middle East. They calculate that, with a docile, corporate-owned press, a co-opted mainstream church, and a still-trusting populace, the United States and/or the Israelis can launch a successful air offensive to disrupt any Iranian nuclear weapons programs -- with the added bonus of possibly causing the regime in power in Iran to crumble. But why now? After all, the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency has just told Congress that Iran is not likely to have a nuclear weapon until "early in the next decade?" The answer, according to some defense experts, is that several of the Iranian facilities are still under construction and there is only a narrow "window of opportunity" to destroy them without causing huge environmental problems. … Other analysts attribute the sense of urgency to worry in Washington that the Iranians may have secretly gained access to technology that would facilitate a leap forward into the nuclear club much sooner than now anticipated. And it is, of course, neoconservative doctrine that it is best to nip -- the word in current fashion is "preempt" -- any conceivable threats in the bud. One reason the Israelis are pressing hard for early action may simply be out of a desire to ensure that George W. Bush will have a few more years as president after an attack on Iran, so that they will have him to stand with Israel when bedlam breaks out in the Middle East….When a Special Forces platoon leader just back from Iraq matter-of-factly tells a close friend of mine, as happened last week, that he and his unit are now training their sights (literally) on Iran, we need to take that seriously. It provides us with a glimpse of reality as seen at ground level. For me, it brought to mind an unsolicited email I received from the father of a young soldier training at Fort Benning in the spring of 2002, soon after I wrote an op-ed discussing the timing of George W. Bush's decision to make war on Iraq. The father informed me that, during the spring of 2002, his son kept writing home saying his unit was training to go into Iraq. No, said the father; you mean Afghanistan... that's where the war is, not Iraq. In his next email, the son said, "No, Dad, they keep saying Iraq. I asked them and that's what they mean."


Here is how one person has summarized the situation at http://www.kitco.com/ind/grandich/jan032006.html :

Israel has become very vocal and has vowed not to allow Iran to have a nuclear bomb. Former Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu openly called for a pre-emptive strike against Iran’s nuclear program. London’s Sunday Times reported that Israel’s prime Minster Ariel Sharon has given orders to be ready by the end of March for possible strikes on secret uranium enrichment sites in Iran. The German newspaper Der Tagesspiegel said on December 31st that the United States government has begun coordinating plans with NATO for a possible military attack against Iran. And to top it all off, The London-based Jane’s Defence Weekly has reported that Iran and Syria signed a strategic accord that pledges Syria will store Iranian nuclear weapons and missiles.” 


If the US were to attack Iran, it would likely not be the public affair that led to the attack on Iraq; rather, it is likely to be a surprise attack, in the hope of destroying as much of Iran’s capability as possible before Iran would have time to move resources, via the means suggested in the compact with Syria.

Now the question is this: would such an attack on Iran for purposes of destroying any growing nuclear capability be Biblically justified?  Before I answer that, let’s consider what Patrick Buchanan and Ray McGovern have written.

Patrick Buchanan has written at http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=48188 :

“The problem for the president is this: What Iran is demanding it be allowed to do – enrich uranium for peaceful uses – it has every right to do under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which Iran signed, but which Israel, India and Pakistan, all of which clandestinely produced nukes, did not.  Tehran is telling Bush: We are not going to be the only country on earth to have signed the NPT and then be told by you we cannot exercise our rights under the treaty. While Iran did briefly suspend the conversion of "yellowcake" into uranium hexaflouride, the gaseous substance out of which enriched uranium is made, it has now restarted the process.  But there is still no hard evidence Iran has created a cascade of centrifuges to enrich uranium for peaceful power, let alone for an explosive device. Nor is there hard evidence Iran has the technology, components or competence to weaponize a nuclear device, even if it had the highly enriched uranium to create one. As of today, Iran is not a nuclear threat.”

And Ray McGovern has opined as follows:

So why would Iran think it has to acquire nuclear weapons? Sen. Richard Lugar, chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was asked this on a Sunday talk show a few months ago. Apparently having a senior moment, he failed to give the normal answer. Instead, he replied, "Well, you know, Israel has..." At that point, he caught himself and abruptly stopped. Recovering quickly and realizing that he could not just leave the word "Israel" hanging there, Lugar began again: "Well, Israel is alleged to have a nuclear capability."  Is alleged to have…? Lugar is chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and yet he doesn't know that Israel has, by most estimates, a major nuclear arsenal, consisting of several hundred nuclear weapons? (Mainstream newspapers are allergic to dwelling on this topic, but it is mentioned every now and then, usually buried in obscurity on an inside page.)  Just imagine how the Iranians and Syrians would react to Lugar's disingenuousness. Small wonder our highest officials and lawmakers -- and Lugar, remember, is one of the most decent among them -- are widely seen abroad as hypocritical. Our media, of course, ignore the hypocrisy. This is standard operating procedure when the word "Israel" is spoken in this or other unflattering contexts. And the objections of those appealing for a more balanced approach are quashed.  If the truth be told, Iran fears Israel at least as much as Israel fears the internal security threat posed by the thugs supported by Tehran. Iran's apprehension is partly fear that Israel (with at least tacit support from the Bush administration) will send its aircraft to bomb Iranian nuclear facilities, just as American-built Israeli bombers destroyed the Iraqi nuclear reactor at Osirak in 1981. As part of the current war of nerves, recent statements by the president and vice president can be read as giving a green light to Israel to do just that; while Israeli Air Force commander Major General Eliezer Shakedi told reporters on February 21 that Israel must be prepared for an air strike on Iran "in light of its nuclear activity." …The Iranians also remember how Israel was able to acquire and keep its nuclear technology. Much of it was stolen from the United States by spies for Israel. As early as the late-1950s, Washington knew Israel was building the bomb and could have aborted the project. Instead, American officials decided to turn a blind eye and let the Israelis go ahead. Now Israel's nuclear capability is truly formidable. Still, it is a fact of strategic life that a formidable nuclear arsenal can be deterred by a far more modest one, if an adversary has the means to deliver it. (Look at North Korea's success with, at best, a few nuclear weapons and questionable means of delivery in deterring the "sole remaining superpower in the world.") And Iran already has missiles with the range to hit Israel.  “ (see http://www.commondreams.org/views05/0302-31.htm)


Under the circumstances described above, it seems hard to justify a “pre-emptive” strike against Iran and its nuclear capability on the grounds thus far advanced.  Make no mistake about it, such a military strike would effectively be a declaration of war on Iran, even as Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor was effectively a declaration of war on the US over a half century ago.  And it is hard to imagine the conflagration not spreading, given the compact between Syria and Iran.  A war that persists in Afghanistan and Iraq would simply spread to other territories.  But **if** the attack were to come as described in this article, the conditions necessary for a just war would not have been satisfied.  At least two conditions for a just war would not have been met:

1.     Just cause – there must not merely be the possibility that Iran would use its nuclear capability in an offensive manner, there must at least be hard evidence they definitely would use it in such a way.

2.     Last resort -  all peaceful and viable alternatives must have been seriously tried and exhausted, including the option of de-nuclearizing the entire Middle East, Israel not excepted.

Here are some relevant verses to keep in mind with respect to this issue:

Romans 13:1- “…the powers that be are ordained of God.”

Romans 14:19 – “…Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace…”

I Timothy 2:1-2 – “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, [and] giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and [for] all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.”

The US has not even yet adequately repented for its involvement in past aggressions against Iran, and the Iranians know it:

To remember why the United States is no favorite in Tehran, one needs to go back at least to 1953 when the U.S. and Great Britain overthrew Iran's democratically elected Premier Mohammad Mossadeq as part of a plan to insure access to Iranian oil. They then emplaced the young Shah in power who, with his notorious secret police, proved second to none in cruelty. The Shah ruled from 1953 to 1979. Much resentment can build up over a whole generation. His regime fell like a house of cards, when supporters of Ayatollah Khomeini rose up to do some regime change of their own. Iranians also remember Washington's strong support for Saddam Hussein's Iraq after it decided to make war on Iran in 1980. U.S. support for Iraq (which included crucial intelligence support for the war and an implicit condoning of Saddam's use of chemical weapons) was perhaps the crucial factor in staving off an Iranian victory.” (http://www.commondreams.org/views05/0302-31.htm )

We need to repent of past behavior, and not add to it with more bad behavior.

There are unquestionably risks associated with doing the right thing, for the leadership in Iran is unquestionably wicked themselves. If we allow Iran to have a nuclear reactor, it may use the technology against the US or some other nation.  Nevertheless, God calls men to do the right thing, and place their trust in Him.  The question is this: is the motto “in God we trust” merely hollow?