Mr. Kuperman also does not address how American funding of the Israeli occupation and military support for its frequent invasions, massacres, and war crimes violate numerous US statutes including the Arms Export Control Act (P.L.80-829) which states that exported weaponry must be relegated to “internal security” and “legitimate self-defense” only, the Foreign Assistance Act (P.L.97-195) which holds that “No assistance may be provided…to the government of any country which engages in a consistent pattern of gross violations of internationally recognized human rights,” and the Foreign Ops Appropriations Act‘s “Leahy Law” which demands that no aid be provided to “any unit of the security forces of a foreign country if the Secretary of State has credible evidence that such unit has committed gross violations of human rights.”
One look at the UN Goldstone Report proves that the United States has consistently violated its own legislation with regard to Israel, as well as numerous international laws, such as the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), which the US claims it will not fulfill until 2023, even though the convention requires the elimination of these weapons by 2012 (already an extension from 2007). Also, Obama has rejected inspection protocol for US biological weapons despite his stated dedication to strengthen the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC). Obama has also refused to ratify the international antipersonnel landmine ban, despite being lauded by the Nobel Peace Prize committee for his commitment to “disarmament and arms control negotiations.”
Mr. Kuperman warned that “If Iran acquired a nuclear arsenal, the risks would simply be too great that it could become a neighborhood bully.” Clearly, the argument assumes, only the United States and Israel should be allowed to bully Middle Eastern countries with their own nuclear arsenals, invasions, occupations, and international impunity.
He then goes on to state that “history suggests that military strikes could work,” claiming that “Israel’s 1981 attack on the nearly finished Osirak reactor prevented Iraq’s rapid acquisition of a plutonium-based nuclear weapon and compelled it to pursue a more gradual, uranium-based bomb program.”
This is a dubious conclusion to draw based on the fact that the Iraqi nuclear program before 1981 was peaceful, under intensive safeguards and monitoring, and that the Osirak reactor was, as Harvard physic professor Richard Wilson explained, “explicitly designed by the French engineer Yves Girard to be unsuitable for making bombs. That was obvious to me on my 1982 visit.”
What Mr. Kuperman also omits is that the Israeli attack, code named Operation Opera, took the lives of ten Iraqi soldiers and one French civilian researcher and was widely lambasted by the international community, prompting a UN General Assembly resolution (36/27) on November 13, 1981 that “strongly condemn[ed] Israel for its premeditated and unprecedented act of aggression in violation of the Charter of the United Nations and the norms of international conduct, which constitutes a new and dangerous escalation of the threat to international peace and security.”
The resolution also reaffirmed Iraq’s “inalienable sovereign right” to “develop technological and nuclear programmes for peaceful purposes” and stated that, not only was Iraq a party to the NPT, but had also “satisfactorily applied” the IAEA safeguards required of it. Conversely, it noted “with concern” that “Israel has refused to adhere to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, and, in spite of repeated calls, including that of the Security Council, to place its nuclear facilities under International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards.”
In addition to condemning “the misuse by Israel, in committing its acts of aggression against Arab countries, of aircraft and weapons supplied by the United States of America,” the resolution reiterated “its call to all States to cease forthwith any provision to Israel of arms and related material of all types which enable it to commit acts of aggression against other States” and requested “the Security Council to investigate Israel’s nuclear activities and the collaboration of other States and parties in those activities” and “institute effective enforcement action to prevent Israel from further endangering international peace and security through its acts of aggression and continued policies of expansion, occupation and annexation.”
Furthermore, the General Assembly demanded that “Israel, in view of its international responsibility for its act of aggression, pay prompt and adequate compensation for the material damage and loss of life suffered” due to the illegal and lethal attack.
For Mr. Kuperman, this constituted a successful mission. Truth be told, this is an unsurprising conclusion for someone who claims that “the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have shown that the United States military can oust regimes in weeks if it wants to.” Perhaps Mr. Kuperman doesn’t get out much.
That might explain why Mr. Kuperman also claims that “Iran could retaliate [in response to a US air strike] by aiding America’s opponents in Iraq and Afghanistan, but it does that anyway,” without any evidence to back up that assertion. Is he unaware that Iran is a longtime enemy of both the Taliban and Al Qaeda and enjoys moderately good relations with the puppet government in Iraq? Does he not remember that Iranian intelligence provided valuable assistance to the US military before the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001? Does he not know that the claims that Iran supplies weapons to Iraqi militias and resistance fighters have been repeatedly debunked?
Take, for example, the time in 2008 when a cache of thousands of weapons was seized during raids of Mahdi Army arsenals around Karbala. Military spokesman Major General Kevin Bergner, when asked about the proportion of Iranian weapons currently in the hands of Iraqi fighters on May 8, muttered the standard deflection and insinuation that the resistance groups “could not do what they’re doing without the support of foreign support” and then broadly defined such “support” as training, funding, and arming fighters with weapons. The evidence, eventually handed over to the Iraqi government by US forces a few months later, was found to provide no solid proof that the weapons came from Iran and the charges were withdrawn after a meeting with Iranian officials. The allegations collapsed once and for all when the weapons were looked at again by the Americans who, via a military spokesman, “attributed the confusion to a misunderstanding that emerged after an Iraqi Army general in Karbala erroneously reported the items were of Iranian origin.” The entire embarrassing episode was summed up by Keith Olbermann on Countdown at the time:
“Major General Kevin Bergner convened a news conference in Baghdad last Wednesday to list 20,000 items of ammunition, explosives, and weapons captured or uncovered by US and Iraqi governmental forces in the last few weeks of fighting. 45 rocket-propelled grenades, 570 assorted explosive devices, 1800 mortars and artillery rounds. The point? This was the big day, this was the day, according to the LA Times, that the American military was to show the media of the world the conclusive evidence that at least some of the weaponry used by Iraqi insurgents had been supplied by Iran. The US military spokesman confirming to that newspaper that that’s what the dog-and-pony-show was to include. They were all ready to show off Iran’s tangible responsibility for some of the haul of the machinery of death, to establish the link between American fatalities and Iran: trademarks or company logos or Made in Tehran stickers or something.
When US experts took a second look at all this stuff, they then said ‘None of this is from Iran.’ 20,000 blowing-up things? Hard count of those supplied by Iran: zero. Percentage of the whole imported from Iran: no percent. Amount of tangible evidence linking Iran to anti-American uprisings in Baghdad: none. You do realize, they are making this up about Iran!”
And still, despite all the painfully obvious truth of the matter, US military officials continued to accuse Iran of channeling weaponry to Shia militias who are opposing the illegal US occupation in Iraq. In late May 2008, Gareth Porter reported in IPS News that the alleged weapons were clearly not of Iranian origin (they were mostly manufactured in China, Russia, and the former Yugoslavia) and were obtained by Iraqi militias on the international black market.
With a quick look at some other facts, it can even be argued that the US military has itself provided lethal weaponry to Iraqi “insurgents” on a scale that could easily be called negligent collaboration. In August 2007, the Pentagon admitted to losing track of a whole third of the total weapons distributed to Iraqi security forces in 2004 and 2005. As a result, states Global Research, “The 190,000 assault rifles and pistols roam free in Iraqi streets today.”
As his battle cry draws to an end, Mr. Kuperman suggests that “air strikes could degrade and deter Iran’s bomb program at relatively little cost or risk, and therefore are worth a try.”
The costs and risks that Mr. Kuperman so deftly avoids addressing are the lives and livelihoods of the people of Iran. No type of “surgical” or “precision” bomb-dropping can avoid the loss the human life. A country of 70 million living, breathing, working, walking, talking, laughing, crying, dissenting, protesting, counter-protesting, praying, not praying, dreaming, wishing, hoping, loving human beings deserves far more consideration and calculation than what Mr. Kuperman provides or could ever understand.
New York politician Charles Evans Hughes, who, in the early 20th Century, served as Governor of New York, United States Secretary of State, and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, once said, “War should be made a crime, and those who instigate it should be punished as criminals.”
With this in mind, let’s hope there’s a special cell in hell reserved for lying warmongers like William Kristol, Judith Miller, and now, Alan Kuperman.