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The Urgency of Now: Stopping the War on Iran

We have…come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of Now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism.” - Martin Luther King Jr., Aug. 28, 1963

By Mike Kress

02/10/06 "
ICH" -- -- “Last winter, former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter revealed that George Bush asked for an Iran war plan ready to use by June of 2005. Seymour Hersh, writing for the New Yorker, has reported for some time about US covert operations in Iran. Today we are told that war in Iran is inevitable by the same observers who warned us about the cooked-up war in Iraq.

Evidently, the neo-conservatives who control the US government decided to wage war against Iran long ago.

Now that International Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohamed El Baradei says that Iran isn’t cooperating fully with IAEA inspectors, the neo-cons will use their tool at the UN, Ambassador John Bolton, to help create an international crisis and thereby justify attacks on Iran. Though there’s no evidence to prove that Iran has a nuclear weapons program, Iran’s refusal to halt its lawful nuclear programs will become the pretext for America’s next unnecessary war.

Again, the mainstream sources that most Americans use to get their information will not investigate the facts or give equal time to critics, and the smoke and mirrors of the Bush administration will dominate the debate. To paraphrase Noam Chomsky, in the absence of just cause the consent for war will be manufactured.

It now falls upon people of conscience to create and organize a mass movement of nationwide non-violent resistance – in the spirit of Dr. King and Mohandas K. Gandhi – that will stop the war before it starts. At the rate the White House rhetoric is beginning to boil, this movement must start now and swing into full action by the early days of March.

The only way to stop another senseless and unnecessary war is with a mass movement rooted in a moral strategy that brings people together. This movement must also earn the sympathy and trust of those who are undecided about the necessity of another Middle East war. Forget traditional protest rallies – 200,000 people crowding the Capitol Mall make no difference. Large marches that don’t influence the nation’s decision makers will only increase people’s cynicism, as well as the atmosphere of inevitability that the neo-cons wish to create.

Without a moral and unifying strategy that spells out specific non-violent tactics to achieve our goal, the power elite and the corporate media will ignore or marginalize our efforts. Remember the moral claims for justice and the appeals to America’s founding ideals during the civil rights movement, and you’ll understand the type of strategy we need today. Think of the Montgomery bus boycott, the Freedom Rides, and Gandhi’s march to the sea for salt, and you will have inspiration for the actions necessary to stop the march to war.

The leaders of every organization that opposed the Iraq war must reconnect today and formulate a sustained campaign of militant non-violent action that everyone can follow tomorrow. Peace, justice, religious, and human rights leaders must gather and articulate a path to preventing war that people believe is effective – not because that path is safe, but because that path is righteous and they are inspired to overcome their fears.

This path must be part of a moral vision that appeals to the emotions and values of every citizen. Using communication techniques put forth by thinkers such as George Lakoff, we must revive the “revolution of values” that Dr. King called for in his 1967 speech at Riverside Church. In the words of King: “When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.” Simply debating facts will not prevent war.

People for peace must speak with their mouths, pens, keyboards, and bodies against another war for empire. We must push our peace and justice leaders to act. We must work around the corporate media to spread our message. We must tell our elected officials that they will not receive money or votes if they sell their souls for the neo-conservative agenda. We must take risks, and we must welcome the metaphorical stones and arrows of the warmongers, knowing in our hearts that we were right about the last war and that we act today with our consciences clear.

Innocent Iranians, our children, our military, and all the world waits for us to wrest America’s destiny from the hands of the warlords. There is no time to waste. Gradualism is a luxury we cannot afford. The architects of the war against Iran have a head start – but we can prevail if we put our demands for peace into action.

Mike Kress is a Persian Gulf veteran who left the Air Force as a conscientious objector. He served as vice-chair of the Spokane Human Rights Commission and is a member of the Peace and Justice Action League of Spokane (www.pjals.org). He also produces and hosts “Take The Power Back” for KYRS FM  www.kyrs.org  Comments welcome at takethepowerback@kyrs.org

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