Friday, November 30, 2007

If Bush Attacks Iran, He Won't Get My Taxes: Chris Hedges

Hi, Impeachment Person,
This is the best statement of its kind I've seen. Ralph Nazareth found it.

If Bush Attacks Iran, He Won't Get My Taxes

By Chris Hedges

11/29/07 "The Nation" -- - -- I will not pay my income tax if we go to
war with Iran. I realize this is a desperate and perhaps futile
gesture. But an attack on Iran -- which appears increasingly likely
before the coming presidential election -- will unleash a regional
conflict of catastrophic proportions. This war, and especially Iranian
retaliatory strikes on American targets, will be used to silence
domestic dissent and abolish what is left of our civil liberties. It
will solidify the slow-motion coup d'état that has been under way
since the 9/11 attacks. It could mean the death of the Republic.

Let us hope sanity prevails. But sanity is a rare commodity in a White
House that has twisted Trotsky's concept of permanent revolution into
a policy of permanent war with nefarious aims -- to intimidate and
destroy all those classified as foreign opponents, to create permanent
instability and fear and to strip citizens of their constitutional

A war with Iran is doomed. It will be no more successful than the
Israeli airstrikes on Lebanon in 2006, which failed to break Hezbollah
and united most Lebanese behind that militant group. The Israeli
bombing did not pacify 4 million Lebanese. What will happen when we
begin to pound a country of 65 million people whose land mass is three
times the size of France?

Once you begin an air campaign it is only a matter of time before you
have to put troops on the ground or accept defeat, as the Israelis had
to do in Lebanon. And if we begin dropping bunker busters and cruise
missiles on Iran, this is the choice that must be faced: either send
US forces into Iran to fight a protracted and futile guerrilla war, or
walk away in humiliation.

But more ominous, an attack on Iran will ignite the Middle East. The
loss of Iranian oil, coupled with possible Silkworm missile attacks by
Iran against oil tankers in the Persian Gulf, could send the price of
oil soaring to somewhere around $200 a barrel. The effect on the
domestic and world economy will be devastating, very possibly
triggering a global depression. The Middle East has two-thirds of the
world's proven petroleum reserves and nearly half its natural gas. A
disruption in the supply will be felt immediately.

This attack will be interpreted by many Shiites in the Middle East as
a religious war. The two million Shiites in Saudi Arabia (heavily
concentrated in the oil-rich Eastern Province), the Shiite majority in
Iraq and the Shiite communities in Bahrain, Pakistan and Turkey could
turn in rage on us and our dwindling allies. We could see a
combination of increased terrorist attacks, including on American
soil, and widespread sabotage of oil production in the Persian Gulf.
Iraq, as bad as it looks now, will become a death pit for US troops.

The Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council, which has so far not joined the
insurgency, has strong ties to Iran. It could begin full-scale
guerrilla resistance, possibly uniting for the first time with Sunnis
against the occupation. Iran, in retaliation, will fire its missiles,
some with a range of 1,100 miles, at US installations, including
Baghdad's Green Zone. Expect substantial casualties, especially with
Iranian agents and their Iraqi allies calling in precise coordinates.
Iranian missiles could be launched at Israel. The Strait of Hormuz,
which is the corridor for 20 percent of the world's oil supply, will
become treacherous, perhaps unnavigable. Chinese-supplied antiship
missiles, mines and coastal artillery, along with speedboats packed
with explosives and suicide bombers, will target US shipping, along
with Saudi oil production and oil export centers.

Hezbollah forces in southern Lebanon, closely allied with Iran, may in
solidarity fire rockets into northern Israel. Israel, already struck
by missiles from Tehran, could then carry out retaliatory raids
against both Lebanon and Iran. Pakistan, with its huge Shiite
minority, will become even more unstable. Unrest could result in the
overthrow of the already weakened Pervez Musharraf and usher Islamic
radicals into power. Pakistan, rather than Iran, would then become the
first radical Islamic state to possess a nuclear weapon. The neat
little war with Iran, which many Democrats do not oppose, has the
potential to ignite an inferno.

George W. Bush has shredded, violated or absented America from its
obligations under international law. He has refused to ratify the
Kyoto Protocol, backed out of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, tried
to kill the International Criminal Court, walked out on negotiations
on chemical and biological weapons and defied the Geneva Conventions
and human rights law in the treatment of detainees. Most egregious, he
launched an illegal war in Iraq based on fabricated evidence we now
know had been discredited even before it was made public. He seeks to
do the same in Iran.

This President is guilty, in short, of what in legal circles is known
as the "crime of aggression." And if we as citizens do not hold him
accountable for this crime, if we do not actively defy this
government, we will be complicit in the codification of a new world
order, one that will have terrifying consequences. For a world without
treaties, statutes and laws is a world where any nation, from a rogue
nuclear state to a great imperial power, will be able to invoke its
domestic laws to annul its obligations to others. This new order will
undo five decades of international cooperation -- largely put in place
by the United States -- and thrust us into a Hobbesian nightmare. We
must as citizens make sacrifices to defend a world where diplomacy,
broad cooperation and the law are respected. If we allow these
international legal systems to unravel, we will destroy the
possibility of cooperation between nation-states, including our
closest allies.

The strongest institutional barrier standing between us and a war with
Iran is being mounted by Defense Secretary Robert Gates; Adm. William
Fallon, head of the Central Command; and Gen. George Casey, the Army's
new chief of staff. These three men have informed Bush and Congress
that the military is too depleted to take on another conflict and may
not be able to contain or cope effectively with a regional
conflagration resulting from strikes on Iran. This line of defense,
however, is tenuous. Not only can Gates, Fallon and Casey easily be
replaced but a provocation by Iran could be used by war propagandists
here to stoke a public clamor for revenge.

A country that exists in a state of permanent war cannot exist as a
democracy. Our long row of candles is being snuffed out. We may soon
be in darkness. Any resistance, however symbolic, is essential. There
are ways to resist without being jailed. If you owe money on your
federal tax return, refuse to pay some or all of it, should Bush
attack Iran. If you have a telephone, do not pay the 3 percent excise
tax. If you do not owe federal taxes, reduce what is withheld by
claiming at least one additional allowance on your W-4 form -- and
write to the IRS to explain the reasons for your protest. Many of the
details and their legal ramifications are available on the War
Resisters League's website.

I will put the taxes I owe in an escrow account. I will go to court to
challenge the legality of the war. Maybe a courageous judge will rule
that the Constitution has been usurped and the government is guilty of
what the postwar Nuremberg tribunal defined as a criminal war of
aggression. Maybe not. I do not know. But I do know this: I have
friends in Tehran, Gaza, Beirut, Baghdad, Jerusalem and Cairo. They
will endure far greater suffering and deprivation. I want to be able,
once the slaughter is over, to at least earn the right to ask for
their forgiveness.

Chris Hedges, a Pulitzer prize-winning reporter, was the Middle East
bureau chief for The New York Times. He spent seven years in the
Middle East and reported frequently from Iran. His latest book is
American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America.