Though it is a nonbinding measure, the U.S. Senate voted to condemn Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps as “a foreign terrorist organization” at the end of September. The House, preceding the Senate’s vote, passed another measure calling for more economic sanctions on Iran. These passive actions could be manipulated as American support for aggression – a precedent of conflict has been set.
What is more, to broadly label Iran’s 125,000-member Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization is inaccurate as many of its members are conscripted from the regular army. On Sunday, The New York Times’ Helene Cooper wrote, “Think of it as Iran declaring that the United States military is a terrorist organization because it carries out President (George W.) Bush’s orders.”
Though the Bush administration has been pushing for this all-encompassing denouncement since August, it would have been more appropriate, as the State and Treasury Departments were advocating, to condemn only certain forces within the Revolutionary Guard. Instead, the United States has again, as Bush has done in a series of recent statements, polarized the people of Iran.
Just as Bush connected the Sept. 11 al-Qaida terrorist attacks with the necessity for war in Iraq in fall 2002, he is connecting the war in Iraq with the necessity for an altercation with Iran. After five years, the Iraq war has been redefined as a broader battle for Iraq between Iran and the United States.
“Shia extremists, backed by Iran, are training Iraqis to carry out attacks on our forces and the Iraqi people,” Bush said at an American Legion convention in August, “ÖI have authorized our military commanders in Iraq to confront Tehran’s murderous activities.”
As U.S. progress in Iraq is stalled and U.S. troop levels are at breaking point, talk of war with Iran, especially considering the country’s superior military strength to that of the Iraqi insurgency and the fanaticism of their president, is dangerous.
Due to negative public response, Sen. Jim Webb and Sen. Hillary Clinton have since co-sponsored legislation requiring the president to go to Congress before he goes to war again. Despite this pending legislation, the increased divisive language by the United States of Iran is alarming. Nothing good will ever come from conflict with Iran.