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About that Iranian menace …

The most important message for 2006

The war drums are beating again. If reason is going to win out in what's shaping up to be another pissing match between our own fundamentalists and those running Iran, we have to avoid the mistakes we made leading up to the war in Iraq.

The biggest of those was allowing the question of whether Saddam Hussein had generic "WMD" to become a proxy for the only issue that mattered: whether Iraq under Hussein was a threat dangerous enough to go to war to eliminate. The answer then, as is obvious to most sentient creatures in hindsight, was no.

I believed - and wrote -- that Hussein probably had some mustard gas shells or similar toys lying around, but I was firmly against the war as he had neither the inclination nor the ability to deliver them. He was well-contained, getting fat off of bribes from multinational oil traders and wanted to stay in power, with or without weapons.

By allowing the debate to revolve around the question of weapons, instead of the degree of the threat the Iraqi regime posed, we put ourseloves in the position of trying to prove a negative.

It's happening again. The hawks argue that because Iran is enriching uranium, it is by definition a threat.

Joshua Holland is a staff writer at Alternet and a regular contributor to The Gadflyer .