war

Last night, I put on the television before getting ready for bed, finding out the breaking news that the US had killed General Soleimani, considered the most powerful person in Iran after the Ayatollah, along with a leader of Hezbollah and several others in Iraq.

Having seen the news, I could not go to sleep, so I watched the coverage as more information was trickling in. I, along with millions of others, fear even more violence in the Middle East, including the possibility that the US and Iran may be at war.

In the United States, only Congress can declare war. It appears that there was no advance warning of this attack to the Democratic leaders in Congress. I’m not sure if Republican leaders were informed or not. No one knows what will come next. Will there be a request for authorization to use force against Iran? Will Trump believe that, as commander-in-chief, he can do whatever he wants, even without the support of Congress – or anyone else, for that matter?

Early this morning, I saw the burnt remains of the vehicles that had carried Soleimani and his entourage after the drone strikes.

Later in the day, B, T and I went to see Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.  There were plenty of battles and burnt wreckage.

I prefer wars that take place a long time ago in a (fictional) galaxy far, far away to those happening anywhere here on earth.
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Update on the nuclear deal with Iran

Following up from my post on the proposed nuclear deal with Iran, we just found out that enough United States senators have expressed support for the deal that the Congress will not be able to override President Obama’s promised veto of a bill that would block ratification of the international agreement with Iran.

I am relieved to know that diplomacy wins and that a lot of suffering will be alleviated by the lifting of sanctions and the much diminished threat of war.

One could hope that those in Congress who opposed the deal due to politics rather than analysis will take a second look and vote for the deal.

One could hope, but it may be in vain.

340 US rabbis: ‘We support this historic nuclear accord’ | National Catholic Reporter

In this post, I expressed my support for the nuclear deal with Iran. I so appreciate these rabbis from the United States expressing their support, especially after the announcement by one of my US Senators, Charles Schumer, that he would oppose the deal. I hope the support of these rabbis will help him to change his mind.

340 US rabbis: ‘We support this historic nuclear accord’ | National Catholic Reporter.

Iran

Earlier this month, after long negotiations, a deal was announced between Iran and a group of six nuclear powers to exchange lifting of international economic sanctions against Iran in return for Iran’s abandoning all attempts to enrich uranium anywhere close to weapons grade.

This news was met with celebration in Iran, where the populace has been dealing with a crippled economy. Many people are looking forward to being able to get better jobs and better access to goods and services that many of us take for granted.

While not celebrating in the streets, I and many other folks in the US are happy that an agreement was reached and hope that the US Congress will lend their support. Frankly, if they don’t, all it will do is make the United States look unreliable. The international sanctions will be lifted even if US ones imposed by Congress stay in place, while, worse yet, the Iran nuclear program would once again be free of international inspection and constraint.

I trust that the US’s lead negotiator, Secretary of State John Kerry, has reached a deal that is verifiable and will keep Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. I am grateful that the team also included Secretary of Energy Dr. Ernest Moniz, who is an MIT nuclear physicist. It is hard to imagine a better person to have in the room during negotiations on this topic. When he says that the Iranians could not clean a site of nuclear materials during the time that the agreement allows them to delay on inspection, I believe him. He definitely knows how to detect nuclear particles, even in tiny amounts.

I am old enough to remember Iran before the revolution that brought about the Islamic Republic. As a child, I remember hearing about the Shah of Iran and thinking of the country as a friend and ally of the US. Knowing that it had once been Persia, it also seemed very exotic to a small town New England girl. I did not know until much later the shenanigans that the US had pulled to overturn the democratically elected government and place the Shah in power.

When the revolution came in 1979, I was in my first year at Smith. It happened that a woman living in my house was the daughter of an Iranian diplomat. It was heart-wrenching to see her lose her homeland and see her fear for her family’s safety. Fortunately, they were able to escape the country unharmed.

In the following decades, it seems that many of the Iranian people have remained friendly toward Westerners, even though the government was not.  I hope that this agreement will help promote diplomacy over war and continue on the path toward nuclear disarmament.