It is said that man seldom learns the lessons of history, that memories are short, indeed that history has a way of repeating itself. We now learn, to no great surprise, that Pentagon officials are preparing for strikes against targets in Iran. Just five years ago an eerily similar drumbeat lead us to a disastrous campaign in Iraq, not only for the wrong reasons but with terrible consequences. Not to heed the lessons from decades past is perhaps forgivable, but surely memories are not so short that we could contemplate yet another conflict so whilst our soldiers continue to perish in Iraq?
With even the celebrated dove (eh?) Alan Greenspan acknowledges that securing oil supplies was a primary motivation behind invading Iraq and ousting Saddam Hussein, it must be OK far all the "told you so" brigade to come out of the woodwork and make their voices heard. Which, judging by the media response to his comments, seems to be exactly what's happening.
Of course, any military action on Iran would be different. They're close to making a nuclear bomb, right? Oh, and they're a threat to the region's stability because of an unhinged leader spouting anti-West rhetoric. Plus, it would only involve a brief aerial battle with specific targets being clinically eliminated with minimal civilian casualties to prevent a rogue nation developing a nuclear weapons capability. STOP ME WHEN THIS SOUNDS FAMILIAR PEOPLE.
Without any question, war shouldn't be an option (despite what the French foreign minister seems to think). We've seen, all too recently, that war in the Middle East isn't as simple as taking candy off a baby, where grateful folk greet their 'liberators' (Ha) with flowers. It's messy, complex, expensive, not to mention it drives revenge mission where hundreds in London, Madrid and elsewhere are taken out by cold-blooded terrorists.
All that can be done to stop the momentum towards war with Iran must be done immediately, or history's lessons will prove bitterly hard to swallow. I won't be the only one to lose faith in man's ability to reason if, a year or so from now, these words appear pale in the face of another ill-conceived military campaign - it happened in 2002/3, to the distaste and astonishment of the majority of people throughout Europe, let's not let it happen again.