NJ Peace Action

Diplomacy best way to deal with Iran

Letter to The Record
March 25, 2013

Regarding "Lessons of Iraq guide us as we confront Iran" (Other Views, March 19):

The recent column by U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J, describes lessons he says he has learned since the U.S. invasion of Iraq 10 years ago. New Jersey Peace Action applauded Menendez then, but we cannot applaud support for military action against Iran today under any circumstances.

The last 10 years of war in Iraq and 11 years of war in Afghanistan taught us that war is costly. More than 8,000 U.S. and coalition members lost their lives, with thousands more injured or diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. More than 4 million Iraqis were made into refugees. We've spent more than $1.7 trillion on both wars during a time of economic recession.

Rather than put "all options on the table," let's pick one — diplomacy — and stop threatening Iran. This fight isn't just about Iran not having nuclear weapons. It's about all countries in the Middle East becoming nuclear-weapons-free. Parties to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty planned a conference on this topic in December 2012 in Helsinki, but it was postponed. The United States claimed that political instability in the Middle East made it the wrong time.

But it is exactly the right time. Domestic opposition to a U.S.-led invasion of Iran would be tremendous, as many Americans are war-weary. War against Iran through either the front or the back door would be disastrous. When will we learn that diplomacy will work better than war to create a genuinely secure Middle East?

Madelyn Hoffman

Bloomfield, March 22

The writer is executive director of NJ Peace Action. The letter was also signed by Paula Rogovin of Bergen County Military Families Speak Out.