Source: Mehr News Agency, Tehran
Political activist Marcy Winograd says the current U.S. policy on
non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament is actually nuclear narcissism. Ms.
Winograd, who is a candidate for a seat in the U.S. Congress, made the remarks
in an interview with the Mehr News Agency last week.
She will be on the
ballot in the Democratic party primary in the 36th District of California, which
is being held on June 8.
Winograd is challenging incumbent Jane Harman in the primary for the second
time. In 2006 she got 38 percent of the vote.
Following is the text of the interview:
Q: U.S. President Barack Obama has said that he would retain the
option to use nuclear weapons against Iran and North Korea. How have U.S.
citizens responded to this?
A: I am not sure that most Americans either know the
president's position on a first-strike or understand the ramifications for world
annihilation. Of course, some are aware -- and believe the threat will never be
carried out or think it's important to be tough in the face of nuclear
proliferation. During the Bush years a lot of propaganda was used to frighten
the American people -- and unfortunately that propaganda continues as the fear
reverberates. Americans fear a nuclear-armed Iran and do not understand why Iran
persists in developing a nuclear program. They do not believe the program is
solely for the purpose of providing energy to the nation of Iran. My position is
that we cannot dictate nuclear abolition to the world while we pursue research
on new nuclear weapons; this is called nuclear narcissism. Given the lethal
history of U.S. military involvement in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, it's
understandable that Iran would feel threatened and want to protect itself. Many
Americans do not understand this, however -- the feeling of being threatened
because of invasions and occupations next door -- and simply feel the world
cannot tolerate another nuclear-armed nation, particularly in the volatile
Personally, I would urge the people of Iran and the United States to embrace
the pursuit of green technology, not nuclear technology, because nuclear energy
is fraught with problems: radioactive waste that lives forever, nuclear plants
that can become targets for attack, as well as the threat that nuclear materials
can be stolen and used for terrorism.
Q: When Obama took office in January 2009 his stances were so
moderate that he was actually considered to be a realistic politician, but now
we see that his political stances are getting harder and harder. Why is that the
A: I agree there has been a shift to the right, though the
president was clear on Afghanistan from the beginning, advocating for a
redeployment of U.S. troops from Iraq to Afghanistan. In the words of one of my
students, "Obama didn't lie to us. We just weren't listening." I do not excuse
the madness of militarism, only acknowledge that the American people, after so
many years of the much-reviled Bush, wanted desperately to believe in change,
real change -- and so we closed our eyes and hoped that Obama was parroting
hawkish positions simply to get elected, and that once elected he would realize
there was no military solution in Afghanistan. He may come to that realization
later rather than sooner, while our economy crumbles and needs for jobs,
housing, and education become secondary to a bloated military budget. You have
to understand there is so much hatred towards Obama on the right -- with
gun-toting threats and Nazi caricatures and burgeoning militias -- that the left
is reluctant to criticize him for fear of amplifying the right. It's a delicate
balance because if the left remains silent then the right assumes the mantle of
populism and runs off with the microphone. Our country is deeply polarized. I
wish our president had immediately used his victory, his political capital, to
fight for transformative change: a transition from a permanent war economy to a
new green economy. In the end, one man cannot make change all by himself; there
needs to be a movement in the streets.
Q: Have the political realities of U.S. society, such as pressure
groups and lobbies, influenced Obama's decision to take a tougher stance on
international issues like Iran's nuclear program?
A: I am the co-founder of
LA Jews for Peace, and though we
are small, we have embraced monumental challenges such as peace in
Palestine/Israel. We have protested the blockade of Gaza and raised money to
rebuild homes Israel demolished in the West Bank. Even in our group, one that is
passionate about peace, we cannot agree on the role of the
Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in determining U.S. foreign policy. Which is
the dog? Which is the tail? Israel or the American military-industrial complex?
Who is in charge here? I'll say this -- candidates and elected officials are
fearful of criticizing Israel lest they be attacked or run out of office. When I
speak up, speak out, people whisper to me, "You can say that because you're
Jewish. I can't say anything." This silence perpetuates the injustices, and so
it becomes a vicious cycle with ramifications not just for Palestine and Israel
but for Iran, too -- given the fact that Israel talks about an existential
threat from Iran and this much-talked about threat is used, in part, to justify
a hard line against Iranian nuclear ambitions.
I am a non-Zionist Jew who believes in equality and dignity for all in the
Middle East. I hope my candidacy and my convictions will give courage and
strength to others who dare to question.
... Payvand News - 05/05/10 ... --