Last week I posted about the looming conflict with Iran. Many of you asked, "What can I do?"
Over the course of the week I worked with Jon Soltz and the team at VoteVets.org to come up with a solution: StopIranWar.com. I believe it is critical to give voice to the vast majority of Americans who want to avoid a military conflict with Iran, and I hope you will visit StopIranWar.com to add your voice to our efforts.
The Bush Administration seems headed for a showdown in the Middle East over the issue of Iran's nuclear capacity, and it's clear that all Americans want to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons and interfering on the ground inside Iraq.
That said, military force must be viewed as the last resort, and not the first option. Yet the Bush administration refuses to engage in direct talks with Iran, and with each passing month that we remain stalled and the Iranian program progresses, we come closer to the US military option.
I believe some in the Administration have seen this confrontation as inevitable - or have sought it - since late 2001. At that time a Pentagon general held up to me a Defense memorandum which he described as a five year road map to the conflict. But surely we have learned by now that, particularly in this region, force and the threats of force should be the last, last, last resort.
Military power aside, the US has enormous economic leverage over the Iranians through our influence on world financial institutions, international commerce and capital flows. While the latest actions against Iran's banking system show the sharp stick of US power, the potential carrots are enormous, too. Islamic pride cannot be purchased, but neither can a proud nation ignore a more hopeful vision of its future.
Whatever the pace of Iran's nuclear efforts, in the give and take of the Administrations rhetoric and accusations and Iran's under-the-table actions in Iraq, we are approaching the last moments to head off looming conflict. Surely, it is past time to ask our elected officials in the White House and Congress to exercise leadership: recognize the real strategic challenge we face, and start to work now to avoid an escalation and widening of conflict in the Mideast.
Yes, it is time for the White House and Congress to exercise leadership, but it is also up to you and me, as Americans, to engage in this dialogue.
I hope you will visit StopIranWar.com and join VoteVets.org and me in sending a message to President Bush, contacting your members of Congress, or writing a letter to the editor of your local newspaper urging the administration to engage with Iran rather than continue down their present path to a military conflict.
Together, we must create a groundswell of activism. It is time for the American people to be heard.
[Update 1:06 PM ET]: I am finishing up some filming of a video blog. I'll be able to get to the comments in 10-15 minutes.
[Update 2 1:45 PM ET]: I need to run and do a couple of radio shows. Thank you for your support.