Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Old wine, new Iranian bottle

Ok, anyone foolish enough to just buy the propaganda governments put out after the Gulf of Tonkin incident (or even WWI, arguably) without checking the facts, is probably beyond repair. But to buy the same fake line of goods so soon after the last dish was served is, well, to say stupid is an insult to stupid people. Consider Craig Unger's reporting on the issue.

By now, the story of how neoconservatives hijacked American foreign policy is a familiar one. With Vice President Dick Cheney and Rumsfeld leading the way, neocons working out of the office of the vice president and the Department of Defense orchestrated a spectacular disinformation operation, asserting that Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction posed a grave and immediate threat to the U.S. Veteran analysts who disagreed were circumvented. Dubious information from known fabricators was hyped. Forged documents showing phony yellowcake-uranium sales to Iraq were promoted.

What's less understood is that the same tactics have been in play with Iran. Once again, neocon ideologues have been flogging questionable intelligence about W.M.D. Once again, dubious Middle East exile groups are making the rounds in Washington—this time urging regime change in Syria and Iran. Once again, heroic new exile leaders are promising freedom. [Including the U.S. and UK's (and formerly Saddam's) favourite terrorist group, the Mujahideen-e Khalq Organisation. - DJEB]


"It is absolutely parallel," says Philip Giraldi, a former C.I.A. counterterrorism specialist. "They're using the same dance steps—demonize the bad guys, the pretext of diplomacy, keep out of negotiations, use proxies. It is Iraq redux."


As with Iraq before the war, the evidence is already available for people to examine should they choose to shake themselves out of laziness and that particular mental illness known as "patriotism." There is no information demonstrating that Iran has a nuclear weapons program.

Similarly, we know the effects a war would have on the region: they are transparent. Still, there do exist various think tanks and institutions to tell you that red is green and up is down:
Writing in The Weekly Standard last spring, Reuel Marc Gerecht, a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, made the neocon case for bombing Iran's nuclear sites. Brushing away criticism that a pre-emptive attack would cause anti-Americanism within Iran, Gerecht asserted that it "would actually accelerate internal debate" in a way that would be "painful for the ruling clergy."
Interesting here how we are supposed either to be totally ignorant of recent history, or consciously push out of our minds the fact that there was a"internal debate": the students' movement in Iran that the "ruling clergy" were having to concede to... until George Bush set his sights on Iran with his "axis of evil" speech. After that, dissent in Iran was quashed in the name of national security, if that sounds familiar. And it should sound familiar, not because it so often happens here, but because it was predicted that Bush's speech would have this effect on the students' movement in Iran.

That an attack would entrench the power of the Revolutionary Council is so obvious that even disinterested old George W. Bush knows it:

At a farewell reception at Blair House for the retiring chief of protocol, Don Ensenat, who was President Bush's Yale roommate, the president shook hands with Washington Life Magazine's Soroush Shehabi. "I'm the grandson of one of the late Shah's ministers," said Soroush, "and I simply want to say one U.S. bomb on Iran and the regime we all despise will remain in power for another 20 or 30 years and 70 million Iranians will become radicalized."

"I know," President Bush answered.

"But does Vice President Cheney know?" asked Soroush.

President Bush chuckled and walked away.
In a total vacation from reality, the American Enterprise Institute's Gerecht says that an attack on Iran would not harm their mission in Iraq:
As for imperiling the U.S. mission in Iraq, Gerecht argued that Iran "can't really hurt us there." Ultimately, he concluded, "we may have to fight a war—perhaps sooner rather than later—to stop such evil men from obtaining the worst weapons we know."
Diverting manpower, creating a new enemy and turning Iraq's Shia against the U.S. "can't really hurt" the U.S. in Iraq. I can't imagine how drunk on patriotic fervor someone's mind would have to be, and how ignorantly optimistic as well, to believe something that ridiculous.

Then there is the issue of geography and geology. Grab a map and look at the Persian Gulf. Find the Strait of Hormuz. Then ask yourself how much the price of oil might rise if Iran started to fire shells at oil tankers traversing those waters.

Ordinarily, it would be an insult to a person's intelligence to try the same scam on them twice. Yet more and more I am seeing the more vocal of the cyberworld's crazies frothing at the mouth for Iranian blood. Logic and fact are not a part of this, I suspect. We are reaching into the more primal areas of the psyche with these people. The men in power, yes, I expect them to lie, when have people in power not? It is the believers that I worry about.


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