“Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me – you can’t get fooled again.”
Those are the words of the verbally-challenged, fear-mongering moron, George W. Bush. He fooled us then on Iraq, and I fear that we’re about to get fooled again on Iran by a blood thirsty GOP that needs something to distract from its piss poor performance on the economy. And it seems that the gullible American public is only more than willing to drink the Kool Aid that’s being poured down its throats about yet another Muslim nation. Indeed, the chatter on Iran sounds eerily familiar to the propaganda we heard prior to the invasion of Iraq. The post-911 propaganda – and the mainstream media’s willingness to spread it – has accomplished exactly what the powers that be wanted: It has turned America into a bigoted nation terrified of anything Muslim. In fact, a recent Gallup poll showed that Americans identify Iran as America’s greatest enemy (32% of respondents in 2012, up from 25% in 2011).
There are a couple of other factors at play here besides the fact that the GOP needs a distraction. I’ve said this before and was accused of being anti-Semitic on another blog, but I’ll say it again: The United States has a blind allegiance to Israel (whose leaders are chomping at the bit to attack Iran) that prevents it from looking at things rationally. Israel’s aggression in Gaza is a perfect example. It has created a humanitarian crisis of epic proportions. Yet the battle cry we hear from so many talking heads amounts to, “Israel has a right to defend itself.” Defend itself from what? The other factor is that the United States seems to have confused war with diplomacy. In one of the most lucid conversations I’ve heard on the subject of war vs. diplomacy with Iran, Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) points out that war is war and diplomacy is about the art of human relations. [
Setting the stage for war
The United States is following a dangerous pattern that may make a disastrous war with Iran inevitable. First, we have the chatter that began intensifying before Christmas and has not subsided. In November 2011, former Democratic (and I use that term loosely here) senator Evan Bayh appeared on Fox News to give his opinion that we should bomb Iran to prevent a future nuclear attack by Iran on Israel. Of course, we’re the only nation capable of carrying out the kind of sustained attack necessary to eliminate Iran’s perceived nuclear capability. Sound familiar? In January, John Bolton (yes, that John Bolton) came out in USA Today and advocated for a preemptive strike on Iran to prevent a future nuclear capability. Again, let’s not bother to use a diplomatic approach. We’ve become a nation that prefers to invade sovereign nations with impunity as though it’s our right as leader of the free world. Then, just the other day intellectually-challenged Tucker Carlson appeared on (you guessed it) Fox news to state that not only does the United States have the moral standing but that Iran deserves to be annhilated.
I won’t go too far into the moral standing issue, except to say that I don’t believe that we have any moral standing when it comes to our actions in the post-9/11 world. And Tucker, we’re the only country that doesn’t indulge in hegemony? Give me a break. That is precisely what the U.S. does. We’ve invaded two countries based on blatant lies, killing and displacing millions of innocent people and leaving a huge mess in our wake. We’ve made a mockery of the Geneva Conventions by indulging in indefinite detention and torture. We’ve sacrificed our own troops all in the name of this absurd ‘war on terror.’ And if that isn’t enough, we have a sitting president who promised his predecessor that he wouldn’t pursue either investigation or prosecution of the previous administration for war crimes. So, let’s just skip the whole moral standing position, please.
In between, we have the GOP in an election year. Newt Gingrich, the most desperate of the three stooges right now, has accused Barack Obama of ‘weakening’ the United States for taking the advice of the Pentagon itself by trimming $32 billion from the bloated $655 billion 2013 defense budget. Gingrich is also a rabid supporter of an attack on Iran, even if it is nuclear in nature. This shouldn’t be surprising considering that a $10 million contributor to his super PAC is a supporter of the Israeli far right. (I know. The candidates aren’t supposed to consort with the super PACs and vice versa, but we all know that’s pure bullshit, folks.) Then, we have Mr. Matter-of-Fact, Mitt Romney, who talks about attacking Iran as though it would be a simple procedure. Didn’t we say that about Iraq? They’d welcome us with open arms, we’d go in, depose Saddam, and get out. No sweat. Then, Romney has the nerve to call Obama “weak and timid” for not attacking Iran after they shot down an American drone violating Iranian airspace. Seriously, Mitt? What would the United States do if the tables were turned? Let’s remember that, if elected, Romney will be the first Commander-in-Chief to avoid the draft based on a religious deferment. Finally, there’s Rick Santorum, who has to be seen as the ‘Curly’ of the GOP stooges, who favors an attack on Iran because he believes Iran is a threat to America’s ally, Israel. Let’s remember that in 2007 after losing his senate seat Santorum joined the Ethics and Public Policy Center (EPPC) , a think tank that applies the “Judeo-Christian moral tradition to critical issues of public policy,” where he developed and headed the ‘America’s Enemies’ program. No doubt he’s the favorite of the crazy Christian right-wingers who are sitting on the rock waiting for all-out war to break out in Iran in order to fulfill their vision of Armageddon and hasten the return of Jesus Christ.
Facts and logic do not matter
It doesn’t matter what the facts are, but here they are anyway. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has stated more than once that Iran does not have a nuclear weapons capability. It doesn’t matter that General Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has stated that it is unclear whether or not Iran even intends to develop nuclear weapons. It doesn’t matter that the CIA has stated that Iran is some time away from having the capability. And it doesn’t matter that Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has said that the pursuit of nuclear technology is for the betterment of his country and that “The Iranian nation has never pursued and will never pursue nuclear weapons.”
It doesn’t matter that Pakistan, a Muslim country, is already in possession of a hefty nuclear arsenal. As Robert Scheer points out in his article:
But such facts are not troubling to the GOP contenders, who seem not to have realized that there is one Muslim country already in possession of scores of such weapons. That would be Pakistan, the country Bush didn’t invade despite its avid support for the Taliban sponsors of al-Qaida. Instead, after 9/11, Bush dropped the sanctions his predecessor, Bill Clinton, had imposed on Pakistan as punishment for its developing a nuclear arsenal. Nor did Bush and his fellow Republican hawks get overly exercised by the revelation that Pakistan was giving nuclear weapons technology to North Korea, Libya and, yes, Iran. It was also the hiding place for Osama bin Laden when Barack Obama made good on Bush’s pledge to run the al-Qaida leader to ground.
It also doesn’t matter that right-wing Israelis, like Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu, have little support for attacking Iran from the experts within his own country. Said Shelly Yachimovich, Leader of the Israeli Labor Party:
“I wish to express grave concern from the Prime Minister’s speeches here at the Knesset about a nuclear Iran. His words sound like a calculated preparation for a reckless adventure. I will not get into details, even though the discussion about this issue is out there, but we warn PM Netanyahu and the Minister of Defense Ehud Barak in advance: Watch out. We will not support you in this adventure. And if you feel overconfident and wish to change the face of the Middle East – shift your energy for the diplomatic sphere.”
At the end of the day, what matters most is what is politically expedient in an election year. This could well be the perfect storm: A GOP that paints the incumbent as weak and soft on terrorism, and an incumbent who does not wish to be perceived that way.