America's Deadly Spin on Iran

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Marc Herbermann 

The war drums are beating louder and louder for the next war in the Middle East. Influential American politicians consider to deliver what they call ``pre-emptive military strikes,'' in fact, to wage a war of aggression against Iran.

Among them, hawks from the government camp like Vice President Dick Cheney and U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who threatened ``serious consequences'' unless the Islamic republic gives in.

In the last months, the two most weighty presidential candidates, the Republican Rudi Giuliani and his Democrat opponent, Hillary Rodham Clinton, have adopted the same aggressive stance on Iran ― ``all options are on the table.''

Hillary Clinton also supported in September the Joe Lieberman and John Kyl's amendment which calls to ``combat, contain and [stop]'' Iran that would fight ``a proxy war against the Iraqi state and coalition forces in Iraq.''

But what would happen if the U.S. attacked Iran? Such ``surgical air strikes'' leading into another asymmetrical war would have disastrous consequences. Since the U.S.-Navy, trapped in the Persian Gulf, has no proper answers to intercept Iranian Sunburn anti-ship missiles, massive strikes on Iranian bases with more powerful weapons would be likely.

President George W. Bush has not ruled out the use of nuclear weapons against Iran, presumably to pound the well protected Iranian nuclear sites. Hundreds of thousands of people would die in a war with Iran and, due to high amounts of released radioactivity, the basis of life for the whole population in the region would be on the line for decades.

But it is misleading to highlight these consequences as a reason against a war with Iran, when its justification is false. Since it proves feasible but problematic to sell that Iran poses a nuclear threat, reasons to advance on Iran are now shifting.

But are the allegations justified that Iran is fighting a ``proxy war in Iraq?'' Ned Parker, a Los Angeles Times correspondent, stated on July 15 that most of the ``foreign fighters'' the U.S. forces encounter are Saudis. Surprisingly, less then 5 percent of the detainees in Iraq come from a foreign country, their number amounts to about 300.

In contrary to leading Western powers, the Islamic Republic of Iran didn't wage any war of aggression but it suffers from illegitimate sanctions which hamper its industrial development and its energy supply.

Even if repeated continuously in Western media, Iran has never threatened to ``wipe Israel off the map.'' But it has called for an end to the oppressive government in Israel. Does Iran really strive to get nuclear weapons? No hard facts can back this claim.

On the contrary, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has been able to verify the non-diversion of nuclear materials at the enrichment facilities in Iran. According to a report, released on August 27, the IAEA ``has therefore concluded that it [the nuclear program] remains peaceful in use.''

It reported that the highest enrichment level measured from environmental samples taken from cascade components and related equipment is 3.7 percent. Fissile uranium in nuclear weapons usually contains 85 percent or more of U-235.

According to the IAEA, currently 439 nuclear power reactors operate in 30 countries. In the same way Iran, as a signatory state of the Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), is legally entitled to enrich uranium in order to use Atomic energy peacefully.

Do you remember the spin on Iraq? Iraq didn't pose an imminent threat to the United States and her allies in 2003. Although the notion was ridiculous that the secularist Iraqi government would uphold strong ties to fanatic religious motivated Islamic terror groups, that it even supported the perpetrators of 9/11, most Americans believed these false assertions.

The mission was not accomplished in May 2003, the war was never a ``cakewalk'' and the Iraqis didn't welcome American troops ``as liberators'' as Dick Cheney had predicted.

In Iraq in 2003 and during the operation ``Iraqi freedom," neither the UN inspectors and the CIA before the invasion, nor the several governmental teams after it ― among them the 1,200 person Iraq Survey Group ― detected ``significant quantities of uranium from Africa'' or any other signs of weapons of mass destruction.

I am filled with dismay at the Western propaganda spiral. It helps to prepare for another catastrophic war, which probably had already been planned with the aim to rake in energy resources and to dominate the Middle East. Attacking Iran would produce a vast human and ecological tragedy.

Therefore many people think that politicians will renounce using military force. But history teaches that igniting a new war serves as a means of distraction. In 1969, after five years of futile engagement in Vietnam, Richard Nixon, in contrast to his pledges before the election (``peace with honor''), spread the Vietnam War clandestinely to Cambodia.

``The potential of another world war'' helps Bush, as Democratic David Kucinich puts it, to ``bolster support for his monumentally failed foreign policy.'' But the war in Iraq is the war of Washington's political and economic establishment, not just ``Bush's war,'' because he hardly has to deal with democratic opposition.

Before the war with Iraq, it seemed that journalists and social scientist neglected their duty to research thoroughly and to inform the public with reliable facts. Instead they became a mouthpiece for the U.S. government, they even took Colin Powell's embarrassing report to the United Nations on February 3, 2003, at face value.

Now it is time for responsible members of the public to talk straight and to oppose warmongers before it is too late.

Marc Herbermann has been living in South Korea for about two and a half years now. He teaches German and English and works occasionally as a journalist. He was an assistant lecturer on methods of political science in the University of Trier ( for three semesters.


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