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David Swanson: Iran Through the Media

Iran Through the Media

By David Swanson

An AP article on Tuesday begins: "President Bush bats away talk of bombing Iran's disputed nuclear sites as 'wild speculation.' But plodding diplomacy hasn't borne fruit so far, and the administration is facing a hard truth: There may be no way to stop Iran from getting the bomb."

Here we have encapsulated the most warmongering position to be found in the U.S. media. The reporter who wrote this, Anne Gearan, believes that Bush is lying when he says that talk of attacking Iran is wild speculation, because in reality, she tells us, his administration is considering just that. But the fact that Bush is lying is not worth mentioning. Rather, it is important to praise him for "facing" the possibility of war.

Diplomacy, Gearan informs us, should be put down as "plodding," and as having not borne fruit. When it was tried and what fruit it was supposed to have borne need not even be explained. The point is to put down diplomacy. Instead, it is important that Bush is strong enough to face a "hard truth." Why is it the truth? Because the AP says so. And what is it? This: "There may be no way to stop Iran from getting the bomb."

Hmm. U.S. intelligence believes Iran is five to 10 years away from that – even if Ahmadinejad's latest bragging proves true. Why would there be no way to accomplish that over a period of years? Whence the sense of emergency?

And can we have a little accountability for the CIA having given Iran plans to build a nuclear bomb, as reported in "State of War" by James Risen?

Gearan goes on: "The Bush administration's choices are few and fraught with problems. They include a military strike to end or slow Iran's alleged drive to acquire the ability to build nuclear weapons, international diplomacy, and direct U.S. negotiations - and concessions - to persuade Tehran that it has more to gain from giving up weapons than from building them."

So the military strikes that Bush calls wild speculation would end or slow Iran's drive to create weapons, or at least be intended to end or slow that? How do we know this? Because we believe this is what Bush would say if he were to stop lying about having no interest in an attack? But didn't the experience of Iraq teach us anything about how honest that claim would be?

Gearan mentions the possibility of diplomacy, but jumps right back to hyping the threat and the urgent need to act:

"The U.S. could also throw up its hands and do little as Iran acquires nuclear know-how, and figure it is possible to deter Iran from using any weapons it may build - just as the U.S. has been able to deter nuclear threats from the former Soviet Union and China."

Ya think? How many thousands of times could the United States, or even Israel, completely obliterate the nation of Iran? And we're supposed to believe an Iranian attack is likely?

This topic was covered much more honestly on Sunday in a Knight Ridder article by Warren Strobel, John Walcott and Jonathan S. Landay, and last Thursday in a Chicago Tribune article by Mike Dorning.

Owen Matthews in the Daily Mail on Thursday went so far as to admit the obvious:

"…George Bush's belligerence seems to have proved the catalyst behind Iran's latest spur of nuclear research. For many Iranians, the quicker they can join neighboring Pakistan and Israel as members of the nuclear club, the safer they'll feel. Iran and the U.S. are locked in a vicious circle. The more America piles on the pressure, the less possibility there is for Ahmadinejad to back down without a fatal loss of face. Driving Iran into a corner can only lead to disaster."

So, what CAN we do? Matthews suggests that "the West's best chance is to try to change Iran, not just change its leadership. Iran's recent waves of student prodemocracy protests are in abeyance now, for sure, but not irrevocably so. Fully half of Iran's population is under 30. The battle for Iran's future starts with them."

Good news to Bush, no doubt, if someone can let him know. Oddly, his pattern seems to be to talk about democracy only after bombing a country into ruins, not before.


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