Thursday, October 22, 2009

Bash, Bash, Bash--Bash, Bash Iran

Iran has agreed to a draft agreement to send reactor-grade, low-enriched uranium to Russia for further refining in order to produce medical isotopes. That’s good news, a major step in Iran’s willingness to make its nuclear program wholly transparent and assure the world it has no interest in making nuclear weapons. You wouldn’t think that, though, to look at a New York Times article on the story by David E. Sanger.

“Iran Deal Would Slow Making of Nuclear Bombs” blares the headline. According to Sanger, the draft deal “would delay the country’s ability to build a nuclear weapon for about a year.” That’s blatantly contrary to what our intelligence sources have said; if Iran wanted to, and that’s a gigantic if, it couldn’t build a bomb before 2015. And, of course, both our intelligence agencies and the International Atomic Energy Agency tell us they see no sign of a nuclear weapons program in Iran.

It doesn’t take a professor of literature to figure out that you can’t “slow” the making of nuclear bombs if you’re not making any. But journalism, at least the kind being practiced by Sanger in this article, isn’t exactly literature. His “delay for about a year” line should have read, “delay for another year, pushing the earliest possible date Tehran could build a bomb to 2016.”

But that would be getting the facts straight.

Israel’s ynet news takes things a step further: “Israel Official: Bomb Threat Still Alive.” An unnamed official said, "The expected deal takes care of Iran's openly available uranium which it enriches for seemingly civilian aims, while it continues to secretly enrich uranium for military aims.” No proof was given and none, apparently, was asked for.

It seems that all journalism is tabloid journalism now. Everyone has been access poisoned. Anyone will print anything their unnamed, official sources tell them. Misinformation, disinformation, covert propaganda, it all gets poured into our mainstream media under the guise of “news.”

I get a kick out of looking through archives of the claptrap that has been published about Iran. A January 2007 story in the New York Sun by notorious right-leaning journo Eli Lake titled “Iran’s Secret Plan for Mayhem” repeated claims that Iran was supporting both Shiite and Sunni sides in Iraq’s civil war. This was all based on knowledge gained from ubiquitous “officials.” The only person cited by name said he didn’t really know anything.

January 2007 was when the Iran bashing campaign began in earnest, likely fueled by Dick Cheney’s Iranian directorate. No claims made about Iran’s activities in Iraq or its ambitions to acquire nuclear weapons have been proven, yet the accusations persist and make into the news, and tend to be accepted as fact.

I’m not willing to paint the Iranians as Clintonian Democrats. Their president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, could stand to tape his lips together, and the recent furor over his re-election makes one wonder if his country is any less corrupt than Ohio or Florida. Still, the evidence to support the accusations of all the horrible things they have supposedly been up to just isn’t there.

Eileen McGann of the conservative CNS News wrote an Oct. 22 piece called “Iran Cons Hillary.” McGann says, “Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has fallen for Iran's line that it is not developing nuclear weapons, but only wants the ability to develop one to achieve its place in the sun among the great nations of the earth.”

Iran has never said anything like that. Iran has consistently denied that it wants any part of nuclear weapons. That makes a certain amount of sense. Owning a nuke paints a bull’s eye on Iran’s back, and they’d never be able to use a nuke without suffering retaliation massive enough to end the Persian race.

McGann also commits numerous inaccuracies about levels of uranium enrichment, and she makes wild interrogative accusations: “Why does Iran want enriched fuel?” She asks. Nobody on the bash-Iran team wants to admit that a self-sufficient nuclear-power industry is the only strategic advantage Iran will have in the post-peak oil age. But McGann and her like insist there’s only one reason to enrich uranium, and that’s to have a bomb.

McGann paints a worst-case scenario where Iran pretends to go along with inspections until it gets its uranium back from the Russians, then kicks everybody out and builds a bomb. That gets us back to the bull’s eye counterpoint. If they kick out inspectors again, they are cooked.

There’s one bright note: the BBC notes that senior Israeli and Iranian officials met during the non-proliferation talks in Sept. in Cairo, Egypt. Well, both sides attended panel discussions. I guess that’s almost like talking together, but if you’ve ever been in a panel discussion, you know it’s not really a discussion.

Then again, we’re not really having a discussion about Iran. It’s all scare talk that makes very little sense, and next to none of it is true. I just read an Oct. 21 article in the far-right Family Security Matters that’s so crazy I won’t insert a text link to it. It’s only worth mentioning because it cites a book by some nut bar that says Iran’s plan for the United States includes “nuclear devastation, followed by the establishment of Islamic sharia law.”

To think that some people shovel down this horse plop like it’s chocolate ice cream. Iran could no sooner pull a stunt like that than they could colonize Saturn.

Uh, oh. I can see the next headline: Officials say Iran Will Bomb American and Israel with Nuclear Weapons Based on Saturn!

Commander Jeff Huber, U.S. Navy (Retired) writes at Pen and Sword. Jeff's novel Bathtub Admirals (Kunati Books), a lampoon on America's rise to global dominance, is on sale now.


  1. Boy, right-wingers sure seem to live in perpetual state of fear. Doesn't really go with their preferred self-image as steely-eyed warriors.

    And the things they're living in fear of have such a low probability of actually occurring it boggles the mind that anyone would obsess about them the way they do. Meanwhile, the real threats to the country (mostly internal) proceed apace.

    If they'd like to wring their hands over a possible real external threat to America's security, they might try
    on for size.

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