Highlights

 
Quotable
[War] is a positive, precise and specific evil, of gigantic proportions ...making within the sphere of its influence all true grandeur impossible.
Charles Sumner
Original Letters Blog US Casualties Contact Donate

 
January 30, 2006

Rank Ignorance Reigns


by Paul Craig Roberts

In keeping with its established role as purveyor of disinformation, Fox "News" talking head Brit Hume misreported Fox's own poll. On Special Report on Jan. 26, Hume said that 51 percent of Americans "would now support" air strikes on Iran. What the poll found is that if diplomacy fails, 51 percent would support air strikes [.pdf].

Can we be optimistic and assume that the American public would not regard an orchestrated failure by the Bush administration as a true diplomatic failure? Alas, we cannot expect too much from a population in thrall to disinformation.

The "evidence" that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons consists of mere assertion by members of the Bush administration and the neoconservative media. Iran says it is not pursuing nuclear weapons, and the International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors have found no evidence of a weapons program.

Iran is a signatory to the nuclear nonproliferation treaty. Under the treaty, signatories have the right to develop nuclear energy. All they are required to do is to make reports to the IAEA and keep their facilities open to inspection. Iran complies with these requirements.

There is no Iranian "defiance." When news media report "defiance," they purvey disinformation. The "seals" on Iranian nuclear facilities were placed there voluntarily by the Iranians while they attempted to resolve the false charges brought by the Bush administration.

The "Iran crisis" is entirely the product of the Bush administration's determination to deprive Iran of its rights as a signatory of the nonproliferation treaty. It is one more demonstration of President Bush's belief that his policies are not constrained by fact, law, and international treaties.

Despite the clear and unambiguous facts, the Fox/Opinion Dynamics poll reports that 60 percent of Republicans, 41 percent of independents, and 36 percent of Democrats support using air strikes and ground troops against Iran in order to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. This poll indicates an appalling extent of ignorance and misinformation among the American public. The Bush administration will take advantage of this ignorance to initiate another war in the Middle East.

A majority of Americans have now been deceived twice on the same issue. Just as there was no evidence that Iraq was developing nuclear weapons, there is no evidence that Iran is developing nuclear weapons. There is nothing but unproven assertions, assertions, moreover, that are contradicted by the evidence that does exist. Americans, it would appear, are so eager for wars that they welcome being fooled into them.

One wonders, also, where the 60 percent of Republicans, 41 percent of independents, and 36 percent of Democrats think the U.S. will find the ground troops with which to invade Iran. As the three-year-old "cakewalk war" in Iraq has made completely clear, the U.S. does not have enough ground troops to successfully occupy Iraq and to suppress a small insurgency drawn from a Sunni population of 5 million people.

We hear report after report from military authorities that the Iraq war is straining our armed forces to the breaking point. For example, a Pentagon study by Andrew Krepinevich concludes that the U.S. Army cannot sustain the pace of troop deployments to Iraq long enough to break the back of the insurgency.

Every military expert knows this to be true, although few dare to say it. If the U.S. military is on the breaking point from trying to deal with an insurgency drawn from 5 million people, how can Bush send ground troops into vastly larger Iran with a population of 70 million people? It boggles the mind that a majority of Americans favor an impossible policy.

Another recent poll, a LA Times/Bloomberg poll, finds that 57 percent of the respondents "favor military intervention if Iran's government pursues a program that could enable it to build nuclear arms." Of these same respondents, 53 percent believe it was not worth going to war against Iraq.

The poll thus reveals the American public as grist for the neoconservatives' war mill. If a country can produce material for nuclear energy, it can, with additional facilities and knowledge, produce material for nuclear weapons. Thus, if Iran exercises its rights under the nonproliferation treaty, 57 percent of Americans support a US military attack on Iran!

American politicians, whose strings are pulled by the American-Israeli Political Action Committee despite AIPAC's current engulfment in spying charges against the U.S., are demanding that the U.S. attack Iran in order to protect Israel.

One excuse for these demands is the statement by the new Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that Europeans should give Israel a piece of Europe and move the country there. His statement that Israel should be wiped out is a statement intended for Muslim ears, not a declaration of an Iranian program of action. The Iranian president is simply elevating Iran's standing among Muslims by taking advantage of the anger that President Bush has created against the U.S. and Israel.

The notion that Iran might march into Israel is laughable. Iran has four routes into Israel: through Turkey and Syria, through Iraq and Syria, through Iraq and Jordan (or Lebanon), and through Iraq, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia. Three of these routes are foreclosed by U.S. troops on the ground, and the fourth by the Turkish army.

Moreover, Israel has never signed the nonproliferation treaty, and, unlike Iran, Israel does have nuclear weapons. An Iranian invasion of Israel could be fatal for Iran.

Why, then, is the American population being whipped up by the Bush administration and Fox "News" into war hysteria against Iran?

Fox is aggressively agitating for war with Iran. On shows such as Hannity and Colmes, guest after guest Newt Gingrich, various retired generals, pundits, and even Democratic politicians agitate for attacking Iran.

For example, on Jan. 26 and 27, liberal Democrat Bob Beckel said on Fox that the U.S. has "a moral obligation to take out what we could of Iran's nuclear capabilities." Newt Gingrich said that the Iranian "dictatorship" is "too dangerous to leave it in charge of one of the world's largest supplies of oil."

On Jan. 27 Democratic strategist Pat Caddell expressed mystification as to how strongly the polls surged, literally overnight, in support for attacking Iran.

One wonders if Americans ever think of the consequences of the rash actions they favor. The Bush administration has placed Iraq in the hands of the majority Shia, who are allied with Iran, which is allied with Hezbollah, the strongest military force in Lebanon, which is friendly to Hamas, the new Palestinian authority. What response might a U.S. attack on Iran bring from the Shia population in Iraq? What terrorism might Iran unleash throughout the Middle East? What U.S. puppets might fall? What consequences might follow if Iran not only shuts off Iranian oil, but knocks out facilities throughout the region and blocks oil flows from the Middle East?

Compared to attacking Iran, attacking Iraq was a small, if reckless, risk. Nevertheless, the unexpected consequences of the U.S. invasion of Iraq have prevented the Bush administration from achieving its goals.

Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda must be marveling at the rank stupidity of the American people. Maybe Fox "News" only pretends to be the Ministry of War Propaganda for the Bush administration and is in the employ of al-Qaeda instead.

War is not strengthening America's position in the Middle East, as gains by extremists in Palestinian, Iraqi, Pakistani, and Egyptian elections attest. There is no prospect of the Bush administration imposing its will on the Middle East. To paraphrase Gingrich, if Bush and the neocons don't know this by now, they are too dangerous to leave in charge of the U.S. government.


comments on this article?
 
 
Archives

  • Who Remembers 'Guns and Butter'?
    2/18/2009

  • If Only US Law Applied to the US Government
    12/8/2008

  • Washington Arrogance Has Fomented a Muslim Revolution
    12/5/2008

  • The Cost of Hegemony Is Beyond Reach
    12/2/2008

  • This Time, the World Is Not Buying It
    8/16/2008

  • Do You Feel Safe Now? Proud?
    8/7/2008

  • Are You Ready to Face the Facts About Israel?
    7/25/2008

  • One Million Terrorists?
    7/18/2008

  • Only Little War Criminals Get Punished
    7/17/2008

  • We, the Salt of the Earth,
    Take Precedence
    7/2/2008

  • John Yoo, Totalitarian
    6/20/2008

  • The Conservative Movement: From Failure to Threat
    5/19/2008

  • Lies of Aggression
    5/16/2008

  • What the Iraq War Is About
    4/23/2008

  • American Hegemony Is Not Guaranteed
    4/14/2008

  • Petraeus Testimony May Signal Iran Attack
    4/7/2008

  • Protecting America From the President
    2/22/2008

  • Paying Insurgents Not to Fight
    2/19/2008

  • What Do We Stand For?
    2/18/2008

  • Bush Calls on France for Help
    2/12/2008

  • American Liberty Teetering on Edge of Abyss
    1/28/2008

  • The West's Orwellian Monopoly on Morality
    1/24/2008

  • Bringing Death and Destruction to Muslims
    1/17/2008

  • We Are All Prisoners Now
    12/27/2007

  • No Liberty Without
    Habeas Corpus
    12/12/2007

  • Kerry Complicit in
    Bush's Crimes
    9/19/2007

  • Who Are The Fanatics?
    9/6/2007

  • The War Criminal in the Living Room
    8/31/2007

  • More War on the Horizon
    8/24/2007

  • Padilla Jury Opens Pandora's Box
    8/20/2007

  • US Israel Policy Harms Both Countries
    8/16/2007

  • US Hegemony Spawns Russian-Chinese Military Alliance
    8/9/2007

  • A Free Press or a
    Ministry of Truth?
    7/17/2007

  • A Reform to Restore the People's Power
    7/13/2007

  • Beyond Recklessness
    7/3/2007

  • The Neocon Threat to World Peace and American Freedom
    6/12/2007

  • If You Think Bush Is Evil Now, Wait Until He Nukes Iran
    6/6/2007

  • How Can Bush Free Iraq When He Brings Tyranny to America?
    5/26/2007

  • Will the GOP Destroy Itself Before It Destroys America?
    5/23/2007

  • One War Criminal Down, A Fistful to Go
    5/11/2007

  • The War Goes Ever On
    4/24/2007

  • Creating a Market for Security
    4/12/2007

  • Crime Blotter:
    1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
    3/19/2007

  • The Confession Backfired
    3/17/2007

  • The Last Days of Constitutional Rule?
    3/16/2007

  • How Much More Harm Can Bush Do?
    3/7/2007

  • Americans Have Lost Their Country
    3/1/2007

  • Criminals Control the Executive Branch
    2/10/2007

  • The Crime of the Century
    1/31/2007

  • Bush Is About to Attack Iran
    1/27/2007

  • The Empire Turns Its
    Guns on the Citizenry
    1/24/2007

  • The 'Surge' Is A Red Herring
    1/12/2007

  • Jimmy Carter Speaks Truth to Propaganda
    1/11/2007

  • Distracting Congress from the Real War Plan: Iran
    1/10/2007

  • The Surge: Political Cover or Escalation?
    1/9/2007

  • Is Bush's War Winding Down or Heating Up?
    1/8/2007

  • US Hypocrisy Reaches
    All-Time High
    1/4/2007

  • Keane/Kagan Plan Means More Bloodshed
    1/3/2007

  • The Disrespect for Truth has Brought a New Dark Age
    12/29/2006

  • Is James Baker a Match
    for AIPAC?
    12/14/2006

  • Catastrophe Still Awaits
    12/7/2006

  • Bush Is No Conservative
    12/5/2006

  • Is President Bush Sane?
    12/2/2006

  • Bush's Only Real Victory
    11/22/2006

  • Are Democrats Turning A Blind Eye to Civil Liberty?
    11/14/2006
  • More Archives

    Paul Craig Roberts wrote the Kemp-Roth bill and was assistant secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He was associate editor of the Wall Street Journal editorial page and contributing editor of National Review. He is author or co-author of eight books, including The Supply-Side Revolution (Harvard University Press). He has held numerous academic appointments, including the William E. Simon chair in political economy, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Georgetown University, and senior research fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He has contributed to numerous scholarly journals and testified before Congress on 30 occasions. He has been awarded the U.S. Treasury's Meritorious Service Award and the French Legion of Honor. He was a reviewer for the Journal of Political Economy under editor Robert Mundell.

    Reproduction of material from any original Antiwar.com pages
    without written permission is strictly prohibited.
    Copyright 2014 Antiwar.com