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