Threatening War with Iran

Obama, having acted in his early presidency like he would depart from his predecessor’s Iran policy, and having actually provided gestures of actual change in his diplomatic tone, has reverted back to the standard establishment approach. His administration is promising a new round of crushing sanctions.

Of course, so much of the propaganda in the mainstream media and coming from both parties, implicit in Obama’s entire posture, concerns the fictional threat Iran poses to the United States, its allies and interests. There is misinformation, for example, that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons in violation of international agreements, even though there is no credible evidence of this. The press echoes such completely debunked propaganda time and again without any relent. Obama went hysterical when Iran announced a new nuclear site, well before the nation had to, and claimed Iran had been “caught,” even though nothing it was doing was inconsistent with its pursuit of nuclear energy as allowed under the Non-Proliferation Treaty, to which Iran is a signatory.

All of this ratcheting up of propaganda against Iran is very reminiscent of the case for war with Iraq—WMD, and ties to terrorists—and it is just as hollow. Even more important, none of the claims, even if true, would justify the U.S. widening its wars of aggression to the Iranian people, and sanctions are properly seen as traditional acts of war and belligerence.

Obama seems to be a true believer in progressive warmongering, but he probably also sees the political angle here. The neoconservative National Review recently called on Obama to bomb Iran if he wants to save his presidency. Sarah Palin has also been saying, explicitly, that if Obama gets “tougher” against Iran and in the war on terror, the conservative opposition to his administration will largely subside. I’m not sure if that is true, but Obama does have a lot to win, politically, from more war—at least in the short term. In the long term, wars tend to become unpopular, but not enough for Americans to swear off the foul poison next time the propaganda machine churns out “reasons” to bomb, invade, occupy and shed blood once again.

Anthony Gregory is a former Research Fellow at the Independent Institute and author of the Independent books American Surveillance and The Power of Habeas Corpus in America.
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