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Neocon Name-Calling on Iran Deal

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However, the last thing that a Washington Post editorial writer should call for is accountability, since the Post's editorial pages served as a bulletin board for the many bogus assertions about Iraq's WMD and thus cleared the way for an aggressive and disastrous war on Iraq.

Not surprisingly, Charles Lane doesn't do much recounting of that human catastrophe, the one that his bosses -- the likes of editorial-page editor Fred Hiatt and deputy editor Jackson Diehl -- helped inflict on the people of Iraq by cheering on Bush and his neocon warmongers.

For instance, there was the case at the start of the Iraq War when President George W. Bush mistakenly thought Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein might be eating at a Baghdad restaurant so U.S. warplanes leveled it, killing more than a dozen civilians, including children and a young woman whose headless body was recovered by her mother.

"When the broken body of the 20-year-old woman was brought out torso first, then her head," the Associated Press reported, "her mother started crying uncontrollably, then collapsed." The London Independent cited this restaurant attack as one that represented "a clear breach" of the Geneva Conventions ban on bombing civilian targets.

But such civilian deaths were of little interest to the Washington Post's editorial page and most of the mainstream U.S. media. "American talking heads ... never seemed to give the issue any thought," wrote Eric Boehlert in a report on the U.S. war coverage for Salon.com. "Certainly they did not linger on images of the hellacious human carnage left in the aftermath."

Thousands of other civilian deaths were equally horrific. Saad Abbas, 34, was wounded in an American bombing raid, but his family sought to shield him from the greater horror. The bombing had killed his three daughters -- Marwa, 11; Tabarek, 8; and Safia, 5 -- who had been the center of his life. "It wasn't just ordinary love," his wife said. "He was crazy about them. It wasn't like other fathers." [NYT, April 14, 2003]

The horror of the war was captured, too, in the fate of 12-year-old Ali Ismaeel Abbas, who lost his two arms when a U.S. missile struck his Baghdad home. Ali's father, his pregnant mother and his siblings were all killed. As the armless Ali was evacuated to a Kuwaiti hospital, becoming a symbol of U.S. compassion for injured Iraqi civilians, the boy said he would rather die than live without his hands.

Yes, Chuck, we could say that there was a time when it seemed the world would never forget Ali Ismaeel Abbas or the many other innocent Iraqis who died as a result of the illegal war that Bush launched and the neocons cheered on. Instead, not only have these Iraqi victims long since been forgotten (at least by the mainstream U.S. media), but the American perpetrators and their apologists have faced virtually no accountability.

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And, oh, yes, if you want to talk about fraudulent elections, you might think back on how Bush got into office after losing Election 2000 to Al Gore. At the time, some of your Post colleagues praised the wisdom of the Republican majority on the U.S. Supreme Court for reversing the voters' judgment and installing Bush in the presidency.

So, if you want to show that you're not just a neocon hack, Chuck, you might want to write another column wondering why the Iranians would deal with the blood-drenched U.S. government. You could cite the tragic case of Ali Ismaeel Abbas (and the hundreds of thousands of other Iraqis who suffered from the U.S. invasion) as reasons why the Iranians might want to see "regime change" in Washington.

Granted, a different U.S. president is in office and he has shown a willingness to overcome the difficult history between the two countries, including the CIA-orchestrated overthrow of Iranian democracy in 1953, followed by a U.S-backed dictatorship for the next quarter century.

But, as you might have heard, there's also a new president of Iran, Hassan Rouhani, and he's demonstrated a readiness to bridge the chasm of distrust that has separated the United States and Iran for decades.

If Rouhani's willing to overlook the U.S. guilt in slaughtering Ali Ismaeel Abbas's family or decapitating the young woman in the restaurant or the countless other victims of U.S. government violence, isn't it cynical -- or even exploitative -- of you to cite the death of Neda Agha Soltan as a reason for an escalated economic and possibly military war against her countrymen?

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Or, Chuck, perhaps the truth is that you really don't care about any of these deaths, including the slaying of Neda Agha Soltan. Perhaps you're just using her -- while ignoring the countless others -- to promote a neocon agenda. That might well benefit your Post career but it will risk causing even more misery and more death.

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Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. His latest book, Secrecy & Privilege: Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq, can be ordered at secrecyandprivilege.com. It's also available at

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