If you follow the news, I’m sure you have heard that Iran is threatening to “wipe Israel off the map”? It has become a standard line in the Bush Administration’s propaganda campaign for military action against Iran and has been repeated in various forms by presidential candidates from both parties, senators, representatives, neoconservatives and war mongers around the world.
The “Bush Doctrine” of preemptive war has now metastasized to the point that a nation no longer has to pose even an imaginary threat to the United States to warrant a preemptive military strike. Mr. Bush now seems ready to go to war with Iran, over a verbal [not military] threat to Israel
- “The threat from Iran is, of course, their stated objective to destroy our strong ally Israel. That’s a threat, a serious threat. It’s a threat to world peace. I made it clear, and I’ll make it clear again, that we will use military might to protect our ally Israel.”--George W. Bush, 3/20/06
…and in this case--an imaginary verbal threat.
People who actually understand the Farsi language have pointed out that Ahmadinejad’s statement, which is quoted as “wipe Israel off the map” does not contain the word Israel or the word map, or suggest that anything be wiped off of anywhere. A comparison of translations from a number of sources suggests that a more proper interpretation of what Ahmadinejad said is “The Imam said this regime occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time.” (Jonathan Steele, The Guardian, 6/14/06)
The Iranian President was not threatening anyone, but was encouraging the Iranian people to be patient, by quoting the [Imam] Ayatollah Khomeini, who rose to prominence when the Iranian people overthrew the American-backed Shah of Iran in 1979.
- “Ahmadinejad acknowledges that the removal of America's powerful grip on the region via the Zionists may seem unimaginable to some, but reminds the audience that, as Khomeini predicted, other seemingly invincible empires have disappeared and now only exist in history books.”-- Arash Norouzi, ‘Wiped off the Map’--The Rumor of the Century, AmericanChronicle.com, 5/26/07
Ahmadinejad put the Khomeini quote into context by associating it with the fall of the American-backed Shah of Iran, the Soviet regime, and now Saddam Hussein’s regime--all of which vanished “from the page of time”, without Iran wiping any nations off the map.
The mistranslation of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejah’s words into “wipe Israel off the map” sounds like something right out of Vice President Dick Cheney’s propaganda machine; so it is no surprise that The New York Times was one of the first newspapers to print it. (The Times played an important role in spreading the misinformation and disinformation leaked by Cheney’s office to make the case for war with Iraq. Now, even though Times’ editors have expressed the wish that they “had been more aggressive in re-examining the claims [about Iraq] as new evidence emerged--or failed to emerge” (5/26/04); they are doing the same thing again--with Iran.)
Another thing that every American should know about Iranian President, Mamoud Ahmadinejad:
- “… Ahmadinejad is a ceremonial president. …[H]e is not commander-in-chief of the armed forces. He can’t order anybody to kill anybody. He can’t launch a war. He can’t launch missiles. Those powers are vested in the Supreme Jurisprudent, the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. …[T]he American right’s fascination with him is entirely misplaced, and it’s because he’s a quirky character and he has objectionable views, and so it’s easy to use him to demonize Iran.”--Middle East Analyst and Historian Juan Cole, Democracy Now (10/23/07)
So, why isn’t the American Press reporting what Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has to say? Despite having made some strong statements toward Israel in the past, Khamenei responded to the uproar over Ahmadinejad’s statement:
- “We have no problem with the world. We are not a threat whatsoever to the world and the world knows it. …We will never start a war. We have no intention of going to war with any government.”--Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, Islamic Republic of Iran News Network Television, 6/4/06
The Bush Administration can’t have the American people hearing peaceful talk like that coming from the nation they have labeled “the number one threat to world peace”. That is why the only portion of Khamenei’s speech that was widely reported in the U.S. is the part when he threatened to disrupt the flow of energy through the region. The reports don’t usually bother to mention that Khamenei was warning what might occur--IF, and only if, the United States attacked Iran.
The Iranian government aided the U.S. in Afghanistan, offered to aid flyers downed in the Iraq War, and have refrained from sending forces into Iraq. The majority of foreign fighters in Iraq come from Saudi Arabia and Libya--not Iran (CNN, 11/23/07) I do not believe that any Iranian fighters have been found inside Iraq.
In the spring of 2003, Iran send a message to the U.S. State Department offering to submit to tighter control by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in exchange for access to peaceful nuclear technology. Iran also offered to end its support of Palestinian opposition groups and to apply pressure on those groups to end violence against civilians. The Bush Administration told the State Department to ignore Iran’s proposals.
In the Fall of 2003, Iran agreed to suspend its uranium enrichment program and pursue talks with America and European nations, but the Bush Administration refused to join the talks. Since then, President Ahmadinejad has sent two letters to the Bush Administration in an attempt to open a dialog and resolve the differences between Iran and the United States. There was no reply from the Bush Administration.
Iran is not a threat to America, any more than Iraq was; but the Bush Administration and its neoconservative cheerleaders seem determined to start a war with Iran before they leave office.
Freedom Watch, the White House front group that already spent $15 million promoting Mr. Bush’s “surge”, is now employing focus groups to determine the best way to sell a war with Iran to the American people (Mother Jones, Nov. 2007).
So, the next time you see a news report about Iran that describes the situation as the “Nuclear Showdown” and portrays Iranian President Ahmadinejad as the new Hitler with his finger on the nuclear trigger--please keep in mind that Iran has no nuclear weapons and no missiles capable of reaching the United States. In the “showdown” between the U.S and Iran; the U.S. is the only one with an unstable leader, armed with nuclear weapons.
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