If someone was to call for the head of Helen Thomas, maybe a person with a little less blood on their hands might have been more appropriate.
Octavia Nasr was CNN's Senior Middle East News Editor and had worked for the network for 20 years. When Sayyed Mohammed Hussein, a very influential and beloved religious Shiite figure died, she made the mistake of making this very controversial Tweet "Sad to hear of the passing of Sayyed Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah . . . . One of Hezbollah's giants I respect a lot." She was fired within days.
Framing the Debate
What's most amazing about the ideological support for an attack on Iran is how we have not even begun to debate how and why we went into Iraq. During the 1970's the United States went through a deep and painful period of introspection regarding Vietnam. Mysteriously, the debate on Iraq has simply morphed into a debate on Iran. Where is the national dispute on how, why, and who is to blame for this deadly, devastating debacle?
In a fascinating study done by Daniel Simons and Christopher Chabris, subjects are asked to watch a short video of a group people passing a basketball between them and are told to count the number of passes. A person dressed in a gorilla suit walks through the screen. After the test, the subjects are asked if they saw anything out the ordinary. Amazingly, 50% of the subjects did not see the gorilla. By concentrating on what they are told to look at, they are blind to the gorilla.
The sacred cows, or taboos, are the gorillas. Our media, politicians, and academics tell us to watch the ball (bombings, surges, draw downs, new generals, old generals, what Obama says, what Limbaugh says, what Biden says, what Fox says, what CNN says) but what we should focus on is what they don't say. What they don't mention is precisely the gorilla. And the gorilla in this case is the special relationship with Israel. When it is brought up, we are told to focus on another ball. As soon as someone asks the very simple question. Why are we supporting Israel? What do we get out of it? They are told to look at the ball called anti-Semitism.
The real debate, the logical debate, is off limits. That is why we can't really talk about why we went into Iraq in the first place. When anyone begins to connect the dots: Neo-Cons, AIPAC, Israel, The Project for a New America, it becomes clear that this war was a gross manipulation of the fear caused by 9/11 in an effort to somehow marry Israel's foreign policy goals with America's. But no major media outlet ever broaches the taboo. From Fox to CNN, from The New York Times to The New Republic, The New Yorker to the Weekly Standard, Obama to Palin, all agree; America must have a special relationship with Israel. Our foreign policy is obliged to ensure the safety and well being of the Jewish state. (see The End of the Republic ). The real problem for the Republic is not even what our foreign policy is, the real cancer is that there is no debate at all about it's single most important premise.
Admadinejad is certainly an unsavory character, and his holocaust denying, the political repression, hangings and anti-Semitic rants are pitiful and abhorrent. But then again, the United States has no moral footing to question Iran's democratic credentials after the CIA orchestrated a coup to overthrow the the democratically-elected government of Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh in 1953.
The western media has made much of the opposition movement to Ahmadinejad but few have really investigated who won the elections there.
"Though widely ignored by the major American news media, a recent study by the Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) at the University of Maryland found little evidence to support allegations of fraud, nor to conclude that most Iranians view President Ahmadinejad as illegitimate.
IPA analyzed multiple polls of the Iranian public from three different sources, including some before the June 12 election and some afterwards. The study found that in all the polls, a majority said they planned to vote for Ahmadinejad or had voted for him. The numbers ranged from 52 to 57 percent just before the election to 55 to 66 percent after the election."
What is the threat to the United States if Iran gets a nuclear weapon? The most pessimistic predictions for a Iran to have a fully operational weapon are at least three years. A deal was worked out between Turkey, Brazil and Iran in which to Erdogan and Lula da Silva convinced Ahmadinejad to agree a deal originally proposed by the Obama administration to ship 2,640 pounds of Iran's low-enriched uranium to Turkey in exchange for higher-enriched uranium that could only be used for peaceful medical uses.