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I worry that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu will take the initiative now and provoke hostilities with Iran, judging that political realities in the United States would then leave President Barack Obama little choice but to "finish the job."
No Confidence in the FCM
Another concern is that the Fawning Corporate Media remains as easily manipulated by the neocons and other hardliners as it was in 2003. Again, there are plenty of career rewards for talking tough about Iran and none for showing moderation. In this overheated climate of anti-Iran hysteria, politicians also will be tempted to ratchet up their rhetoric to come across as tough and "realistic." That, in turn, might convince Netanyahu that the time is right to force Obama's hand.
One might have hoped that after the Iraq fiasco, American voters would be smarter and more resistant to clever propaganda but the CNN poll on their misplaced confidence about Iran having nukes provides little reassurance.
As for Harman, she is facing a strong Democratic challenger, progressive Marcy Winograd, in the June 8 primary for California's 36th district. Because Harman has a personal fortune of about a half-billion (that's right, billion) dollars from which to draw and Winograd says she is accepting "not one dime" of corporate money the race is viewed as a test of whether it is possible for candidates to win without heaps of money for ad buys and other expenses.
The race also could measure whether Democratic voters will demand some accountability for lawmakers who sided with President Bush and the neocons in rushing the United States off to war in Iraq and who now are spoiling for another fight with Iran.
I don't know how those tests will work out, especially given the continued sludge of one-sided propaganda that flows from the FCM.
What I do know is that incendiary rhetoric from lips like Harman's about the option of a military strike on Iran, her strident advocacy of an act of war (blockade), and her pretense that Netanyahu's claim of an "existential threat" from Iran applies also to the United States is a highly flammable mix.
It is just the kind of rhetoric that could give Netanyahu confidence that he can take matters into his own hands.
This will go in spades if Harman proves to be correct in thinking that her constituents are just as gullible as the ones who answered CNN pollsters in mid-February.
Ray McGovern works for Tell the Word with the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. An Army infantry/intelligence officer in the early 60s, he then served as a CIA analyst for 27 years, during which he chaired National Intelligence Estimates and prepared/briefed The President's Daily Brief. Four years ago yesterday, he confronted Donald Rumsfeld on live TV, an encounter that is still getting hits on YouTube.
This article appeared first on Consortiumnews.com.