If you read the major American newspapers or watch the propaganda on cable TV, it's pretty clear that the U.S. foreign policy Establishment is again spoiling for a fight, this time in Iran.
Just as Iraq's Saddam Hussein was the designated target of American hate in 2002 and 2003, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is playing that role now. Back then, any event in Iraq was cast in the harshest possible light; today, the same is done with Iran.
Anyone who dares suggest that the situation on the ground might not be as black and white as the Washington Post's editors claim it is must be an "apologist" for the enemy regime. It's also not very smart for one's reputation to question the certainty of the reporting in the New York Times, whether about Iraq's "aluminum tubes" for nuclear centrifuges in 2002 or regarding Iran's "rigged" election in 2009.
It's much better for one's career to clamber onto the confrontation bandwagon. Nobody in the major U.S. media or in politics will ever be hurt by talking tough and flexing muscles regarding some Muslim "enemy." And, if the posturing leads to war, it will fall mostly to working-class kids to do the fighting and dying while the bills can be passed along to future generations.
Even groups that should know better like Votevets.org representing veterans of the Iraq and Afghan wars have been piggybacking on the organized hate campaign against Ahmadinejad and Iran to advance other political agendas. In cable TV ads, Votevets.org uses Ahmadinejad's face and Iran's alleged manufacture of some IEDs to press the case for alternative energy.
Indeed, looking at this American propaganda campaign objectively, you would assume that the only acceptable outcome of U.S. differences with Iran is another Iraq-like ratcheting up of tensions, using Washington's influence within the UN Security Council to impose escalating sanctions, leading ultimately to another war, as if the lessons of Iraq have already been forgotten.
This warmongering attitude was on display again Monday, when a possible breakthrough regarding Iran's refining of nuclear material its agreement to ship a substantial amount to Turkey in exchange for nuclear rods for medical research was treated more as a negative than a positive.
The New York Times promptly framed the agreement reached by Iran, Turkey and Brazil as "complicating sanctions talk," while the Washington Post rushed out an analysis with the headline, "Iran creates illusion of progress in nuclear negotiations."
The Post's analysis followed a Saturday editorial denouncing Brazil's President Luiz Ignacio Lula da Silva for even trying "yet another effort to "engage' the extremist clique of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. "
The Post's neocon editorial writers reprised the usual anti-Iran propaganda themes with all the arrogance that they once showed in declaring as flat fact that Saddam Hussein possessed stockpiles of WMD. After the U.S. invaded Iraq and found no WMD caches, the Post's editorial page editor Fred Hiatt acknowledged to CJR that if there indeed were no WMD, "it would have been better not to say it."
(More than 4,300 American soldiers and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis are dead, in part, because of Hiatt's mistake.)
On Saturday, an unchastened Hiatt and his crew were back again spouting more fictions, this time about Iran, like the oft-repeated claim that the Iranian election last June was "fraudulent," apparently because the Post's preferred candidate, Mir Hossein Mousavi, lost.
An analysis by the University of Maryland's Program on International Policy Attitudes earlier this year found that there was little evidence to support allegations of fraud or to conclude that most Iranians viewed Ahmadinejad's reelection as illegitimate.
Not a single Iranian poll analyzed by PIPA whether before or after the June 12 election, whether conducted inside or outside Iran showed Ahmadinejad with less than majority support. None showed the much-touted Green Movement's candidate Mousavi ahead or even close.
"These findings do not prove that there were no irregularities in the election process," said Steven Kull, director of PIPA. "But they do not support the belief that a majority rejected Ahmadinejad." [For details, see Consortiumnews.com's "Ahmadinejad Won, Get Over It!"]
So, while many in the West may agree that Ahmadinejad is an unpleasant politician who foolishly questions the historical accuracy of the Holocaust and makes other bombastic statements, it is nevertheless a propaganda fiction to continue asserting that he was not the choice of most Iranian voters.