Vice President Dick Cheney struts in front of an F/A-18 fighter jet aboard the USS John C. Stennis aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf. The Stennis is part of a carrier group sent to the region in order to intimidate, and perhaps bombard, Iran.
The second story line demonstrates, apparently, that Iranian perfidy knows no bounds. Just this month, the Iranian government tried to organize a visit to Ground Zero in Manhattan by its president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who wanted to present a wreath of condolence over the tragedy that occurred there on Sept. 11, 2001. The Iranian president’s proposed actions were consistent with the overall approach the Islamic Republic of Iran has taken concerning the 9/11 attack on America. Iran was one of the first Muslim nations to openly condemn the attack, expressing its condolences to those who lost their lives and calling for a worldwide mobilization against terrorism. But why let facts get in the way of fiction. Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Dan Gillerman, set the standard for intellectual discourse on the matter when he told the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organization that a visit by President Ahmadinejad to Ground Zero would be “similar to a visit by a resurrected Hitler to Auschwitz.” Sen. John McCain continued in this vein, stating that allowing Ahmadinejad to visit the site “would be an affront not only to America but to the families of our loved ones who perished there in an unprecedented act of terror.” Both remarks clearly attempted to link the Iranian president, and by extension Iran, to events that they had nothing whatsoever to do with, and which they openly condemned.
9/11 linkage strategies have worked in the past, regardless of factual merit. One only need recall Saddam Hussein and Iraq to understand how easily the American public, courtesy of war-minded politicians and their co-conspirators in the mainstream media, can be so easily led down the path of holding one party accountable for the actions of another. Saddam had nothing to do with the events of 9/11, and we now occupy Iraq. Similarly, Iran had nothing to do with 9/11, and yet due in part to the distortion of fact taking place concerning allegations of Iranian “terror” activity inside Iraq, the link is clear, at least in the minds of many Americans. President Bush calls Iran a “state sponsor of terror.” The military claims Iran is carrying out terror attacks against U.S. forces in Iraq. The Iranian president wanted to visit Ground Zero and was widely condemned by those who plot regime change in Iran. The Americans, bombarded with these false connections, then conclude Iran was part of the 9/11 plot. The logic is so simple, so flawed and yet so dangerously accessible to the minds of an American people fundamentally ignorant of the true situation in Iran and the Middle East today.
Which leads us to the third, and final, story line of the month: Don’t believe the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Iran does have a nuclear weapons program! For weeks now, the cornerstone for the justification of American military intervention in Iran has been crumbling away, the layers and layers of fear-based fiction crafted by the Bush administration meticulously peeled away by Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei and his team of inspectors from the IAEA. After treading water for years in a sea of political intrigue, ElBaradei and his experts have finally assembled enough data to enable them to close the books on the Iranian nuclear program, noting that all substantive questions have been answered and that contrary to the speculative assessments put forward by the Bush administration it appears that Iran’s nuclear program is, in fact, dedicated to permitted energy-related activities.
Not so fast. In recent days, Israeli military aircraft, in coordination with special operations forces on the ground, launched a preemptive raid on a suspected “nuclear” target in northeast Syria. According to Israeli and U.S. intelligence sources, this site was jointly developed by Syria and North Korea for the purposes of transferring North Korea’s proscribed nuclear weapons program to Syrian control. Worse, we are told by none other than former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton that this Syrian-North Korean project was being done at the behest of none other than Iran. The Syrian site, an established agriculture research center, was linked to a shipment from North Korea invoiced as cement. Israel apparently believed different. Israel has been monitoring any activity taking place inside Syria which could be linked to nuclear activity. Syria had, in the past, conducted exploratory investigation into whether phosphate deposits in Syria were viable for the manufacture of uranium for use in a nuclear energy program. Whether this activity, which has been suspended since the 1980s, was being resurrected, and whether the target bombed by Israel had anything to do with such a resurrection, is unknown at this time. What is obvious to anyone with any understanding of nuclear activities is that Syria was not pursuing a nuclear weapons program and North Korea was not supplying Syria with the components of such a program, either for Syrian use or as a proxy for Iran.
But this sort of fact-based reasoning is irrelevant, especially in the secretive circles of power that make the life-or-death decisions regarding war. The Syrian raid by Israel seems to represent a sort of “proof of capability” drill, instilling a sense of confidence in an Israeli military badly shaken from its debacle in Lebanon during the summer of 2006. The planning for the Syrian raid was a closely held secret, limited to a small cabal of right-leaning politicians in Israel and, surprisingly, the United States. The American end of the deal centered on the office of the vice president, Dick Cheney, who gave final approval to attack the Syrian target only after being rebuffed in his effort to get the Israelis to bomb the Natanz nuclear facility in Iran. Cheney, it seems, is desperate for any action that might trigger an expanded conflict with Iran. Even though the Syrian adventure did not succeed in producing such a trigger, it did wipe off the front pages of American newspapers uncomfortable story lines from the IAEA, contending as they did that Iran had no nuclear weapons program. Now, thanks to the Israeli action against Syria, which had no nuclear weapons program, the American public is in the process of being fooled into speculating that one does in fact exist not only in Syria but in Iran.