Headlines for the State

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We continue
to march towards war with Iran. Lately there has been some news
story almost every day warning us about the danger that Iran poses
to us, as if to prepare the American people for why this war will
be necessary. Below is a sample of some headlines from the last
few weeks taken from mainstream news websites. The second column
has additional text lifted from the story.

U.S.
officials: Probe eyes Iran ties in Karbala attack

The Iranians
may be behind Karbala

Bush
vows firm response to Iranian military actions

Iran is
trying to block U.S. from operating in Gulf region

Pentagon
halts sales of F-14 parts

Some F-14
parts known to have reached Iran

ElBaradei
calls for timeout on Iran nuclear program

Iran is
conducting small-scale research enrichment program

Iran
plans satellite launch, magazine reports

Satellite
launch could help Tehran improve long-range missile program

Iran
sets new missile tests as U.S. carrier dispatched

Some missiles
capable of hitting U.S. allies in Mideast

Tehran
Goes Latin

Iran is
helping Hezbollah set up shop in Central and South America

Lawmaker:
Iran installing 3,000 centrifuges

Many countries,
including the United States, believe that Iran is using its
nuclear program as a cover to produce an atomic weapon.

U.N.
condemns denials of Holocaust; Iran demurs

The president
of Iran is in fact saying, ‘There really was no Holocaust,
but just in case, we shall finish the job.”‘

Bush:
Iran, Syria fomenting ‘chaos’ in Lebanon

“Those
responsible for creating chaos must be called to account.”

General:
U.S. has proof Iran arming Iraqi militias

Iran is
supplying Iraqi militias with a variety of powerful weapons

Feds:
Hezbollah Growing Threat To U.S

An emboldened
Hezbollah is a growing danger, and it's backed by Iran

(Please note:
sometimes the news sites change the titles of their stories as they
update them).

Some of these
seem outright farcical. Are we to believe that Iran is setting up
a terrorist network in Latin America? That's a headline one would
expect in The Onion, not Newsweek. The article explains that there
is "suspected" fund-raising for Hezbollah in the "lawless
tri-border region, where Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay meet."
This area is not lawless; in fact it derives its character precisely
from the fact that there are too many laws, i.e., it is a geographical
convergence point for three over-taxed (and differently-taxed) and
highly regulated markets. Thus it is a hotbed for smugglers, i.e.,
people who are trying to arbitrate the differences between the three
systems. It never occurs to anyone this black market would disappear
if the countries simply lowered or eliminated their ridiculously
high tariffs on DVD players. Of course from "smugglers"
to "terrorists" is always a small jump for a statist.

(A few months
ago I watched a report on the CBS Evening News about this area.
According to the CBS reporter, "several" terrorist camps
exist there! She didn't name them, point them out on a map, show
any video footage, or share any eyewitness testimony on the existence
of these camps. She simply stated the existence of the camps as
a fact, and afterwards the anchorman thanked her for her fine work).

Some of the
entrepreneurs (excuse me, smugglers) who live here are of Arab descent
and as is so common in their culture they send money to charities
back home, and these charities may be linked to Hezbollah, and we
all know that Iran supports Hezbollah, and so there you have it,
there is growing Iranian terrorist network in Latin America. A "specialist
in militant Islamic movements" helpfully informs us that “If
I were a terrorist today, I’d be hiding out in South America.”

What else?
Let's see, the Iranians have apparently purchased some F-14 spare
parts. Given the fact that they have F-14s in their air force, and
those planes are old and in need of spare parts, this would not
surprise me. But the implication here is that they will be a threat
in the coming war. One way to avoid this "threat" would
be not to attack Iran. Regardless, I don't think the Iranians want
to tangle with the US Air Force or Navy jets from carriers; they
would have no more luck than Saddam's air force did. They will probably
stick to cheap SAMs (Surface To Air Missiles). Or perhaps wipe out
our army in Iraq.

How about the
charge of "fomenting chaos in Lebanon." Perhaps Iran is
guilty as charged, but if so, they need to get in line, because
if anybody should be punished for fomenting chaos in Lebanon, it
should be Israel, seeing as they recently attacked that country
and destroyed millions of dollars in infrastructure and killed hundreds
of civilians.

The least farcical
and most troubling of these headlines is the most recent one, that
the US is investigating the possibility of Iranian involvement in
the Karbala episode. Let's take a closer look at this.

According to
this article, two helpful American officials have volunteered that
the primary reason for believing that the Iranians may have been
behind the attack in Karbala is because of "the sophistication
of the attack and the level of coordination." By this reasoning,
at every point in the last three years when the insurgency became
more sophisticated, it must have been due to outside involvement,
as surely the insurgents themselves could never have figured out
how to improve their tactics or build a better IED (Improvised Explosive
Device).

Then Al-Maliki
helpfully chimes in that "the Americans were basing their hunches
about Iranian activities in Iraq on intelligence they’ve amassed."
What intelligence? There is no further explanation. And who amassed
it? The same people who amassed intelligence that Saddam Hussein
had weapons of mass destruction? That didn't know that our asset
Ahmed Chalabi was in bed with the Iranians? That told Cheney whatever
they did so he was emboldened to announce that the insurgency was
"in its last throes"? That were completely surprised by
the existence of a large, armed, fanatical Shiite cult near Karbala?
Are these the guys who took nearly three days to even correctly
tell the press exactly how the Karbala victims really died? Give
me a break, I think all the so-called "intelligence officers"
know less about what's going on in Iraq than I do. I'm actually
half-way serious when I say that.

But, apparently
"some Iraqis" (getting now to some people that probably
do know something about what's going on in Iraq) "speculate
that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps carried out the attack
in retaliation for the January 11 capture by U.S. forces of five
of its members in Irbil." Well, here at last is something that
sounds reasonable. And perhaps this is really what happened. It
does seem like a stupid move, certain to further antagonize the
US and perhaps even saving Bush the trouble of creating his own
Gulf of Tonkin incident. But the government of Iran is no less idiotic
and stupid than our own, so maybe they really did do it. Or maybe
(for the conspiracy lovers out there) this is the Gulf of
Tonkin incident we've been waiting for. I don't know, but it does
seem like yet another milestone on the road to war with Iran.

Below I have
composed some "headlines" of my own. There is nothing
in the least bit farcical about them. Reading the material I have
linked to might well lead you to conclude that it is the United
States that is a threat to Iran, much more so than the other way
around. And you would be right.

February
22, 2007

James
Foye [send him mail] is
an independent software developer living in Austin, Texas.

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