Scarcely a day goes by anymore without some cocksure Israeli cabinet member or loudmouthed American "diplomat" sounding the alarm that Iran is covertly trying to develop nuclear weapons. We hear ominous warnings that the Western world will suddenly be at risk of complete annihilation by those crazy Ayatollahs, should they succeed in their quest to develop the bomb. "No one will be safe!" they cry, "Because, in addition to being hell-bent on incinerating Israel in a nuclear holocaust, those lunatic Iranians might even launch nuclear strikes against other Western countries! We have to crush and kill the Iranians right now, before they finish building their bombs — even if that means making the United States the single most despised country in the world."
What is extremely interesting, however, is that none of the pundits, Knesset members, presidents, congressman, or foreign lobbyists ever bother to tell us how they know that Iran is trying to build a bomb in the first place. They don’t bother to do this, quite frankly, because there is absolutely no evidence that the Iranians are trying to build nuclear weapons. The International Atomic Energy Commission, which is charged with monitoring Iran’s nuclear activities (and to which the Iranians voluntarily submit, unlike the Israelis), has adduced not one shred of evidence that Iran has diverted any uranium for any non-civilian purposes. Not one of the 16 American intelligence agencies has adduced any evidence whatsoever that the Iranians have restarted their nuclear weapon program after having voluntarily halted it in 2003. Not a single person in the whole world has adduced any evidence that the Iranians have acquired the technological know-how to be able to build a nuclear weapon, and some prominent people even doubt that they could ever acquire the know-how, even if they wanted to.
In other words, the members of the political class in the United States and Israel once again feel free to make fantastic and terrifying claims about a Middle Eastern government in order to convince us of the need to invade and kill more people who have not attacked us. This time, however, the political class hasn’t even given us the courtesy of manufacturing a false trail of evidence in order to convince us of their claims. The political classes’ contempt for the American and Israeli citizenry is apparently so overweening this time around that they haven’t even deigned to cook up a few juicy lies about, say, aluminum tubes, to substantiate their allegations of Iran’s intention to develop and use nuclear weapons.
The political class in America has apparently learned its lesson from the reign of George II when it comes to fabricating evidence to induce needless wars. Serving up false evidence can get a politician into trouble if it looks like he is intentionally trying to mislead the public into dying and killing for pointless or idiotic reasons. Given this, why risk fabricating evidence if you don’t have to? If your electorate is stupid or gullible enough to believe anything you, a lying politician, say, why not simply omit evidence altogether? Far better is to simply make fantastic and unsubstantiated claims today, and, when those claims inevitably get exposed as utterly false at some point in the future, simply assert that "everyone" thought they were true. The American public is not asking for any evidence of Iranian ambitions to produce nuclear weapons, so why go out of your way to supply it to them?
Without a trail of traceable lies and false evidence there is no way to indict any specific politician. In fact, the politicians involved in this sort of underhanded manipulation can use the exposure of the truth to their advantage as well. For, once exposed, they can wring their hands and publicly lament that "everyone" was misled so badly. "Woe is us!" they will cry out, "We were all misled! This just proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that we need to spend more tax money on intelligence gathering to avoid this kind of mistake in the future" However, don’t expect them to explain how "everyone" got the erroneous idea into their heads in the first place, and don’t expect them to use the opportunity to end the pointless and murderous war they have already started. Most of all, don’t expect them to apologize for all the dead American soldiers and foreign civilians that their war will produce.
The emergence of this form of evidence-free war rationalization is an ominous sign, because politicians only pull this chicanery if they think they can get away with it. In any sane and reasonable nation, politicians know that there must be compelling and explicit reasons for people to send their children abroad in order to kill and die. Politicians in reasonable nations who are contemplating blowing up lives, fortunes and foreign people feel obligated to provide evidence to their own people that they must sacrifice and suffer for some good reason. That the current gaggle of politicians in Washington is providing no such evidence while still threatening to attack Iran, means that politicians believe that the American people are gullible, stupid or indifferent almost to the point of insanity. And it looks as though they are right. To not demand evidence of grave, imminent and real harm before going off to kill and die means that American soldiers are blindingly obedient to the point of being without conscience and without brains. To have no moral objection in invading a foreign nation that has never attacked you and has no intention of attacking you, on the basis of no evidence whatsoever, is not only morally reprehensible beyond comprehension, but a sign that the most Americans are in fact just as stupid and gullible as the politicians are hoping.
I wouldn’t hold my breath for any evidence that Iran is developing nuclear weapons in order to justify a new war in the Middle East. The lesson’s been learned: faked evidence will only get you into trouble, and real evidence…well, there isn’t any.
Mark R. Crovelli [send him mail] writes from Denver, Colorado.