Demonizing Iran: US Media Continue Beating War Drums

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Just yesterday, the New York Times, had a lead story about Israeli planning to possibly “go it alone” in an attack on Iran if the US were not to “succeed” in its diplomatic efforts to get Iran to “stop” it’s alleged attempts to develop a nuclear weapon capability.

Aside from the fact that there is no hard evidence that Iran is trying to make a nuclear bomb or even to refine uranium to obtain nuclear-grade material, the paper ignored one crucial point: Israel cannot “go it alone” in any strike on Iran, since its key weapons – F15 and F-16 fighter-bombers – are supplied to it, and kept flying, thanks to the equipment and spare parts provided by the United States. Indeed the entire Israeli military machine is largely financed and armed by the US.

No Israeli military effort cannot go forward without the full backing of the US, and to say otherwise is to simply perpetrate a fraud on the public, implying that Israel is an independent actor on the world stage. It is not.

Another example of warmongering came in an interview by Terri Gross on her program “Fresh Air,” which I believe is the most widely syndicated and popular program on National Public Radio, produced here in Philadelphia at the studios of NPR affiliate WHYY. Listening to “Fresh Air” this week, which featured an interview with New York Times war correspondent Dexter Filkens, a generally excellent reporter who distinguished himself for his reporting on the Iraq War, and particularly on the brutal US assault on the city of Fallujah, I heard Filkens refer casually to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, as “America’s arch-enemy.”

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Now it’s possible, and I certainly do hope it’s the case, that Filkens was being ironic here. But Terri Gross allowed this characterization of Iran’s president pass without comment.

America’s arch-enemy? Really? On what basis?

What, exactly, has Iran done to make itself America’s arch enemy? It has backed the same Shi’ite led government in Iraq that the US has been backing, and indeed, to the extent that Iraq has stabilized, it is largely Iran’s doing. It provided key help to the US in the early invasion of Afghanistan and the routing of the Taliban government, which was never favored by the Iranians.

We know that two years before the election of Ahmadinejad to the presidency, Iran made an offer to the US to recognize Israel, help broker a two-state peace solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and end Iran’s support of armed groups in the Middle East region, all in return for the US accepting Iran as what the 70-million population nation unarguably is: a legitimate power in the region. That offer was slapped down by the Bush/Cheney administration, which had as its goal not peace in Palestine or with Iran, but the occupation and control of Iraq, and perhaps ultimately a war against Iran.

It needs to be said, but somehow never is in the establishment US media, whether corporate or not-for-profit, that Iran historically is not an aggressive, expansive nation. Though it is, by dint of its oil reserves and its population, one of the biggest and most powerful countries in the Middle East, it has not invaded another country since the 18th century, and there is no indication that it plans to invade any other country now.

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April 23, 2010