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    an unreasonable man..., 2007-02-08 01:22:39 | Main | insert your own correction..., 2007-02-13 21:23:04

    your anti-iranian propaganda pitches for monday, february the 12th:

    Newsweek says we're already in a "hidden war" with Iran. It reads a little like they're competing with People for the spreading of juicy gossip:

    At least one former White House official contends that some Bush advisers secretly want an excuse to attack Iran. "They intend to be as provocative as possible and make the Iranians do something [America] would be forced to retaliate for," says Hillary Mann, the administration's former National Security Council director for Iran and Persian Gulf Affairs.

    A war! How sexy! Here they describe the "tit-for-tat" celebrity showdown:

    A second Navy carrier group is steaming toward the Persian Gulf, and NEWSWEEK has learned that a third carrier will likely follow. Iran shot off a few missiles in those same tense waters last week, in a highly publicized test.

    These are small tits, and it's not just my saline-enhanced American asthetics that I say so. Those "tense waters" could also be objectively described as "Iran's coast", off which those three US Navy carrier groups will be floating. It would make more sense had it been written like this:

    In a highly publicized test last week Iran shot off a few missiles in the Persian Gulf, escalating an ongoing tit-for-tat with the United States Navy, which recently tested its Tomahawk Block IV cruise missile system in the Gulf of Mexico.

    Even better would be if Iran at least had a speedboat or rubber raft floating off the Florida panhandle.

    Things go swimmingly along like this until we get to the bottom of page 4:

    For decades, Washington's abiding fear has been that Iran might pick up where the shah's nuclear program (initially U.S.-backed) left off, and make the Great Satan the target of its atomic weapons. The Iranians, who were signatories to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, insisted they had nothing to hide. They lied. In August 2002, a group affiliated with the MEK revealed the extent of nuclear activities at a facility in Isfahan, where the Iranians had been converting yellowcake to uranium gas, and in Natanz, where the infrastructure needed to enrich that material to weapons-grade uranium was being built.

    This is flirting with outright dishonesty. The claim that the Shah had a nuclear weapons program is always qualified by "some assumptive people assumed". There's no actual evidence of it. There's basically no evidence that anybody who ever lead Iran has ever been interested in persuing a weapons program. None is offered here. The facility they refer to, in fact, actually undercuts the allegations. "[T]he infrastructure needed to enrich that material" is also needed to produce enough low reactor-grade uranium to fuel an export-offsetting civillian nuclear energy industry. Iran would need more capacity at Natanz to build a nuclear energy industry than if it was building a weapons program. According to The Institute for Science and International Security Natanz's "capacity is far larger than needed for a nuclear weapon program, supporting Iran's statement that the facility is aimed at producing low enriched uranium for nuclear power reactors."

    There's never been a moment where Iran rejected putting cooperative and infrastructural safeguards in place, so long as they could maintain their rights to nuclear power under the NPT. Here they are yesterday, saying it again:

    [Iran's chief nuclear negotiator and secretary of the Supreme National Security Council Ali Larijani explained] "I have read American scientists saying there are centrifuges that can only enrich to a certain level. That is acceptable."

    He also said an Iranian proposal to make its Natanz enrichment plant an international consortium so that other countries could be actively involved in its nuclear fuel work was still valid.

    Iran has mostly gone above and beyond their obligations under the NPT. Europe and the US have been demanding a counterproductive development freeze before resuming "talks". Iran agreed to this in the past without getting anything in return, something which coincidentally proved beneficial to the election campaign of one Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

    While Newsweek covers many of the bases on the unsubstantial nature of US allegations, their constant tit-for-tat presentation - as though Iran is contributing anything to the "escalation" - is mildly irritating. Also, their headline is misleading, unless by "hidden war" they mean "bellicose rhetoric".

    The real winner for the "We Call Them Yellow Because They Are Yellow" Prize goes to the New York Times' Michael "General Casey Says" Gordon, who's hard work earns him the award hands down almost everytime he publishes anything, and sometimes just for opening his mouth. "Editors at several levels who should have been challenging reporters and pressing for more skepticism", Gordon said in his last acceptance speech, explaining the craft of living with himself.

    US Officials say the craziest things. This time around it's that Iran is supplying Explosively Formed Penetrators (EFPs) to Shi'ite groups in Iraq, and that said groups are attacking US troops. EFPs are basically just your run of the mill IED, made out of commonly available oil pipe and packed with a charge, with the innovative rocket science of a concave plate positioned opposite the charge, like so. Even if Iran wanted to support Iraqi attacks against US troops why would they give something the Iraqis - who have by now mastered the intricacies of constructing IEDs - could easily construct themselves? Give them, you know, a hammer. More likely a simple manual press tool and ball plunger. These devices are nothing more than another simple advance in Iraq's growing improvized ballistics sector.

    If you still want to uselessly persist along the Administration's PR on this, then see also: Jim Henley; Glenn Greenwald; Dan Froomkin; Juan Cole; and ravenous terrorist sympathizer, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Peter Pace.

    While there's more skeptical reporting now than there was on Iraq, I'm left wondering by that titillating Newsweek headline if maybe the war hasn't already started without our being told. We didn't just escalate rhetoric prior to the Iraq war, but drastically escalated the bombing campaign, and there's been no agnozing at all over the failure to report that the Bush administration started that war half a year prior to the invasion. Certain folks are alleging we're already running military operations inside Iran, but keeping it below the "CNN line". These allegations are hardly any less credible than those the Administration is hurling the other direction.

    Regardless a bombing campaign against Iran's nuclear program will surely push it even further underground than our illegal obstructions have already, and there couldn't be a better way to change the Supreme Leader's mind about a weapons program, just like the Osirak example. It's not about proliferation - there isn't any here. It's not about Iranian influence in Iraq - we're the primary backers of Iranian-backed parties in Iraq. The administration is either lying because they want the war for other reasons, or they really believe what they're saying and we should be more deathly afraid than ever. I know I am.

:: posted by buermann @ 2007-02-12 18:53:41 CST | link

      I awoke on Sunday morning...turned on the computer...and read on one of the news services about how US intelligence has found that Iranian high-ups are responsible for a certain type of roadside bomb that's killed 100 and some odd Americans.

      With apologies to Yogi Berra, it's like deja-vu all over again.

      Is this the fine US intelligence that brought us the justification for our currrent conflict? If so, pardon me if I want to see some proof.

      Is this what the US has been reduced to? We can't find our terrorist-at-large...so we invade a whole other country. Now we can't seem to find a graceful solution in THAT country...so now let's pick a fight with yet ANOTHER country?


    posted by leahaz @ 2007-02-13 17:38:42 | link

    go ahead, express that vague notion

    your turing test:

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