sources of disinformation: iran

The anonymous claptrap which, herded through the NYT, WAPO, LAT and the tv news helped Bush and his merry men lead this country into a most satisfying circle jerk of war in 2003, is happening all over again with Iran. But to get the full affect of the war aphrodisiac, you need a chosen set of experts to interpret the wisdom of anonymity.

None is better than a man in uniform – and we know how much the media loves a man in uniform – and so who better to push to the front for yesterday’s bogus story about a weapons cache “found in a palm grove just north of the Iraqi capital” than Maj. Marty Weber, who plumbed his infinite wisdom about Iran’s weaponry to explain that this cache, consisting of weapons easy to make in Iraq (and easy to buy, given the money flooding in from the Saudis for Sunni militias) had the high sulfur and brimstone smell of Iranian goods.

Yet then there was this: “But while the find gave experts much more information on the makings of the E.F.P.’s, which the American military has repeatedly argued must originate in Iran, the cache also included items that appeared to cloud the issue.

Among the confusing elements were cardboard boxes of the gray plastic PVC tubes used to make the canisters. The boxes appeared to contain shipments of tubes directly from factories in the Middle East, none of them in Iran. One box said in English that the tubes inside had been made in the United Arab Emirates and another said, in Arabic, “plastic made in Haditha,” a restive Sunni town on the Euphrates River in Iraq.”

Marty Webb first appeared as our Iranian weapons expert yesterday, in a story about another weapons cache found in Hilla. In that story:

Major Weber said he doubted that Hezbollah — the group that the Mahdi militia leader Moktada al-Sadr has used as a model for his political movement — would have provided the material and technology to the Mahdi militia or to other Shiite fighters in Iraq. “It is possible, but based upon my experience we have not seen Hezbollah share information or technology on anything until they have been told to,” he said.”

That Major Weber – apparently he is on Hezbollah’s “Look what those crazy mullahs want us to do now” email list.

But the other Iranian experts and analysts are the dealmakers, not one overworked, weapons cache rushing Major. This is why LI was so pleased to discover the Right Web site – which we have included on our blogroll – it is the link entitled, DIRECTORY OF THE PSYCHOPATHS WHO RULE US - SMELL THE INSANITY. It is proving very useful. For instance – take an article like this thumbsucker from the Christian Science Monitor, “Iran's pursuit of nuclear power raises alarms ; Does access to fuel ease nations toward nuclear weapons? Rising demand has nonproliferation experts unsettled.” Four Iranian ‘experts” are quoted – although why we call them experts is left in the shadows. They sort out in classic thumbsucker fashion. Two are foreign policy moderates, lukewarm imperialists: a Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association in Washington, and a Joseph Cirincione, a nonproliferation expert at the Center for America Progress. Cirincione even goes so far as to gingerly reference reality:

“A problem for the international community is that many developing countries, no matter what they may think of the Iranian regime, perceive that Iran has a point when it speaks of developed-world favoritism, says the Arms Control Association's Mr. Kimball. Other analysts agree.

"Whether we like it or not, Iran is tapping into this issue of fairness and equality," says Joseph Cirincione, a nonproliferation expert at the Center for America Progress and author of a new book, "Bomb Scare," on the future of nuclear weapons.”

That the U.S., which has used nuclear weapons in the past, is pushing an ABM defense aggressively at the present, and is stocked full of lunatics like our Vice President, intent on restarting bomb testing, does have that quality of begging the question of fairness and equality. Oh, and then there are the hundred or so bombs stockpiled by Israel, and the U.S.’s gladhanding of the Indian nuclear program. So I suppose the questioning of the fairness and equality, here, is rather like the questioning of the fairness and equality of Jim Crow laws in the South. A shocking eruption of common sense.

Balanced against the lukewarm imperialists are the running dogs: Henry Sokolski, executive director of the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center in Washington and a former Pentagon nonproliferation official, and Ilan Berman, vice president of the American Foreign Policy Council and an Iran expert. This is where the righweb directory comes in handy. You can look up Sokolski and find out, among other entertaining things, that he signed a letter from Project for the New American Century on September 21, 2001, which said: “Even if evidence does not link Iraq directly to the [9/11] attack, any strategy aiming at the eradication of terrorism and its sponsors must include a determined effort to remove Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq. Failure to undertake such an effort will constitute an early and perhaps decisive surrender in the war on international terrorism.” This non-sequitor has, of course, become the principle to which the U.S. has sacrificed 200-400 thousand Iraqi lives. And Sokolski is all over the place, at the moment, pushing the proposal that Iran has no right to enrich nuclear fuel at all – for it turns out that the U.S. is the only country that has the right to unilaterally withdraw from its treaty obligations, viz the limitations placed on the country by past ABM treaties. It is an asymmetric world for these people. As for Ilan Berman, you can learn that he is a freedom fighter. Yes indeed. This is what he has said about Iran: “A frequent invitee to congressional sessions covering Middle East and terrorism issues, Berman consistently advocates expansive U.S. intervention in the Middle East. At an October 2005 briefing for the House Subcommittee on the Middle East and Central Asia, Berman argued:

The fundamental problem facing the United States is that Iran's ‘nuclear clock' is ticking much faster than its ‘regime change clock.' Altering that equation—both through initiatives that delay and derail Iran's nuclear ambitions and through those that empower opposition forces inside and outside of the Islamic Republic—should be the starting point for any serious American strategy.

So, for those reading the papers, keep that invaluable link to the rightweb in mind. We will. As well as Berman’s comment, which pretty much sums up the wishful thinking of the Bush Administration. It would be funny if it weren’t so sad. The starting point for any serious American strategy should be – throw away Berman’s advice, recognize Iran, let NGOs engage with Iranian dissidents, do business, grow up, realize that American power has shrunk in the Middle East, and realize that we aren’t in World War IV, there is no long long long war, we are on the edge of economic and environmental problems that will require resources that we are massively wasting, etc., etc. You know the words and the tune.