Iran & Bush's Crisis of Truth
Editor’s Note: With less than a year left in his presidency, George W. Bush is still trying to stoke the fires of confrontation with Iran, relying on his signature mix of bellicose threats and insistence he is only trying to protect world peace.
In this guest essay, journalist Peter Dyer looks at Bush’s latest rhetorical appeals in the context of the President’s long history of falsehoods:
“Iran is a threat to world peace.” Iran is “the world’s leading sponsor of terror.” So declared President Bush in his recent trip to the Middle East. Iran, he said, is seeking to “intimidate its neighbors with ballistic missiles and bellicose rhetoric.”
By now most of us are familiar with the President’s feelings and rhetoric concerning Iran. They have a familiar ring. They sound a lot like the buildup to the invasion and occupation of Iraq.
Recently the Center for Public Integrity, a non-profit investigative reporting institution, published a report: “Iraq: the War Card.” The report documented 935 false statements made by President Bush and seven top administration officials in the two years following September 11, 2001 concerning the national security threat posed by Iraq to the U.S.
The top liar was the President. He made, according to the report, 232 false statements about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction and 28 false statements about Iraq’s links with al-Qaeda.
In this light we should examine carefully any statement the President makes concerning Iranian threats to world peace.
A look at a map of the region helps put things in perspective. We see that Iran has 13 “next-door neighbors.” Seven share land borders with Iran while six countries lie directly across the Persian Gulf.
Of these 13 all but five (Oman, Saudi Arabia, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan) contain U.S. military bases. Of these five, Oman and the U.S. negotiated a 10-year agreement in 2000 which gives the U.S. access to three Omani air fields.
The other four neighbors are all recipients of U.S. aid. Pending congressional approval, this will include President Bush’s recent offer to Saudi Arabia of a $20 billion arms package.
Two of Iran’s neighbors, Afghanistan and Iraq, have recently been invaded and occupied by the U.S. Another neighbor, Pakistan, is a nuclear power and a U.S. ally in the “Global War on Terror.” Another nuclear power and U.S. ally, Israel, lies within striking distance of Iran.
In the Persian Gulf, according to the U.S. Navy Times, the U.S. is currently deploying an aircraft carrier strike group and two expeditionary strike groups.
A partial list of this force includes an aircraft carrier; two amphibious assault ships; three guided-missile frigates; four guided-missile cruisers; six-guided missile destroyers; two dock landing ships; two amphibious transport dock ships; and two fast-attack submarines (one deployed independently of any strike group).
In sum, Iran is nearly encircled by the air, land and naval forces of the world’s most powerful military.
Iran may not be run by saints. No country is. But Iran has never threatened the U.S. Nor has Iran ever invaded another country. The Iranian Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has pledged there will be no Iranian nuclear weapons, nor will Iran start a war.
On the other hand, preemptive war is now openly acknowledged to be an “option” in U.S. political/military strategy. We demonstrated this convincingly when we invaded Iraq -- a country which had never harmed us, was not preparing to harm us and had never even threatened to harm us.
Nevertheless we initiated a conflict which has, to date, killed at least 150,000 and created 4,000,000 refugees.
Invading a country which has not threatened the invader is aggression: the “supreme international crime,” according to the Nuremberg Tribunal.
Whether Iranian President Ahmadinejad, who is not the ultimate decision maker in Iran, has threatened to “wipe Israel off the map” is open to debate. It is not open to debate, however, that both Israel and the U.S. have repeatedly threatened to attack Iran.
Despite all this President Bush continues to assert that Iran is a threat to world peace and the world's leading sponsor of terror.
The President appears to be using the same strategy which worked so well in 2002-2003: simply to repeat falsehoods until a majority of Americans believe them.
He appears to be gambling that we are either so apathetic or so foolish we will accept the lies and approve yet another war. Unfortunately, based on his past experience, it may not be a bad gamble.
Peter Dyer is a journalism student who moved with his wife from California to New Zealand in 2004. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .
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