Rank Ignorance Reigns
By Paul Craig Roberts
-- -- In keeping with its established role as
purveyor of disinformation, Fox "News" talking head Brit Hume
misreported Fox’s own poll. On "Special Report" (January 26)
Hume said that 51% of Americans "would now support" air strikes
on Iran. What the poll found is that if diplomacy fails, 51%
would support air strikes.
Can we be optimistic and assume that the American public would
not regard an orchestrated failure by the Bush administration as
a true diplomatic failure? Alas, we cannot expect too much from
a population in thrall to disinformation.
The "evidence" that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons consists of
mere assertion by members of the Bush administration and the
neoconservative media. Iran says it is not pursuing nuclear
weapons, and the International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors
have found no evidence of a weapons program.
Iran is a signatory to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty.
Under the treaty, signatories have the right to develop nuclear
energy. All they are required to do is to make reports to the
IAEA and keep their facilities open to inspection. Iran complies
with these requirements.
There is no Iranian "defiance." When news media report
"defiance," they purvey disinformation. The "seals" on Iranian
nuclear facilities were placed there voluntarily by the Iranians
while they attempted to resolve the false charges brought by the
The "Iran crisis" is entirely the product of the Bush
administration’s determination to deprive Iran of its rights as
a signatory of the non-proliferation treaty. It is one more
demonstration of President Bush’s belief that his policies are
not constrained by fact, law and international treaties.
Despite the clear and unambiguous facts, the Fox/Opinion
Dynamics poll reports that 60% of Republicans, 41% of
Independents, and 36% of Democrats support using air strikes and
ground troops against Iran in order to prevent Iran from
developing nuclear weapons. This poll indicates an appalling
extent of ignorance and misinformation among the American
public. The Bush administration will take advantage of this
ignorance to initiate another war in the Middle East.
A majority of Americans have now been deceived twice on the same
issue. Just as there was no evidence that Iraq was developing
nuclear weapons, there is no evidence that Iran is developing
nuclear weapons. There is nothing but unproven assertions,
assertions, moreover, that are contradicted by the evidence that
does exist. Americans, it would appear, are so eager for wars
that they welcome being fooled into them.
One wonders, also, where the 60% of Republicans, 41% of
Independents, and 36% of Democrats think the US will find the
ground troops with which to invade Iran. As the three-year-old
"cakewalk war" in Iraq has made completely clear, the US does
not have enough ground troops to successfully occupy Iraq and to
suppress a small insurgency drawn from a Sunni population of 5
We hear report after report from military authorities that the
Iraq war is straining our armed forces to the breaking point.
For example, a Pentagon study by Andrew Krepinevich (AP news
report, January 24) concludes that the US Army cannot sustain
the pace of troop deployments to Iraq long enough to break the
back of the insurgency.
Every military expert knows this to be true, although few dare
to say it. If the US military is on the breaking point from
trying to deal with an insurgency drawn from 5 million people,
how can Bush send ground troops into vastly larger Iran with a
population of 70 million people? It boggles the mind that a
majority of Americans favor an impossible policy.
Another recent poll, a LA Times/Bloomberg poll, finds that 57%
of the respondents "favor military intervention if Iran’s
government pursues a program that could enable it to build
nuclear arms." These are the same respondents, 53% of whom
believe it was not worth going to war against Iraq.
The poll thus reveals the American public as grist for the
neoconservatives’ war mill. If a country can produce material
for nuclear energy, it can, with additional facilities and
knowledge, produce material for nuclear weapons. Thus, if Iran
exercises its rights under the non-proliferation treaty, 57% of
Americans support a US military attack on Iran!
American politicians, whose strings are pulled by the
American-Israeli Political Action Committee despite AIPAC’s
current engulfment in spying charges against the US, are
demanding that the US attack Iran in order to protect Israel.
One excuse for these demands is the statement by the new Iranian
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that Europeans should give Israel
a piece of Europe and move the country there. His statement that
Israel should be wiped out is a statement intended for Muslim
ears, not a declaration of an Iranian program of action. The
Iranian president is simply elevating Iran’s standing among
Muslims by taking advantage of the anger that President Bush has
created against the US and Israel.
The notion that Iran might march into Israel is laughable. Iran
has four routes into Israel: through Turkey and Syria, through
Iraq and Syria, through Iraq and Jordan (or Lebanon), and
through Iraq, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Three of these routes are
foreclosed by US troops on the ground, and the fourth by the
Moreover, Israel has never signed the non-proliferation theory,
and, unlike Iran, Israel does have nuclear weapons. An Iranian
invasion of Israel could be fatal for Iran.
Why, then, is the American population being whipped up by the
Bush administration and Fox "News" into war hysteria against
Fox is aggressively agitating for war with Iran. On shows such
as Hannity and Combs, guest after guest – Newt Gingrich, various
retired generals, pundits, and even Democratic politicians –
agitate for attacking Iran.
For example, on January 26th and 27th Liberal Democrat Bob
Beckel said on Fox that the US has "a moral obligation to take
out what we could of Iran’s nuclear capabilities." Newt Gingrich
said that the Iranian "dictatorship" is "too dangerous to leave
it in charge of one of the world’s largest supplies of oil."
On January 27 Democratic strategist Pat Cadell expressed
mystification as to how strongly the polls surged, literally
overnight, in support for attacking Iran.
One wonders if Americans ever think of the consequences of the
rash actions they favor. The Bush administration has placed Iraq
in the hands of the majority Shia, who are allied with Iran,
which is allied with Hizbollah, the strongest military force in
Lebanon, which is friendly to Hamas, the new Palestinian
authority. What response might a US attack on Iran bring from
the Shia population in Iraq? What terrorism might Iran unleash
throughout the Middle East? What US puppets might fall? What
consequences might follow if Iran not only shuts off Iranian
oil, but knocks out facilities throughout the region and blocks
oil flows from the Middle East?
Compared to attacking Iran, attacking Iraq was a small if
reckless risk. Nevertheless, the unexpected consequences of the
US invasion of Iraq have prevented the Bush administration from
achieving its goals.
Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda must be marveling at the rank
stupidity of the American people. Maybe Fox "News" only pretends
to be the Ministry of War Propaganda for the Bush administration
and is in the employ of al Qaeda instead.
War is not strengthening America’s position in the Middle East,
as gains by extremists in Palestinian, Iraqi, Pakistani and
Egyptian elections attest. There is no prospect of the Bush
administration imposing its will on the Middle East. To
paraphrase Gingrich, if Bush and the neocons don’t know this by
now, they are too dangerous to leave in charge of the US
Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in
the Reagan administration. He was Associate Editor of the Wall
Street Journal editorial page and Contributing Editor of
National Review. He is coauthor of The Tyranny of Good
Intentions.He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
(In accordance with Title 17
U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to
those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the
included information for research and educational purposes.
Information Clearing House has no affiliation whatsoever with the
originator of this article nor is Information Clearing House
endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)