Sacrificing the Truth: The Media and Iran

The isolationist Senator Hiram Johnson once remarked, “The first casualty when war comes is the truth.”  And so, as the West’s “covert war” (or campaign of terror) against Iran continues, drawing military confrontation ever-closer in the process, we find the truth repeatedly sacrificed upon the alter of militarist propaganda.

In fact, indifferent to the substantial evidence to the contrary, the corporate media continues to insist that a fictitious Iranian nuclear weapons program is a fact firmly established by both Israel and the Untied States.

As the New York Times writes (1/26/12):

The uranium enrichment program in Iran has become the most urgent point of contention between Iran and the West, which has long suspected the Iranians are working to build a nuclear weapon despite their repeated denials.

CNN, meanwhile, reports (1/23/12):

Iran says its nuclear program is not military, but the United States and many of its allies suspect Iran intends to produce a bomb.

Likewise, the Associate Press writes (1/2/12):

Israel, like the West, believes Iran is developing nuclear weapons and says no option, including force, can be ruled out in stopping it.

And finally, NPR reports (1/31/12):

Israel believes that Iran is working to build a nuclear bomb, and dismisses Iran’s assertion that its nuclear program is solely for civilian purposes.

All such claims, however, run directly counter to the intelligence assessments of both countries.  The latest National Intelligence Estimate (the authoritative U.S. intelligence assessment derived from the nation’s 16 intelligence agencies), for example, found that Iran’s nuclear weapons program remains suspended—dormant since 2003.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, moreover, has now reiterated this much on two separate occasions: first in Congressional testimony this past spring, and second in testimony occurring just earlier this week.  As Clapper stated in his latest testimony: “We do not know, however, if Iran will eventually decide to build nuclear weapons.”

Meanwhile, as the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz reports (1/18/12):

“The Israel view is that while Iran continues to improve its nuclear capabilities, it has not yet decided whether to translate these capabilities into a nuclear weapon—or, more specifically, a nuclear warhead mounted atop a missile.

Of course, such sentiments are by no means limited to the intelligence communities.  As Defense Chief Leon Panetta succinctly asked and answered on Face the Nation (1/8/12), “Are they [the Iranians] trying to develop a nuclear weapon? No.”

And when asked the same question late last month, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak responded, “To do that, Iran would have to announce it is leaving the [UN International Atomic Energy Agency] inspection regime and stop responding to IAEA’s criticism, etc.”  Iran has obviously not announced any withdrawal from the IAEA inspection regime, and high-ranking IAEA officials remain set on returning to Iran later this month after a series of “good” talks earlier this week.

But such truths are becoming increasingly irrelevant (and altogether inconvenient) with the specter of war looming along the horizon.  And as the Washington Post‘s David Ignatius reported on Thursday, “[Secretary of Defense] Panetta believes there is a strong likelihood that Israel will strike Iran in April, May or June.”

This comes in the wake of a piece appearing in New York Times Magazine (1/25) by Israeli analyst Ronen Bergman, in which he concludes Israel will indeed strike Iran at some point in the next year.

Needless to say, if such a strike were to occur, it would quickly ensnare the U.S. into what would quickly morph into a wider regional, if not global, conflict.  Accordingly, the U.S. has hastily begun a military build-up in the Persian Gulf in anticipation of an Israeli strike.

Of course, if Israeli fails to draw the U.S. into overt military confrontation against Iran, the American press just may.  Through its ubiquitous deceits and outright lies, all functioning to construct what is now commonly known as the “Iranian threat,” the American public has begun to come around to the notion of yet another Middle East war.  In fact, a staggering 50 percent of Americans could now support a strike against Iran.  Channeling their inner, and ever-present, William Randolph Hearst, the corporate press has indeed begun to furnish war.

Perhaps, then, it is already all too late.  Perhaps the U.S. shall finally come to exact its revenge for over thirty years of Iranian intransigence.

Yet, even as the drone of the war drums grows louder, a popular movement remains afoot to resist war against Iran.   Calling for “No war, no sanctions, no intervention, no assassinations against Iran,” protests actions are set to commence nationwide this weekend.  And if there is any hope for peace—and for that matter, truth—it ultimately lies in this.

Ben Schreiner is a freelance writer living in Salem, Oregon. He may be reached at: bnschreiner@gmail.com. Read other articles by Ben.