The next war

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They’re at it again.

As SN&R marks the third anniversary of the wrongful war in Iraq, the Bush administration and its allies already have America’s next target within their sights. Who knows? By the time you read this, U.S. bombs may already be raining fire on Iran. Perhaps you’re even among the 70 percent of the American population who, according to one recent poll, agree that it’s time to stop pussyfooting around and let the inferno begin.

There are more than a few who firmly believe the large majority favoring military action against Iran are, in a word, stupid. We aren’t willing to concede that, at least not yet. Rather, we grudgingly give credit to a grasp of propaganda techniques Joseph Goebbels would have envied. The so-called new conservatives who hold sway in Washington D.C. have told so many big lies so often that it’s difficult for the average citizen to keep up, let alone separate fact from fiction.

The case against Iran is more of the same. As with Iraq, the ominous specter of the mushroom cloud has been raised—despite a national intelligence estimate that Iran is a decade away from having the ability to manufacture nuclear weapons. As with Iraq, there’s a suitable villain in Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a man who, like our own president, fervently believes God is on his side. As with Iraq, a supposedly backwards Middle Eastern dictatorship will be magically transformed into an American-style democracy via carpet-bombing.

Taken one at a time, such lies are easy to dispel. But Bush and his cronies have been at this since at least January 2002, when the president identified Iraq, Iran and North Korea as the “axis of evil” in his State of the Union address. These people had long pined for such a global conquest and even outlined it in detail in a 1997 position paper generated by their very own think tank, the Project for the New American Century. World domination was but a distant dream back then. Wrote the cabal: “[T]he process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event—like a new Pearl Harbor.”

On September 11, 2001, they got their Pearl Harbor, and it’s been downhill for truth and democracy ever since. Even as the Taliban re-establishes itself in Afghanistan, and the Iraq debacle devolves into civil war, another ill-advised pre-emptive conflict looms. Who can stop it? The Republicans are for it. The Democrats are for it. Senator Hillary Clinton’s for it. So is Representative Nancy Pelosi. So is most of America, come to think of it. Such is the power of propaganda. It’s either that, or there are a lot of stupid people out there. We’re still hoping to see that latter score proved wrong, but the hour is definitely getting late.