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The Iran NIE and the Eight-year Carnival of Lies

The Iran NIE and the Eight-year Carnival of Lies 

From: *William PFAFF*
Date: Dec 5, 2007 7:03 AM
Subject: The Iran NIE and the Eight-year Carnival of Lies

Of possible interest...

*The Iran NIE and the Eight-year Carnival of Lies *

*William Pfaff*

Paris, December 4, 2007 – The newly released American National
Intelligence Estimate concerning Iran's nuclear status has been like the
discovery of a freshwater spring in a Carolinas swamp.

In its clarity, professionalism and evident concern for exact statement
it could not be in more contrast with the bombast, distortion, political
rhetoric, dissimulation and sheer lies with which the American public
debate over Middle and Near East policy has been conducted during most
of the past decade – and thanks to Washington, in most of the western
world as well. How could this have happened?

It seems that this NIE has been ready since the summer. A ferocious
battle to change or suppress it must have been fought by the president's
and Dick Cheney's men, as well as by the surviving neo-conservatives in
the policy apparatus. Since the document's first internal government
circulation, the president has nonetheless continued saying that Iran's
(non-existent) weapons program threatened world war III.

Have the president and vice president now simply given up serious
defense of the policies they have ruthlessly promoted during the last
seven years, and the dissimulation and distortion which accompanied most
of those policies? That would be an admission that the Bush
administration has been worn down or even defeated by forces within the
government itself.

Can having made General Michael Hayden Director of Central Intelligence
and Robert M. Gates Defense Secretary been sufficient to restore the
authority of professional standards, and belief in public duty and
candor, within the Washington bureaucracy?

An added intimation of presidential defeat was provided in George W.
Bush's willingness to allow Condoleezza Rice to have her Annapolis
conference, and her last grasp for some kind of Middle Eastern progress.
The president's manifest lack of interest in any of it, during his brief
visit to Annapolis, and his lack of courtesy towards the Arab leaders
who had been bullied or blackmailed into attending, conveyed the sense
of a man who has thrown down his cards and now simply wants to get his
term over and not look back.

One would like to believe that the appearance of one honest and
professional public policy document in the Washington debate is
harbinger of a springtime of truth and wisdom. Virtually nothing in the
presidential primary season thus far would justify an assumption that
the lies, mendacity and manipulation would end, whoever was elected

The language of policy and political discussion and debate in the United
States has been poisoned during the last seven years, in the U.S. and to
a considerable extent abroad, where other governments, and the United
Nations, automatically have adopted the vocabulary and concepts current
in Washington.

The debasement of language is political, due to the American electoral
system, by which campaigning is entirely by unlimited paid television
(or radio) advertising, imposing demagogy and simplism, frequently
testing the limits of defamation and calumny. It also is due to the
power of special interests in Congress and their influence on the public
debate in Washington, distorting argument, cultivating euphemism,
setting the media agenda, and imposing demagogy.

There has, for example, been little or no honest mainstream public
debate on Iran, Iraq, the Palestinians, the other Arabs, and Israel, in
the United States since the Israeli war of 1967 and the Iranian
revolution of 1979.

The debate has been systematically distorted by considerations of
American government desire (and to a considerably lesser extent, that of
the American public) for revenge on Iran for the 1979 humiliation of the
United States, taking American diplomats prisoner, and the fiasco of the
failed American rescue operation a year later.

It is distorted by Israel's identification of Iran as its most important
enemy in the region, now that Saddam Hussein's Iraq has been destroyed,
producing global efforts to exaggerate Iran's regional and international
importance, its military potential, and its threat to its neighbors.

It is distorted by a counterproductive American policy to dominate oil
production and commerce in the Middle East and Persian Gulf, and to
exaggerate the true significance of nuclear proliferation, whose
interest to a state like Iran, confronting major nuclear powers, is
wholly deterrent. Nuclear weapons have no offensive value for a state
like Iran; they simply limit the freedom of action of others.

The distortion of language distorts reality. The NIE says Iran gave up
its effort to develop nuclear weapons four years ago. Iran has since has
been constantly paraded in American official statements as a rogue state
on its way to assault the world, against whose power missile defenses
must be constructed in the Czech Republic and Poland.

It has all been bunkum, if not calculated lie. There was no Iraq mass
destruction weapons threat. There is no Iranian nuclear threat. It was
never a serious proposition that Islamic terrorists had to be fought in
Iraq to stop them from attacking American cities. There has never been a
serious intention in Washington or Jerusalem to allow a two-states
settlement in Israel-Palestine. Allied countries nonetheless took all
these lies seriously. So did the Palestinians. So, for that matter, did
the Iraqis, and so – most of all – did Americans. As the great American
carnival showman P.T. Barnum said, "There's a sucker born every minute."

© Copyright 2007 by Tribune Media Services International. Rights Reserved.

This article comes from William PFAFF <>

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