Rank Ignorance Reigns

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
) Hume said that 51% of Americans "would now
air strikes on Iran.  What the poll found
is that if diplomacy fails, 51% would support air

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

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 Bush administration.

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 million people.

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
 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

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 Turkish Army.

Moreover, Israel has never signed
the non-proliferation treaty, 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 Iran?

Fox is aggressively agitating for
war with Iran. On shows such as

Hannity and Colmes
, 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
Newt Gingrich said that the Iranian
"dictatorship" is "too dangerous to leave it
in charge of one of the world`s largest supplies of

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 [email
] is the author with Lawrence M.
Stratton of

The Tyranny of Good Intentions : How Prosecutors and
Bureaucrats Are Trampling the Constitution in the Name
of Justice



for Peter Brimelow`s

Forbes Magazine interview with Roberts about the
recent epidemic of prosecutorial misconduct.