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Fanning the Hysteria About Iran

NPR Leads the Charge to War

by MIKE WHITNEY

"We are ready to do everything necessary to give guarantees that we won’t seek nuclear weapons."

President Mohammad Khatami

When did "liberal" NPR become a champion of American aggression against Iran?

Listeners to National Public Radio are increasingly apt to criticize the "rightward shift" in the station’s news coverage. The August 30 "Morning Edition" program, however, reached a new low for slanted journalism and for making the Bush Administration’s case for war with Iran.

The commentary titled "US Presses UN Agency on Iran Nuclear Program" was a textbook example of propaganda dressed up to look like unbiased reporting.

All three interviewees were charter members of America’s "far right" establishment; haling from the American Enterprise Institute, the Nixon Center and the Project for the New American Century. All three of these groups were "front and center" in facilitating the unwarranted attack on "unarmed" Iraq. The Bush Administration is looking for an excuse to attack Iran; that much is clear.

Having failed to coerce the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) into recommending "punitive action" be taken against Iran at the Security Council, the US is trying to cajole its European allies to take steps (sanctions?) that will further isolate Iran.

As Condoleezza Rice has said, "Iran will either be isolated or it will submit to the will of the international community." (ie the USA) NPR reporter Vicki O’ Hara never mentions the conspicuous (malicious) intent of the US, choosing instead to emphasize the "real concern" among the Bush team that Iran may be developing nuclear weapons.

It’s déjà vu, all over again?

Never the less, O’ Hara gives these dubious allegations the highest respect and proceeds to corroborate her case by questioning the three aforementioned "impartial" observers.

The State Dept’s, John Bolton is the first to respond with his entirely speculative analysis of Iran’s capabilities. He said that Iran may be able to "enrich uranium within a year and "weaponize" within three years. Bolton, of course, produced no evidence to substantiate his charges and failed to mention that the IAEA gave Iran a clean bill of health less than one month ago. As George Jahn of the Associated Press reported:

"New findings by the UN agency appear to strengthen Iran’s claim that it has NOT enriched uranium domestically and (this) weakens US arguments that the country is hiding a nuclear weapons program."

Such "science-grounded" analysis never satisfies the fanatical appetites of the current occupants of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, nor does it discourage men like Bolton who prefer to make their accusations out of "whole cloth".

He is already on the record as favoring "regime change" in Iran, now he merely needs to assemble the appropriate fabrications to support his case.

Following Bolton, O’Hara questioned the equally "hawkish" Geoffrey Kemp; a man whose civility and British accent disguise his otherwise warmongering proclivities.

Kemp agrees with Bolton that new suspicions about Iran signal (as Kemp says) "an ominous shift in rhetoric and, therefore, in policy."

In other words, even though the IAEA says with complete authority that there is "no conclusive evidence that Iran is involved in illicit activity", Kemp prefers to "cast his lot" with a madman like Bolton.

These sentiments are also shared by Michael Rubin of the American Enterprise Institute; that bastion right wing nut-jobs who "spearheaded" America’s rush to war with Iraq. (Rumsfeld, Cheney, Wolfowitz, Perle etc)

Rubin reasons that, "What would constitute proof (for the IAEA) would be nuclear weapons componentswhich would be too late!"

Too late! Too late, for what?

Iran is surrounded on four sides by nuclear powers already. (Russia, US, Israel and Pakistan) Does Rubin expect that the Mullahs will get nukes and suddenly go "Jackie Chan"?

Consider Rubin’s "mind-bending logic for a moment. By applying his dubious rationale, we could justify attacking any country we chose without even the slightest proof of wrongdoing.

In fact, this is precisely how the neocons have always felt; only now, their aspirations have become part of an NPR platform for spreading their wisdom to the benighted masses.

(We note that none of those interviewed referred to the new generation of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons currently being developed by the Bush Administration in violation of previous international treaties)

"Liberal NPR?"

How could anyone call themselves a journalist and use three right wing loonies as their sourcing for a report on a topic as hyper-sensitive as Iran?

Is this the new benchmark for "evenhandedness" at NPR; a standard of "fair play" that even exceeds those at rival FOX News?

"We malign; you decide?"

It boggles the mind.

NPR has done the public a colossal disservice by feeding the hysteria that is tilting the country towards war with Iran.

MIKE WHITNEY lives in Washington state. He can be reached at: fergiewhitney@msn.com