Once again, I'm appalled at the news coverage about Iran as of late. U.S. newspapers are publishing reports about Iran temporarily halting its uranium enrichment program, about the U.S. military finding Iran-made explosives and about the U.S. capturing and interrogating more than 500 Iranians in Iraq.
News reports from the Middle East, which are as easy to retrieve as an advanced Google news search, and several non-daily news sources state that Iran refuses to halt enrichment and hasn't, that Tehran government, at least, is not supplying weapons to Iraqi insurgents, and that the captured Iranians are mostly aid workers.
Despite a report from The Wall Street Journal stating that the U.S. military "uncovered a makeshift factory used to construct advanced roadside bombs that the U.S. had thought were made only in Iran," it is generally agreed that someone or somebody in Iran is aiding the Shia insurgents in Iraq.
Skeptics wonder why the three officials who released the Iranian explosives information remained anonymous when they held a news conference with reporters several weeks ago. To many, the real question about these weapons hasn't been asked.
"The question is whether there is a conscious policy by the Iranian government or some part of the Iranian government to support lethal attacks against Americans," said Daniel Serwer of the U.S. Institute for Peace, a Washington-based think tank, who also served as executive director on the bipartisan Iraq Study Group. "I haven't seen any proof of that yet." There is none.
Now U.S. officials are even more skeptical, asking "why are you revealing this now when we've known this for two years?" The answer alluded to by several intelligence officials, whom The New Yorker's Seymour Hersh quoted in the latest issue, is that this is the beginning of a propaganda war leading to an invasion. Con the people like the Bush administration did before the Iraq invasion, then strike. The policy to sort out facts from fiction is implemented after pre-emption, as we know from the Iraq invasion.
As for the capture and interrogation of Iranians, an intelligence source quoted by Hersh said, "The White House goal is to build a case that the Iranians have been fomenting the insurgency and they've been doing it all along - that Iran is, in fact, supporting the killing of Americans."
This is too reminiscent of Iraq. The administration once convinced more than half the American public that Iraq had WMDs, that Saddam supported al-Qaeda in 9/11, and that he was a threat to U.S. national security. Now it's Iran supplying weapons that kill Americans, Iranians infiltrating the borders, and the uranium enrichment program intended for weapons.
We claim that an attack is our last resort. Just in case, Secretary of State Condi Rice says the U.S. has one planned for Iran. We have at least two carriers in the Persian Gulf ready to pounce. Who knows what other arsenals are behind the scenes? I wonder only because nobody noticed when a U.S. nuclear-powered submarine crashed into a Japanese oil tanker earlier this year at the mouth of the Persian Gulf. Nobody asked why it was there.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is calling for unconditional negotiations while the U.S. announces it has chosen the design for a new and improved super-warhead. The hypocrisy is dumbfounding. We impose sanctions against Iran for its nuclear energy program then build a new weapon of mass destruction and wave it in Iran's face.
It's like yelling at a child for trying to reach the cookie jar, then boisterously bragging about the intense, chocolaty, melt-in-your-mouth taste of your circular saucer of sweetness.
I fear that at some point, given the rhetoric about all these unconfirmed "intelligence" reports, that in the not too distant future we will stop yelling at the child and instead send in the military with one of our 10,000 nukes.
That may be a graphic image, nuking a child, but it wouldn't be the first time we've done it.
The administration has repeatedly stated it will not go to war with Iran. But given these reports, I have to ask, for how long?