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Americans should not be fooled by Bush’s reckless depiction of Iran threat

July 12, 2007
Americans should not be fooled by Bush’s reckless depiction of Iran threat
 
 
By The Daily Star

 

Editorial

Despite all of the recent assurances from American officials that the United States does not want to wage war on Iran, the past few weeks have seen a palpable increase in the volume of war-mongering rhetoric emanating from Washington. A few months ago, the saber-rattling was all about Iran’s alleged attempts to develop nuclear weapons. But now that this overplayed “threat” no longer stirs the fears and aggressive passions of the American people, the Bush administration is promoting a new allegation: that Iran is the mastermind behind lethal attacks on US troops in Iraq.

This new charge against Iran is as flimsy – if not more so – as the ones that were circulated prior to the invasion of Iraq. We all recall that Vice President Dick Cheney twisted the facts about one lone Islamic militant in Iraq to fabricate an elaborate story that Saddam Hussein was in cahoots with Al-Qaeda prior to the war. And we all recall that this ruse was debunked and quietly forgotten not long after the US-led invasion.

Now the US administration is using the same sort of “evidence” to drum up animosity toward Iran. Yes, the US is detaining 20 Iranians and one Lebanese, who it says are part of an organized Iranian effort to undermine the US military’s mission. But the Americans are also holding hundreds of Jordanian, Saudi and Egyptian suspects, yet they have never claimed that this constitutes proof that those states are waging war on US troops.

What is most worrisome about this new allegation is that it seems aimed a laying the groundwork for the Bush administration to attack Iran without congressional approval. Using such “justifications,” the Bush administration can claim that an attack on Iran is part of the already-authorized war in Iraq and a necessary step toward defending US troops in the Congressionally approved conflict there. Thus, with this new “proof” against Iran, President George W. Bush, “the decider,” can commence with an attack as he pleases without the bother of gaining the approval of Congress.

One can think of countless reasons why a hundred or so Iranian intelligence officials or fighters might be in Iraq, not least of all because the Al-Qaeda outfit in that neighboring country has threatened to start an all-out war on Iran in two months’ time. But the question that has become increasingly difficult to answer is, What are 160,000 US troops doing there? And furthermore, why are they still there when according to the latest USA Today/Gallup poll, a full 70 percent of Americans support a withdrawal?

The answers to those questions are no doubt as dark and immoral as the people who are making new claims against Iran. This time, the American people would be wise to recall that old adage that their tongue-tied president once botched: “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”


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