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    In 2006, I witnessed close-up one of the most shameful events in Canadian journalism. The conservative National Post had received a column by Iranian-born writer Amir Taheri stating that Iran’s parliament had passed a law requiring distinctive clothing (possibly colored badges or stripes) for each of the country’s religious minorities. The Post ran the story, along with its own incendiary commentary, atop Page 1. And illustrated it with photos of Jews wearing stars of David in Nazi death camps.

    The story went viral; other right-wing rags and blogs elaborated on it. The next day, the Post retracted and apologized, after receiving a point-by-point rebuttal from Iran’s lone Jewish legislator (the community has been guaranteed one constitutionally for more than a century). No such law had been proposed, much less passed. And it turned out one of the sources Taheri cited didn’t exist. He claimed his words had been taken out of context. They hadn’t. Taheri’s credibility was ruined, or so I assumed.

    But here’s the kicker. Within two weeks, Taheri was at the White House, “advising” George Bush. A month or so later, he was again on my TV screen, pontificating as an expert on the Middle East and Iran in particular for CNN. No mention of the recent “controversy.”  Six years later, Taheri’s stuff still runs in the New York Post:

    Here’s the point of my Taheri anecdote: demonizing Iran in the media is repercussion-free. Hell, it’s the MSM’s job. Remember Obama’s early outreach to the Islamic Republic? Remember how he got snubbed? This is what I wrote at the time on TPM:

    Obama had the balls to take the first step, but had to know pretty words weren’t going to be enough. U.S. history with Iran carries some ugly baggage: deposing its elected leaders, installing a brutal puppet, encouraging and assisting Iraq’s decade-long war against it.

    But Iran has long sought normalization. After 9/11 Khamenei imposed a weeks-long moratorium on shouts of “Death to America” and backed Bush’s plan to oust the Taliban, even offering escape routes through Iran if any U.S. pilots were shot down. Iran backed Hamid Karzai, the American candidate for Afghan president, at an international conference. So imagine Iranian surprise to find itself lumped into the Axis of Evil. Not exactly a recipe for trusting U.S. intentions.

    Still, the key words in Khamenei’s reply were: “Change your behavior, and we will change ours.” Couldn't be clearer, could it?

    Obama needed to follow up, and didn’t. He was new at the job and I’m willing to bet he got lots of obstruction from Hillary at State and close advisers like Dennis Ross. A “grand bargain” with Iran was not everyone’s desired outcome. Still it amazed me how quickly the Washington media coalesced around the narrative that Iran had simply rebuffed the offer, rather than that it replied cautiously and with caveats of mistrust. It’s as if the Washington insiders were schooling the rookie president in how far he could freelance.

    Obama had to know that any diplomatic rapprochement was going to be tentative, slow and incremental. Yet after the MSM declared the outreach a failure, Obama ostensibly accepted the conventional wisdom, as if realizing not even his own party had his back. He dropped his boldest foreign-policy initiative, and that’s why we are heading toward a disastrous war today.


    Obama accepted the conventional wisdom that 'tentative, slow and incremental' on Iran doesn't play well on TeeVee, in the right leaning corporate MSM.  It leaves anyone who continues to try it without total and immediate capitulation by the Mullahs open to vicious partisan attack.  He has no one covering his back, and he faces partisan investigations, hearings or outright stonewalling from Congress.

    On the other hand, the MSM and the bellicose war drum pounders of the GOP, the AEI and the US media must also know, selling another war to even the lowest of the low information voter is not going to work this time around. Israel must know that bombing Iran, and in effect temporarily delaying a nuke a year or two, while tossing another lit cigar into the powder magazine of the Middle East, is very likely going to work out badly, for them and for the world economy, with little upside for anybody.

    My point may seem a bit obscure. I'm not saying there's any link between these two bits of Iran "reporting" three years apart. It's just: here's how it works on the micro level; here's how it works on the macro. Taheri's case illustrates that as long as what you write reinforces the official narrative -- that Iran's rulers are hate-filled, genocide-prone madmen -- you can get away with telling demonstrable lies. The case of Obama's outreach shows how monolithic and impervious to change that official narrative is -- even if the guy trying to change it is president of the United States.

    There are other issues that one must take into consideration when discussing Iran. That being the Bu$h Administrations efforts in the region ... 8 years worth ... that Obama inherited.

    The prime caveat would be Pakistan. At the time Bu$h was preparing to declare war on the Taliban in Afghanistan, he had a slight logistic problem ... to wage modern warfare he needed fuel and Afghanistan was not connected to the pipeline.

    NOTE - all auto fuel gas is piped to tank farms in local areas. From there, individual gas trucks move fuel to stations. This is a global thingy in all developed nations . It's too dangerous to be hauling millions of gallons of volatile fuel on the public roadways.

    So in order to wage war, Bu$h had to create a road conduit thru Pakistan. But Pakistan was on our bad-boy list - the military overthrew a democratically elected leader and they had been a little to free with dispersing nuclear know-how to undesirable nations. So US policy changed to satisfy short-term goals ... make Bu$h a war-time President thingy.

    Today, we all know the Pakistani's are playing both sides against the middle for their own benefit and at our expense and on our own dollar.

    I shalln't go into details about other Arab gulf states where US military presence is growing robustly ... it's enough to put Iran on its guard - just like the Cuban missile crisis from the 60's did in the US.

    So the actions taken by the US since war was declared in the Middle East has all but watered down our ability to take a firm stand on the issue with Iran and their nuclear interest. And when one takes into account the GOP'ers and their saber rattling as well as their determination to do the exact opposite of what the US needs to do just to make Obama look bad for the sake of him being a one-term President, I think I would be safe in saying Iran is holding the trump cards.

    The solution to the Iran problem lies in Congress ... they need to stop the ideological partisanship and unite behind a common goal for the US position with Iran that doesn't cater to a particular Party or candidate.

    The US position is so multi-faceted no one is able to rely on it. We've lost Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan ... that's the entire north shore of the Persian gulf, Straits of Hormuz, Gulf of Oman and Arabia Sea. And one of them is already a nuclear power with Iran close on their heels thanks to their support.

    The US needs a comprehensive policy with regards to the Arab gulf states concerning oil, commerce, and nuclear resources - one that can't be held hostage within the halls of Congress to be used for barter to satisfy political ideology.

    Surely everyone agrees that there are many issue to be considered revolving around Iran and America’s dealings with it. You have described some of the real world situation. Acanuck has described a meme which plays automatically and reflexively in America . Our population is programmed to expect that anyone who opposes us for any reason must be a bad guy. Then we are told who opposes us and  just how bad they are. 

    We are seeing another version of the same old play, this time featuring Iran, and the dialog used to develop the characters in the play is intended to play on the minds of an American audience. It is propaganda aligned with the story we have been told a million times as we have grown up. We are used to seeing unrealistic, unbelievable plot devises needed to tie a poorly scripted story together

    The stage for one of the propaganda plays about Iran is not the real world but is a world created with props and in the minds of the audience by the playwrights. This play follows a tired, over used formula, one in which the antagonist is presented as such a dastardly villain that the audience wants to see it get its due. The antagonist is a coward, a sneak, a lier, and a dirty fighter who will take the first chance to knife his enemy in the back. When the reluctant, peace loving, god fearing, upstanding hero is finally pushed one time too many the audience is set up to cheer when he kicks the villains goat-smelling ass. All the dead and injured, the collateral damage, are like the carnage left in the wake of a Hollywood chase scene. They are forgotten as the credits roll.

    A lot of adults get tired of this predictable crap, but there are enough others who keep paying to see it and who make the actors and the producers and the investors rich, that they just keep rolling out new versions of the same old shit.


    everything in life is predictable simply because life keeps repeating itself over and over again until something evolutionary happens.

    the message between my train of thought is we're seeing the same stuff over again, but with a distinct twist ... role reversal. The US is now the bad guy. We're doing all the stuff we claimed the old Soviets use to do in the name of world domination ... in our case it would be crony capitalism.


    Iran: War Drums Beating

    .Retired Republican House and Senate staffer Mike Lofgren spoke with Truthout in Washington, DC, this fall.

     "Whoever they may be, they are playing much of the press - The Washington Post and CBS NEWS are standout examples - like a Stradivarius. In Pentagon-speak, this is known as prepping the psychological battlefield."

    Lofgren has it about right, I think.

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