Glenn Greenwald Tears Apart the Propaganda Driving the Insane Push for War With Iran
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The task that the Israelis had in 1981 was extremely difficult: to fly to Iraq and destroy that nuclear facility. The task of doing that to Iran is infinitely more difficult. There’s a far greater distance; it stretches the refueling ability of Israeli jets. There are numerous nuclear facilities, not just one, dispersed throughout the country. Some of them are very far under mountainous regions, embedded into mountains that would require extreme levels of explosives to get to. The outcome is completely unpredictable, which is what those military planners and Mossad officials are afraid of. Iran has a much greater retaliatory capability than the Iraqis had. So what you’re talking about is a major, major attack that would probably involve lots of ground activity as well as air activity, and that very well may not set back the Iranian nuclear program at all. It may have the opposite effect of accelerating it.
JH: I think it would also unify the country around the Iranian regime, wouldn’t it?
GG: That’s probably the worst reason to do it. The reality is a lot of times in the American media discussion we like to depict the Iranian opposition as this pro-Western, liberalized political faction, and to some extent they are. But the reality is that all political factions are staunchly in favor of continuing with the nuclear program on the grounds that Iran has the absolute right to develop a nuclear energy program, and governments around the world agree with Iran on that.
If you look at what happened with the September 11th attack, which was a one-day attack by non-state actors, the entire country, including huge numbers of people who had previously strongly disliked George Bush and the Republican Party, unified around the government and around its leader, which was George Bush and Dick Cheney and the Republican Party. That’s what happens whenever a nation is attacked by an external force. So nothing could be better for the hard-line conservative mullahs and ruling elite in Iran then for it to be attacked by some combination of Israel and the United States. It would completely save them from the rising citizen discontent over the economy and other factors by unifying them behind those conservative leaders. Not just in Iran but in the entire Arab world.
JH: The consensus in the intelligence community in both the United States and Israel is that Iran is not trying to produce nuclear weapons. Most analysts believe that they are trying to reach so-called “breakout capacity” where they can produce a nuclear weapon if they choose. Yet I’ve seen dozens of news stories in the American media that take it as a given that Iran is pursing nuclear weapons and not just trying to achieve that breakout capacity.
I want to talk a little bit about this idea. You quote a New York Times article by Israeli journalist Roland Bergman in January. In his lead, he wrote, “The Iranians are, after all, a nation whose leaders have set themselves a strategic goal of wiping Israel out.” This seems to be a central part of the propaganda push. It’s the idea that whereas deterrence was enough to prevent nuclear armageddon during the Cold War when we were facing off with the Soviet Union (which had equal capacity, or at least some semblance of parity), mutually assured destruction would not be an effective deterrent with these “mad mullahs” because they don’t mind being martyrs and hanging out with 71 virgins in the case of a retaliatory attack from Israel.
Tell me about this assumption that they’re somehow beyond human concern for their own lives and the lives of their citizens.