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Friday, January 13, 2006

They're doing it again

One country over, one letter different. The NY Times editorial page has joined the Bushie chorus about what a terrible threat Iran might be if it had the bomb:
Turning its back on generous European and Russian offers that would have guaranteed its supplies of civilian reactor fuel, helped its economy, added jobs and lessened its diplomatic isolation, this week Tehran unsealed the centrifuges it can now use to enrich uranium to bomb-grade levels.

By doing so, it thumbed its nose at all those governments, including the United States, that had been working patiently and creatively to find a diplomatic formula that met everyone's needs without adding to nuclear dangers. Now those countries - along with China, whose veto power on the United Nations Security Council makes it an essential participant - need to look for new ways to stop, or at least slow down, Iran's nuclear weapons drive.
Ah yes. Working patiently and creatively--by invading Iran's neighbors on either side, awarding it charter membership in the "axis of evil" (with the implicit and ongoing threat of bombing and invasion), ongoing flyovers and other spying (including that still largely unexplained U2 crash last June). Working patiently and creatively--by threatening Iran constantly for possibly doing the only thing that it could to protect itself from US invasion (the US has invaded dozens of countries, but never one with nukes).

Until recently, one thing had been missing in the normal American plan of attack--a recognizable villain. Since Ayatollah Khomeini died in 1989, none of Iran's leaders have apparently been colorful enough to demonize. Railing about obscure "mullahs" just wasn't the same for the Limbaughs, O'Reillys and Hannitys of this world--they need a pock-marked drug-running Noriega, a tall, ominous Osama, or a gun-toting mustachioed Saddam to really get the war juices flowing.

Fortunately for the wingnuts and the Bushies (but I repeat myself), and suspiciously for me, a possibly questionable election in Iran last June ended up with Mahmud Ahmadinejad in charge--a firebrand who has been quoted or misquoted as saying things which match Pat Robertson (though not George W. Bush) in insane bellicosity. I for one wonder how much support Ahmadinejad may have had from the CIA. I remember reading a column (I wish I could remember/find the column--any help appreciated) written around the time of the Iranian election which suggested that the bellicose statements coming out of Washington may have stirred the patriotic ferver of Iranians, leading them to vote for the hardliner (just as 9/11 did here). The article further suggested that that may have been the intention, and that Ahmadinejad election was further supported by the usual covert CIA tricks--assassinations, intimidation, disinformation, propaganda. Voila! Instant villain. They probably would have preferred a villain with an easier name to pronounce and remember, but I'm guessing that soon, if it hasn't happened already, Ahmadinejad will become widely known here as "I'm a nut job." At that point, his villainization will be nearly complete, and the war will be close. The war will be brutal, completely unaffordable, and risk much wider conflict as the world fights for remaining oil and gas resources. But that won't stop the Bushies--it didn't in 2003.