War, war, war or jaw, jaw, jaw? by William Bowles

by William Bowles
featured writer
Dandelion Salad
Monday, July 14, 2008

It’s amazing isn’t it how the media, given the appropriate cues from the state, so readily slips into a warring state of mind. I’m talking of course about Iran.

All the major media outlets have shifted into top gear over the past couple of weeks and, for the first time, talked about Israel’s role as the frontline ‘dog of war’ on behalf of its paymaster, the US.

You have to ask, what’s changed? I venture to guess that all the war talk coming out of the US has fallen on deaf ears, so let Israel take the heat instead. But make no mistake no matter what some, even on left say about the ‘tail wagging the dog’, the Zionists makes no major move without the nod from the Beltway bandits.

But in order to wind up the anté it was first necessary to erase the UN from the propaganda blitz. Instead, it’s the ‘international community’, BBC code for the US, UK and the EU. This came about because the IAEA (the International Atomic Energy Agency) didn’t ‘play ball’ over Iran’s alleged nuke weapons program. No matter, simply ignore the agency’s findings, which is precisely what’s happened.

And given the blanket and homogenous media coverage, erasing anything that doesn’t fit the current imperial reality is as simple as throwing a switch. Any ‘inconvenient’ fact is simply airbrushed out.

The BBC of course, did its bit for the dogs of war. Here’s the lead para from the BBC’s Website story,

“A day after a major Iranian ballistic missile test provoked international condemnation, the front pages in Iran are covered with pictures of the missiles soaring into the sky.” — ‘Mounting sense of crisis over Iran’ By Jon Leyne, BBC News, Tehran.

Note the use of the phrase “international condemnation” and just in case we don’t get the message, the following paras ram home the message,

“There is a note of pride in the coverage, and perhaps just a little satisfaction that Iran has finally got the world’s attention.

“For days, Iranian military leaders have been issuing ever more blood-curdling warnings about Iran’s response to any attack.”

But no mention of “blood-curdling warnings” in the BBC’s coverage of Israel’s threats to launch pre-emptive strikes against Iran. Instead we read,

“Ehud Barak, speaking in Tel Aviv, said Israel had “proved in the past that it won’t hesitate to act when its vital security interests are at stake”.” — ‘Israel ‘ready to act’ over Iran

The key phrase is “vital security interests”, which tells us absolutely nothing about Iran’s intentions but speaks reams about Israel’s.

And given all the bellicose threats made by Israel, Iran has every right to test whatever defensive weapons it chooses and moreover, buy whatever it needs to defend itself against the US and Israel.

Yet this obvious and justifed reaction to Israel’s war-mongering escapes the attention of the BBC’s coverage. Instead in the same piece ‘Mounting sense of crisis over Iran’, we read that,

“What seems to have provoked this is a recent Israeli military exercise, apparently a rehearsal for bombing Iran’s nuclear facilities.”

So why didn’t the Israeli military exercise receive the same coverage as Iran’s response to it? In fact it deserved even more coverage given the aggressive nature of it (including apparently the use of Iraqi airspace).

Elsewhere on the BBC Website, the ever-faithful (to the empire) Paul Reynolds, the BBC’s world correspondent tells us,

“The warning by the senior US military commander Adm Mike Mullen that an attack on Iran would be “extremely stressful” for US forces must lessen the chances of the US taking part in any strike against Iran.” — ‘America’s Israeli option on Iran’.[1]

The story reveals the reality of the actual relationship between the US and Israel but most importantly, the story also reveals the truth about Iran’s alleged drive to acquire nuclear weapons. Quoting the IAEA’s assessment we read,

“Iran is not making highly enriched uranium suitable for a weapon, only low-enriched uranium useable as nuclear power fuel. (Update 4 July: the evidence for this comes from the 26 May 2008 report from the IAEA, released on 5 June. This states that “the results of the environmental samples… indicate that the [enrichment] plants have been operated as declared. The samples show low-enriched uranium… particles.”)”

So why is the IAEA’s assessment not central to the coverage? Indeed, why is it not the story? Instead, it’s relegated to no more than a footnote, which, for the sake ‘objectivity’ is exactly what the BBC have done.

The issue here is the totally contradictory coverage of Israel and Iran, after all it’s Israel issuing all the threats of pre-emptive attack, not Iran, yet the BBC’s coverage is heavily weighted in Israel’s favour with its talk of “blood-curdling warnings”, though again there is no mention of what these “blood-curdling warnings” consist of, it’s enough to use the phrase as this and every other BBC story on the subject fills in all blank spots.

And with all the talk of Iran’s ‘nuclear ambitions’, it’s Israel alone in the Middle East that has an estimated 200 nuclear weapons, a fact not mentioned in any of the BBC’s so-called coverage.

Of course the question still remains, will they, won’t they bomb Iran? To attempt to answer this question we have to look at the wider context.

Iraq has now formally requested that the US leave and soon and the situation in Afghanistan is now disastrous for the occupying forces. So, the pirates need a diversion—again.

Second, oil. Even talking about trashing Iran jacked up the price of oil a few more dollars, so strategically, attacking Iran (whether it’s the US or Israel makes no difference), is unlikely at least in the near future and indeed the US military have already articulated this view.[2]

But of course the wording leaves open the option of using their proxy, Israel. Would Israel ‘go it alone’? Frankly, without US blessing I find the idea inconceivable but then given that Israel’s giant confidence trick on world opinion is unravelling, it can’t be ruled out.

And then there are those who say that the situation has gotten so desperate for capitalism that only the wholesale destruction of ‘real estate’ will ‘solve’ the problem of the over-accumulation of capital (aka WWI and WWII). A ‘fresh start’ so-to-speak and it would certainly solve the ‘credit crunch’, bank meltdowns and the rest of the assorted crises confronting capitalism.

But such ‘solutions’ take a considerable amount of ‘engineering’. First you need a really credible ‘enemy’ and Iran, in spite of all the effort expended on demonizing Iran still doesn’t quite fit the bill.

Perhaps some kind of ‘Tonkin Gulf’ provocation? Again, we have to look at the context and importantly public sentiment and judging by the BBC’s ‘Have your say’ section on its Website, the great majority of respondents are not fooled by the propaganda blitz. And yes, it’s not ‘scientific’ but then not much on the BBC’s website is.

I still maintain as I have done for the past couple of years that the endless threats are designed primarily for domestic consumption and clearly the public ain’t buying war, war, war, preferring jaw, jaw, jaw (if they express a preference for anything at all given the total alienation between rulers and ruled).

And surely the whole sorry, pathetic story of the pirates’ attempts to (re)build an empire, the sheer ineptitude and incompetence of ‘our’ leaders should surely be apparent to everyone.

Gone are the days of ‘grand plans’ of world domination for one hundred years such as those hatched toward the end of 19th century. Instead, we have a bunch of ignorant and incompetent gangsters purportedly running the show, but who nevertheless, judging by their actions are capable of almost any vile act.

And this is the really scary aspect of the situation where the ‘Chicago School’s Creative Destruction’ takes on a whole new and truly ominous meaning.

Mobilizing public opinion is the obvious response but here in the UK, the Stop The War Coalition have proved incapable of capitalizing on the initial success back in March 2003.

Compare Stop The War to Code Pink in the US for example. Code Pink have been imaginative and innovative in their approach, punching well above their weight.

Here it seems the anti-war movement is trapped in its own inertia and locked in some kind of 20th century time warp, when what is needed is daring and innovative approaches that capture the public’s attention and offer some hope to a public that has lost all belief and trust in the political class.


1. For one analysis of US covert operations against Iran see ‘Preparing the Battlefield: The Bush Administration steps up its secret moves against Iran‘ by Seymour M. Hersh July 7, 2008 but whether these are intended as a precursor to an attack is not clear. And moreover, even covert operations from within Iran by the CIA and its proxies do not have the support of all sections of the US government.

Quoting a Pentagon consultant Hersh informs us that,

“There is huge opposition inside the intelligence community to the idea of waging a covert war inside Iran, and using Baluchis and Ahwazis as surrogates. The leaders of our Special Operations community all have remarkable physical courage, but they are less likely to voice their opposition to policy. Iran is not Waziristan.”

But one thing is clear, the US ruling elite is divided over the issue of whether ‘regime change’ should be achieved by overt or covert means but obviously not over the objective.

For some useful historical background on the history of US-Iranian nuclear relations see,
1. ‘The Nuclear Showdown Between The US And Iran’ By Tim Buchholz,13 July, 2008

2. Will Israel  And/Or The U.S. Attack Iran? By Uri Avnery
Anyone who wants to guess whether Israel and/or the United States are going to attack Iran should look at the map of the Strait of Hormuz between Iran and the Arabian Peninsula. Through this narrow waterway, only 34 km wide, pass the ships that carry between a fifth and a third of the world’s oil, including that from Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain.Most of the commentators who talk about the inevitable American and Israeli attack on Iran do not take account of this map …

Some other analyses

President Bush Backs Israeli Plan for Strike on Iran By Uzi Mahnaimi in Washington
Despite the opposition of his own generals and widespread scepticism that America is ready to risk the military, political and economic consequences of an airborne strike on Iran, the president has given an “amber light” to an Israeli plan to attack Iran’s main nuclear sites with long-range bombing sorties, the official told The Sunday Times.

British MP : George Galloway Telling It Like It Is
George Galloway talking about the consequences of an attack on Iran.

Iran: Battlefront In The New World War? By Firmin DeBrabander
Iran is no third front in the War on Terror. War with Iran is a step beyond, to a new global conflict- a new Cold War, in a way- where the US plays its cards (in this case, the largest military in the world) to frustrate its opponents indirectly.

This essay is archived at: http://www.creative-i.info/?p=291


President Bush Backs Israeli Plan for Strike on Iran

What are Iran’s nuclear rights? + What did A. Q. Khan sell to Iran?

HR 362 and the Alarming Escalation of Hostility Towards Iran

Tomgram: Why Cheney Won’t Take Down Iran

Seymour Hersh: US Training Jondollah and MEK for Bombing preparation

What gives Bush the right to destabilize Iran by covert military operations?

Will the US Congress ratify the Bush Administration’s Decision to launch a War on Iran (H. CON. RES. 362)

Preparing the Battlefield by Seymour M. Hersh