I said in an earlier post that given their volume, there’d be no way I could keep up with the government’s lies and deceptions on the subject of Iran. And there isn’t. But four lies (or more charitably, four egregious falsehoods) are so central to the case for war, and so easily rebutted, that they’re worth highlighting.
- American commentators like to give the impression that the Iranians are the aggressors in our recent confrontation with them. This is tendentious at best but more accurately described as outright bullshit. We signed an agreement with the Iranians. They were in compliance with the agreement. We unilaterally withdrew from the agreement. We then unilaterally imposed sanctions on them. Sanctions are a form of warfare. So we’re the aggressors, not them.
- We’ve been told that General Suleimani was personally responsible for the deaths of hundreds of Americans. Again, tendentious at best, but more likely outright bullshit.
- We were told that Suleimani posed an imminent threat to American security. Putting aside the fact that the “security” in question is the security of a military occupying force of American soldiers (rather than American non-combatants sitting at home within the borders of their own country), the same Administration that cooked up this story has now dropped it. Why? Because it was bullshit. It’s telling, by the way, that the attack on Suleimani killed ten people, only two of whom have been identified by name in American press reports–Suleimani and Abu Mahdi al Muhandis. The other eight, apparently, are nameless corpses without value.* (Why imminence matters.)
- We were told that the Iranian attack on American military bases in Iraq harmed no Americans. Turns out that that was a lie, too: eleven soldiers were badly enough injured to be evacuated from Iraq for medical treatment. Again, it’s telling that while we were told that damage to the bases was minimal, there’s been very little reporting on what the damage was. It’s very possible that the damage was more extensive than has been reported.
If you spend time on social media, you will find crypto-advocates for war drawing attention to the fact that the Iranians hate their own government, resent its lies, and have taken to the streets to express this fact. The implication seems lost on them: why is it that the Iranians, supposedly a primitive, uncivilized people suffering under totalitarian rule and economic sanctions, are capable of taking to the streets to protest the lies being told them, while Americans, the super-sophisticated members of the greatest nation and civilization on the planet, are content to sit on their asses and be lied to with equanimity? Perhaps moral status is a matter of action rather than inherited civilizational membership: a function of what you do and are prepared to do, not the lucky circumstance of being heir to the accomplishments of others.
No less important than the lies we’ve been told are the questions that have gone unasked and the answers that have gone unspoken.
- What is it, exactly, that our government hopes to accomplish with a brigade’s worth of troops in Iraq–troops that can no longer fight their original enemy (ISIS/Al Qaeda), that have attacked the force that had fought that enemy (Iran), that are unwanted in the country itself (having been expelled by the Iraqi parliament), and that seem not to want to be there in the first place (an inference from the fact that its field command has now twice contradicted the Administration that wants to keep them there)? And what is it that this Administration proposes to do if and when these troops are attacked by Iran or its allies?
- Whatever happened to Donald Trump’s loud promises to withdraw our troops from all of these Deep State-inspired foreign entanglements? Did he lose his appetite for it after withdrawing a thousand or so troops from Iraqi Kurdistan? It didn’t occur to this self-styled expert on human sexuality that the withdrawal method only works if you withdraw completely?
- More fundamentally: how is it that a country born through a fight against military occupation has become so eager to become the very thing that it fought at its birth? And how, in a country so enthusiastic about waving its flag and celebrating its Revolution, do we explain the widespread apathy about this fact?
The sad truth is that the United States isn’t at war with Iran. It’s at war with reality. And it’s only a matter of time before reality bites back.
*The pattern here mirrors that in the so-called Raymond Davis affair in Lahore, Pakistan. Though Americans were responsible for a total of three Pakistanis killed in that incident, American press reports repeatedly referred to two deaths–the two individuals that Davis allegedly killed in self-defense. The third individual, an innocent bystander named Ibadur Rahman, was killed when struck by an American vehicle. Anyone with the patience to work through press reporting on the subject will see the constant oscillation (sometimes within the same outlet) between the claim that two Pakistanis were killed and that three were.
Worth noting that American media agreed to withhold the fact that Davis was a CIA agent...on the grounds of not re-cycling unreliable news stories in the Pakistani media. The unreliable story being told in the Pakistani media? That Davis was a CIA agent. Going by their self-image, Americans, being members of “Western civilization,” are more attuned to the realm of facts than non-Western foreigners–which raises the question of why it is that non-Western foreigners have defeated the American military in virtually every engagement they’ve had in the last seventy years.