As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Self-Defense Apparently Now Unaceptable

Today Iran announced its intention to defend itself if attacked. Can you really not say that unless you're the United States?

The deputy commander of Iran's air force said Wednesday that plans have been drawn up to bomb Israel if the Jewish state attacks Iran, according to the semiofficial Fars news agency.

The announcement came amid rising tensions in the region, with the United States calling for a new round of U.N. sanctions against Iran over its disputed nuclear program and Israeli planes having recently overflown, and perhaps even attacked, Iranian ally Syria [...]

White House press secretary Dana Perino called Alavi's comment "unhelpful."

"It is not constructive and it almost seems provocative," she said. "Israel doesn't seek a war with its neighbors. And we all are seeking, under the U.N. Security Council resolutions, for Iran to comply with its obligations."

I wonder why Iran is so touchy? The US keeps blaming them for everything that goes wrong in Iraq, a prominent Senator last week openly asked a commanding general if it was time to infiltrate their territory, British troops have massed along the border... sheesh, you'd think we were deliberately trying to start a war or something! How could they get such a mistaken notion?

And then there's this Israeli airstrike on Syria. Now, the claim by the wingnut base is that Syria and North Korea were in a pact where the North Koreans were dumping the nuclear material in Damascus that they were supposed to remove as part of nonproliferation negotiations. The Israelis got wind of it and took the material out. Then there are corollaries that Turkey provided the intel and that Syria and Iran coordinated in a botched missile experiment that has left dozens dead.

This is mythology, as Joseph Cirincione notes, and it's designed to deliberately blur the differences between all of these states and make a throwback to the old "Axis of Evil" days.

This story is nonsense. The Washington Post story should have been headlined "White House Officials Try to Push North Korea-Syria Connection." This is a political story, not a threat story. The mainstream media seems to have learned nothing from the run-up to war in Iraq. It is a sad commentary on how selective leaks from administration officials who have repeatedly misled the press are still treated as if they were absolute truth.

Once again, this appears to be the work of a small group of officials leaking cherry-picked, unvetted "intelligence" to key reporters in order to promote a preexisting political agenda. If this sounds like the run-up to the war in Iraq, it should. This time it appears aimed at derailing the U.S.-North Korean agreement that administration hardliners think is appeasement. Some Israelis want to thwart any dialogue between the U.S. and Syria.

And now, from the same bullies and hawks that brought you those fictions comes this idea that Iran asserting the right to defend themselves and make contingency plans in the event of attack, as all nations on Earth do, is somehow belligerent and provocative. This is almost certainly coming from hard-right Likudnik groups like AIPAC, who will enlist all of their allies to ensure unanimity among both parties on anything regarding Israel, despite the fact that, as Rep. Moran says at the link, they don't represent mainstream Jewish-American opinion whatsoever. So the clueless media will parrot this line that "Iran wants to attack Israel!!!" when it's really "Iran Announces They Will Defend Themselves If Israel Attacks." If you want to see belligerence, I'd invite you to read Bernard Kouchner's comments.

The process in the UN against Iran should go forward, though the inspections process should be allowed to go forward without disturbance, and I do agree with General Abizaid that the world can live with a nuclear Iran through threat deterrance. But let's not drop our handkerchiefs because another country asserts the right to self-defense. After all, shouldn't we be far more concerned that wealthy Saudis are still bankrolling Al Qaeda and the ruling sheikhs aren't doing anything about it?

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