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National Debate on Attacking Iran Heating Up (Finally!)

July 5, 2008

Finally, after a long period of silence or simply outright complicity led by the New York Times as much as Fox News to spoon-feed the American people the Bush Administration’s spin on the subject, significant voices in the mainstream media are beginning to look with a critical eye at US and Israeli plans to attack Iran.

The following two pieces are indicative of a more widespread trend shaping up:

– the LA Times July 3 editorial (click here) `No Proxy War With Iran’ is an unambiguous call for the US not to attack Iran and not to encourage Israel to do so

– the Christian Science Monitor July 2 op ed (click here) by Shlomo Ben Ami and Trita Parsi (the first a former Israeli foreign minister, the second an Iranian-American) argues that neither Iran or Israel are going to disappear and that they should accept each other as key players in the Middle East. Negotiations not war makes more sense. It is so logical that under normal circumstances it sounds trite, obvious. But then these are not normal circumstances.

These editorials from such important papers are helpful. They come as the rhetoric for war against Iran (especially among the neo-cons and AIPAC) has been reaching alarming proportions. I also read yesterday on the internet that some elements in the peace movement here in Denver are calling for a demonstration on Aug 2 against attacking Iran. i believe they are a part of a national effort. Good for them. Every little bit helps. Nationally (and here in Colorado) major peace organizations have focused on the Iran situation for some time and intend to make opposing an attack on Iran an issue at the upcoming Democratic and Republican national conventions. Even the new joint chiefs has come out against such an attack. The fact that words of caution are finally starting to appear on Iran is only for the better. This ingredient – a major discussion in the mainstream media has long been missing. Such a discussion makes such an attack more difficult if only because it cannot be done in a `stealth’ manner. The more people who are discussing it it the better.

It also suggests that newspapers like the Los Angeles Times and Christian Science Monitor take the possible threat of an attack – either by the US or Israel – very seriously. Finally. They undertand the profoundly negative consequences such military adventures can wreak on the Middle East and the world. Of couse having so vilified Iran and magnified `the Iranian threat’ now much of the mainstream media will have a hard to time to de-construct the images that they have so carefully and so long cultivated, fear and hatred of Iran being especially pronounced in the mainstream Jewish Community in this country.

Will this be enough to derail the momentum towards war? I don’t know, but it is encouraging. On the other hand, to give a sense of the tone of the war talk in the halls of Congress, US Congressman Ron Paul (R-Texas) recounts how his colleagues there openly talk about wanting to use tactical nuclear weapons agaisnt Iran and bemoaning the fact that they probably can’t (click here). So nothing is sure.

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