Sen. Lieberman Puts out Feelers on Iran
In Cuba, there is a familiar political joke that asks what is the closest thing to a Republican. The answer is a Democrat.
US Senator Joe Lieberman is a former Democrat —now an “Independent”— who embodies that invisible difference from the majority of Republican and Democratic Congress members on most foreign policy issues.
On June 10, Lieberman put out feelers on the idea of shelling Iran, something many analysts believe the Bush administration has been plotting for a long time.
“I think we’ve got to be prepared to take aggressive military action against the Iranians to stop them from killing Americans in Iraq,” said Lieberman, Al Gore’s 2000 running mate.
The senator tried to soften the prospects of another prolonged war by saying: “I want to make clear I’m not talking about a massive ground invasion of Iran.” He then hedged by saying he would leave strategies up to the generals.
READING BETWEEN THE LINES
The most significant aspect of Lieberman’s warmongering was not the call for attack in itself but instead the silence that followed from the White House.
The reaction would not have been the same if perhaps Lieberman had suggested attacking Saudi Arabia over its undemocratic monarchy or Israel, for stockpiling nuclear weapons and not allowing international inspections.
No, this is Iran, a blacklisted country since 1979, when it erupted from 38 years of a US backed dictatorship and said ‘Yankee Go Home.’
In the US media, the 444-day (1979-1981) hostage crisis at the US embassy in Tehran was daily heartbreak news, but the fact that the US had backed a corrupt and ruthless ruler was not.
In similar fashion, the US media harps today on the tragedy of 3,500 plus US soldiers killed in Iraq but says virtually nothing about the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians killed by the US-led troops.
Like the half-century process to demonize Cuban President Fidel Castro, the US corporate press has worked hard over decades to implant a negative image of Iran and its leaders.
This constant image-bashing has laid the groundwork for a final media assault to get the flags on cars and in front yards in the days following an Iraq style bombardment of Iran.
President Bush has repeatedly said that “All options are on the table.” Translated into Pentagon terms that clearly means keep the plans for attack updated until I pick up the phone.
Meanwhile, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has vowed to continue forward with his country’s peaceful nuclear energy program. The 118-member Non Aligned Movement, currently chaired by Cuba, defends Iran’s right to do so.
Ahmadinejad accuses the US and Europe —which both rely heavily on nuclear energy to generate electric power— of trying to prevent Iran from developing.
“The aim of the enemies in thwarting Iran’s exploitation of peaceful nuclear technology is not based on any technical reasons. They want to hit at the source of the country’s progress,” Ahmadinejad has told the press.
SELLING THE WAR
I believe that the need to attack Iran could easily be sold in a country where most citizens, too busy with their hectic individual lives and paying the bills, are willing to let the corporate media and politicians determine what is good and evil for them.
Within months a “well informed” US public could easily be led to believe that attacking Iran today will keep America and their families safer in the future.
It’s no secret that equating patriotism with supporting the government and the troops is powerful stuff in the USA, where dumping a president or electing a dove at a time of war is extremely unlikely.
Other interests are also at play, like the boon a new war would bring the weapons, oil, construction, vehicle and military servicing industries.