The so-called Iranian terrorist plot

October 12, 2011 | By | 10 Replies More

About a year ago, I was speaking to man whose son was serving in the U.S. military in Iraq. Without any provocation the man announced to me that we ought to simply drop a nuclear bomb on Iran and “take care of that problem once and for all.”   I was not surprised to hear such a blunt call for such widespread sterile violence. I’d heard talk like this before on AM talk radio, and I’ve heard it since. I’m well-aware that many of our conservative citizens and politicians are wired up in this Manichean/essentialist way, where all people residing in the Middle-East are suspect (or worse) and America is the greatest nation in the history of the entire galaxy, no matter that it refuses to take care of its own while burning $2 billion/week in Afghanistan. I’ve heard far too many people speak simplistically of burning millions of Iranians in a nuclear fire, all the while racking up such a proposed mass-murder with a shrug after labeling it “collateral damage.”   This is what it’s now like in the horror-carnival that much of America has become. For those of us who are able to pull our minds out of tribal mode even a bit are witness to hordes of blindered fellow citizens who have been turned intensely incurious by a mass media obsessed with conflict pornography and urged on by psychopathic politicians.

The problem is that some of our politicians who want to attack Iran might soon have the power to do so, especially if they have an excuse. And as we know from the days when lying sacks of shit caused tens of thousands of needless deaths and maimings–Judith Miller, “Curveball,” Ahmed Chalabi, Colin and George W., Dick and most recently the “Peace President” named Barack–it’s incredibly easy to manufacture excuses.

Here’s the basic idea if you’re a domestic-failure-of-a-politician:  There’s no excuse for allowing people to dwell on your abject failure to fix bridges or make sure kids get good educations.  Simply tell some neer-do-well in one of dozens of federal agencies to go make an excuse.  Then, you somberly stare into TV camera egged on by your media-savvy advisers and you utter the phrase “terrorist attack.” And then you say it again and again and again. The TV producers already have the necessary video footage at the ready to illustrate how to solved complex social issues.  You know . . . videos of American fighter planes taking off from aircraft carriers.

If you are a modern American politician, the U.S. media will pull out all the stops to give you cover; they already have the names of dozens of former Generals who can’t wait to out of retirement to earn a fee by drumming up the likelihood of war for the sakes of their military and business cronies.  For most Americans, war is always the right thing to do because America would be fighting the war and we’re the good guys by definition.   It doesn’t really matter whether the country we’ve put in our cross-hairs is deserving of punishment. America is like a guy who, after failing to succeed at the office,

Image by Wikimedia Commons

comes home to take out his frustrations by kicking the dog. That’s how far we’ve fallen.  Our politicians are so rarely self-critical when it comes to foreign policy that I’m shocked when I see any politician daring to show up for an interview without a flag pin on the lapel.  War is America’s leading industry and, as George Carlin once said, we’re great at it because we start so many wars.   And by and large, the People support America’s wars.  That’s how far we’ve succumbed to politicians peddling their nightmares to The People for personal gain.

Everything I’ve written so far is the context for why we need to be highly suspicious of any federal government claim that there has been an attempted “terrorist attack.” Glenn Greenwald of Salon has dug into the background of the latest such claim–the alleged plot to kill the Saudi Ambassador–and he is not at all impressed:

The Terrorist Mastermind at the center of the plot is a failed used car salesman in Texas with a history of pedestrian money problems. Dive under your bed. “For the entire operation, the government’s confidential sources were monitored and guided by federal law enforcement agents,” explained U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, and “no explosives were actually ever placed anywhere and no one was actually ever in any danger.’” But no matter. The U.S. Government and its mindless followers in the pundit and think-tank “expert” class have seized on this ludicrous plot with astonishing speed to all but turn it into a hysterical declaration of war against Evil, Hitlerian Iran.

Greenwald further points out that the alleged plot makes no sense:

So facially absurd are the claims here — why would Iran possibly wake up one day and decide that it wanted to engage in a Terrorist attack on U.S. soil when it could much more easily kill Saudi officials elsewhere? and if Iran and its Quds Force are really behind this inept, hapless, laughable plot, then nothing negates the claim that Iran is some Grave Threat like this does — that there is more skepticism expressed even in establishment media accounts than one normally finds about such things. Even the NYT noted — with great understatement — that the allegations “provoked puzzlement from specialists on Iran, who said it seemed unlikely that the government would back a brazen murder and bombing plan on American soil.” The Post noted that “the very rashness of the alleged assassination plot raised doubts about whether Iran’s normally cautious ruling clerics supported or even know about it.”

In modern America, it doesn’t matter if a claim makes sense if it’s a reason to go to war.

I’d highly recommend reading Greenwald’s entire piece. It will depress you but also bring you a bit of sanity if you’re feeling rather alone as you watch the pundits planning retribution against the entire nation of Iran.

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Category: American Culture, Good and Evil, Media, Military, Politics, The Middle East, War

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

Comments (10)

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  1. I’m not going to claim that this sort of scheme is beyond our own people, but if so then our intelligence community has really slipped in recent decades. The fact that even CNN smells a skunk means this wasn’t carried off professionally. I’d more likely suspect the Saudis themselves — they have a lot to gain and are known for their crude methods. It could be Al Qaeda, too, trying to spark the global jihad — but that would reveal them to be getting very desperate.

    But yeah, it’s a fake, designed to provoke us to action. Will we take the bait? Have we ever not?

  2. Erich Vieth says:

    Glenn Greenwald points out the the LA Times points out the double-standard the U.S. is promoting:

    “But wait a minute. Two weeks ago, the United States assassinated one of its enemies in Yemen, on Yemeni soil. If the U.S. believes it has the right to assassinate enemies like Anwar Awlaki anywhere in the world in the name of a “war on terror” that has no geographical limitation, how can it then argue that other nations don’t have a similar right to track down their enemies and kill them wherever they’re found?”

    http://www.salon.com/writer/glenn_greenwald/

  3. Erich Vieth says:

    More from Glenn Greenwald:

    “Meanwhile, here is a profile of the Lex Luthor super-villain behind the dastardly Iranian Plot, compiled based on interviews with those who have long known him. He’s described variously as a “scatterbrained, hapless businessman,” “absentminded and shifty.” “a joke” who “was pretty disorganized, always losing things like keys, titles, probably a thousand cellphones,” who “never spoke ill of the United States” and who wasn’t remotely religious — in other words, the pefect target for the FBI to transform into an “operative” by waving money and glory in front of his face, and exactly the kind of person the actual Quds Force would never use for a real plot.”

    http://www.salon.com/2011/10/13/the_la_times_notices_the_double_standard_on_iran/singleton/

  4. grumpypilgrim says:

    And here I thought “Just blow them all up” was the strategy of the terrorists we were supposedly fighting against.

    • Erich Vieth says:

      Grumpy: You nailed it. War is a chainsaw and we’re claiming that we’re able to do surgery with it. And when a person is armed with a chainsaw, everything looks like a tree. To mix a couple metaphors.

  5. Erich Vieth says:

    “WASHINGTON (AP) — GOP presidential hopeful Ron Paul says “offering friendship” to Iran, not sanctions, would be a more fruitful to achieving peace with Tehran. The Texas congressman says fears about Iran’s nuclear program have been “blown out of proportion.” He says tough penalties are a mistake because, as he says was the case in Iraq, they only hurt the local population and still paved a path to war.”

    http://news.yahoo.com/paul-says-friendship-best-way-deal-iran-165913503.html

  6. Mike M. says:

    And with those statements, there goes any hope whatsoever of Ron Paul’s electability as a candidate in this United States. Poof, out like a wet match. The bloodthirsty Warrior Cults of the Republican Party and Religious Right will now tear this gentleman to pieces..just watch.

  7. Erich Vieth says:

    While the United States, Britain and Canada are planning to announce a coordinated set of sanctions against Iran’s oil and petrochemical industry today, longtime investigative journalist Seymour Hersh questions the growing consensus on Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons program. International pressure has been mounting on Iran since the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency revealed in a report the “possible military dimensions” to Iran’s nuclear activities, citing “credible” evidence that “indicates that Iran has carried out activities relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device.” In his latest article for The New Yorker blog, titled “Iran and the IAEA,” Hersh argues the recent report is a “political document,” not a scientific study. “They [JSOC] found nothing. Nothing. No evidence of any weaponization,” Hersh says. “In other words, no evidence of a facility to build the bomb. They have facilities to enrich, but not separate facilities to build the bomb. This is simply a fact.”

    http://www.democracynow.org/2011/11/21/seymour_hersh_propaganda_used_ahead_of

  8. Erich Vieth says:

    Mitt Romney can’t wait to wage war against Iran:

    “Iran is a unique kind of threat,” said Daniel Senor, one of Romney’s close foreign policy advisers, in an interview conducted over the phone and via e-mail. “It directly and unambiguously threatens core American interests: the security of the American homeland, the security of our access to vital resources in the Gulf and the security of America’s close ally, Israel.”

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/22/mitt-romney-iran-obama-gop-foreign-policy_n_1104519.html

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