Don’t Be a Media Dupe About Iran

We (the co-founders of Downsize DC) made bold predictions prior to the Iraq war in 2003. You can still see them at TruthAboutWar.org. We got things right, when nearly everyone else was wrong. We even predicted in advance that Iraq had no nuclear weapons.

How did we do that? Well, we knew politicians lie. We knew too that “War is the health of The State” and good for ratings. We also looked past the politicians and the media, and consulted history instead.

Now I want to do the same thing with the Iran treaty. Here are six things you should know to avoid being a media dupe…

1. U.S. and Israeli intelligence agree Iran is nowhere near having a nuclear weapon.

You wouldn’t know this from following the news, but it’s true.

Neo-conservatives (militarists), like Dick Cheney and Benjamin Netanyahu, have constantly made headlines with their repeated warnings that Iran is only six months away from having a nuclear weapon. But they’ve been crying wolf since 2006! How many times can you be six months away from the same event before you decide the claim is false?

Advice: Remember the false claims about Iraq’s nonexistent weapons of mass destruction. Learn from that history. Prefer the less sensational intelligence reports over warmongering politicians.

2. It’s wrong to believe that Iran’s government is willing to commit suicide.  

Many people think Iran’s leaders seek religious martyrdom through nuclear conflagration. They assert that Iran is eager to nuke Israel to bring this about. They support this claim by quoting anti-Israeli comments made by the Ayatollah Khomeini. But Khomeini has been dead for 26 years. Meanwhile…

Ali Khamenei has been the Supreme Leader for the last quarter century. He’s repeatedly said that it’s immoral to have nuclear weapons, let alone use them. He even issued a Fatwa against nuclear bombs. He says Iran merely wants nuclear power plants, which they’re permitted to have by treaty. So why should the words of a dead leader be more believed than the words of the current leader?

Still others quote former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has been out of office since 2013. But an Iranian “President” has about as much power as our Interior Secretary. Can you even name the current Interior Secretary? An Iranian "president" doesn’t even control the military.  

Advice: Drop the idea that Iran is suicidal. It’s nonsense.

3. Iran’s leaders have better reasons to distrust us, than we do to distrust them.

Most Americans don’t know this, but our CIA overthrew Iran’s democracy in 1953 and installed the dictatorial Shah. This CIA coup was run from the American Embassy in Tehran. These events were the cause of Iran’s Islamic Revolution in 1979. They also explain why the revolutionaries captured and held the US embassy that year.

But it gets worse. In the 1980s, Saddam Hussein waged a war against Iran that our politicians supported with money and arms. Now…

Imagine how Americans would feel if Iran had overthrown our government and installed a dictator, or if Iran had supported an invasion of the United States.

You see, Iran’s hatred and distrust of the US wasn’t unprovoked. It’s not the byproduct of religious radicalism. Our politicians EARNED this hatred.  

Advice: Be suspicious of all politicians, both in Iran and America. More importantly, recognize that American politicians are a much greater threat to your security than Iran could ever be.  

4. The Iranian state hasn’t started a war in 220 years.

But the US sure has. Our government also occupied both of Iran’s neighbors — Iraq and Afghanistan. Our politicians also gave Saddam Hussein chemical weapons to use against Iran. But despite this, Iran actually offered to help the US against the Taliban.

Advice: Stop viewing Iran as uniquely aggressive. That’s just a scare story told by political con-men — the same people who fooled Americans into invading Iraq. Worry instead about what your own politicians are constantly doing to destabilize the world.

5. The Iranian government has cooperated with both the US and Israel in the recent past.  

In his book, Treacherous Alliance, Trita Parsi shows how Iran has cooperated with the US and even Israel to pursue shared interests. Iran and Israel even ran a secret mission together.

Iran also offered the US assistance against the Taliban in Afghanistan. Plus…

Iran opposes ISIS. Yet a recently declassified Pentagon document shows the US government supported ISIS, because of policy objectives in Syria. So whom should you fear more, Iran or your own politicians?

Advice: Fear the enemy inside your own borders. Stop trusting politicians.

6. Saber-rattling makes nuclear proliferation more likely.  

Let’s review. Our politicians…

  • Changed one regime in Iran.
  • Changed regimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, Iran’s neighbors.
  • Have been caught supporting ISIS in an effort to end the Assad regime in Syria.

The US government has a long sad history of changing regimes and installing puppet dictators in other countries. And these examples give Iran plenty of reason to worry that our politicians might, once again, try regime change in their country. This fear could be the biggest reason why Iran might finally decide to build a nuclear weapon.

Advice: Remove Iran’s main incentive for building a bomb. Stop the saber-rattling.  

Now, when you write or share an editorial, like this…

Inevitably, shallow people will accuse you of having a love affair with Iran and/or hating America. Two things should be made clear about this deliberate, historical, and nuanced analysis…

  1. Politicians lie, including Iranian politicians.
  2. Iran is an evil regime, and we’d prefer they did NOT get nuclear weapons.

But that’s only part of why we should support the current flawed Iran treaty!

The main reason may be a surprise. What really matters is the part of the deal that reduces trade barriers, because…

  • Expanded trade could reduce fears and lessen the motivation to maybe someday build a bomb. Even more importantly…
  • Increased commerce between Iran and western nations erodes the theocracy, while war, the neoconservative method, would instead empower the regime.

When goods cross borders armies stay at home.

America has a secret weapon that works far better than saber-rattling. It even helped end communism.

That secret weapon is our culture. People want to copy it, including Iranians. They like western art and fashion. They watch American programming, even though it’s illegal. But this process is hampered by trade embargoes against Iran. War would set it back.

Our best American weapon against this regime? Expand trade. Unlike militarist politicians beating the drums of war, that will actually make you safer.

Now, Take Action…

If you find these arguments convincing, please write Congress and tell them to support the Iran treaty. You may find it helpful to copy and paste some or all of the above points as part of your letter to Congress. DownsizeDC.org provides a free tool for you to give your so-called “representatives” their working orders.

Jim Babka is President of Downsize DC.

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