Bush Lies about Iran on Now-Ruz

On Thursday, Bush lied about Iran again: “President Bush said the Iranian government has “declared they want to have a nuclear weapon to destroy people . . .” The Iranian leaders have consistently condemned nuclear weapons as inhumane and denounced them and said that they don’t want them and it would be illegal in Islamic law to use them. Bush is welcome to disbelieve them, but he is not welcome to lie about what they said. He again hinted around that they might have a nuclear weapons program, for which there is no evidence and which flies in the face of the findings of his own intelligence analysts, in the National Intelligence Estimate.

It is all the more insulting that these were Bush’s remarks on the occasion of the Persian New Year, which should have been a moment for diplomacy and reaching out.

When Bush’s spokesman was pressed for a clarification of Bush’s lies, he responded with more lies, saying Bush was referring to a combination of Iran’s nuclear ambitions and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s threat to ‘wipe Israel off the face of the map.’ But the nuclear ambitions are civilian as far as anyone can prove, and Ahmadinejad never threatened any such thing.

William Branigan (with Robin Wright) of the The Washington Post notes:

” In an October 2005 speech to a conference on a “World without Zionism,” Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was quoted by a state-run Iranian news agency as agreeing with a statement by Iran’s late spiritual leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, that “Israel must be wiped off the map.” Iran’s foreign minister later said the comment had been incorrectly translated from Farsi and that Ahmadinejad was “talking about the [Israeli] regime,” which Iran does not recognize and wants to see collapse.

According to Farsi-speaking commentators including Juan Cole, a professor of Middle Eastern history at the University of Michigan, Ahmadinejad’s exact quote was, “The Imam said that this regime occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time.” Cole has written that Ahmadinejad was not calling for the “Nazi-style extermination of a people,” but was expressing the wish that the Israeli government would disappear just as the shah of Iran’s regime had collapsed in 1979.

In December, a U.S. intelligence review concluded that Iran stopped work on a suspected nuclear weapons program four years earlier, reversing a previous assessment that Iran was determined to acquire nuclear arms.”

Branigan deserves some sort of medal for fearless truth-telling. You can only imagine the sort of pressure he will get over these paragraphs from the Propaganda Corps.

I heard Barack Obama speaking last August, and he said something very interesting. He said words to this effect: “You know how they say that if you repeat a Big Lie often enough, it becomes accepted as reality? Well, the same thing can be said of the truth.” If you repeat the truth often enough, you can get it accepted as the truth. Obama, as usual, is right and more– he reminds us that there is hope, that we don’t have to surrender to cynicism or the Propaganda Corps in American political life. I think this WaPo article is the biggest success I’ve ever had in that regard.

Just to give you an idea of how wrong Bush is, here is what Ahmadinejad actually said in a recent interview in the Spanish newspaper, El Pais:

‘ Throughout its history, Iran has always been a peaceful country. We have not attacked anybody. Everything we are doing is aimed at defending the country. We think that the age of nuclear weapons is over. If they were useful, the United States would not have the troubles it currently has and the Soviet Union would not have disappeared. The Zionists have atomic bombs, but they are failing against HAMAS. We not only think that the age of nuclear weapons is over, but we are also not interested in building them, because we consider that they are against human rights and dignity. Our security doctrine is a defensive doctrine. ‘

Ahmadinejad isn’t saying something new here. I discussed his earlier statement here:

‘”Iran is not a threat to any country, and is not in any way a people of intimidation and aggression.” He described Iranians as people of peace and civilization. He said that Iran does not even pose a threat to Israel, and wants to deal with the problem there peacefully, through elections:

“Weapons research is in no way part of Iran’s program. Even with regard to the Zionist regime, our path to a solution is elections.” ‘

Supreme Jurisprudent Ali Khamenei has condemned nuclear weapons, said Iran does not want them, and pledged no first strike with any sort of weapon:

‘ “Their other issue is [their assertion] that Iran seeks [a] nuclear bomb. It is an irrelevant and wrong statement, it is a sheer lie. We do not need a nuclear bomb. We do not have any objectives or aspirations for which we will need to use a nuclear bomb. We consider using nuclear weapons against Islamic rules. We have announced this openly. We think imposing the costs of building and maintaining nuclear weapons on our nation is unnecessary. Building such weapons and their maintenance are costly. By no means we deem it right to impose these costs on the people. We do not need those weapons. Unlike the Americans who want to rule the world with force, we do not claim to control the world and therefore do not need a nuclear bomb. Our nuclear bomb and our explosive powers are our faith, our youth and our people who have been present on the most difficult scenes with utmost power and faith and will continue to do so. (Chants of slogan, God is great). ‘

Ahmadinejad says a lot of kooky, bigotted and objectionable things things, and he is a hardliner who has tried to purge liberals. But Bush’s propaganda only has the effect of building him up as important and improving his electoral chances.