Drumbeat for War on Iran
by Stephen Lendman
Haaretz knows better. Still it misreports on Iran. On August 12, its editorial headlined "Netanyahu's dangerous demagoguery on Iran" saying:
"Iranian nuclear weapons are a threat to Israel - but its leaders' demagoguery is just as dangerous."
Haaretz, Israeli officials, US and other Western ones know Iran has no nuclear weapons program. It likely has no intention of pursuing one. It abhors them and wants a nuclear-free Middle East.
Israel alone in the region is menacing. It has a powerful arsenal and declared intention to use it if threatened. Instead of pointing fingers the wrong way, Haaretz editorial policy should report responsibly.
Iran threatens no one. It hasn't attacked another country in over 200 years. Israel is nuclear armed and dangerous. No one in the region and beyond is safe.
Haaretz said Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak hope enlisting public opinion support will overcome majority ministerial and defense establishment anti-war opposition.
Haaretz isn't against war. It wants decisions this important decided by senior cabinet officials, not one or two alone. Netanhayu's "goal might be democratic," it said, "but (his) method is demagogic.
"There is no real difference of opinion between the public and its leadership when it comes to determination not to live in the shadow of Iranian nuclear weapons as long as the regime in Iran is extremist and openly seeks Israel's destruction."
Iran's government isn't extremist. It doesn't seek Israel's destruction. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and others said its policies are self-destructive. Responsible analysts know it's true.
Haaretz said "(t)he question is not 'acquiescence or war,' but rather whether all other means have been exhausted, leaving no choice but to attack soon…."
These type comments are irresponsible. No nation may interfere in the affairs of others. Preemptive attacks are lawless. Self-defense alone justifies military responses. Claiming "Iranian nuclear weapons are dangerous for Israel" is journalistic demagoguery.
Haaretz knows better. It's time it showed it. Instead, it headlined  "Israeli official: Iran has made progress toward developing nuclear warhead," saying:
An unnamed Israeli official claimed new US/Israeli/other Western intelligence "shows that the Iranian activity around the 'weapon group' - the final stage in the development of a nuclear weapon - is progressing far beyond the scope known to the" IAEA.
Allegedly Obama knew a week ago. Barak says acting now is "more urgent."
"A senior Jerusalem official said Iran has made significant progress in developing the components for assembling a nuclear warhead for a Shahab-3 missile, which has a range of 1,500 kilometers, allowing it to hit any part of Israel."
On August 9, White House spokesman Jay Carney said Washington has "enough of an awareness….to be sure that Iran has not begun to pursue breakout capacity and that we would have time to respond to that as necessary."
US National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor said US intelligence shows Tehran "is not on the verge of achieving nuclear weapons."
Netanyahu and Barak falsely claim otherwise. They also repeat the canard about Iran "openly declar(ing) its intention to destroy the State of Israel." On August 10, Netanyahu added:
"In spite of decisions by the UN Security Council, harsh sanctions and repeated proposals to reach a diplomatic solution, the Iranian regime ignores the international community, misleads inspectors and races to carry out its intention of equipping itself with nuclear weapons."
Ari Shavit is Haaretz's resident hawk. He's both senior correspondent and member of its editorial board. On August 11, he headlined  "A grave warning on Iran from 'the decision maker' - Israel News."
Israel/Palestine 972mag.com contributor Dimi Reider said Israelis awoke "to a deafening, orchestrated drumroll…." Headlines from four major dailies beat drums for war. "The soloist of this dubious ensemble was….Shavit."
He interviewed Barak. He reported about him anonymously. He called him "the decision maker." Shavit is both resident Haaretz hawk and "sycophantic town crier." He wrote:
"The Decision-Maker is a controversial man. There was a time he was seen here as a savior, and immediately afterwards, a leper."
"And again, a near-savior, and again, a leper. But even those opposed to The Decision-Maker admit he’s highly intelligent. Even those with reservations about him are aware he is possessed of unique strategic experience."
"For half-a-century, The Decision-Maker has been traveling around the core of the security establishment of the state. On more than one occasion, he was the core."
"He has respect for both supporters of an action in Iran and its opponents. But although he had thought over the matter once again, he remains unmoved from his original position and is utterly convinced that he is right."
Reider calls Barak "the most widely loathed and unelectable politician in Israel." Shavit posed softball questions. He let Barak get away with "ridiculous statement(s)." Instead of challenging him responsibly, he t(ook) up the cheerleader's baton."
If Israel attacks Iran, "history should remember the shameful role (Shavit) has cast himself to play." Instead of journalistic integrity, he's both apologist and cheerleader for war.
He doesn't quit. Israel needs covert US backing to attack Iran, he says. Earlier in August he conducted another anonymous interview . He described a "tall quiet gentleman. He "made a major contribution to Israel's existence."
He called Iran's "nuclearization unacceptable." It'll embolden Israel's enemies, he said. Terrorists might get hold of dirty bombs. Israel could be contaminated or exterminated. Other regional states would want their own programs. Greater instability than now would follow.
Israel can't tolerate what jeopardizes its existence. Perhaps being a good neighbor would change things. Shavit and his anonymous subject left that issue unaddressed.
Also unmentioned was Israel's nuclear, chemical and biological arsenals. One or more of them is reason enough for regional states to want greater protection from their real threat.
Last May, former Hebrew University/Jerusalem Professor Yehezkel Dror published a report  titled "An Integrated Imperative: Attack Iran and Launch a Regional Peace Initiative," saying:
"The possession of nuclear weapons by Iran poses serious dangers to Israel because" Tehran may use them. Greater regional proliferation may follow.
"If Iran advances towards construction of a nuclear weapon is not halted, Israel will have no choice but to attack (its) facilities while they are still vulnerable."
Dror is both lapdog and cheerleader for war. Imagine what he taught students in classrooms.
He's Machiavellian, not reasoned. Imagine proposing war and peace simultaneously. He replicates America's Dr. Strangelove. Stanley Kubrick's film satirically depicted a deranged general's obsession to wage nuclear war.
Dror's analysis employs false logic. On the one hand, he calls an Iranian attack on Israel "small or very small." At the same time, he claims Iran is likely to use nuclear weapons against Israel if not stopped.
He also dismisses severe damage from an Iranian attack. Then he worries about:
"Renewed clashes on the eastern front, war in the north, confrontations with Egypt, rocket and missile attacks, a new type of Intifada, megaterror, large scale cyber-attacks, innovative forms of passive resistance, non-violent mass aggression, and so on."
He calls preventive war moral. He says claims about immorality are "primitive and should be rejected."
His arguments are convoluted and contradictory. Attack a nonbelligerent country to prevent a war unlikely to happen, he urges. Reduce potential dangers by increasing them. Kill Iranians and Israelis to save lives and promote peace.
At the same time, he calls his scenario a "fuzzy gamble." Results could be "tragic." Evidence supporting is analysis is absent. Rhetoric substitutes for reason.
Acting responsibly isn't considered. Convince Israelis and others to go along with what may harm or destroy them. Forget about rationality and safety. Just act. Disregard consequences.
If public opinion expresses opposition, ignore it. If failure looks more likely than success, gamble and chance it anyway. Netanyahu and Barak espouse the same hawkishness.
Shoot first and ask questions later. Dror gives them intellectual ammunition to ready, aim, fire.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book is titled "How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War"
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.