by Stephen Lendman
Western media, hard right commentators, and pro-Israeli groups feature regular anti-Iranian denigration, slander, misinformation and lies.
Respecting its sovereignty is verboten. Regime change is prioritized. All means are OK, including war, mass killing and destruction. Warmongers relish it. Rhetoric tries justifying it.
Responsibility to protect (R2P) and humanitarian intervention are code terms. They're cover for imperial ravaging. When is war not war? It's when killing, terrorizing, and traumatizing victims is legitimized. It's when lies substitute for truth. It's when threats don't exist so they're created. It's when fake objectives conceal real ones.
America and Israel are warrior states. They'd rather fight than switch policies to peaceful ones. They'd rather eliminate rivals than cooperate diplomatically, politically and economically.
Iran's alleged nuclear threat is red herring cover for regime change by war if other methods fail.
No matter that US intelligence and IAEA inspectors found no evidence of bomb-making development, production, or violations Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) provisions.
Occasional mainstream reports provide kernels of truth. Months earlier, Haaretz  headlined "Mossad, CIA agree Iran has yet to decide to build nuclear weapon," saying:
Intelligence agencies have best information. They contradict warrior politicians itching for another fight. At times, they report accurately what warmongers don't want to hear.
Too bad it's not all the time. Media scoundrels don't hold them accountable when they and political hawks choose war as their policy of choice.
Anti-Iranian threats are featured. On August 14, the London Guardian headlined "Israeli speculation over Iran strike reaches fever pitch," saying:
Talk may or may not signal policy. Nonetheless, "a blizzard of speculative articles (suggest) a military strike against Iran's nuclear sites is imminent."
Weeks, not months, are mentioned. A Ma'ariv article mentioned a September 25 deadline. It's when UN member states meet in New York for the General Assembly's 67th session. It's also Yom Kippur eve.
Yedioth Ahronoth  Hebrew language broadsheet is Israel's most popular daily. Writers Nahum Barnea and Simon Shiffer are respected commentators. They said:
"Insofar as it depends on Binyamin Netanyahu and Ehud Barak, an Israeli military strike on the nuclear facilities in Iran will take place in these coming autumn months, before the US elections in November."
At the same time, "(t)here is not a single senior official in the establishment – neither among the (IDF) top brass nor in the security branches, or even the president – who supports an Israeli strike at the moment."
Nonetheless, "Netanyahu assessed that this was empty talk. That Obama will not take action. Barak was less confrontational, but his conclusion was similar. He said that Israel could not entrust its security in the hands of a foreign state….The US can live with a nuclear Iran. Israel cannot."
Former Mossad head Ehraim Halevy said if he "was an Iranian, (he'd) be very fearful of the next 12 weeks." Former Israeli military intelligence chief Aharon Zeevi Farkash said "(i)t seems to me that (an Israeli attack) could come in the near future, that is, weeks or a couple of months."
Others accuse Netanyahu and Barak of playing a dangerous game. One hopeful sign is that war plans are publicly debated.
In "The Art of War,"  Chinese general/strategist/philosopher Sun Tzu said "All warfare is based on deception." Enemies aren't alerted in advance.
"Hence, when able to attack, we must seem unable. When using our forces, we must seem inactive. When we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away. When far away, we must make him believe we are near."
He also said "(l)et your plans be dark and as impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt."
Perhaps Israeli bombast is more bark than bite. If not, deception won't be part of its strategy. Publicly, positions of both sides have been featured ad nauseam.
Earlier Israeli wars weren't pre-announced. Plans were secret until initiated. Discussions were held privately. Current openness won't affect whether or not attacking Iran follows.
Hopefully, it reflects lack of resolve rather than intent to commit to what neither side can win. Tiny Israel will be battered. Destroying or severely damaging its nuclear sites will irradiate the entire country and large parts of neighboring ones.
Striking Iran's nuclear facilities puts millions of Iranians at risk. Contamination assures current and future generational suffering. War casualties on both sides will pale compared to far greater numbers annually.
Responsible leaders don't take those risks. Sociopaths go where angels fear to tread. Consequences come later. They're left for future officials to address. Radiation is unforgiving. So is other contamination too toxic to remediate.
On August 20, Haaretz  headlined "Mofaz demands clarifications from Netanyahu over his 'intention to lead Israel to war with Iran,' " saying:
Kadima party head Shaul Mofaz demanded an urgent meeting. "I ask that this meeting be convened without delay," he said. He raised concerns about preparedness, US/Israeli relations, the IDF's reserve strength, essential raw materials, other supplies, civil aviation, sea ports, evacuation of strategic facilities, and management of Israel's strategic inventories.
He accused Netanyahu, Barak, and likeminded ministers of "crossing red lines and neglecting the public discourse on the most intimate security-related issues." He added that this conduct "has become customary for you and your government."
He stressed that attacking Iran's nuclear facilities would achieve limited results at best. At the same time, it assures great "loss of life, grave damage to the home front, and deep erosion of Israel's political situation. Such action is immoral and operationally illogical under the circumstances."
Mofaz has extensive military experience. He served both as Deputy Chief of General Staff and chief. He also was Ariel Sharon's defense minister. His concerns can't be dismissed out of hand.
He accused Netanyahu of losing his senses and control. He added that hysteria he projects reflects "a grave picture illustrated by your true intentions at this time."
Mofaz is both military strategist and politician. He alone knows where one ends and the other begins. Opposition parties criticize for political advantage. Perhaps his comments reflect future electoral considerations, not real feelings or what he'd do as prime minister.
Professor Francis Boyle  is a recognized international law expert. He calls waging war on Iran a criminal act. Doing so is naked aggression. "The death toll from World War III will be incalculable," he said. "Humanity must now allow our history to repeat itself! Otherwise, that could be the end to our Humanity."
When Obama says "all options are on the table," he threatening possible nuclear war. Doing so is unconscionable madness. It's also perhaps the highest form of criminality.
Nuclear weapons and "nuclear deterrence (have) never been legitimate instruments of state policy but have always constituted instrumentalities of internationally lawless and criminal behavior," Boyle explains.
"If mass extermination of human beings is a crime," so is threatening to do so. Article 2 of the UN Charter "prohibits both the threat and the use of force except" in self-defense. US wars don't qualify. Nor will attacking Syria and/or Iran.
America and Israel both are guilty of "ongoing international criminal activity." At issue is "planning, preparation, solicitation, and conspiracy to commit Nuremberg crimes against peace, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and genocide" on a regional or world scale.
In emails to this writer, Boyle added more, saying:
"If there is war against Iran, it will be because the United States has decided to sacrifice the Israelis in order to accomplish its own imperial objectives in the Middle East."
He's saying after both countries batter each other, America will grab easy pickings without waging war for them.
At the same time, he stresses, war assures catastrophic consequences. "(T)ens of thousands of completely innocent civilian Iranians, Israelis, Palestinians, Lebanese, Syrians, and Gulf Arabs," among others, will be affected horrifically "just for starters."
What madness, ambitions, or other reasons drives leaders to take these risks? Why would ordinary people with everything to lose and nothing to gain support them?
What can reasoned ones do to stop them? React, stay informed, tell others, and agitate like hell to stop them.
A Final Comment
Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) countries have potential clout. Key is strengthening ties and using it. From August 26 - 31, member states hold their 16th summit. Tehran is host city.
Rotating chairs head NAM. Summits are occasions when host country heads of state become secretary-general. Prestige comes with it.
Iranian leaders want NAM economic independence stressed. They'll try to revitalize the alliance and seek support for its peaceful nuclear program. They also urge resistance against Washington's imperial agenda.
An impressive summit looms. After toing and froing for days, reports says UN Secretary-General Bank Ki-moon will attend. Israeli, Western and scoundrel media pressure tried dissuading him. Apparently it failed.
On August 18, the Tehran Times  said about 100 countries committed to attend. Forty-one plan high-level participation.
They'll send 35 heads of state, five first vice presidents or vice presidents, and one parliament speaker. Twenty-one nations will send foreign ministers. Presidential envoys will represent five countries. Two others will have ministerial leaders other than their foreign minister.
In addition, deputy ministers, directors general, and UN ambassadors are coming. Some countries have yet to confirm names so more top officials may join others already committed.
At issue is potential for strengthening cooperative, mutually beneficial, ties. Key also is enhancing Iran's status. Doing so marginalizes America's strategy to co-opt and dominate.
Perhaps Japan one day will grow up and decide it benefits the same way. Its future depends more on Asia than Washington. That coming of age may inspire other nations to do the same thing.
What better way to beat the empire, prosper, and live in peace.
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.