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They can’t contain themselves

By Peter Voskamp | Mondoweiss | November 13, 201

Dum Spiro Spero: “While I breathe I hope” is South Carolina’s state motto. With that in mind, it was unsettling to hear Republican Lindsey Graham of South Carolina call for military action against Iran from, of all places, the Canadian Maritimes.

“The last thing America wants is another military conflict, but the last thing the world needs is a nuclear-armed Iran… Containment is off the table,” the Agence France-Presse quoted Graham as saying in Halifax. This week’s calls for ratcheting up the military option with Iran have an odd geographic discordance to them.

While a senator of the south was in foggy Nova Scotia, Israeli’s Benyamin Netanyahu was in humid New Orleans.

“Containment against Iran won’t work,” Netanyahu told the Jewish Federations of North America, echoing his American friend.

In the wake of the mid-term elections, it feels like a pile on — a version of “when did you stop beating your wife?” When, President Obama, did you become soft on potentially nuclear-armed Holocaust denying sponsors of terrorism who want to obliterate Israel and the West?

These containment-dismissers follow veteran Washington Post columnist David Broder and his suggestion of an invigorating war with Iran to get the country into the swing of things and to raise Obama’s poll numbers for 2012.

Even the recent WikiLeaks document-drop on Iraq has been used to rationalize belligerence. The New York Times focused on Iran; Michael Gordon and Andrew Lehren filed a 2,267-word front-page piece detailing various border skirmishes and intelligence that suggested various Shiite insurgents were being trained and armed by elite Iranians.

Der Spiegel, meanwhile, in its English-language International on-line edition, devoted about a paragraph or two to Iran, of an entirely different flavor:

“The special attention the Americans were paying to weapons shipments from Iran reads more like a deliberate search for proof that Iran was one of the main supporters of the Shiite militias in Iraq, especially given the relatively sporadic discoveries of such weapons. The reports do show, however, that such weapons shipments existed. Nevertheless, the documents offer no evidence that the government in Tehran controlled the arms trade centrally.”

The Guardian had a similar response to how U.S. publications reacted to the WikiLeaks revelations:

“Much of the U.S. press also focused on the claim that the WikiLeaks papers supported the former president George Bush’s claim that the war in Iraq was severely complicated by Iran’s covert role. The Washington Times said the leaked documents showed ‘Iran was orchestrating one side of the Iraqi insurgency.’”

And, back in July when the first WikiLeaks material was published, the Weekly Standard made the most of reports in the Guardian of various alleged collaborations between al Qaeda and Iran.

“One of the more interesting aspects of the WikiLeaks document dump is the persistence of intelligence reports indicating collusion between al Qaeda, al Qaeda-affiliated parties, and Iran.”

The same Standard article went on to qualify that it could not vouch for the veracity of the reports.

Arthur Brisbane, the current Public Editor for the Times, offered an email from Executive Editor Bill Keller to explain in part the venerable paper’s choices with WikiLeaks:

“‘We chose the documents that struck us as most interesting,’ Mr. Keller said in an e-mail message. ‘We did our own analysis of the material. We decided what to write. We did not discuss any of those matters with WikiLeaks, or give them an advance look at our stories.’”

With all this impatience with containment, one must ask: what’s the rush? Iran is a country of 72 million people and not yet a single nuclear weapon. The world lived nearly a half a century with a Soviet Union armed with thousands of nuclear warheads. Not to mention China, India, Pakistan and Israel herself.

Stemming the proliferation of nuclear weapons is a noble aim, but the proliferation of heated exhortations that could needlessly spark another ill-starred cataclysm in the Middle East feels like the clearer, and more present, danger.

Voskamp is the editor of the Block Island Times.

November 13, 2010 - Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering

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