August 25, 2007

The Unfathomable Incapacity to Learn from Folly

As I noted in Ignoring the News They Don't Like, the majority of media outlets have given little play to recent, informed editorial pieces on the state of the Iraq occupation and the value of VIP visits to that embattled nation in forming policy. Unfortunately, however, the failures of the media are not limited to sins of omission, and unthinkably, news outlets across the country appear to be engaging in the same uncritical stenography for the Bush administration that we last saw at its peak in the hysterical days between 9/11 and our incursion into a country that had neither attacked us nor presented a credible threat of doing so.

There is significant evidence that the White House is positioning itself politically to justify armed action against Iran, including an effort to officially name the elite Iranian Revolutionary Guard a "terrorist organization." Supporters of the administration are advocating - absent any realistic military capability from a close-to-breaking U.S. military - some type of "get-tough" policy with Tehran. The Weekly Standard's Bill Kristol seems to believe that it's too soon to give up the notion that the United States will be greeted as liberators by somebody in the Persian Gulf; Senator Joseph Lieberman has stated plainly that he believes we must be prepared to strike out against Iran; and Senator John McCain even went so far as to sing his support for raining death and destruction from the sky.

All of this is alarming in the extreme - even as it is unfathomable that our leaders and their boosters have learned nothing from the folly they have pursued in Iraq - and it is neither a passing problem or something that is fading away. Lately, as Robert Greenwald documents in the video below, Fox News has been ramping up the rhetoric for direct confrontation with Iran, and doing so in what can only be considered the "tried and true" methodology they used to help stampede the United States into a disasterous war of choice in 2002 and early 2003.

For some perspective on what the consequences of such an action might be, The Daily Show's Jon Stewart gives us a brief history lesson on American interventionism in the Middle East, its inherent short-sightedness, and the level of success it has enjoyed. (Video courtesy of Crooks and Liars.)

The hysteria is mounting, the propaganda is flowing, and there are still some very dangerous and foolish men and women in positions of both power and influence. We must not be stampeded into conflict with Iran; it would mean untold disaster for the United States today, and for years to come.

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