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Friday, April 14, 2006

A Fear-Based Initiative

(Keywords: politics, war, hysteria, fear mongering, freak out immediately! )

Let's get one thing straight right off the bat, Iran does not have nuclear weapons. It has enriched uranium, which isn't the same thing. To cast Iran as a nuclear threat is like saying a can of gasoline is a fleet of cars.

"Estimates vary as to how long it would take Iran to produce a nuclear bomb, which requires 90 per cent levels of enriched uranium but it is at least two years away," reports the Independent, "So far, Iran says it has only mastered the technology for enriching uranium to the 3 per cent needed for reactor fuel."

That means, at the earliest, that Iran could have a device by 2008. Further, The Federation of American Scientists posts on its website that 'It is reported in the Middle East Newsline from a study by the Washington, D.C., Institute of Near East Policy, suggesting that both Iran and Iraq are having considerable trouble adapting nuclear warheads because of their size to their existing MRBMs, Shahab-3 of Iran, the Scud-C's and Scud-D's of Iraq.' The report they rely on is from 2001. It's not likely that Iran has gotten any farther since. So, why the panic?

Simple - Iraq is going badly, the economy is losing ground to inflation, everyone wants Rumsfeld's head, both Bush and Cheney are about to be pulled into the leak investigation, the Ambramoff and DeLay fiascos are exposing the underlying corruption of the GOP, Colin Powell's being a little too vocal about behind the scenes stuff in the run-up to the war, the midterm elections are coming up, polling's through the floor, and if the administration ever needed a 'look over there!' distraction, it's now. If they've ever been in a tougher political spot, I can't think of it.

So what would normally be something that would call for years of diplomacy now calls for everyone to freak the fuck out right now. If you doubt me, ask yourself this - when did the president assure the nation that Iran is not an immediate threat and didn't have any nuclear weapons? Let me answer that for you - he didn't.

What he said was, "I repeat to you, the most destabilizing thing that can happen is for Iran to have a nuclear weapon and we will work with friends and allies to convince them not to." ( Not very reassuring, is it?

Once again, the administration is hitting the panic button for political gain. And, if we allow them to use fear to motivate americans, once again, we'll pay for the mistake.