Mob rhetoric about Iran begins….

I don’t have to do any promotion on this book. Read the news and you can’t get away from the theme of “Mobs, Messiahs, and Markets.”

Here’s the mob mind at work in the President’s latest speech on Iran. Haven’t we heard it all? Lies, damn lies, and not even a statistic in sight. It’s WMD in Iraq, Volume 2. No mushroom clouds this time — the threat is nuclear holocaust, nothing less. Who could possibly believe this? It’s not even clear where the Iranians have got in their nuclear research; meanwhile the U.S. has enough nuclear weapons to blow up the planet several times over. But no — the government tells us we need to be afraid — oh so, afraid.

Why do people buy this stuff? Over and over?

Here’s Glen Greenwald at Salon, via blogger, Firedoglake (thanks for the tip to Ali Eteraz)
George Bush, speaking before yet another military audience, yesterday delivered what might actually be the most disturbing speech of his presidency, in which he issued more overt war threats than ever before towards Iran:

The other strain of radicalism in the Middle East is Shia extremism, supported and embodied by the regime that sits in Tehran. Iran has long been a source of trouble in the region. It is the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism. Iran backs Hezbollah who are trying to undermine the democratic government of Lebanon. Iran funds terrorist groups like Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, which murder the innocent, and target Israel, and destabilize the Palestinian territories. Iran is sending arms to the Taliban in Afghanistan, which could be used to attack American and NATO troops. Iran has arrested visiting American scholars who have committed no crimes and pose no threat to their regime. And Iran’s active pursuit of technology that could lead to nuclear weapons threatens to put a region already known for instability and violence under the shadow of a nuclear holocaust. Iran’s actions threaten the security of nations everywhere. And that is why the United States is rallying friends and allies around the world to isolate the regime, to impose economic sanctions. We will confront this danger before it is too late (Applause.)

Leave aside all of the dubious premises — the fact that the U.S. is supposed to consider Iran “the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism” because of its support for groups that are hostile to Israel; that Iran is arming its longstanding Taliban enemies; that Iran is some sort of threat to Iraq’s future even though it is an ally of Iraq’s government; and that Iran’s detention of American-Iranians inside its own country is anything other than retaliation for our own equally pointless detention of Iranians inside of Iraq, to say nothing of a whole slew of other provacative acts we have recently undertaken towards Iran. Leave all of that aside for the moment. Viewed through the prism of presidential jargon, Bush’s vow — “We will confront this danger before it is too late” — is synonymous with a pledge to attack Iran unless our array of demands are met. He is unmistakably proclaiming that unless Iran gives up its nuclear program and fundamentally changes its posture in the Middle East, “we will confront this danger.” What possible scenario could avert this outcome?

By now it is unmistakably clear that it is not only — or even principally — Iran’s nuclear program that is fueling these tensions. As Scott Ritter and others have long pointed out, the fear-mongering warnings about an Iranian “nuclear holocaust” (obviously redolent of Condoleezza Rice’s Iraqi smoking gun “mushroom cloud”) is but the pretext for achieving the true goal — regime change in Tehran. Bush all but said so yesterday:

We seek an Iran whose government is accountable to its people — instead of to leaders who promote terror and pursue the technology that could be used to develop nuclear weapons.

In other words, we “seek” a new government in Iran. Are there really people left who believe, with confidence, that Bush is going to leave office without commencing or provoking a military confrontation with Iran? Bush also added: “I have authorized our military commanders in Iraq to confront Tehran’s murderous activities.” To underscore the fact that this is not mere rhetoric, the U.S. military in Iraq, following Bush’s speech, arrested and detained eight Iranian energy experts meeting in Baghdad with the Iraqi government — handcuffing, blindfolding, and interrogating them — only to then release them when the Iraqi government protested. The path we are on — with 160,000 of our troops in Iran’s neighbor, escalating war-threatening rhetoric, and increasingly provocative acts — is obviously the path to war….”

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