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Wednesday, September 19, 2007


Iran's nose strikes Israel's fist

Gilbert and Sullivan's "topsy-turvydom" has nothing on the real world.

In today's news, this completely unremarkable and perfectly justifiable remark from the deputy commander of Iran's air force:

"We have drawn up a plan to strike back at Israel with our bombers if this regime (Israel) makes a silly mistake."
Defending yourself if you're attacked. What a concept! Well, you might have thought that he threatened to nuke Tel Aviv (with those non-existent Iranian nukes) from the reaction:
White House press secretary Dana Perino called Alavi's comment "unhelpful."

"It is not constructive and it almost seems provocative."
Provocative? To announce you will respond if attacked?

The Israeli reaction was even more topsy-turvy:

Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev said, "Unfortunately we are all too accustomed to this kind of bellicose, extremist and hateful language coming from Iran."

"We take the threat very seriously and so does the international community," he added.
But don't underestimate the effect of this kind of response, even if it seems (and is) completely irrational. This morning I was listening to the well-respected (and generally fairly neutral) interviewer on local morning news, Ross McGowan, interviewing David Barsamian, the author of a new book entitled "Targeting Iran." McGowan not only repeated the usual canards about Iran (denying the Holocaust, threatening to wipe Israel off the map) but even threw in a "making threats against the United States" (which Barsamian rightly pointed out was nonsense). And the fact that someone like McGowan, definitely not a right-wing ideologue, could just casually toss off a statement like that, indicates how deeply the slanders against Iran have penetrated the American psyche.

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