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Big Surprise, Bush Caught in a Lie

By Terry Canaan, special to Fog City Journal

December 10, 2007

I called it nearly a year ago. On the day after Christmas, 2006, I wrote a post that I titled, Iran May Actually Need Nuclear Energy. In that post, I argued that Iran was running out of oil and a country that had spent its entire modernity as an energy seller would want to stay in the energy business. If you can't sell oil to the world, you can sell electricity to the Middle East.

In that post, I referred to an Associated Press story that told us, "Iran is suffering a staggering decline in revenue from its oil exports, and if the trend continues income could virtually disappear by 2015..." Iran, it appeared, had experienced peak oil -- the point at which oil fields begin to deliver diminishing returns. Iran's decline is between "10 and 12 percent" annually, according to the report.

As I say, I reported this, but in the mainstream media the story went nowhere. It was a business section story and no one reported it as being evidence that Bush administration scare mongering over an Iranian nuke program might be a tad bit overhyped. Someone owes me a beer.

So, after sitting on the "Iran's running out of oil" story for almost a year, the media reported December 3 the obvious as shocking truth -- the Bush administration's full of crap about Iran's nuclear program.

Raw Story:

A new US intelligence report indicates that Iran halted its nuclear weapons development program four years ago -- but the White House on Monday nevertheless urged global powers to "turn up the pressure" on the country.

Newly declassified portions of the National Intelligence Estimate find that Iran abandoned its nuclear program in the fall of 2003 and does not currently possess a nuclear weapon. The country is still enriching uranium, however, and could still develop a weapon between 2010 and 2015, according to senior intelligence officials.

It's important to distinguish the difference between "could develop a weapon" and "will develop a weapon." Iran could develop a nuclear weapon by 2010, if they started working on one today. But they aren't. We've just established that.

And even this news isn't the first we'd heard of this. In October, the UN raised their own doubts.

Agence France-Presse:

UN atomic watchdog chief Mohamed ElBaradei said December 2 he had no evidence that Iran is building nuclear weapons and accused US leaders of adding "fuel to the fire" with recent bellicose rhetoric.

"We haven't received any information there is a parallel, ongoing, active nuclear weapon program," the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency told CNN.

"Second, even if Iran were to be working on nuclear weapons ... they are at least (a) few years away from having such weapon," he said, citing Washington's own intelligence assessments.

"My fear (is) that if we continue to escalate from both sides that we will end up into a precipice, we will end up into an abyss. The Middle East is in a total mess, to say the least. And we cannot add fuel to the fire."

That Bush and Cheney have been overhyping the threat of Iran should come as absolutely no surprise to anyone. The only way to get a position in this administration is to be a shameless liar.

And it's way past time that the media recognized that fact.

In fact, this new story about Iran's lack of a nuclear weapons program should be seen as as big a scandal for the media as the administration. There is no possible way that the only person who thought the whole story was screwy was some blogger in Wisconsin. If I knew it, they knew it.

And, knowing the story was extremely suspect, they helped the Bushies scare the bejeezus out of everyone with a nuclear weaponized Ahmadinejad.

This new information doesn't mean we're out of the woods yet. Shameless as ever, the Bush administration is trying to spin this report into saying the exact opposite of what it plainly says.

"Today's National Intelligence Estimate offers some positive news," Bush's national security adviser Stephen Hadley said December 3. "It confirms that we were right to be worried about Iran seeking to develop nuclear weapons. It tells us that we have made progress in trying to ensure that this does not happen."

Iran's not working on a nuke, so the Bush administration was right in telling everyone we're on the verge of WWIII. If your head just exploded, don't blame me.

In fact, at a December 4 press conference, President Bush told reporters, "I view this report as a warning signal that they had the program, they halted the program. The reason why it's a warning signal is they could restart it." This is beyond spin. This is like being found in bed with another woman and denying she's another woman. "Baby, this is you..."

Whether or not the media goes along with this new Bush lie is an open question. I've been saying that the Bush administration has lost the benefit of the doubt for a long time. There isn't a single thing they say that shouldn't be viewed with skepticism. I also think we've gotten to that point with the media. I don't think we should assume the "Nuclear Iran" story's dead.

If the mainstream media remains true to form, they'll spend the next few weeks repairing the scare and we'll be right back where we were again. We don't just need a new administration, we need a new media.

Terry Canaan is a former political fundraiser living and writing in Wisconsin. He publishes the blog "Griper Blade."





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