Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Playing Games With Iran

by William O. Beeman

".....Despite this progress, the power of the American and Israeli extremists should not be underestimated. They still have the ear of Vice President Dick Cheney and a dwindling coterie of his supporters in the Department of Defense. A group of Israeli politicians, including Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Israeli Defense Force Chief of Staff Gaby Ashkenazi, has arrived in Washington, according to Mother Jones magazine, presumably to convince the Bush administration to allow them to carry out their attack.

Hostile rhetoric against Iran also plays into the U.S. electoral process. For American politicians, Iran is a universal bogeyman, useful in an election year as a device to show elected officials as tough on foreign miscreants. Indeed, since the Iranian Revolution, U.S.-Iranian relations have been a centerpiece in election debates. Conspiracy theorists believe fervently that the Republican Party engineered an "October Surprise" in 1980 with Iranian officials – delaying the release of the American hostages until after the U.S. presidential election – and thus denied Jimmy Carter a second term. The purported event – true or not – has supplied a permanent political term for American elections.

In every presidential election since, U.S.-Iranian relations have been featured in presidential debates and campaign ads, with universal negativity toward Iran. This year is no exception with Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and John McCain all expressing hostile attitudes toward Iran. And this year's October Surprise is the rumor that the Bush administration will bomb Iran just before the election to give a boost to John McCain. Unless the Israeli hawks get there first. "

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