By Kevin Clarke
U.S. Catholic (www.uscatholic.org)
We get all kinds of mail here at U.S. Catholic: scripture
interpretation pasted together from magazine headlines with biblical
verses twisted in a manner King James could never have anticipated,
bitter screeds from subscription-canceling conservatives, ranting
monologues from conditionally renewing liberals and lengthy appeals
from our non-Catholic Christian brethren worried over our eternal
We can also count on our share of press releases. Most come from
agents representing new authors or seeking to sell the latest
incarnation of the commodified Jesus. Many seek some editorial inches
to promote worthy advocacy or direct-action campaigns.
And then there are those efforts whose audacity or inappropriateness
leaves a fella shaking his head in disbelief. A recent series of slick
dispatches from the public relations front of the war on terror falls
into this mail pile. Typically illustrated by an 8?-by-11 glossy of a
mushroom cloud rising from an atomic blast (small irony department: if
I'm not mistaken, the photo actually captures a detonation over the
Nevada desert during America's wild and crazy what-me-worry-about-
nuclear-fallout days), the scary memos from the Israel Project's
copywriting crew breathlessly depict the various threats represented
by a "nuclear Iran," patiently explaining why that radioactive outcome
is "dangerous for everyone."
These regular mailings from the Israel Project to "opinion agents"
such as yours truly are, in effect, a public-relations campaign for
war. The monthly missives I receive from this one pro-Israel lobby are
a small part of a broader effort to "secure the information stream"
and prep Americans for the next *** stop in the war on terror:
sunny Iran. Now to the average shmoe, even contemplating another war
while the overtaxed U.S. military machine seems bogged down in Iraq
and losing ground in Afghanistan might seem laughably disconnected
But see, average schmoe, you lack the long-term vision and patience of
the folks at the Israel Project and their fellow travelers at, say,
the New American Century Project or the vice president's office. This
proposed Iranian ***letting was penciled in years ago by the war-
mongering proponents of the Pax Americana. Now it's time to hard-
schedule the main event.
Iraq was supposed to be the demo-sideshow to the real fight to alter
the political reality on the ground of the Middle East, an effort that
"logically" ends not in Jerusalem or Baghdad but in Tehran. The fact
that the build-up stages to this "inevitable" confrontation - taking
out Saddam Hussein, removing the Taliban from power, and neutralizing
Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza - have not exactly gone
according to script has not deterred these determined folks. Now like
bourbon-addled, nicotine-fingered Vegas high-rollers on a bad run,
these guys are asking America to double-down on the great Islamic
Enlightenment project. After all, we've invested too much in
sacrificed souls and taxpayer treasure to bail out now from this
increasingly barbaric clash of civilizations. Right?
Let me light a lantern in a bell tower for my fellow Americans. You
must awake. There are PR armies of the night with shiny media kits and
***-Cheneyfied "intelligence" reports quietly at work right now,
building momentum for a strike on Iran and a vast broadening of this
too costly - and let's just say it - too crazy war on terror.
A U.S. attack on Iran may include "mini-nuke" weapons and could begin
a cascade of unplanned and increasingly unpleasant outcomes, including
an actual nuclear war. That is a lot to risk for a campaign aimed at
setting back by a handful of years Iran's nuclear program, which its
leaders likely see as a counterbalance to Israel's nuclear threat and
Americans have to step up today to demand that Congress not repeat the
cowardly abdication of constitutional responsibility we witnessed
before the Iraq debacle began. They must make clear to the warmongers
in Washington that an Iran adventure - morally dubious, strategically
short-sighted, and almost certainly geopolitically disastrous - cannot
be sold to the American people, even if you've got the best PR money
can buy on your side.