Back when President Bush was in office, VoteVets.org — a self-styled progressive “pro-military” group dedicated to electing more and better Democratic veterans of foreign wars — was concerned about a possible military confrontation with Iran, launching a campaign with that photogenic war criminal Wesley Clark that blasted the administration’s “sabber rattling” and stressed the need for engagement, warning that tough-sounding accusations and rhetoric only threatened to accelerate “a dangerous slide into war.”
Now that we have a new administration, though, the folks at VoteVets appear to have come to terms with saber rattling and fearmongering on Iran, embracing it themselves to further the Democratic agenda in the most demagogic, Liz Cheney-esque fashion possible. Articulate Barack Obama, not bumbling G.W., now president, the group has dropped the inconvenient anti-war rhetoric in favor of running a series of “tough” jingoistic ads designed to sell the public on the imperative of “passing a clean energy climate plan” on the dubious basis that it’ll cut in half petroleum imports from bad, swarthy countries like Iran and — well, no, just Iran, the latest ad featuring the mandatory black and white video of Iranian president and evil incarnate Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (boo! hiss!) scheming about how he can use his oil riches “against us.” Oh and by the way, did you know AhmadeniNextHitler invented the deadly form of IEDs that are killing our brave men and women in Iraq, and that if you don’t support the Democrats’ cap-and-trade bill you hate the troops? Just watch for yourself:
Criticizing the White House’s numerous unsubstantiated claims of an Iranian nuclear weapons program and coy references to “all options” being on on the table is no longer useful to the primary goal of all good and well-behaved progressive organizations: electing Democrats, the more (but not necessarily better) the merrier. Thus we see ads like this, which besides adopting misleading “energy security” rhetoric to sell a climate bill — the power sector, the focus of Democratic plans to cut carbon emissions, relies mostly on coal, not oil, meaning cap-and-trade will do little to cut oil imports to the U.S., much less reduce global oil use and the revenues flowing to countries like Iran — also adopts long-debunked Bush claims about Iran creating EFPs, explosively formed penetrators, specifically to pierce American armor.
As the Columbia Journalism Review noted in 2007, back when this talking point was last in currency, numerous factories that manufacture EFPs have been found by the U.S. military inside of Iraq, and their simplistic design means they can be easily made without the help of an outside state actor. But all this ignores the fact that U.S. troops aren’t even being killed in great numbers in Iraq anymore, having mostly retreated to their fortified bases, and that when they were, it was mostly Sunni Iraqis — not Shiites allied to Iran — that were blowing them up. And of those foreigners who came to Iraq to fight the U.S. occupation, the vast majority came from Sunni Saudi Arabia, not Shiite Iran, though the blame for all American and Iraqi deaths ultimately lies with those who ordered the invasion of Iraq in the first place. So why the hell is VoteVets not only exploiting fears about Iran in general, but this lie in particular? Marketing.
Groups like VoteVets that are de facto arms of the DNC don’t really care about stopping wars, or rolling back the U.S. empire, of course. No, all that really matters to is electing, and reelecting, Democrats, even if that means fueling the flames of the next confrontation. Iran is the enemy du jour, the country viewed least favorably by Americans, most of whom already believe it has nuclear weapons, and thus the best to associate with opponents of the Democratic policy agenda. VoteVets representing Iraq and Afghanistan vets, though, it needs some sort of tie to Iran to justify its sensationalistic use of exploding IEDs and decorated Iraq veterans to sell said agenda: enter the Iran-created-EFPs-used-in-Iraq fiction. Like their neoconservative brethren, that something’s not true is no obstacle to its being deployed in a liberal media campaign, the ends justifying the means and other rationalizations.
As evidenced by VoteVets’ dusty, neglected campaign at StopIranWar.com, stopping another war from happening in the Middle East ceased to be a concern to the professional liberal movement — if it ever was more than a fleeting anti-Republican position — the moment Bush left office. Nowadays, if exploiting fears about the Persian Menace can be used to help Obama and the Democratic Party in some form or fashion, rest assured VoteVets and other Blue Team role players will not think twice about doing so, especially since demonizing foreigners has the added co-benefit of demonstrating one’s essential reasonableness and respectability within Washington circles. It could have rather unfortunate consequences for the Iranians, though, but so what? Iran ain’t a battleground state (yet).