Saturday, April 18, 2009

Lying about Iran: an American tradition

With the Obama administration publicly stating its desire to find a diplomatic solution to Western concerns over Iran's nuclear program, one would think top White House and State Department officials would go to great pains to ensure their statements about Iran comport with the facts. And with Admiral Dennis Blair, the top intelligence official in the U.S., stating Iran has not decided to pursue nuclear weapons and in fact suspended years ago any weapons work it may have engaged, one would think this fact-checking task would be made that much easier. One would think.

The reality? Obama's chief spokesperson and his top foreign policy officials have shown a remarkable lack of concern for the truth, choosing to repeat the Bush administration line about Iran pursuing or developing nuclear weapons despite the fact there is no evidence they are doing so -- and contrary to the view of all 16 U.S. intelligence agencies that Iran suspended any weapons-related work back in 2003.

Just this week, the administration's most prolific liar on Iran, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, during a joint press conference with the prime minister of Haiti stated:
We will continue to work with our allies to make it clear that Iran cannot continue to pursue nuclear weapons. We will stand behind the sanctions that have already been implemented, and we will look for new ways to extend collective actions vis-a-vis Iran's nuclear program.
Meanwhile, a day earlier White House spokesman Robert Gibbs discussed the Obama administration's efforts to halt Iran's "pursuit of its illicit nuclear program":
As you all know, Bill Burns went last week to meet with the P-5 plus one, to discuss the next steps involved. There was unity among the participants about the strategy moving forward, and that the goal remains very clear. The goal is, and remains, a suspension of Iran's illicit nuclear weapons program.
Dana Perino couldn't have said it better. Indeed, as Gibbs noted:
The concern remains the same. The goal remains the same. And that is, as I said, the suspension of Iran's illicit nuclear program.
Gibbs might have added that the tactics also largely remain the same: profess a commitment to diplomacy, extend economic sanctions, and lie lie lie.

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