Neocon Name-Calling on Iran Deal

Exclusive: The neocons won’t give up on their agenda for more “regime change” in the Middle East, as they lash out at President Obama for daring to negotiate with Iran over its nuclear program rather than use it as an excuse for more hostilities, writes Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry

By invoking Neville Chamberlain and Neda Agha Soltan, the neocons are pulling at all available emotional strings in hopes of unraveling President Barack Obama’s interim agreement with Iran that restrains but doesn’t end its nuclear program.

In one typically over-the-top neocon column in the right-wing National Review, Daniel Pipes compared Obama and the deal on Iran’s nuclear program to Great Britain’s onetime Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain and his “peace in our time” agreement with Adolf Hitler.

British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain.

British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain.

“This wretched deal offers one of those rare occasions when comparison with Neville Chamberlain in Munich in 1938 is valid,” Pipes wrote. “An overeager Western government, blind to the evil cunning of the regime it so much wants to work with, appeases it with concessions that will come back to haunt it. Geneva and November 24 will be remembered along with Munich and September 29.”

And if hysterical historical analogies don’t work for you, there is the equally misguided invocation of Neda Agha Soltan, the young Iranian woman who was killed by a bullet – possibly a stray one – that struck her as she was standing in traffic near violent protests against Iran’s election results in 2009.

Charles “Chuck” Lane, an editorialist for the neocon Washington Post, cited the young woman’s death as a reason for not dealing with the Iranian government, although there was never any evidence that she was intentionally killed by the government or one of its agents. At the time, there were disputed allegations that the bullet was fired by a pro-government militia member although – since Soltan wasn’t even participating in the protest – it always made more sense that the death was an accident.

However, in the neocons’ pursuit of another “regime change” moment in the Middle East, Lane on Tuesday rhetorically waved the young woman’s bloody shirt in a scream for revenge.

“Not that long ago, it seemed the world would never forget Neda Agha Soltan,” Lane wrote. “On June 20, 2009, a government thug fired a bullet through the 26-year-old’s heart as she stood watching protests against the blatant election fraud that had secured victory for a presidential candidate backed by Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

“Video of her dying moments went viral, and Neda became a global symbol of the Green Revolution, as the Iranian people called their movement to topple a regime capable of such bloody deeds.”

Of course, nearly everything that Lane asserted as fact was not fact. Iran’s 2009 elections were clearly won by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who may have lost among middle-class voters of Tehran but strongly carried the poor and working-class areas of Iran.

Indeed, the Iranian opposition was unable to prove any significant fraud and the election results were in line with opinion polls conducted both before and after the election, from inside and outside Iran. None of the polls showed the Green movement candidate coming anywhere close to a plurality.

“These findings do not prove that there were no irregularities in the election process,” said Steven Kull, director of the University of Maryland’s Program on International Policy Attitudes. “But they do not support the belief that a majority rejected Ahmadinejad.” [See Consortiumnews.com’s “Ahmadinejad Won, Get Over It!”]

Nevertheless, the mainstream U.S. news media, led by neocon outlets like the Washington Post, promoted the myth of a stolen election, all the better to rev up American public support for another “regime change” project against one more of Israel’s adversaries.

Torpedoing Diplomacy

But Charles Lane’s propagandistic sophistry has a more immediate goal at this moment. He is suggesting that the tragic but apparently accidental shooting death of a young woman in 2009 amid protests against the results of an election, which apparently did get the vote count right, should now prevent the international community from reaching an agreement with Iran on its nuclear program.

Lane wrote: “Today, Iran is once again in the headlines but not because Neda’s murderers are about to be held accountable. Nor has there been fundamental change in the regime that jailed and killed many rank-and-file members of the Green Revolution and continues to confine the movement’s leaders.

“No, we’re talking about the nuclear deal that the world’s great powers, led by the United States, signed last weekend with Khamenei’s representatives amid much smiling and backslapping. No one’s talking about Neda. Maybe we should be.”

However, the last thing that a Washington Post editorial writer should call for is accountability, since the Post’s editorial pages served as a bulletin board for the many bogus assertions about Iraq’s WMD and thus cleared the way for an aggressive and disastrous war on Iraq.

Not surprisingly, Charles Lane doesn’t do much recounting of that human catastrophe, the one that his bosses – the likes of editorial-page editor Fred Hiatt and deputy editor Jackson Diehl – helped inflict on the people of Iraq by cheering on Bush and his neocon warmongers.

For instance, there was the case at the start of the Iraq War when President George W. Bush mistakenly thought Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein might be eating at a Baghdad restaurant so U.S. warplanes leveled it, killing more than a dozen civilians, including children and a young woman whose headless body was recovered by her mother.

“When the broken body of the 20-year-old woman was brought out torso first, then her head,” the Associated Press reported, “her mother started crying uncontrollably, then collapsed.” The London Independent cited this restaurant attack as one that represented “a clear breach” of the Geneva Conventions ban on bombing civilian targets.

But such civilian deaths were of little interest to the Washington Post’s editorial page and most of the mainstream U.S. media. “American talking heads … never seemed to give the issue any thought,” wrote Eric Boehlert in a report on the U.S. war coverage for Salon.com. ”Certainly they did not linger on images of the hellacious human carnage left in the aftermath.”

Thousands of other civilian deaths were equally horrific. Saad Abbas, 34, was wounded in an American bombing raid, but his family sought to shield him from the greater horror. The bombing had killed his three daughters – Marwa, 11; Tabarek, 8; and Safia, 5 – who had been the center of his life. “It wasn’t just ordinary love,” his wife said. “He was crazy about them. It wasn’t like other fathers.” [NYT, April 14, 2003]

The horror of the war was captured, too, in the fate of 12-year-old Ali Ismaeel Abbas, who lost his two arms when a U.S. missile struck his Baghdad home. Ali’s father, his pregnant mother and his siblings were all killed. As the armless Ali was evacuated to a Kuwaiti hospital, becoming a symbol of U.S. compassion for injured Iraqi civilians, the boy said he would rather die than live without his hands.

Yes, Chuck, we could say that there was a time when it seemed the world would never forget Ali Ismaeel Abbas or the many other innocent Iraqis who died as a result of the illegal war that Bush launched and the neocons cheered on. Instead, not only have these Iraqi victims long since been forgotten (at least by the mainstream U.S. media), but the American perpetrators and their apologists have faced virtually no accountability.

And, oh, yes, if you want to talk about fraudulent elections, you might think back on how Bush got into office after losing Election 2000 to Al Gore. At the time, some of your Post colleagues praised the wisdom of the Republican majority on the U.S. Supreme Court for reversing the voters’ judgment and installing Bush in the presidency.

So, if you want to show that you’re not just a neocon hack, Chuck, you might want to write another column wondering why the Iranians would deal with the blood-drenched U.S. government. You could cite the tragic case of Ali Ismaeel Abbas (and the hundreds of thousands of other Iraqis who suffered from the U.S. invasion) as reasons why the Iranians might want to see “regime change” in Washington.

Granted, a different U.S. president is in office and he has shown a willingness to overcome the difficult history between the two countries, including the CIA-orchestrated overthrow of Iranian democracy in 1953, followed by a U.S-backed dictatorship for the next quarter century.

But, as you might have heard, there’s also a new president of Iran, Hassan Rouhani, and he’s demonstrated a readiness to bridge the chasm of distrust that has separated the United States and Iran for decades.

If Rouhani’s willing to overlook the U.S. guilt in slaughtering Ali Ismaeel Abbas’s family or decapitating the young woman in the restaurant or the countless other victims of U.S. government violence, isn’t it cynical — or even exploitative — of you to cite the death of Neda Agha Soltan as a reason for an escalated economic and possibly military war against her countrymen?

Or, Chuck, perhaps the truth is that you really don’t care about any of these deaths, including the slaying of Neda Agha Soltan. Perhaps you’re just using her – while ignoring the countless others – to promote a neocon agenda. That might well benefit your Post career but it will risk causing even more misery and more death.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his new book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com). For a limited time, you also can order Robert Parry’s trilogy on the Bush Family and its connections to various right-wing operatives for only $34. The trilogy includes America’s Stolen Narrative. For details on this offer, click here.

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12 comments on “Neocon Name-Calling on Iran Deal

  1. Lynne G on said:

    Another little item the Neocons NEVER mention is in 2003 the Iranians offered help to work with the US after 9/11 and try to reconcile some of the problems between us… Our response was including them in the Axis of Evil crowd and ignored their offer.
    They never talk about the PNAC (Project for a new American Century) A group of neocons like Cheney, Pearle, Wolfowitz, Crystal etc that came up with their imperialistic plans to take over middle Eastern countries and their oil.
    We never hear that Iran signed the NPT, but Israel will not. How about the millions of Iranians suffering under sanctions? Are their lives somehow less valuabe than the 1 that was accidently shot?
    They are just upset because they want another War. Thankfully, Bush did not buy into Cheney’s plan, but actually listened to the intelligence reports. Hopefully, Obama will stay the course towards an agreement with Iran even though the pressure from the Neocons and Israel, Saudi Arabia and powerful lobbyists will get worse.

    • Hillary on said:

      “A price worth paying”…
      as Democrats said when 1,500,000 died in Iraq as a result of U.S. sanctions –

      neocon leader G.W.Bush is presently still saying how History will prove the Iraq war necessary..

      Mr. Parry is correct and of course a neocon agenda is what Charles “Chuck” Lane is paid to promote ….

      neocons will use anything and everything especially Bible Prophesies to promote whatever their agenda is.
      ..

  2. F. G. Sanford on said:

    Funny, any time somebody invokes a Hitler analogy, Godwin’s law is immediately invoked…unless the Israelis do it. The Rhineland, the Sudetenland and the Danzig Corridor appropriations of territory by the Third Reich were what Chamberlain was appeasing. Of course, Hitler was lying. But Chuck is appeasing the Sinai Peninsula, Gaza and East Jerusalem. Eretz Israel will one day prove that Bibi is lying too.

  3. rosemerry on said:

    When Americans refer to Chamberlain I find it strange, when their official reaction of joining the War which began in 1939 took three years, while the Europeans were suffering massive destruction. Now these neocons want a rush to destroy a non-belligerent sovereign country.

  4. Hillary on said:

    Daniel Pipes arch neocon compared Obama and the deal on Iran’s nuclear program to Great Britain’s onetime Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain and his “peace in our time” agreement with Adolf Hitler.

    Peace and honor could have been had if not for Britain’s guarantees to fight for Poland in 1939.
    ….
    WWII cost 90,000,000 lives 8,000,000 of them Polish followed by Poland suffering years under USSR occupation and today Germany rules Europe…..
    ..
    “Peace in our time” – Please — and lets hope its not too late

  5. I haven’t heard so much about Neville Chamberlain since back in the days of 2002 when Al Gore and other Americans were opposing the vote to give Bush the Congressional authority to drag America off to a war based on lies against the Iraqis.

    Back in 2002, there was this massive bombardment of “Neville Chamberlain” all over the place. Neville-Chamberlain this, Neville-Chamberlain that, Chamberlain Chamberlain Chamberlain. Now, about 10 or 11 years later, all of a sudden here it is again, it’s everywhere, neocons are stomping back and forth on the sidewalk with foam all over their face, only instead of smug triumphant hawks saying it, this time it’s unhinged bitter whining loser hawks saying it.

    Don’t think Bush wasn’t really trying to do Iran, and all his bi-partisan consensus dupes. Iraq was only supposed to be the foot in the door, they thought they would get in there quick before anybody noticed. Don’t think because it’s stupid, someone like Romney wouldn’t have actually done it. Don’t you get it by now, stupid is the whole point of it, the more stupid the better – to bankrupt us, as Nordquist said.

  6. historicus on said:

    The issue decided at Munich was the peaceful return of the Sudeten Germans to their homeland, from which they had been exiled by the Versailles treaty in clear violation of Woodrow Wilson’s promise to Germany of self determination for her peoples. Czechoslovakia was created by the victors of World War I out of parts of Germany, Hungary, Austria and Roumania. It had no historical existence until 1919 and was brought into being, like Poland, specifically to surround a reduced Germany within a ring of hostile militarized states.

    “Peace in our time” is quoted from the Anglican Book of Common Prayer and was the title of a book written in 1928 by Chamberlain’s half-brother Austen, who had won the Nobel Prize for Peace as the architect of the Lucarno Treaty. It was the Prime Minister’s intention to continue his late brother’s work of the pacification of Europe. It was not unreasonable, or a surrender to tyranny. At Munich Chamberlain declined to start a needless war with Germany that his country would not have been able to win.

    Chamberlain’s gravest error was the promise of military aid given to Poland in March, 1939, in response to false rumors of German forces massing on the Polish border. By so doing he sabotaged Germany’s negotiations with Poland for the return of Danzig, an access corridor to East Prussia, and recognition of the civil rights of the 1.5 million Germans living in lands likewise given to the newly created state of Poland by the allies in 1919. All this did was turn a containable eastern European border dispute into a world war that killed sixty million people and cost Chamberlain’s country her empire and status as a world power.

  7. Hillary on said:

    Excellent comment historicus
    I agree there was no such thing as a grand German plan for world domination – Germany was not prepared in any way for world domination, and Hitler knew as early as 1942 that his war was lost.
    ..
    Life under a Hitler dictatorship would have been pretty bad , but it would have covered but a minority corner of the world and eventually passed – beginning with Hitler’s eventual demise.

    Churchill was a hypocrite of a man who’s pathological hatred of Germany and his alliance with Stalin was the cause of the greatest disaster in the history of mankind.

    Churchill caused millions of deaths , the devastation of Europe, the dismantling of the British Empire and the rise of communism as a global threat.

    ….

  8. Daniel Pfeiffer on said:

    Excellent takedown, Mr. Parry, as always. The dazzling allure of money & power coupled with the fog of group-think permeating our political/military-industrial/media complex leads these war-mongers to calls for violence as the solution to the world’s challenges at every turn.

    Perhaps an army of psychiatrists could help us out in this regard by turning the Pentagon and other Washington structures into asylums? Most of our most dangerous psychopaths are housed there already.

  9. Regarding Neda

    What I wonder that here isn’t even mentioned what the Iranian government claims what happened: that the girls was killed by people interested in regime change in Iran and the motivation of the murder was to incite more and more furious protests in Iran. Iranian media even named a guy whom they think who is responsible for the killing, and they think he works for MI6:

    http://alef.ir/vdciqpaw.t1avy2bcct.html?58376

    One may agree or disagree with the thesis that people hostile to the Iranian government killed “Neda” to incite more protests, but I can’t see no reason to dismiss the possibility of a false flag upfront.

    However, what can be assessed definitely, is that the coverage of the Neda incident by western media was deeply flawed. Proof for this claim: after a year, the girl reported by many western media with a photo to be “Neda” and killed by Iranian Basij, suddenly appeared alive in Germany and started to give interviews:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g7u3W8SO0WY

    So, when the western media didn’t even notice that they reported the wrong girl dead for more than a year, what other mistakes could be expected in their reporting on that story? I think, all kinds of mistakes should be expected.

  10. Joe Tedesky on said:

    Picture Jessie ranting while twirling saying, Mr White we need like a way too like counter these Neocon’s bitch’s bitch! The main stream media is to concerned with ratings, and or agendas. Attempting to get information in a wide way is but a real task. Consortium here is added value, and I mention this only because it is websites like this that are your diverse media’s for you to use.

    Getting back to Jessie’s idea of countering these Neocon stories, and the right wing talking heads with their comparison propaganda attacks against the Geneva p5+ 1 negotiation’s by reminding everyone of Chamberlain’s signing the Munich Agreement with Hilter well…. that was that, but that ain’t this!

    Counter back by asking them why was there a Sudetenland in the first place. It is only something too wonder what map lines would have not been drawn if it had not been for a certain Senator Henry Cabot Lodge & His Fellow Republicans of 1919. Bring up the fact that Iran would not be the terrible Iran of today if not for a CIA back coupe in 1953 unseating Mosaddegh. This site has the best Iran-Contra stuff. Point to that Republican thing Iran-Contra …I’d say that was some crazy Iran negotiation’s.

    It is disturbing to hear the things we hear when it comes to these important worldly events, and how they are spun. Sometimes it is best just to ignore them. Yet there is you!

  11. tom@westheimers.net on said:

    Have you seen the ads that are shown prior to many youtube videos against a deal with Iran? Disgusting to say the least.