Juan Cole on Iran war propaganda:
Polling shows that the percentage of Americans who view Iran as the number one threat to the United States has risen to 27 percent now. I think it was only 20 percent in December 2006. First of all, how in the world can a developing country with about a fourth of the population of the US, about a $2000 per capita income (in real terms, not local purchasing power), with no intercontinental ballistic missiles, with no weapons of mass destruction (and no proof positive it is trying to get them), with a small army and a small military budget-- how is such a country a "threat" to the United States of America? Iranian leaders don't like the US, and they talk dirty about the US, and they do attempt to thwart US interests. The same is true of Venezuela under Chavez. But Tehran is a minor player on the world stage, and trying to build it up to replace the Soviet Union is just the worst sort of fear-mongering, and it is being done on behalf of the US military industrial complex, which wants to do to Iran what it did to Iraq. It is propaganda, and significant numbers of Americans (a 7 percent increase would be like 21 million people!) are buying it.Many higher ups in media and the government don't know the difference between Sunni Muslims (comprising most of the Iraq insurgents) and Shiite Muslims (comprising the majority of Iraqis and almost all Iranians). Or that Iranians are Persian, not Arab. How can millions of Americans understand that if it isn't explained to them?
To many Americans it's "them". Details like whether "they" are Persians, or Iraqi Arabs or Afro-Trinidadians are lost in the noise.