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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Guest Blog: State of Fear Averts Eyes from Bush's Errors

This is a guest blog by Ashleigh Steele, who graduated from Albuquerque's Eldorado High School in 2005 and is currently a junior majoring in international studies at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. She writes a weekly op-ed for the Daily Nebraskan. This piece was originally in that newspaper on December 7, 2007.

For the past several months, both the media and the government have inundated us with information about the developing nuclear weapons program in Iran.

According to the media and the Bush administration, Iran is on the verge of developing a nuclear weapon, and they pose a serious threat to the United States. But according to the National Intelligence Estimate released earlier this week, Iran halted its nuclear weapons development program in 2003. This report came as a surprise to most Americans who have been forced to listen to the rhetoric of the Bush administration in their media battle against Iran.

The National Intelligence Estimate stated that "in the fall of 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program" due to heightened international pressure. This is contrary to recent statements made by the Bush administration concerning the Iranian government.

The administration has repeatedly accused the government in Tehran of pursuing a weapons-grade uranium enrichment program. Even after the release of the National Intelligence Estimate, the Bush administration has maintained this stance against Iran.

On Tuesday President Bush said, "Iran was dangerous, Iran is dangerous and Iran will be dangerous if they have the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon."

Clearly the administration has learned nothing from the occupation of Iraq.

Before entering Iraq in March 2003, the Bush administration adamantly maintained that Saddam Hussein was desperate to obtain weapons of mass destruction. In spite of the fact that both the CIA and the United Nations' weapons inspectors could not find any evidence that there were weapons of mass destruction, the administration still sent forces into Iraq.

The parallels between the rhetoric leading up to the war in Iraq and the rhetoric the administration is using to describe Iran today are striking.

Before the war in Iraq, the administration maintained that we, as Americans, should be terrified of the prospect of Saddam Hussein obtaining weapons of mass destruction; today it seems as though the administration would like us to be just as afraid of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the prospect of Iran enriching weapons grade uranium. 

Bush wants nothing more than to keep us in a constant state of fear. This constant state of fear only serves to distract us from the economic slump, the sub-prime mortgage crisis, the illegal surveillance of the American people and the various other sins of the Bush administration.

The National Intelligence Estimate was released at a most inopportune time for the administration. In previous weeks, Bush has stated that a nuclear conflict with Iran could set off World War III; Cheney warned us that Iran is a terror-supporting state attempting to fulfill its grandest ambitions of acquiring nuclear weapons and taking control of the Middle East.

According to Flynt Leverett, a former senior director on Bush's National Security Council, the President and his staff were well aware of the conclusions of the NIE as early as August 2006. Yet the administration has maintained its adamant stance against the government in Tehran and continues to claim an attempt to enrich weapons-grade uranium.

This deception of the American people has to stop. The Bush administration has demonstrated its contempt for the truth throughout its time in office by lying to us about the reasons for invading the nation of Iraq and blocking a full investigation into the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks - this only continues with the claim that Iran is attempting to obtain weapons of mass destruction.

When will this deception end?

An April 2006 article in the New Yorker suggests that President Bush believes that Iran will be his saving grace. If he can force some type of regime change in Iran and prevent the development of nuclear weaponry, then his presidency will be vindicated. The majority of opinion polls put the President's approval rating somewhere between 30 and 35 percent.

Due to the war in Iraq, the growing deficit, the torture of prisoners of war, the disaster that was Hurricane Katrina, the controversy surrounding the dismissal of the U.S. attorneys and thousands of other mistakes, the presidency of George Walker Bush is now viewed by the majority of Americans as a failure.

So he's convinced that if he can save the United States from the threat of Iran that his legacy will be saved.

But the NIE tells us that Iran poses no threat. The earliest Iran could produce enough enriched uranium for a nuclear bomb is 2010, but they have stopped working toward the production of a nuclear weapon and are complying with the 1968 Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Clearly the Bush administration has motives other than protecting the interests of the American people. The United States should learn from its previous mistakes in Iraq; the American people should not allow themselves to once again get caught up in the rhetoric of the Bush administration and be driven into a senseless action against another nation in the Middle East.

This is a guest blog by Ashleigh Steele, a student at the University of Nebraska. You can reach her at ashleighsteele@dailynebraskan.com. Guest blogs provide readers with an opportunity to express their views on relevant issues and may or many not reflect our views. If you'd like to submit a piece for consideration as a guest blog, contact me by clicking on the Email Me link on the upper left-hand corner of the page.

December 13, 2007 at 09:19 AM in Guest Blogger, Iran, Iraq War | Permalink


And what do you think of Obadiah Shoher's arguments against the peace process ( samsonblinded.org/blog/we-need-a-respite-from-peace.htm )?

Posted by: Alex | Dec 13, 2007 12:11:08 PM

I see one of the fruitcakes decided to stop by today, supportive of destroying the "aboriginal people" of the Middle East, i.e. Palestinians. That used to be called ethnic cleansing or genocide. I guess Alex forgot.

Posted by: Josie | Dec 13, 2007 12:31:30 PM

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