A quarter of Americans believe that Iran now poses the biggest threat to the United States, confirming that a sustained neocon propaganda campaign to demonize Iran and its leaders for their own strategic benefit is having a significant impact.
According to a new poll by Gallup, Iran is top of the enemy list, with 25 percent, followed by Iraq at 22 percent, then China with 14 percent, and North Korea with 9 percent.
Republicans are more than twice as likely as Democrats to see Iran as the top U.S. enemy, while Democrats are likelier to name Iraq. Older people and those who say they closely follow world news are less likely to cite Iraq than the younger and less informed, reported the AP.
It was September last year when the New Yorker magazine reported that Barnett Rubin, a highly respected Afghanistan expert at New York University, asserted that Dick Cheney ordered top Neo-Con media outlets, including Fox News and the Wall Street Journal, to unleash a PR blitz to sell conflict with Iran.
The fruits of that propaganda campaign are now clear to see.
The outcome of the poll was no doubt spurred by assertions from figures within the Bush administration, the military and the intelligence community who have continued to suggest that Iran is actively pursuing nuclear weapons.
Only yesterday CIA Director Michael V. Hayden said that he believes Iran is still pursuing a nuclear bomb, even though the U.S. intelligence community, including his own agency, reached a consensus judgment last year that the Islamic Republic had halted its nuclear weapons work in 2003, after the U.S. invaded Iraq.
In spite of the report and the Iranians’ continued denial of such a weapons program, the rhetoric from the neocons in the White House has continued.
“Iran was dangerous, Iran is dangerous, and Iran will be dangerous if they have the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon,” President Bush said in a Dec. 4 news conference, shortly after the release of the national intelligence estimate.
In an interview with ABC News last week, Vice President Dick Cheney alleged that Iran was “heavily involved in trying to develop nuclear weapons enrichment, the enrichment of uranium to weapons-grade levels.” despite the lack of any evidence whatsoever.
This consistent line from an administration led by those who are reportedly desperate to bomb Iran, along with the occasional misquote about wiping Israel off the map and a few manufactured provocations and skirmishes, has resulted in a sizeable chunk of the American population believing that we’d better deal with those darn Iranians quick smart.
Of course, a significant portion of Americans will seemingly believe anything.
It is telling that behind Iran, Iraq was named the next greatest enemy despite the fact that there was never any intelligence to confirm it had weapons of mass destruction, despite the fact that Saddam Hussein was overthrown in 2003 and despite the fact that the current Iraqi government is backed by the U.S.
The poll may have been more accurate had it been titled “Which country is the biggest threat to U.S. military industrial complex dominance over the entire region of the middle east?”.
Or Perhaps, “which country most threatens the Western elite’s stranglehold and manipulation of the production of oil and natural gas?”