Iran: Anatomy of a Lie

It’s a rare thing, witnessing propaganda so over-the-top it beggars the imagination. Most lies have a kernel of truth that give them an air of credibility, but every once in a while something comes along that shakes the cynicism from our jaded eyes. You laugh – and almost feel sad for the drunken hacks who put the story together in the first place. After all, can’t they spend five minutes fact-checking their nonsense on Wikipedia?

When I read this week the Pentagon implicated Iran in over 170 American deaths in Iraq, I felt a giddy rush of excitement I hadn’t felt since the dog-gassing video of 2002. Finally, pure propaganda! No failed attempts at diplomacy, just half-assed demonization in the form of a captured bomb cache delivered straight from the munitions sweatshops of Tehran.

The image of said mortar rounds provided to the press is an hilarious failure in the art of manufacturing evidence. A low-resolution photo with artifacts and an abundance of glare, it almost dares someone in the United States to jump-start his brain and shout “fake!” Commentary describes the round as one of many confiscated by Iraqi police in mid-January, but the shell itself has even more information to share, like a manufacture date – March, 2006, in case you were wondering. That date means Saddam couldn’t have made it, so who else could? Heck, it’s like a big, sexy, missile-shaped Budweiser, proudly showing its born-on date on its seductive wrapper.

Isn’t it convenient for both the American media and the public that Iran decided to time stamp its illegal weapons shipments in English? Now, when Pentagon officials say Iran armed Shia militias with counterinsurgency weapons capable of crippling Abrahms M1 tanks, we don’t have to read some chicken scratch Farsi or watch Al Jazeera for a rebuttal. It’s all spelled out, right there, on the weapon itself!

For a godless, soulless, theocratic regime, they sure are considerate!

I know the film-school dropouts who concocted this scenario probably slept through Wag the Dog and thus think their lone image bears no scrutiny. Thus, while they’re drag-racing down the halls of the Pentagon and White House on their Mini Scooters, let’s examine the inconsistencies you’ve probably already gleaned for yourself. And remember, our tax dollars paid for this lack of creativity:

  1. Iran purchases its arms from Russia. Any writing on shells purchased from their ally to the north would have Cyrillic written on them. And any shells produced locally would have Farsi, not English, denoting blast yield.
  2. Russian mortar rounds are 82mm, not 81mm. So those rounds Iraqi police uncovered? Not big enough to get the job done (performance anxiety, perhaps?).
  3. Iran and Afghanistan don’t use the Gregorian calendar. It may be February, 2007, in the United States, but it’s 23 Bahman 1385 in Iran. Stamping bombs “3-2006” ignores the fact Iran adopted the Jalaali calendar long ago. It also assumes a Muslim-dominated nation would follow a calendar which sets Jesus Christ as its focal point. Oops – try again!

It’s no secret the Bush administration wants to invade Iran, or that it’s grasping at straws for a rationale that won’t spark civil war in this country. But this level of laziness in pulling evidence from the ether is simply appalling – at least have the decency to make up something that can’t be rebutted by anyone knocking two neurons together in his head! The lies about Nigerian yellow cake uranium took months to unfurl and required a retired ambassador traveling to Africa to confirm it was a load of crap. And was Hill & Knowlton not available? People still think Iraqi troops stole incubators from Kuwaiti hospitals, leaving babies to die. That’s the real deal. This lowering of standards is embarrassing.

Almost as embarrassing as the silence from the American people who fail to call the government on these sleazy tactics.