Iran, CNN, Fearmongering, and Nukes. Lots and Lots of Nukes

This was going to start off as a post about Iran’s recent test firing of some missiles.

It starts with the CNN story of the firing, was going to mention the US response to the 40-year anniversary of the ABM treaty (from a couple weeks ago) and was going to finish with a mention that Iran had photoshopped one of their released “proof” photos to add a missile.

My main point was going to be that it was simple dick-waving. I was going to mention during the ABM article dissection that Israel (which is/was mentioned in the original CNN article) didn’t sign it and has nukes and isn’t afraid to use them in defense. So, all in all, it was a stalemate and dick-waving. Not much to see here.

Then I reloaded the CNN article.

A subtext of a lot of my media coverage over the last, oh, 10 years or so, has been their penchant of blood and guts. They have a desire to forment war, at least a little bit. I’m not alleging anything more nefarious here than news sells eyeballs. So helping the news along isn’t beyond the pale, generally. There is an incentive.

It’s sometimes hard to find. Sometimes easy. This article is now going to include all of that stuff before, but since there are now two (2) different CNN articles, both with quite different tones, I’ll point that out as well.

See if you can spot the difference. These are screenshots. I’ll try and archive the originals as well. Right now this proof only exists in the memory of my computer and some others out there that have been sitting on this story for a couple weeks.

Here is the original article.

This was how the article originally appeared

This was how the article originally appeared

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Things to note here

Title:
Iran test fires missiles in riposte to U.S., Israel

Bullet Points:

  • Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards test fire nine long and medium range missiles
  • Officials say war games are in response to U.S. and Israeli threats
  • Drill conducted in the Persian Gulf and the strategic Strait of Hormouz

Paragraph 2 and 3:The Islamic Republic News Agency and Press TV reported that the naval forces of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Wednesday test-fired a Shahab-3 missile during war games in the Persian Gulf.

The exercises come a month after Israel conducted a military drill in the eastern Mediterranean involving dozens of warplanes, and the latest Iranian activities prompted concern from Israel and condemnation from the United States.

So in this version we have a pretty simple action/reaction narrative going (bolded). We do something, they do something, etc. etc.

Now on to the updated version. This one is much punchier.

How the article looked after the update.

How the article looked after the update.

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Things to note here

Title:
Iran Gen.: Our finger is always on the trigger

Bullet Points:

  • Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards test fire long and medium range missiles
  • NEW: Iranian general: “Our finger is always on the trigger”
  • NEW: U.S.: Iran is “as serious… a problem as any we face today
  • Missile tests were part of Iranians war games in the Persian Gulf

Paragraph 2 and 3:

“We want to tell the world that those who conduct their foreign policy by using the language of threat against Iran have to know that our finger is always on the trigger and we have hundreds and even thousands of missiles ready to be fired against predetermined targets,” Gen. Hossein Salami, commander of the Revolutionary Guard ground forces, said on state TV.

We will chase the enemies on the ground and in the sky and we are able react strongly to enemy’s threats in shortest possible time.”

So here we have a slightly different narrative (bolded).

Note how any mention of outside influence is relegated to a minor point of the story. This is how you war-monger in print.

————-

The articles then move a bit towards each other in content. With the updated one including the following.

There are worldwide worries that Israel, which is concerned by Iran’s plans, is pondering a unilateral strike.

Israel’s recent aerial military exercise was in part an effort to send a message that it has the capability to attack Iran’s nuclear program.

The distance involved in the exercise was roughly the same as would be involved in a possible strike on the Iranian nuclear fuel plant at Natanz, a U.S. military official said.

In 1981, Israel attacked a nuclear facility in Iraq. Israel also struck a site in Syria that some say was a nuclear reactor under construction.

One Israeli Cabinet member, Shaul Mofaz, recently said it “will attack” Iran if the nuclear program was not halted.

So that’s where we are there. This is a confrontation between Israel (not a signatory of the NPT (Nucular [sic] Non-Proliferation Treaty) and has nukes) and Iran (signatory of the NPT and has a large number conventional missiles).

So here’s how we marked the 40 year anniversary of a treaty meant to end the spread of such things…

GENEVA (Reuters) – The United States, marking the 40th anniversary of the fraying nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), said on Tuesday it was concerned that countries like Iran had “violated” the pact.

Garold Larson, deputy U.S. ambassador to the Conference on Disarmament, also urged the NPT’s near-global membership to deter violators from withdrawing from the treaty in the future.

Speaking to a U.N. seminar in Geneva celebrating the 40th anniversary of the NPT, which aims to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons, Larson said the past two decades had witnessed the proliferation and misuse of nuclear technology.

“The United States remains very concerned that parties like Iran have violated their commitments and thereby undermined the treaty,” he said.

Larson did not refer to U.S. intelligence findings that Syria covertly tried to build an atomic reactor with North Korean help at a site bombed by Israel last year. Syria denies the accusations.

Investigators from the U.N.’s International Atomic Energy Agency said after a four-day visit to Syria last week that they had examined the site but that more checks were needed.

Unlike Syria, Israel has not signed the NPT. It is widely believed to have the only nuclear arsenal in the Middle East.

So, we take a swipe at one group and look the other way from the other

And as we look over the horizon half-way around the world…we see this…

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A photo of Iranian missiles being test-fired yesterday was “apparently digitally altered to show four missiles rising into the air instead of three,” according to Agence France-Presse.

The image, which the wire service says it obtained from a website controlled by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, appeared in newspapers and blogs across the world, including USA TODAY and On Deadline.

The Lede blog says “the second missile from the right appears to be the sum of two other missiles in the image.”

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So the general idea here is that we are supposed to be deathly afraid, so afraid that we’ll allow for another “pre-emptive” attack, on Iran because of their fearsome arsenal.

Which has been photoshopped to look scarier.

Riiight.

I spent the vast majority of my life 15-minutes away from being vaporized by Crazy Ivan’s nukes launched from super-secret subs and tropical paradii.

Iranian editing skills don’t scare me. In the slightest.

Liberal vs. Conservative “Thinking”

David Archer: Rules for living by Stone and Taleb

At the end of a great profile of Nassim Nicholas Taleb, author of Black Swan, is a list of Taleb’s rules for living. Coincidentally, a recent profile of Republican operative Roger Stone is interspersed with his own set of “rules,” which I’ve added below Taleb’s.

/via kottke

Some Random Black Dude Talks about Iraq

Ran across this one yesterday.  It’s always nice to see the positions coming directly from the candidates.  As I tend to lean a bit towards this Obama fella, I figured a closer look at his Op-Ed would be worthwhile.

On we go.

Op-Ed Contributor – My Plan for Iraq – Op-Ed – Barack Obama – NYTimes.com

CHICAGO — The call by Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki for a timetable for the removal of American troops from Iraq presents an enormous opportunity. We should seize this moment to begin the phased redeployment of combat troops that I have long advocated, and that is needed for long-term success in Iraq and the security interests of the United States.

Good start.  This is exactly the same thing I pointed out last week when al-Maliki made his statement.

Next up is a bit of history surrounding the engagement.  Nothing much here but the bottom line.

The differences on Iraq in this campaign are deep. Unlike Senator John McCain, I opposed the war in Iraq before it began, and would end it as president. I believed it was a grave mistake to allow ourselves to be distracted from the fight against Al Qaeda and the Taliban by invading a country that posed no imminent threat and had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks. Since then, more than 4,000 Americans have died and we have spent nearly $1 trillion. Our military is overstretched. Nearly every threat we face — from Afghanistan to Al Qaeda to Iran — has grown.

In the 18 months since President Bush announced the surge, our troops have performed heroically in bringing down the level of violence. New tactics have protected the Iraqi population, and the Sunni tribes have rejected Al Qaeda — greatly weakening its effectiveness.

So we’ve got a bit of momentum, maybe..depending on the way Sadr goes, which seem seems to be quietly at the moment.   He then goes on a bit about the current state of Iraqi politics and makes on the most salient semantic points I’ve seen in a while.  Note the bold.

Only by redeploying our troops can we press the Iraqis to reach comprehensive political accommodation and achieve a successful transition to Iraqis’ taking responsibility for the security and stability of their country. Instead of seizing the moment and encouraging Iraqis to step up, the Bush administration and Senator McCain are refusing to embrace this transition — despite their previous commitments to respect the will of Iraq’s sovereign government. They call any timetable for the removal of American troops “surrender,” even though we would be turning Iraq over to a sovereign Iraqi government.

A wonderful point here, as we are giving power to a government we put in place, not the insurgents or AQI (obviously).  To call this surrender is to embolden the enemy.

He then points out that leaving in a responsible manner is not only desired by the Iraqis, the U.S. and the World, but that it can be done responsibly.

As I’ve said many times, we must be as careful getting out of Iraq as we were careless getting in. We can safely redeploy our combat brigades at a pace that would remove them in 16 months. That would be the summer of 2010 — two years from now, and more than seven years after the war began. After this redeployment, a residual force in Iraq would perform limited missions: going after any remnants of Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, protecting American service members and, so long as the Iraqis make political progress, training Iraqi security forces. That would not be a precipitous withdrawal.

And then with the strong finish, with some excellent rhetoric and a very simple statement (bolded for your pleasure).

In this campaign, there are honest differences over Iraq, and we should discuss them with the thoroughness they deserve. Unlike Senator McCain, I would make it absolutely clear that we seek no presence in Iraq similar to our permanent bases in South Korea, and would redeploy our troops out of Iraq and focus on the broader security challenges that we face. But for far too long, those responsible for the greatest strategic blunder in the recent history of American foreign policy have ignored useful debate in favor of making false charges about flip-flops and surrender.

It’s not going to work this time. It’s time to end this war.

And so it is.