Mark Steel: Iraq was such a laugh, let's do it to Iran

Why can't our leaders think up new stories to justify a military attack?

Share
Related Topics

Governments and commentators keen on promoting a war against Iran should be stridently opposed, not so much because of the threat to world peace, but because their reasons display a shocking lack of imagination. The most common one is that Iran has "Weapons of Mass Destruction". How pathetic to pick the same excuse twice in a row. They should make it more interesting, by revealing evidence that Ahmadinejad has built a Terminator, or plans to fill the Strait of Hormuz with a giant Alka-Seltzer so the Persian Gulf fizzes over Kuwait.

What's become of Western leaders, that they can't think up new stories to justify a military attack? Are they going to re-use all the old ones, so if this doesn't work William Hague will say "Iran is threatening the sovereignty of Prussia".

That would be more persuasive than the US government's effort, reported in the Wall Street Journal as "US officials say they believe Iran recently gave freedom to five top al-Qa'ida operatives". It's as if the last outing was such a laugh, they want to do everything exactly the same. The British are probably already on the lookout for a weapons expert with suicidal tendencies.

One part they've copied accurately from the last war is the practice of interpreting every report as proof of the existence of these weapons. For example, the International Atomic Energy Agency has concluded: "There is certainly no indication that Iran has nuclear weapons capacity or could have it soon." So The New York Times reported this as "a recent assessment by the IAEA confirms Iran's nuclear program has a military objective".

A local book club could produce minutes of a meeting that said "Everyone enjoyed discussing Great Expectations, then retired to the Royal Oak for much deserved refreshments!" And next day half the cabinet would be on the radio saying: "This book club report confirms the Iranian navy is plotting to explode Jerusalem."

One trick they use is to insist that, even if Iran isn't building nuclear weapons, it's a threat anyway because it "aspires" to have them. But if we went to war with everyone who aspired to have deadly weapons, most teenage boys would have to be invaded, David Haye and Dereck Chisora would be overthrown and replaced by the UN, and the whole world would be on fire.

At least Hillary Clinton offered a variation, tell ing us "Iran is moving towards a military dictatorship". The only slight flaw in her argument was she said this in Qatar, so she was lucky her hosts didn't add, "Yes, what's taking them so long? Instead of fussing about moving towards one, why don't they just become one like us? Sorry, Hillary, carry on."

So, to cut out these embarrassments, they might be better off invading Saudi Arabia. Instead of the rigmarole of trying to prove a dictator has Weapons of Mass Destruction, they can say: "We know they've got 84 warplanes worth $30bn, because we sold the things to them six weeks ago."

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

IT Support Analyst - London - £22,000

£20000 - £22000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: IT Support Analyst - Chel...

Learning Support Assistants-Nantwich area

£8 - £9 per hour: Randstad Education Chester: We are currently recruiting for ...

Primary Teachers-Northwich area

£85 - £110 per day: Randstad Education Chester: Primary Teachers- Northwich Ar...

Primary Teachers-Northwich area

£85 - £110 per day: Randstad Education Chester: Primary Teachers- Northwich Ar...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

The reactions to Renee Zellweger's face say more about us than about her

Emma Gannon
US Secretary of State John Kerry  

When only 4 per cent of those killed by US drone strikes are named members of al-Qaeda, it's hard to trust American foreign policy

Abigail Fielding-Smith
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London