In the months before the 2003 Iraq invasion, the mainstream media nearly wholly swallowed the premise that Iraq had WMD and only invasion and occupation would alleviate the threat. More than three years later, the country is suffering a civil war and the US-sanctioned leadership is incapable of bringing the nation back from the brink. Despite these bitter lessons, our political and media elites are now dragging us into an “inevitable” war with Iran.

The Bush administration is demanding the Iranians give up their supposed nuclear weapon’s program or pay the consequences (unsurprisingly, Australia is mirroring Washington’s position). Corporate media, such as Time magazine, are now openly war-gaming the possible military consequences of such an encounter and stipulating that the conflict is a matter of when, not if.

Furthermore, despite the humanitarian and strategic debacle of the Iraq engagement, Israel and its supporters are openly advocating military action against the Islamic state. Caution has been abandoned in the face of collective psychosis, and alleged truths have been accepted as fact.

The reality is far different. A senior representative of the IAEA said in mid-September that a US House of Representatives report on Iran’s supposed nuclear threat was “outrageous and dishonest” in trying to push for war. Furthermore, the IAEA contradicted US claims that Iran was making weapons-grade uranium when in fact it was producing material at a level far below what was required for nuclear weapons. This report received little coverage in the Australian media.

The answer is clear: Iran is the next “legitimate” target for regime change, and few media commentators have the bravery to question the accepted narrative (Ted Turner has been a notable exception).

Now is the time for our media to rediscover their critical faculties. Daniel Ellsberg, the former US defence analyst who leaked the Pentagon Papers during the Vietnam War, has called for officials within government to leak information about any conflict with Iran, including the cost.

The humanitarian, political and social consequences of a strike against Iran are impossible to calculate, though military action will not bring peace to the region. If the Iraq war taught our media anything, it should be that government-sanctioned intelligence was notoriously unreliable and politically malleable.

It seems that many corporate journalists and editors would rather be co-opted into the war machine than present the unvarnished truth.

Peter Fray

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