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May 02, 2008

Vile Iranian Propagandists Caught Red-Handed Stealing Our Propaganda Technique

1. In spring, 1990 Saddam Hussein threatens to "make fire burn up half of Israel with chemical weapons if it attacks Iraq.''

2. American propagandists use this quote relentlessly for the next 13 years, while carefully excising the "if it attacks Iraq" part, in order to turn it into a straightforward threat.

3. Hillary Clinton states "If Iran were to launch a nuclear attack on Israel, what would our response be? And I want the Iranians to know that if I am president, we will attack Iran...we would be able to totally obliterate them."

4. Iranian propagandists begin using the Clinton quote, while carefully excising the "If Iran were to launch a nuclear attack on Israel" part, in order to turn it into a straightforward threat:

Iran strongly condemned presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton late Wednesday for threatening to attack and "totally obliterate" the country if it uses nuclear weapons.

Iran's deputy U.N. ambassador, Mehdi Danesh-Yazdi, called an April 22 statement on ABC by the New York senator, who is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, "provocative, unwarranted and irresponsible" and "a flagrant violation" of the U.N. Charter...

Danesh-Yazdi's letter used a partial quote that did not mention an attack on Israel. It said Clinton "unwarrantedly and under erroneous and false pretexts threatened to use force against the Islamic Republic of Iran."

5. Normal Americans, Iraqis, Israelis and Iranians finally figure out how this works and spit on their own propagandists whenever they venture outside (pending).

—Jonathan Schwarz

Posted at May 2, 2008 03:00 AM

Pending, indeed; probably until doomsday.

Posted by: Mike at May 2, 2008 07:35 AM

On the bright side, Mike, that could be sooner than you think.

Posted by: Donald Johnson at May 2, 2008 08:50 AM

That really is my only bright ray of sunshine these days.

Posted by: Mike at May 2, 2008 10:05 AM

Note to self: Begin to store up spit.

You're very funny, Jon.

Posted by: catherine at May 2, 2008 04:23 PM

Sure, distortions and straw men are universal tools of propagandists, but you've picked a bad example here. The Iranians didn't turn Clinton's statement into a straightforward threat; they summarized the condition with the bit about "unwarrantedly and under erroneous and false pretexts." Which I take to be their tortured way of saying that the premise underlying Clinton's threat was a ludicrous load of crap (which of course it was). And Danesh-Yazdi also addressed the absurd context when he said, "Moreover, I wish to reiterate my government's position that the Islamic Republic of Iran has no intention to attack any other nations."

More to the point, this is a threat to obliterate Iran coming from a person who seeks the power to control the nuclear arsenal of the only nation in the world that's ever used these weapons against human beings—a nation that refuses to renounce first use, and which is doing everything it can to create any flimsy pretext to attack Iran. That's a serious, genuine threat, no matter what fantasy it's couched in.

If a college football linebacker says he's going to beat a four-year-old girl to death if she kills all his teammates, I don't care about the condition; the guy's a psychopath and the kid's in real danger.

Posted by: John Caruso at May 2, 2008 06:29 PM

John Caruso: and here in America, instead we might elect the football linebacker to Congress.

My congresscritter, Shuler, is dumb as a rock (former football player too) and the local Democrats sit in reverential silence as he spews his stupidity. He has not threatened to kill anyone, he just says the Iraqis are children who need to "clean up their rooms" - that is, their country.

And he is working with a republican congresscritter on a hideous immigration bill.

Posted by: Susan at May 3, 2008 11:45 AM