The evil Iranian menace as projected by George Orwell
The U.S. has long had Iran virtually encircled: The American occupation of Afghanistan on Iran’s Eastern border, its invasion of Iraq on its Western border, its NATO ally Turkey hovering on Iran’s Northwestern border, some degree of military relationship with Turkmenistan on Iran’s Northeastern border, and multiple U.S. client states sitting right across the Persian Gulf (Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Bahrain, where the massive U.S. Fifth Fleet is stationed).
And in the past decade, the U.S. and/or Israel have invaded, air attacked, and/or occupied Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen, Libya, Lebanon, Sudan, Syria, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip (to say nothing of the creation of a worldwide torture regime, a system of “black site” prisons around the world to which people were disappeared, and a due-process-free detention camp in the middle of the Caribbean Ocean where many people remain encaged for almost a full decade without charges).
During this same time period, Iran has not invaded, occupied or air attacked anyone. Iran, to be sure, is domestically oppressive, but no more so — and in many cases less — than the multiple regimes funded, armed and otherwise propped up by the U.S. during this period. Those are all just facts.
But — despite all of these facts — all serious people in the U.S. know that Iran is the Aggressor, the Modern Nazis, a True Menace, while the U.S. and Israel are its innocent peace-loving victims.
Given the extensive violence and aggression the U.S. has perpetrated, and continues to perpetrate, on numerous countries in that region, one might think that not even our political culture could sustain the propagandistic myth that it is Iran that is the aggressor state and the U.S. that is its peace-loving victim.
But none of that should be at all surprising or confusing, given that 66 years ago, George Orwell — in his 1945 Notes on Nationalism — explained exactly the warped form of thinking that creates this mindset:
“All nationalists have the power of not seeing resemblances between similar sets of facts. … Actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits, but according to who does them, and there is almost no kind of outrage — torture, the use of hostages, forced labor, mass deportations, imprisonment without trial, forgery, assassination, the bombing of civilians — which does not change its moral color when it is committed by ‘our’ side. . . . The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them.”
[Excerpt of Salon article by Glenn Greenwald]