The Rant 

Well, it should be two strikes and you're out for the foam-at-the-mouth warmongers. It should come as no surprise that the same people who ranted and raved for war with Iraq are also ranting and raving for war with Iran.

Their much-touted weapons of mass destruction in Iraq were nonexistent, and now we know that Iran's nuclear-weapons program, the latest subject of their rants, is nonexistent, according to a consensus of America's 16 intelligence agencies.

It also turns out that Mohamed El Baradei, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, who bravely tried to tell the American people the truth, was right. He was right about Iraq. He is right about Iran. Yet this faithful public servant was brutally maligned and attacked by the warmongers. The Bush administration reportedly tapped his telephones and tried to prevent him from being reelected to his post. Fortunately, the Bushies failed.

I cannot think of lower, more despicable human beings than people who try to frighten their country into a war they are all too old to fight — in this case by printing and broadcasting false information fed to them by the worst political administration since Ulysses Grant. They added to their sins by attacking honest people for speaking the truth.

These so-called foreign-policy experts are a contemptible lot. If they were honorable people, they would confess their error and apologize to the people they tried to discredit, but of course they are not honorable people.

The worst of the lot are those who pose as journalists but who really are water-carriers for the administration, the Republican Party, the neoconservative clique, or, in some cases, Israel. They deserve to have their foreheads tattooed with the word "whore." Then when people see them on television pontificating, they will know that those journalists are a bought bunch.

A real journalist has loyalty to only one group — his readers or listeners. He has an obligation to tell them the truth as best as he can determine it and not to pass on propaganda from someone behind the scenes.

The Founding Fathers wrote protection for the free press into the Constitution because they realized that only a well-informed public can govern itself. Misinforming the public is a direct attack on a free society. It is a direct attempt to subvert the democratic process. It is as much a crime against freedom as rigging an election.

The warmongers have blood on their hands. They bear almost equal responsibility with the government for the dead and wounded of the Iraq war. Thank God that this time the intelligence analysts stood firm against the administration's pressure to politicize the results of their work, or these miserable warmongers would have had even more blood on their hands.

And don't expect them to let up on trying to paint Iran as an imminent danger to the world. The truth is, there are only two countries in the world that could threaten America or Europe. Those are Russia and China. When you are assessing threats, you have to look at capabilities, not at rhetoric or intentions. Only China and Russia have the capability to attack the U.S.

Given this fact, you would think the administration would pay more attention to relations with these countries than to getting its drawers in a tizzy over Third World countries that lack the capability of harming us in any meaningful way.

The future grows dark for the United States. We have a bad administration that is corrupt, secretive, incompetent, and disdainful of liberty. We have a press that for the most part cannot distinguish news from celebrity gossip. We have an education system that is manufacturing functional illiterates. We have a public that seemingly believes the only things worthwhile in life are entertainment and consumption.

The public debt is $9.1 trillion, and interest increases that debt by $1.4 billion per day. That alone will do us in if we fail to confront it. As for war, we can't even afford the two we are in.

Charley Reese has been a journalist for 50 years.

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