There’s a flood watch in place throughout much of the USA thanks to Republican bedwetting over the Iran no-nukes deal. Like everything else President Obama has touched, we are to believe that it is some kind of godless contaminant. All those death panels that never materialized will look like child’s play measured against the horrors of Iran not getting nuclear weapons for at least 10 years.
If there’s one overarching policy goal the Republican “base” can get behind, it’s the acceleration of our march toward the Rapture. Global climate change? Bring it on! We’re in the End Times anyway. Drill baby drill! In the same vein, many right-wingers pine after geopolitical conflagration in the Middle East: the sooner we provoke the destruction of Israel, the sooner we can get about fulfilling Kirk Cameron’s fantasies in “Left Behind.” Obama’s real crime — if any “Christians” of the Evangelical kind were to hew closely enough to the commandment, “Thou shalt not lie” — is that he has put off the corporeal ascension of Real Americans by a decade.
The American fundamentalist project to expedite Armageddon would be helped immeasurably were the rest of us to get with the teabagger lizard-brained fear program. If only we would believe that Iran has plans to nuke us next week, we might start a war with Iran tomorrow, and then, at last, the final countdown could commence.
To that end, a right-wing group called “Americans For a Nuclear Free Iran” (as always, a conservative moniker that reflects the opposite of what its namesake would actually achieve — like the “Clean Air Act”) aired the following ad:
There’s too much wrong with that ad to cover in one post, so let’s start with the most glaring of all these bullshit claims. Notice how the ad says that Iran will get to keep its “ballistic missiles.” A ballistic missile, of course, is any weaponized projectile that can be delivered from one place to another. There can be no doubt about what this claim was meant to conjure in our lizard brains: the vision of Iranian nukes reaching our own shores to punch up the same kind of mushroom clouds we once feared from Saddam Hussein’s phantom WMD’s:
But those of us who were children of the 70’s and 80’s might have noticed something a little off about the term “ballistic missiles.” You see, we’re the generation that grew up fearing not terrorism, but thermonuclear annihilation. I’ll bet that most Americans under 30 could not tell you what “ICBM” means, but everyone who grew up in the 70’s and 80’s could: ICBM is the acronym for intercontinental ballistic missile. Many in my generation could even name some: the Titan II and the MX, for example.
In case any teabaggers out there don’t know it, Iran and the USA are on different continents. That means that to attack the United States, Iran wouldn’t just need ballistic missiles; it would need intercontinental ballistic missiles. But Iran doesn’t have any, and there is nothing about the no-nuke deal that would change that. Yes, Iran gets to keep its ballistic missiles: in other words, all its conventional bullets, shells, and intermediate-range munitions. None of these things poses any threat to the United States itself. By cutting the IC off of ICBM, the producers of this ad were too cute by half: they want us to think long-range delivery vehicle, but they can’t say something as baldly misleading as “Iran gets to keep its ICBM’s.”
I can’t help but think of the scene below. Picture the defenders of the castle as Iranians and the invaders as American conservatives. Here is what we are supposed to fear: