Column - News outlets should report on facts, not on suspicion
Published: Friday, March 16, 2012
Updated: Friday, March 16, 2012 01:03
In March of 2003, evidence of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) within Iraq was broadcasted to the American public. Our government officials were certain of this, and they assured the people that the only way to protect our "freedom" was to use military force to stop an evil regime from committing a global catastrophe.
Once Congress approved President George W. Bush’s proposal to invade Iraq, it was only a matter of months before our then president announced "mission accomplished" to the world – even though the conflict continued for almost another eight years and evidence of WMDs were never found on Iraqi soil. In fact, it was proven later that the Iraqi nuclear program had ended in 1992. There wasn’t much of an accomplishment.
Some lessons, no matter how clearly taught, are never learned.
CNN recently circulated reports of a suspicious building with the Parchin military site south of Tehran, Iran. In 2003, U.N. inspectors searched the Parchin site, but not the particular building in question. From the images broadcasted on CNN, there isn’t much to indicate that nuclear weapons are being built or tested. The only suspicious features mentioned in the report were fences and a berm around the complex.
Such suspicions should not be broadcast to the world without a proper investigation.
This type of rabble-rousing seems more like play to get support for further conflict in the region. The American people should not be lead to believe in suspicions; they are entitled to the facts.
The CNN report on the building is a clear attempt to cause concern over something that simply isn’t one. I’m not saying that Iran’s desire to obtain nuclear weapons isn’t a concern for our countries interests, but nothing in the picture seemed convincing.
It’s these kinds of reports that got us into the unfavorable Iraq War.
According to a 2003 Gallup poll, 75 percent of Americans were in favor of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. But, in 2010, 55 percent of Americans felt that the conflict was a mistake.
The similarities between the situation in Iraq in 2003 and the current situation in Iran should be apparent to most Americans.
In both instances, suspicions of the countries having WMD have flooded the media for sensational purposes without actual proof.
CNN and other news broadcasters must take responsibility when informing Americans of global issues. If the public is in a state of fear, conflict with Iran may become inevitable – the world knows Israel would appreciate it.
Especially during our economic situation, fighting another war is not feasible for our country. U.S. intelligence was wrong in 2003, and who’s to say they are not wrong now?
Just to be clear, there has been no proposal of military action within Iran, but conflicts start with instances such as this.
When the national media sets the emotions of Americans on fire, they expect action.
The United Nations Security Council is proposing that Iran allow an inspection of the suspicious facility – as well as others in the area – to clarify the purposes for the inspection.
Hussein allowed U.N. inspectors in his facilities multiple times to show the world that he had no WMD, and the inspectors found nothing.
Because of the long process of inspection, there was ample time for Iraq to alter its facilities and hide the evidence of its WMD, which is what many Americans believed to have happened.
If U.N. inspectors fail to find any evidence during their search in Iran, will that end suspicions? Or, will the American people be led to believe that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad ordered the removal of all incriminating evidence to another secure location.
While Iran has shown hostilities toward Israel, a U.S. ally, the issue should be dealt with carefully. There is reason to suspect Iran on building nuclear weapons, but those suspicions should not cause a rise out of the American public.
In all fairness, CNN didn’t create the suspicion involving the Parchin site; they only reported the information given to them by the Institute for Science and International Security. But, it is clear that the pictures showed no proof, and thus it shouldn’t be a story for the news.
Respectable news channels should choose their coverage responsibly. In a democratic society, the media has an obligation to present factual information, not theories or suspicion.