Thursday, December 26, 2013

Time Warped: Repeated Rhetoric of Urgency from Israel to Iran

"You will be the death of me.
   You will be the death of me."

- Time Is Running Out (Muse, 2003)

Earlier this week, journalist and author Max Blumenthal posted an excellent piece in Mondoweiss detailing the repetition of the "time is running out" bromide, so often used in discussions about the so-called two-state solution in Israel/Palestine by those who promote the endless and pointless "peace process" as a way to disingenuously maintain the status quo of Israeli occupation, colonization, domination and discrimination.

As evidenced by his research, the tired talking points that "time is running out" and that there is a "window of opportunity" have endured for decades.

The very same rhetoric - not merely similar, but rather identical - has long been reused and regurgitated to continually set back the clock on the allegedly always-imminent Iranian nuclear bomb. Diplomacy, for over a decade now, has had a determined expiration date that remains ever out of reach; the doomsday clock is always ticking, counting down to disaster, the "window" for a negotiated and mutual solution to the impasse is always "closing," the "point of no return" nearly here, the apocalyptic repercussions of Western weakness and Iranian progress just around the corner.

In March 2006, NPR's national security correspondent Mara Liasson insisted on FOX News that "time is running out. Pretty soon, Iran is going to have the bomb."

The desperate urgency expressed in these statements - uttered endlessly by politicians, pundits and other assorted propagandists - inevitably favor the implementation of sanctions, the issuance of military threats, and the insistence on Iranian capitulation. If there is a time limit on talking, it is no wonder what happens when time finally runs out.

Back in April 2002, neoconservative columnist Charles Krauthammer wrote in The Washington Post, "Time is running short. Saddam has weapons of mass destruction. He is working on nuclear weapons."

Ten years later, a Weekly Standard opinion piece co-authored by William Kristol stated that the Iranian government is "committed to developing nuclear weapons" and that "time is running out" for the United States and Israel to act. "It's time for Congress to seriously explore an Authorization of Military Force to halt Iran’s nuclear program," the piece concluded.

Commentary Magazine's Jonathan Tobin warned soon thereafter that, without an explicit American military threat, "time may soon run out on any chance for the West to stop Iran."

Earlier this year, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated that "whatever time is left, there's not a lot of time," to stop Iran. This is nothing new.

As far back as 1992, the New York Times reported that, in light of accusations over Iran's atomic ambitions, the Israeli government of Yitzhak Rabin had the "sense that the region's nuclear clock is ticking." Then, in a 1996 speech before a joint session of Congress, Netanyahu warned that if Iran "were to acquire nuclear weapons, this could presage catastrophic consequences, not only for my country, and not only for the Middle East, but for all mankind." Therefore, he said, Iran must be prevented from "acquiring atomic power"and lamented, of course, that "time is running out."

Fifteen years later, in May 2011, Netanyahu delivered another speech at the Capitol and referenced his previous admonition. "When I last stood here I spoke of the consequences of Iran developing nuclear weapons," he bellowed. "Now time is running out, the hinge of history may soon turn, for the greatest danger of all could soon be upon us: a militant Islamic regime armed with nuclear weapons."

In remarks to the powerful lobbying group AIPAC earlier this year, Netanyahu insisted that, by engaging in multilateral diplomacy, Iran is merely "running out the clock."

Clearly, this has been going on for years now. Take a look at the headlines and clips below for a taste of what the mainstream media, various think tanks and lobbyists, and government officials have been dishing out for a decade. You're forgiven for thinking you're seeing the same thing repeated again and again, because you are.

AFP - October 29, 2004:

Voice of America - September 2, 2005:

The Washington Times - September 29, 2005:

Nonproliferation Policy Education Center (NPEC) - October 2005:

U.S. State Department - November 24, 2005:

AFP - October 4, 2006:

Arms Control Association - November 2006:

World Jewish Digest - January 2007:

Britannica - September 22, 2008:

Wall Street Journal - March 17, 2009:

Ha'aretz - May 18, 2009:

Al Jazeera - July 16, 2009:

Bipartisan Policy Center - September 15, 2009:

The Telegraph - October 11, 2009:

FOX News - November 15, 2009:

NewsMax - November 27, 2009:

FOX News - December 2, 2009:

Yedioth Ahronoth - December 16, 2009:

New Jersey Jewish News - December 16, 2009:

Dalje - January 26, 2010:

Haaretz/Reuters - February 23, 2010:

FrumForum - April 26, 2010:

Jerusalem Post - November 26, 2010:

Washington Post - November 9, 2011:

Reuters - November 19, 2011:

Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET) - December 14, 2011:

The Independent - January 28, 2012:

Washington Post - February 2, 2012:

CNN - March 5, 2012:

Los Angeles Times - March 14, 2012:

The Algemeiner - March 19, 2012:

The Guardian - March 31, 2012:

Jewish Chronicle - April 12, 2012:

Yahoo! News - May 8, 2012:

CNN - June 18, 2012:

Reuters - August 1, 2012:

Center for Strategic & International Studies - August 22, 2012:

Arutz Sheva (Israel National News) - August 31, 2012:

DPA - September 20, 2012:

New York Times - September 25, 2012:

Friends of Israel Initiative - October 10, 2012:

Voice of America - February 1, 2013:

Irish Independent - March 4, 2013:

Arutz Sheva (Israel National News) - March 5, 2013:

AFP - April 7, 2013:

Deutsche Welle - June 2, 2013:

Times of Israel - June 19, 2013:

Commentary Magazine - July 31, 2013:

Politico - November 17, 2013:

Just a few months ago, however, the ultra right-wing site WorldNetDaily announced some shocking news. Time, it appeared, had already run out:

WorldNetDaily - October 11, 2013:

Oh well. Maybe it's time for some new talking points.



January 1, 2014 - As proof of exactly how absurd this entire charade really is, an op-ed by former Shin Bet chief Ami Ayalon published in the New York Times on the very first day of 2014, uses the "time is running out" phrase about both the Iranian nuclear program and the Israeli-Palestinian "peace process" - in the very same sentence.

Littered with Netanyahu-esque talking points and unfounded presumptions about Iran (the phrase "Iran's nuclear weapons ambitions" begins the piece and is repeated later as "Iran's nuclear weapons and hegemonic ambitions"), the money quote comes early on:

As is often the case with pathetic Israeli propaganda, everything old is old again.

Happy New Year.



February 20, 2014 - The rabid and obsessed Commentary editor Jonathan Tobin today combined the ticking clock canard with another favorite of the Israeli mouthpiece crowd, the "point of no return."

In his latest screed against the ongoing diplomacy that may see an ostensible end to the decades-long international nuclear imbroglio (an inconvenient and disastrous outcome for hawkish and conflict-reliant Americans and Israelis alike), Tobin writes that anyone who supports the talks "ignores the fact that far from being stopped, the clock continues to tick down to the day when Iran reaches the point of no return on its nuclear dream."



March 2, 2014 - When will this madness end?




Reuters - May 16, 2014:

UN Dispatch - June 10, 2014:

Washington Post - June 30, 2014: As multilateral talks continue between Iran and the P5+1 in advance of the upcoming July 20 deadline for either an extended interim agreement or a final, comprehensive deal, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has taken to the opinion pages of the Washington Post to pen a familiar refrain:

Associated Press - July 1, 2014:

BMI Research - October 9, 2014:



November 24, 2014 - From the past few weeks:

International Business Times - November 6, 2014:

Ha'aretz - November 12, 2014:

The Independent (UK) - November 17, 2014:

KQED Radio - November 19, 2014:

Bloomberg - November 21, 2014:

BBC News - November 24, 2014:



And again and again...

The World Post - November 26, 2014:

Washington Examiner - January 15, 2015:

Bloomberg - February 9, 2015:


1 comment:

  1. What's really infuriating aside from the obvious exaggeration/distortions, none in the corporate media corpses, NPR included, has any respect for their audience, and that's why the spew this silly nonsense endlessly.
    Nima, thank you for adhering to the truth and respecting your readers by not lying, and being a first rate REAL journalist. I mean do none of these elite writers get that some of us actually do vet these damn articles of idiocy they produce? Just as you timelined the whole corporate lie from 1984 or so to the present, 'soon Iran wiil have a bomb,' what initially struck me was these are scientists, right? as in first and foremost they are that before their national identity of being Iranian, so I was thinking, that these guys must be the most incompetent nuclear scientists on the planet not having built a bomb after all this time, assuming that was an Iranian goal, which by all evidence it was/is not. The US went to the moon in a decade, and nascent nuclear bomb scientists in WW II, took less than that to make test bombs even BEFORE the tragic dropping nukes on Japan in the first place.
    Thanks, Nima, as always for respecting me as one of your readers and a member of your consistent ongoing followers/readers.


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