Facts Are Powerless in the Hands of War Hawks on Iran
I wrote recently about how even the mainstream media is coming around to reporting the consensus within the U.S. intelligence community, that Iran is not developing nuclear weapons and has demonstrated no intention of doing so. For example, the New York Times ran a front page story on Saturday entitled “U.S. Agencies See No Move by Iran to Build a Bomb.” Another in the Los Angeles Times last Thursday similarly headlined, “U.S. does not believe Iran is trying to build nuclear bomb.” Even though most of the mainstream media continues to hype threat inflation on Iran and give voice to war hawks, these types of articles are notable. The fact that U.S. intelligence agencies believe Iran is not developing nuclear weapons and the fact that no evidence of a weapons program has been put forth is becoming more widely understood.
Unfortunately, the war hawks have a tendency to believe what they want. Back in 2010, Joe Keohane wrote a piece in the Boston Globe about how political science shows that “facts don’t necessarily have the power to change our minds.” He cited recent studies which found that
when misinformed people, particularly political partisans, were exposed to corrected facts in news stories, they rarely changed their minds. In fact, they often became even more strongly set in their beliefs. Facts, they found, were not curing misinformation. Like an underpowered antibiotic, facts could actually make misinformation even stronger.
I have to believe that’s what is happening in this Wall Street Journal Op-Ed, wherein Frederick Kagan and Maseh Zarif from the American Enterprise Institute all but argue war is the only option because Iran is relentlessly building nuclear weapons. Sigh.
P.S. Notice their use of the phrase “nuclear weapons capability,” and see here for the context on that.