An example of a serious half-blessing, a new Angus-Reid poll released today showed that the vast majority of the American public, some 70 percent, believe the false claims that Iran has a “nuclear weapons program,” but the vast, vast majority oppose the idea of attacking Iran over it.
Unfortunately, the poll also showed that there is still considerable support for the notion of additional sanctions against Iran, bolstered evidently by the mistaken belief of so many that the nuclear weapons program is a real thing as opposed to a political talking point. But that only 24 percent of Americans are favorable to the idea of starting a war at this point must be of some relief, particularly given how long this false belief has lingered.
Though the Bush Administration before them and the Obama Administration have both declare Iran’s “nuclear weapons program” as an issue of absolute fact, they have yet to provide the American public with even a shred of evidence that it actually exists. Indeed, the closest they come to evidence is to point to Iran’s very real civilian program and suggest that Iran’s inherent untrustworthiness fills in the blanks that years of effort and billions of dollars in spying could not.
Still, a lie repeated often enough appears to be as convincing as the truth for most, so it seems considerably more effort needs to be made to point out to the American public that a lie told with a straight fact is no substitute for the truth. It will be interesting to see what tack those angling for the war will take, however, as they appear to have won the argument on Iran’s nuclear program (despite the considerable handicap of lying), and still couldn’t convince more than a quarter of the public of the wisdom of starting yet another major war.