By David Swanson
Here's the latest reason they must be telling the truth about Iran and the
need for a new war: they lied about the last one. That's right, according
to the latest dispatch from the Associated Press,
"No one who has seen the files has suggested the evidence is thin. But
senior officials - gun shy after the drubbing the administration took for
the faulty intelligence leading to the 2003 Iraq invasion - were
underwhelmed by the packaging."
See? It's just the "packaging." They've got solid proof, and they're even
being extra careful in presenting it to us, because we were so hard on them
last time. In fact, you can tell just how careful these senior officials
are being from the fact that in all the articles in all the newspapers, so
many of them (or is it all one guy?) are never identified by name.
The New York Times has even abandoned its stated policies in order to rush
these careful claims out without naming any sources:
And shockingly, according to one, possibly apocryphal, account, the Times
has acknowledged that its reporter Michael Gordon is actually a
voice-activated answering machine:
This is brought into doubt, however, by an Email exchange one reader had
with Gordon this weekend, in which the apparently real reporter explained:
"I am well aware of the controversy over the WMD intel. I think this case is
different. The US intelligence community is not on the outside looking in,
as was the case with the WMD intel. The US is in Iraq and this largely
reflects intelligence gathered on the battefield. At any rate, I spend some
time talking to a range of officials on this issue and quoted the intel
reports accurately." http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/node/18432
So, you see? This case is DIFFERENT. This time we can TRUST the
"intelligence" sources. Because, last time, we'd merely had crews of
trained inspectors swarming the country for years, and they denied that
there were any WMD there. This time, we have amateurs observing the
situation in the middle of guerrilla warfare, and they say they've got the
goods but can't reveal them. So, you see, it's DIFFERENT.
The headline on the latest AP story (a story written by Katherine Shrader
and Anne Gearan) reads "U.S. Considers Proof About Iran: Government Weighs
How Much to Divulge About Iraq Connection." Shrader and Gearan assure us
that there is 200 pages of proof, but that sadly and inexplicably it's
classified. Of course, "No one who has seen the files has suggested the
evidence is thin." Another way to say this might be: "No one who would
suggest the evidence was thin has been permitted to see the files." It
sounds less impressive that way though.
Who has seen the 200 pages? Well, Shrader and Gearan report that "officials
from several intelligence agencies scrutinized the presentation to make sure
it was clear and that 'we don't in any way jeopardize our sources and
methods in making the presentation,' State Department spokesman Sean
McCormack said." Now, does anyone recall any concerns that previous
presentations have been unclear? My memory suggests that the reason for the
"drubbing the administration took" was that they blatantly lied, not that
they wrote poorly. And, since when does one PR flack at the State
Department get to explain the concerns of several intelligence agencies?
National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley claims the White House is the
reason for the delay in making public the "proof," and he claims the White
House is trying to get the intelligence community (is it really a
community?) to weaken, not strengthen, its claims. However, the National
"At least twice in the past month, the White House has delayed a PowerPoint
presentation initially prepared by the military to detail evidence of
suspected Iranian materiel and financial support for militants in Iraq. The
presentation was to have been made at a press conference in Baghdad in the
first week of February. Officials have set no new date, but they say it
could be any day.
"Even as U.S. officials in Baghdad were ready to make the case,
administration principals in Washington who were charged with vetting the
PowerPoint dossier bowed to pressure from the intelligence community and
ordered that it be scrubbed again."
The AP seems to agree that the "intelligence" services, not the White House,
caused the delay. Of course, we all would know this without being told if
we simply stopped to think for a moment. The AP article says:
"Privately, officials say they want to avoid the kind of gaffe akin to
former Secretary of State Colin Powell's case for war before the United
Nations in 2003."
Well that's lovely, and it's nice of them to make their "private" comments
so, um, publicly. But do they have no concern over avoiding the kind of
"gaffe" President Bush made in his 2002 speech in Cincinnati or on numerous
television appearances and in a memorable State of the Union address, or the
kind of "gaffes" that Cheney and Rice made over and over again to assure the
public and the Congress that Iraq had WMD and ties to 9-11? In other words,
has anybody noticed that the same people are still in charge who lied us
into the last war?
Now, Robert Gates is out and about claiming that he's got serial numbers
that amount to "pretty good" proof of Iranian support for Iraqis. And
someone has shown something to select Congress Members, resulting in Joe
Lieberman declaring "I'm convinced from what I've seen that the Iranians are
supplying and are giving assistance to the people in Iraq who are killing
American soldiers." Lieberman, by the way, voted for the last war, and said
recently that he does not regret that vote, supports escalating the war, and
opposes setting any date by which to end it.
Among the things we have not fully looked into yet are, not only the way the
White House sold the last war [
http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/investigations ] but also the way the
media lapped up those lies [ http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/node/18395 ].
As Gilbert Cranberg asked recently, "Why did the Associated Press wait six
months, when the body count began to rise, to distribute a major piece by
AP's Charles Hanley challenging Powell's evidence and why did Hanley say how
frustrating it had been until then to break through the self-censorship
imposed by his editors on negative news about Iraq?"
More urgently, why - after the AP published a full debunking by Hanley of
the last war's lies [ http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/?q=node/3531 ] -- is
the AP playing along with the new ones? Is this all part of selling us on
the idea that the old ones don't matter? It's likely to have the effect of
making them matter even more. The current display of media credulity in the
face of an absence of evidence is serving to remind the public of how we got
into the war in Iraq that continues and worsens to this day.
Here's a collection of the growing list of Iran War Lies:
Add it to the endless list of Iraq War Lies:
But let's keep one thing in mind as we demand a thorough investigation of
both sets of lies - lies made by the same set of people: In neither case,
even were every single claim 100 percent true and accurate, would anyone
have established a legal case for war. If a nation's possession of WMDs
were grounds for launching a war against it, the United States would be
subject to legal invasion immediately. So, while debunking the fanciful
claims of Bush, Cheney, and Gates may be entertaining, we may actually do
more good if we brush them aside and point out that it does not matter
whether their claims are true or not. Aiding a nation in repelling a
foreign occupation is not grounds for war. The U.S. still brags about
having done this in France 50 years ago. If Iran were doing it in Iraq now,
which no evidence yet suggests, the crime would lie in the foreign invaders'
refusal to leave, not in the aide supplied by the Iranians.