What was the war for?
Here's Vice-President Joe Biden: "We know that it was from the space that joins Afghanistan and Pakistan that the attacks of 9/11 occurred." 1
Here's Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC): "This is the place [Afghanistan] we were attacked from 9/11." 2
Rep. Mike Pence, the third-ranking House Republican, asserted that the revelations in the Wikileaks documents do not change his view of the Afghan conflict, nor does he expect a shift in public opinion. "Back home in Indiana, people still remember where the attacks on 9/11 came from." 3
Here's President Obama a year ago: "But we must never forget this is not a war of choice. This is a war of necessity. Those who attacked America on 9/11 are plotting to do so again. If left unchecked, the Taliban insurgency will mean an even larger safe haven from which al Qaeda would plot to kill more Americans." 4
And here is the president, two days after the release of the Wikileaks documents, referring to Afghanistan and Pakistan as "the region from which the 9/11 attacks were waged and other attacks against the United States and our friends and allies have been planned". 5
Never mind that out of the tens of thousands of people the United States and its NATO front have killed in Afghanistan not one has been identified as having had anything to do with the events of September 11, 2001.
Never mind that the "plot to kill Americans" in 2001 was OFFICIALLY devised in Germany and Spain and the United States more than in Afghanistan. Why hasn't Washington bombed those countries?
The United States should negotiate the pipelines with the Taliban, as the Clinton administration tried to do, without success, then get out, and declare "victory". Barack Obama can surely deliver an eloquent victory speech.
USrael and Iran
If and when the United States and Israel bomb Iran (marking the sixth country so blessed by Barack Obama) and this sad old world has a new daily horror show to look at on their TV sets, and we then discover that Iran was not actually building nuclear weapons after all, the American mainstream media and the benighted American mind will ask: "Why didn't they tell us that? Did they want us to bomb them?"
In August 2002, Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz told American newscaster Dan Rather on CBS: "We do not possess any nuclear or biological or chemical weapons." 7
In December, Aziz stated to Ted Koppel on ABC: "The fact is that we don't have weapons of mass destruction. We don't have chemical, biological, or nuclear weaponry." 8
Hussein himself told Rather in February 2003: "These missiles have been destroyed. There are no missiles that are contrary to the prescription of the United Nations [as to range] in Iraq. They are no longer there." 9
Moreover, Gen. Hussein Kamel, former head of Iraq's secret weapons program, and a son-in-law of Saddam Hussein, told the UN in 1995 that Iraq had destroyed its banned missiles and chemical and biological weapons soon after the Persian Gulf War. 10
There are yet other examples of Iraqi officials telling the world that the WMD were non-existent.
If you don't already have serious doubts about the mainstream media's devotion to questioning the premises and rationales underlying American foreign policy, consider this: Despite the two revelations on Dan Rather's CBS programs, and the other revelations noted above, in January 2008 we find CBS reporter Scott Pelley interviewing FBI agent George Piro, who had interviewed Saddam Hussein before he was executed:
PELLEY: And what did he tell you about how his weapons of mass destruction had been destroyed?
PIRO: He told me that most of the WMD had been destroyed by the U.N. inspectors in the '90s, and those that hadn't been destroyed by the inspectors were unilaterally destroyed by Iraq.
PELLEY: He had ordered them destroyed?
PELLEY: So why keep the secret? Why put your nation at risk? Why put your own life at risk to maintain this charade? 11
Would it have mattered if the Bush administration had fully believed Iraq when it said it had no WMD? Probably not. There is ample evidence that Bush knew this to be the case, as did Tony Blair.
In what could be part of the preparation for an attack on Iran, 47 members of the House of Representatives recently put forth a non-binding resolution declaring Iran to be "an immediate and existential threat to the State of Israel".
Pretty damning stuff, isn't it? N'est-ce pas? Nicht wahr? But there's a lot less here than meets the eye.
Notice that it doesn't quote Ahmadinejad in a single specific, explicit threat of an Iranian attack upon Israel or the United States. No mention or indication that "I" or "We" or "Iran" is going to do any of this, carry out any act of violence. And I would say that that's because it's not what he meant. In another quote, which the resolution fails to cite, the Iranian president in December 2006 said: "The Zionist regime will be wiped out soon, the same way the Soviet Union was, and humanity will achieve freedom." 12 Obviously, the man is not calling for any kind of violent attack upon Israel, for the dissolution of the Soviet Union took place very peacefully. Furthermore, in June 2006, Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, stated: "We have no problem with the world. We are not a threat whatsoever to the world, and the world knows it. We will never start a war. We have no intention of going to war with any state.13 Why didn't the authors of the congressional resolution quote that one?
I think that one can derive a better understanding of the Iranian president's statements by seeing them as metaphor, as bragging, as wishful thinking, as well as poor translation (for example: "wiped off the map" 14), coming from a man foolish enough to publicly claim that there are no gays in Iran.
But more significantly, the resolution offers no reason why Iran actually would attack Israel or the United States. What reason would Iran have to use nuclear weapons against either country other than an irresistible desire for mass national suicide?
1. State Department Documents and Publications, March 10, 2009 .
2. Face the Nation, CBS, July 4, 2010 .
3. Washington Post, July 27, 2010 .
4. Talk given by the president at Veterans of Foreign Wars convention, August 17, 2009 .
5. White House press release of Obama's remarks of July 27, 2010 .
6. Associated Press, July 28, 2010 .
7. CBS Evening News, August 20, 2002 .
8. ABC Nightline, December 4, 2002 .
9. "60 Minutes II", February 26, 2003 .
10. Washington Post, March 1, 2003 .
11. "60 Minutes", January 27, 2008. See also: Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting [FAIR] Action Alert, February 1, 2008 .
12. Associated Press, December 12, 2006 .
13. Letter to the Washington Post from M.A. Mohammadi, Press Officer, Iranian Mission to the United Nations, June 12, 2006 .
14. See Anti-Empire Report, October 1, 2008, second part .
15. Washington Post, March 5, 2009 .
16. Sunday Times (London), January 10, 2010 .
17. Originally in the Dutch weekly magazine, Elsevier, April 27, 2002, pages 52-3; picked up in many other international publications .