Friday, February 16, 2007

Breakdown At The Iraq Lie Factory


Robert Dreyfuss
February 15, 2007

Robert Dreyfuss is an Alexandria, Va.-based writer specializing in politics and national security issues. He is the author of Devil's Game: How the United States Helped Unleash Fundamentalist Islam (Henry Holt/Metropolitan Books, 2005), a contributing editor at The Nation and a writer for Mother Jones, The American Prospect and  Rolling Stone. He can be reached through his website,

It was, President Bush must have been thinking, a heck of a lot easier five years ago. Back in 2002, the president had a smoothly running lie factory humming along in the Pentagon, producing reams of fake intelligence about Iraq, led by Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Doug Feith and his Office of Special Plans. Back then, he had a tightly knit cabal of neoconservatives, led by I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, based in Vice President Dick Cheney’s office, to carry out a coordinated effort to distribute the lies to the media. And he had a chorus of yes-men in the Republican-controlled Congress ready to echo the party line.

In 2007, Bush stands nearly alone, and he never looked lonelier than during a bumbling, awkward news conference on the Iraq-Iran tangle Wednesday.

There is, of course, no basis for arguing that the civil war in Iraq is caused by Iran. And there is no basis—“not supported by underlying intelligence,” as the Pentagon I.G. said about Doug Feith’s 2002 work—to argue that Iran is responsible for a significant part of American deaths in Iraq. Nearly all of the U.S. casualties in Iraq are caused by the secular-Baathist Sunni-led resistance and religious Sunni extremists fighting the occupation, and none of the forces allied with the resistance have ties to Iran. Even the anonymous briefers at the dog-and-camel show in Baghdad admitted that Iran is helping the Shiite militias, not the Sunnis; in other words, Iran is helping the self-same militias that are being trained and armed by the United States.

And the spurious claim that 170 Americans have died in attacks using Iranian-supplied super-IED’s since 2004 can only mean one thing: that the Pentagon is counting the numbers of U.S. soldiers and Marines who died in April and August, 2004. That was when the United States waged two mini-wars against Muqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army. It was the only time in the past four years when the United States suffered significant casualties fighting the Shiites—though the administration presented zero evidence that Sadr’s Mahdi Army gets weapons from Iran, or needs to. But if they’re counting as far back as 2004—and, according to the Pentagon, the super-IED’s started showing up in 2004—then the whole issue is absurd, since what happened three years ago has little or no relevance to current conditions.

Those prone to believe, along with the president, that Iran is fomenting the violence in Iraq have already drunk deep of the neocon Kool-Aid. The rest of us can only shake our heads in wonder that the president thinks he can get away with this.


Technorati tags: , , , ,


Ads by