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9.11 investigation

Did Iran Play America? Are the Ayatollahs Running US Foreign Policy?

ArtVoice 7/29/04
The long-awaited and much over-hyped
congressional 9/11 report is out.
"Mistakes have been made," but true to passive
voice obfuscation, nobody in
particular made them. Four slices of blame go to
the Clinton mob, with six
slices going to the Bush junta. End of story.

The report, now available in bookstores, only
becomes interesting when one
starts extracting its various factoids and
combining these puzzle pieces
with information already in the public domain.

It Was One of Those Ira. Countries

Quite interesting is Iran's alleged role. The
9/11 Commission expresses
concern that some of the Saudi hijackers
responsible for the 9/11 attacks
passed through Iran during the months before the
hijackings. While the
Commission didn't go as far as to allege an
Iranian government link to the
attacks, it has certainly raised concerns about
Iran. It did this while
exonerating Iraq, the country we invaded, as
having no connection to the
hijackers or to the attacks.

This new revelation about Iran makes Iraqi
expatriate and Bush
Administration darling Ahmed Chalabi's role in
the big game all the more
interesting. Chalabi came to prominence during
the Bush team's fraud-laden
run-up to the Iraq invasion. He ran a Project for
a New American Century
sanctioned franchise called the Iraqi National
Congress - a wanna-be Iraqi
government-in-exile devoid of any base of support
in Iraq.

Chalabi was the Bush administration's main, and
often only, source, for
"intelligence" about Saddam Hussein's supposed
weapons of mass destruction.
Despite U.S. intelligence community warnings
concerning Chalabi's
credibility, and the failure to find any evidence
to support his
allegations, the Bush team championed his
fabrications. And despite
journalistic conventions warning about running
with stories based on a
single source, especially when that source is a
stakeholder in the outcome
of the story, the American press from The New
York Times on down the
credibility ladder, took Chalabi's word as gospel
while downplaying his
detractors.

The Man Who Would Have Been King

Hence, the Iraq WMD myth was born and propagated
based on the words of one
man who harbored fantasies of returning to rule
an Iraq subjugated by
American military might. The alternative press
dutifully exposed Chalabi,
who was wanted in Jordan for bank fraud, as
lacking credibility. At the same
time, we in the alternative press were
championing the stories told by
former U.N. weapons inspector and military
intelligence officer, Scott
Ritter, among others. They argued rather
persuasively that Iraq did not
posses the weapons Chalabi alleged that they had.

Chalabi's fable, however, persevered. It was
backed by the Bush
administration's loyal trumpeters on talk radio
and at Fox News, as well as
by the entire mainstream American press corps.
So strong was this WMD myth,
that presidential candidate John Kerry, along
with the usual spineless cadre
of Democrats in congress, now claim to have been
hoodwinked into voting Bush
a blank check to invade Iraq.

Let's fast forward a bit. At least eleven
thousand Iraqi civilians and 900
American service personnel are now dead, with
many times that number
seriously wounded. We've spent about $160
billion dollars in Iraq while our
healthcare, education and social service systems
are starving for funds.
Iraq is now littered with depleted uranium
weapons debris and overrun with
violent fundamentalists and criminals. The
unemployment rate there is over
70%. The infrastructure is shot and the U.S. is
hopelessly bogged down in
an endless war with an ever-growing segment of
the Iraqi population. And
there were no weapons of mass destruction. And
there were no connections
between Saddam's regime and al Qaida, who in fact
turned out to be his sworn
enemies. Way to go Ahmed.

Then came the recent arrest of Ahmed Chalabi. It
seems, at least according
to U.S. intelligence sources, that Chalabi was an
Iranian intelligence
operative all along. And guess what? He
fabricated the whole WMD story.
How many lives could have been saved if only John
Kerry and his fellow dupes
had subscribed to The Nation or listened to
Democracy Now!

Connect The Dots

But let's connect the dots. If this new
information coming out of
Washington is credible, the Iranians may have
helped with the 9/11 attacks,
igniting America into a rather rabid bout of
political chaos. From there,
our reactions were quite predictable. Chalabi,
working for the Iranians and
taking advantage of the political mayhem in the
U.S., then duped a
battle-hungry America into invading and
destroying Iran's arch enemy, Saddam
Hussein's regime in Iraq. This mother of all
battles is one that the
Iranians already understood they could never win
- at least not without U.S.
help. But it would take the trauma of the 9/11
attacks to make the war
against Iraq politically possible.

Ultimately, the Iranians may have played both the
Bush administration and
the U.S. Congress, using the U.S. military as an
Iranian proxy army to
defeat Iraq, and ultimately, itself. The result
is the destruction of
Iran's secularist nemesis, Saddam Hussein's Sunni
Arab regime in Iraq - a
country that Shiite Persian Iran fought a brutal
war with in the 1980s. With
Saddam gone, Shiites would fill the power vacuum
in Iraq, thus setting that
country up to become an Iranian style Shiite
republic.

Iran loses its most potent adversary while
gaining an oil rich friendly
neighbor and a new sphere of influence. As a
bonus, their other nemesis, the
U.S., loses all of its credibility in the region,
as do its Saudi partners
who are also rivals of Iran's ayatollahs. This is
where we are today.

The Bush Junta Knows No Shame

Of course, this is all speculation. The Iranian
conspiracy theory is only
supported by circumstantial evidence - and may
well prove as false as the
Iraqi WMD story, though that story was supported
by no evidence.

Still, it's interesting to watch the Bush team
scramble in light of these
allegations. The charges are serious - that
they, crippled by a toxic
combination of arrogance and stupidity, were
played like marionettes by a
minor league regime in Iran - ordering the
American military to do Iran's
bidding while undermining American security and
global interests.

Damn. They must be hiding their heads in shame.
But what to do? Have they
all resigned in disgrace? Are they on the phone
apologizing to the families
of America's war dead? Are they touring Iraq's
hospitals apologizing to the
dead and dying over there? No. Not at all.

Without even an "oops," they've started rattling
their sabers at their
alleged puppet masters in Iran, with the now
familiar threat of "regime
change." Their arrogance knows no bounds and
they have no shame. In Bush's
America, there is no history and no future -
there's only today and next
month.

Of course there is one large hole in the 'Iran
manipulated the Bushistas'
theory. That's the fact that the current Bush
team declared their intention
to invade Iraq long before they seized the White
House in 2000 (again, see
their own documents posted at the Project for a
New American Century
website). And ironically, the Bush White House
is shamelessly taking the
lead in promoting the theory that Iran was
connected with the 9/11 attacks,
hoping America will get behind the next war and
forget about the
circumstances surrounding the last war. Iraq has
always been our friend.
We've always been at war with Iran.

Perhaps Chalabi isn't an Iranian spy after all.
And perhaps Iran didn't
support or aid the 9/11 hijackers. Who really
knows? The point is that we
should never send the world's most powerful army
into war over weak
theories, rumors or innuendo. Given what we do
know to be true, the Bush
team, at the very least, will enter the history
books for their incredible
idiocy and incompetence. At worst, they
purposefully lead the country into
a horribly destructive, needless, illegal and
immoral war. Ultimately,
whether they are the puppets or the puppeteers,
they have to go.



Michael I. Niman's previous columns are archived
at www.mediastudy.com.