Kevin Grady Reynolds
May 20, 2008
The National Intelligence Estimate (November 2007) proclaimed that Iran stopped a nuclear weapons program in 2003, undermining Bush Administration claims that Iran is an imminent threat to US and international security due to its nuclear program. The US military recently changed Iran threat rhetoric in the media, asserting costly and threatening Iranian involvement in Iraq, allegations corroborated by…nothing.
Prior to the release of the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), the Bush Administration clamored for tangible action against Iran and the “nuclear threat” that it posed. By this point President Bush had labeled Iran part of the “axis of evil,” proclaiming that an imminently nuclear Iran could lead to World War III. When the NIE shattered these claims, the Administration was forced to calm such threat rhetoric. Despite this setback, the Administration has found a new method to incite fear in the populous by beating a drum that tells of hostile Iranian involvement in Iran through the US military.
Military allegations of Iranian involvement rely on claims that the weaponry currently in use by Iraqi militias are manufactured and provided by Iran. In addition, the military claims these militias are receiving Iranian training. Army Col. H.R. McMaster, a senior advisor to Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq recently stated that Iran's activities are “obvious to anyone who bothers to look into it,” and should no longer be “alleged.” He went on to claim that Iran directs assassinations within Iraq(1).
In the past few weeks, the military declared that weapon caches found in Basra were of Iranian origin. However, in a recent report on weapons seized in Karbala and Basra, Maj. Gen. Kevin Bergner did not mention Iran once in remarks that cited over 20,000 items of weaponry found in Iraq. Additionally, Tina Susman blogged in the LA Times that the military’s plan to show Iranian-supplied explosives to journalists before the event was cancelled upon the realization that none of the weapons were actually from Iran. U.S. explosives experts also realized they were not Iranian-made and a U.S military spokesman “attributed the confusion to a misunderstanding that emerged after an Iraqi Army general in Karbala erroneously reported the items were of Iranian origin.” (2)
The fact that none of the “evidence” of Iranian involvement has been presented to the press or public is suspicious enough, but it is made even more troubling because, as Tina Susman says, “U.S. military officials said it was up to the Iraqis to show the items” and “Iraqi officials lately have backed off the accusations against Iran.” This new approach to convincing the public that Iran is a great enough threat to US and international security needs to end. Another war in the Middle East will only make us less secure, not more.
Kevin Reynolds is a program associate for security programs at Physicians for Social Responsibility
1. U.S. Colonel Says Iran Is Assassinating Iraqi Officials, Washington Post, Ann Scott Tyson, May 14, 2008
2. Babylon & Beyond, “IRAQ:The Elusive Iranian Weapons”, LA Times Blog, Tina Susman
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