Lying Us Into War Has Its Privileges

by dday

Just to put a coda on today's heartfelt welcoming back of Joe Lieberman to the Democratic caucus (I swear, all this bipartisanship and comity brings a tear to my eye), let's go over one loose end that Mr. Connecticut for Lieberman hyped endlessly throughout the election season. It was considered absolute by him that Iran was supplying weapons to Iraqi militia that were using them to murder American soldiers. This was the basis for the Kyl-Lieberman Amendment, which threatened to "combat, contain and stop" Iran if they continued these efforts against coalition forces. In fact, Kyl-Lieberman contained as evidence this language:

(2) Ambassador Ryan Crocker, United States Ambassador to Iraq, stated in testimony before a joint session of the Committee on Armed Services and the Committee on Foreign Affairs in the House of Representatives on September 10, 2007, that "Iran plays a harmful role in Iraq. While claiming to support Iraq in its transition, Iran has actively undermined it by providing lethal capabilities to the enemies of the Iraqi state."

(3) The most recent National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq, published in August 2007, states that "Iran has been intensifying aspects of its lethal support for select groups of Iraqi Shia militants, particularly the JAM [Jaysh al-Mahdi], since at least the beginning of 2006. Explosively formed penetrator (EFP) attacks have risen dramatically."

(4) The Report of the Independent Commission on the Security Forces of Iraq, released on September 6, 2007, states that "[t]he Commission concludes that the evidence of Iran's increasing activism in the southeastern part of the country, including Basra and Diyala provinces, is compelling... It is an accepted fact that most of the sophisticated weapons being used to 'defeat' out armor protection comes across the border from Iran with relative impunity."

Set aside for a moment the fact that the current government in Baghdad is actively supported by Iran, and that Tehran was "in the room" during the recent negotiations on the status of forces agreement. Let's focus on the fact that Lieberman was promoting this idea that Iran was supplying lethal weapons to Iraqi militias to kill American troops, an act of provocation that he was willing to go to war over to stop.

(CBS) The United States should launch military strikes against Iran if the government in Tehran does not stop supplying anti-American forces in Iraq, Sen. Joe Lieberman said Sunday on Face The Nation.

"I think we've got to be prepared to take aggressive military action against the Iranians to stop them from killing Americans in Iraq," Lieberman told Bob Schieffer. "And to me, that would include a strike into... over the border into Iran, where we have good evidence that they have a base at which they are training these people coming back into Iraq to kill our soldiers."

Funny story about those Iranian weapons - they were a complete fabrication, representing an infinitesimal fraction of the weapons used in Iraq.

According to the data compiled by the task force, and made available to an academic research project last July, only 70 weapons believed to have been manufactured in Iran had been found in post-invasion weapons caches between mid-February and the second week in April. And those weapons represented only 17 percent of the weapons found in caches that had any Iranian weapons in them during that period.

The actual proportion of Iranian-made weapons to total weapons found, however, was significantly lower than that, because the task force was finding many more weapons caches in Shi'a areas that did not have any Iranian weapons in them.

The task force database identified 98 caches over the five-month period with at least one Iranian weapon, excluding caches believed to have been hidden prior to the 2003 U.S. invasion.

But according to an e-mail from the MNFI press desk this week, the task force found and analysed a total of roughly 4,600 weapons caches during that same period.

The caches that included Iranian weapons thus represented just 2 percent of all caches found. That means Iranian-made weapons were a fraction of one percent of the total weapons found in Shi'a militia caches during that period.

The extremely small proportion of Iranian arms in Shi'a militia weapons caches further suggests that Shi'a militia fighters in Iraq had been getting weapons from local and international arms markets rather than from an official Iranian-sponsored smuggling network.

These were pretty obvious lies, considering that the military could never manage to give a coherent briefing about the origin of those Iranian weapons. But there was one man in the US Congress willing to believe these lies and pass a resolution seeking to escalate tensions with Iran over them - Joe Lieberman. This false narrative of Iraqi arms running pushed us to the brink of yet another war based on erroneous information.

For this, George Bush was used as the foil throughout Barack Obama's Presidential campaign and one of the key reasons he will be 44th President. For this, Joe Lieberman got his Homeland Security Committee gavel and a hug.

And this is the kind of fearmongering, overhyping and agenda-driven bluster you can expect coming out of the Homeland Security Committee, in the name of "protecting Americans," over the next 2-4 years.

Can't say you weren't warned.