Cheney and Petraeus are liars. They don't have the evidence against Iran. If they had had it, they would have rolled it out long, long ago. They are busy now trying to conjure up fake evidence. They're having a very difficult time, because the bar on evidence has been raised and raised, as well it should be. Besides, even if Iran were helping their fellow Shiites in Iraq against the illegal occupation of the U.S., the U.S. certainly would never be in the right to attack Iran. The only proper thing for the U.S. to do is impeach and remove Bush and Cheney posthaste and withdraw from Iraq with apologies and an atoning spirit.

Middle East Jun 4, 2008

Cheney builds an explosive case
By Gareth Porter

WASHINGTON - For many months, the propaganda line that explosively formed projectiles (EFPs) that could penetrate United States armored vehicles were coming straight from Iran has been embraced publicly by the entire George W Bush administration. But when that argument was proposed internally by military officials in January 2007, it was attacked by key administration officials as unsupported by the facts.

Vice President Dick Cheney was able to get around those objections and get his Iranian EFP line accepted only because of arrangements he and Bush made with General David Petraeus before he took command of US forces in Iraq.
On February 2, while briefing the news media on the new National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq, Hadley asserted bluntly that the draft military briefing that had been circulated in Washington had not been based on evidence.

"The truth is, quite frankly, we thought the briefing was overstated," said Hadley. "We sent it back to get it narrowed and focused on the facts."

Hadley did not tell reporters which points in the draft briefing paper had not been based on the evidence, but the remarks by McCormack and Gates were clear indications that the briefing had made claims of Iranian manufacturing of weapons and smuggling them into Iraq that could not be supported.
He said he and his associates wanted a briefing that "we're confident everyone can stand behind". The national security adviser was implying that the proposed briefing was not supported by the NIE on Iraq, and that the drafters would therefore have to redraft it so that the intelligence community could support it.

Hadley didn't say who he meant by "we", but Gates told reporters the same day that he and Rice had joined Hadley in ensuring that the planned briefing "is dominated by facts".
But Cheney had a surprise for the opponents of his hard line on Iran. When White House spokeswoman Dana Perino was asked on February 9 about when the briefing would be held, she replied, "Decisions on that are being made out in Baghdad."

That announcement came just as General George W Casey was to be replaced by Petraeus as the new commander. Petraeus had only arrived in Iraq the day before and the changeover ceremony came on February 10.

The day after the ceremony, three military officers presented a briefing to the press which not only asserted that the EFPs could only have been manufactured in Iran but that Iran's Quds Force was behind the smuggling of those weapons into Iraq. They strongly suggested, moreover, that the Iranian government knew about the smuggling.

Cheney had used the compliant Petraeus to do an end-run around the national security bureaucracy. Petraeus had already reached agreement with the White House to take Cheney's line on the EFPs issue and to present the briefing immediately without consulting State or Defense.

...chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Peter Pace, responded by saying that he could not "from his own knowledge" confirm the assertion that the Quds Force was providing bomb-making kits to Shi'ite insurgents.

The US command in Baghdad temporarily backed away from the briefers' charge against Iran. The command spokesman, Lieutenant General William B Caldwell, who had been one of the three military briefers, was forced to tell reporters on February 14 that the purpose of the briefing had been to talk only about the threat to US troops, implying that briefers had gone beyond their brief in making statements about Iranian complicity.

But the hardline position on EFP was the one that dominated press coverage. Instead of the more cautious line focusing on the EFP networks inside Iraq, which was what State, Defense and NSC and agreed to in January, Cheney now had a potential casus belli against Iran.

And Cheney would continue to use his alliance with Petraeus to advance his proposal for an attack on Quds Force bases in Iran. The very first episode in the Cheney-Petraeus alliance sheds additional light on the nomination of Petraeus to become the new United States Central Command commander later this year.

Gareth Porter is an historian and national security policy analyst. The paperback edition of his latest book, Perils of Dominance: Imbalance of Power and the Road to War in Vietnam, was published in 2006.

(Inter Press Service)


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