The botched US raid that led to the hostage crisis by Patrick Cockburn.
His main point may be essentially correct, but his writing is pure enemy propaganda at its worst. Mr. Cockburn says that the recent capture of fifteen British sailors was in retaliation for an American attempt to snag two senior Iranian military and intelligence officials in Iraq. This is not hard to believe. But his information was derived notably by everyone except British and American officials, to include Iranian officials. Apparently, source is not a concern for The Independent.
Mr. Cockburn states:
US officials in Washington subsequently claimed that the five Iranian officials they did seize, who have not been seen since, were "suspected of being closely tied to activities targeting Iraq and coalition forces". This explanation never made much sense. No member of the US-led coalition has been killed in Arbil and there were no Sunni-Arab insurgents or Shia militiamen there.
Note the sinister "who have not been seen since" he drops in…oh…so deftly to set the tone. Of course, he could have stated just as easily that they were in American custody. But "not been seen since" sounds just so evil doesn't it? One can almost see the ominous sneer of thuggish Americans throwing the poor Iranians into dank dungeons.
According to Cockburn we are to assume that because no coalition soldiers have been killed in Arbil (which according to this casualty count website and other references is not accurate either) it is impossible to believe that the Iranian government has supported terrorism in Iraq. He doesn't have the courage to state his point directly, but it is not a subtle one. US forces failed to grab the guys they wanted, so they just grabbed whoever was there and called them spies, thus an American cover-up caused the capture of British troops. Or in short, it's our fault…again.
Never mind that the Iranian government has been widely recognized to be the world's foremost terrorism supporter (now that Saddam Hussein is gone). Never mind the other well documented cases of Iranian hostage-taking which has led to a recognition that kidnapping is Iran's ambassador to the world. Never mind that the Iranian government has been making terror weapons that have been tied directly to its military production for use against coalition forces and Iraqi civilians. Never mind that Arbil lies along a key infiltration route from Iran. Never mind all of that. According to Mr. Cockburn it just doesn't make much sense to assume that Iranian military officers in Arbil were there for sinister purposes but it is plenty safe to assume the Americans were there for just that.
Mr. Cockburn also states:
The raid on Arbil took place within hours of President George Bush making an address to the nation on 10 January in which he claimed: "Iran is providing material support for attacks on American troops."
The fact that he doesn't bother to point out one stitch of the supporting forensic evidence, or that US military leadership made a strong evidence-based case to back it up speaks volumes. He assumes that the President is lying and the Iranians are telling the truth. He signaled his assumption just by the way he crafted the argument. Cockburn was sure to point out ‘supporting evidence' that the Iranians in Arbil were not involved in terrorism (which was not evidence in any way shape or form no matter how much he twisted assumptions to support his argument). Clearly he is advocating for the Iranian case. Undoubtedly, he is selling out his own people in order to gain access into Iranian government circles to make his career. How is that assumption for you, Mr. Cockburn?
Mr. Cockburn also assumes that the Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki was telling the truth when he said:
"The objective of the Americans was to arrest Iranian security officials who had gone to Iraq to develop co-operation in the area of bilateral security."
Mr. Cockburn assumes truth in the words of the enemy by finding no cause to doubt their statement concerning bilateral security. Mr. Cockburn, here is the obvious to the oblivious; if the Iranians want stability in Iraq, why do they keep sending terrorists, soldiers, and bombs into Iraq? If the Iranians are concerned about security, why do they keep fueling the roiling factional violence in Iraq? Of course the Iranian government doesn't want security in Iraq. They want the Americans driven out of Iraq so that they can annex Iraq by influence if not by official creed.
The Iranian government may have captured the British sailors in an act of reprisal for the Arbil incident. But so what? We can establish that this is likely true without portraying the Iranians as innocent victims of a bungled, duplicitous American operation. Iran was already sending Persian and Arab fighters into Iraq to kill Americans and Brits. It had already kidnapped British soldiers. It has conducted probing missions on the Iraqi border continuously. The Iranian government did all of this without the need of Mr. Cockburn's justification. So why does he need to provide them one? What's in it for Cockburn? Can we assume he is siding with the enemy? It sure looks like it.
But this is the problem with western media and American opposition today isn't it? Rosie O'Donnell assumes that steel never melts in fire and therefore 9/11 was an inside job. No other assumption can be valid; it has to be Bush's fault.
Speaker Pelosi assumes she has to go to Syria to "establish facts", a silly statement with a not so silly or thinly veiled meaning; she assumes the Syrians will be more honest than President Bush. We are currently under a deluge of pundits, politicians, and journalists who assume that whatever the enemy says is honest and whatever our side says is coated in layers of lies and secrecy that always masks a sinister truth.
I mean think about it, our government identified the 9/11 hijackers as al Qaeda operatives; then al Qaeda admitted to it. Subsequently, a video turns up of some of the actual hijackers with al Qaeda leaders. You don't get such good evidence in most criminal prosecutions. Yet that is not enough to convince Rosie and her Truther cohorts that al Qaeda attacked us on 9/11? Has our side become that batty? No imagined scenario is too outrageous, no foreign enemy is insincere, and no American that happens to have an R instead of a D after his or her name can be trusted - ever.
America used to be imbued with a healthy dose of skepticism. But the assumptions of some have led us to the brink of self-immolation on an alter of cynicism. Cynicism used to be a notably French trait; it has now become a British and American one.
So let me be at least one individual to strike out beyond my reflexive assumptions and exhibit the difference between skepticism and cynicism. I believe Nancy Pelosi has traveled to Syria to improve relations there. I think it is a complete waste of time, but no assumptions have to be made about her motivation. Her story fits the facts. Moving Syria into the ‘friends' camp would be a brilliant strategic blow to the Iranians. So I will assume that such is her goal. I will also assume that she will not make agreements and tout Syrian sincerity until its leaders words are verified in deed.
I will also assume that Mr. Cockburn is not a liar and that he actually does believe the Iranians are innocent. Perhaps, I can even conclude that he is simply a misguided, incompetent fool and not a traitor.
On the other hand, some assumptions are hard to let go.
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