Saturday, August 22, 2015

The propaganda blitz against the Iran deal

I've put off writing this piece for days, for reasons that will soon become clear.

There's a group called "Veterans Against an Iran Deal" which has been gaining a lot of attention in recent days. Note the terminology: They are not against the Iran deal. The name indicates that they will not tolerate any Iran deal. Although this organization pretends to be grassroots, it's really an offshoot of WINEP and AIPAC -- in other words, we're dealing with yet another Israeli propaganda front.

Lately, they've been running highly emotive ads featuring a wounded vet named Staff Sergeant Robert Bartlett, who says that his facial scars resulted from an "Iranian" IED. Is there any proof that Iranians created this device? No. Phil Giraldi, I am glad to say, is on the case:
As Sergeant Bartlett notes, the weapon of choice for the insurgency was indeed a “bomb,” the EFP, which was frequently deployed along roadsides against American armor. The EFP is very simple to make. It consists of a concave copper disk that is placed at the top of a tube. At the bottom of the tube is a military grade plastic explosive charge attached to a detonator. The detonator causes the explosive to go off, the heat and explosive power turning the copper disk into a molten jet of metal that can penetrate as much as eight inches of steel.

The claim that EFPs deployed in Iraq originated in Iran accepted in part that the EFP was actually a sophisticated weapon that could not be produced by Iraqis without Iranian assistance but there are problems with that assumption. The American military knew perfectly well that the Iraqis were more than capable of making the weapon because both U.S. and British forces captured machine shops assembling such devices. The weapon can, in fact, be made by any reasonably competent machine shop that has a metal lathe and access to explosives. U.S. Army Special Forces training manuals that provided instructions on making and using shaped charges were available on the internet at the time of the Iraq War. They have since been deleted but the information is still available online.
Thus, the oft-heard claim that Iranians killed 170 Americans in Iraq is baseless.

At any rate, let's not ignore the fact that Iran did not invade Iraq. We did. The first Bush administration did not seek Saddam Hussein's overthrow in 1991 because GHWB understood that removing Iran's great regional enemy would empower Tehran.

A few other points:

1. Before the American invasion, there was no sectarian conflict (and no Iranian influence) in Iraq. Sunni and Shiite lived in harmony. Although Saddam Hussein was a dictator, his government was secular.

2. Right now, the Iranians are, arguably, the most effective fighters against ISIS. An American war against Iran would give the leaders of ISIS the greatest gift imaginable.

3. Iran has not invaded any other country since the 18th century. Although there are legitimate reasons to condemn that government, one cannot fairly claim that the Iranians have a history of bellicosity.

God knows, I certainly don't feel comfortable criticizing someone who was wounded in his country's service. In fact, the need to do so makes me feel downright crappy -- hence, in large measure, my reluctance to write this post. Nevertheless, I have no choice but to question both Bartlett's facts and his motives. I would like to know how much he is being paid. It is clear that "Veterans Against an Iran Deal" is a front group.

Yet that group is not the only force at work here. Fox News -- but of course! -- has used the Big Lie technique to spread the notion that, under the terms of the deal, Iranian nuclear sites will be given a 24 day "heads-up." This is simply not true.
Australia is now looking to send fighter aircraft into Syria against ISIL. It's clearly an illegal move and few politicians here in Oz have any idea at all of the political complexity of the situation or that such a move would legitimize the establishment of "safe havens" that would be used for further attacks against Assad. Our PM, losing in the polls, appears keen to trumpet the war on terror, and may have actually initiated the offer to the US. Meanwhile, the propaganda crap rolls on.
Thanks for writing this. I am swamped by propaganda by fellow Veterans, all screaming about the "hundreds" of Americans "murdered" by Iran.....
You are correct about the relative simplicity of IEDs. For funzies, and to prove to my CIDG troops in Vietnam how easy it was, I made a miniature demo model using a 35mm Kodak film can (remember those?) a less than an ounce of C4 and a cone made by cutting up a beer can. A blasting cap inserted thru a hole in the screw lid of the film can, and voila! an IED that blasted a hole thru a 1/2 inch steel plate.
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