A thing that has always troubled me about conservative America is the propensity towards justifying US aggression against Islamic adversaries by taking the “a Muslim is a Muslim is a Muslim” approach.
George W. Bush and his administration convinced most of the country that going to war in Iraq against Saddam Hussein was the right move in response to the 9/11 attacks due to a “highly secretive” relationship between Hussein and Al-Qaeda, only for it to turn out that our own intelligence committees found no evidence of said relationship. It’s always been my opinion that Bush knew he could trust the American people not to make a distinction between two Islamic entities.
Fast forward to the opening days of 2020 and president Donald Trump orders the assassination of top Iranian General Qasem Soleimani by launching an airstrike on his convoy on Thursday, and on Friday vice president Mike Pence makes a false claim that Soleimani assisted the 9/11 hijackers in traveling to Afghanistan. Same game, different day.
In a Twitter thread compiling Soleimani’s “worst atrocities,” Pence claims Soleimani “assisted in the clandestine travel to Afghanistan of 10 of the 12 terrorists who carried out the September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States.”
And surprisingly to exactly no one, experts agree: Nah, that didn’t happen.
From USA Today:
Daniel Byman, a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution and a staff member on the 9/11 Commission, told USA TODAY, “To my knowledge, there’s no evidence Soleimani was directly running the 9/11 operatives that were transiting Iran.”
Although there were links between Al Qaeda and Iran, it was “not true” that Iran was behind the 9/11 attacks, Byman said.
As the bipartisan report from the 9/11 Commission concluded, “We have found no evidence that Iran or Hezbollah was aware of the planning for what later became the 9/11 attack.”
Other experts, journalists and formal government officials also weighed in on Pence’s lie.
Iranian-American analyst Holly Dagres tweeted, “The President of the United States is pinning Benghazi on Iran. Then to top it off, the Vice President of the United States is pinning 9/11 on Iran. This is not only reckless, it’s dangerous misinformation.”
Lebanese-American former FBI agent Ali H. Soufan pointed out that there were 19 hijackers, not twelve while tweeting, “Mr. Vice President, First, there were 19 terrorists who carried out the 9/11 attacks: 15 Saudis, 2 Emiratis, 1 Egyptian, and 1 Lebanese. Second, there are lots of bad things Soleimani did, this is not one of them.”
According to USA Today, Pence’s press secretary Katie Waldman stood by the assertion, saying “12 of the 19 transited through Afghanistan. 10 of those 12 were assisted by Soleimani.” But The New York Times reported that Soleimani was not mentioned in the 9/11 Commission’s report and no one can seem to authenticate or even point to where Pence is getting his information from.
I suggest trying Pulled-From-My-Ass.com.