Mike Mullen: Iran Killing Coalition Soldiers

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mullen twn hearing.jpg
On Monday evening, I heard Joint Chiefs Chairman Michael Mullen speak at the annual Atlantic Council gala dinner, following Rupert Murdoch, Jim Jones, Brent Scowcroft, Tony Blair, and Colin Powell. I’ve been a fairly strong fan of Mullen since he ascended to his most recent post, but last night knocked him down a few notches.
Without offering more than assertion — and certainly going farther than Defense Secretary Robert Gates has gone as of late, Mullen stated that Iran is responsible for coalition soldier deaths. After CentCom Commander William “Fox” Fallon’s departure, this kind of heightening of rhetoric may be designed more for Ayatollah Khamenei’s handlers than the seven hundred people at the Ritz Carlton last night.
Mullen stated:

We also live in a time where Iran routinely pushes its way into more and more realms of instability. And I, for one, think it is important that we deal with that instability that they create, whether it is Hezbollah, Hamas.
Recent operations in Southern Iraq, recent combat operations in Southern Iraq in Basra highlighted yet again Iran’s activities in ways that very specifically pointed to activities which, in fact, resulted in the deaths of coalition soldiers. And I think for the ability to create stability in that part of the world that not just this alliance, but those who are allied, will have to deal with Iran in the very near future.

More on this later.

– Steve Clemons

Comments

12 comments on “Mike Mullen: Iran Killing Coalition Soldiers

  1. Delia says:

    They just can’t stop ginning up this prospective war on Iran, can they? And now it looks like they’ve got Hillary on board with them. When everything’s going to hell, I guess they figure they might as well try to make things a whole lot worse to cover up the damage.

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  2. erichwwk says:

    When the wheels come off the bus, and the likelihood of facing a war crimes tribunal becomes ever more probable, folks likely to be indicted will get desperate, and speak accordingly.

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  3. pauline says:

    Did Cheney Rent One of Rummy’s Rent-A-Generals to Try to Refute Joe Wilson?
    By: emptywheel Sunday April 20, 2008 7:52 pm
    I’m working on a catalog of Rummy’s Rent-A-Generals. But I couldn’t help but notice this particular Rent-A-General.
    On Friday, April 14, with what came to be called the “Generals’ Revolt” dominating headlines, Mr. Rumsfeld instructed aides to summon military analysts to a meeting with him early the next week, records show. When an aide urged a short delay to “give our big guys on the West Coast a little more time to buy a ticket and get here,” Mr. Rumsfeld’s office insisted that “the boss” wanted the meeting fast “for impact on the current story.”
    That same day, Pentagon officials helped two Fox analysts, General McInerney and General Vallely, write an opinion article for The Wall Street Journal defending Mr. Rumsfeld.
    “Starting to write it now,” General Vallely wrote to the Pentagon that afternoon. “Any input for the article,” he added a little later, “will be much appreciated.” Mr. Rumsfeld’s office quickly forwarded talking points and statistics to rebut the notion of a spreading revolt.
    “Vallely is going to use the numbers,” a Pentagon official reported that afternoon.
    [snip]
    Many also shared with Mr. Bush’s national security team a belief that pessimistic war coverage broke the nation’s will to win in Vietnam, and there was a mutual resolve not to let that happen with this war.
    This was a major theme, for example, with Paul E. Vallely, a Fox News analyst from 2001 to 2007. A retired Army general who had specialized in psychological warfare, Mr. Vallely co-authored a paper in 1980 that accused American news organizations of failing to defend the nation from “enemy” propaganda during Vietnam.
    “We lost the war — not because we were outfought, but because we were out Psyoped,” he wrote. He urged a radically new approach to psychological operations in future wars — taking aim at not just foreign adversaries but domestic audiences, too. He called his approach “MindWar” — using network TV and radio to “strengthen our national will to victory.”
    [snip]
    Back in Washington, Pentagon officials kept a nervous eye on how the trip translated on the airwaves. Uncomfortable facts had bubbled up during the trip. One briefer, for example, mentioned that the Army was resorting to packing inadequately armored Humvees with sandbags and Kevlar blankets. Descriptions of the Iraqi security forces were withering. “They can’t shoot, but then again, they don’t,” one officer told them, according to one participant’s notes.
    “I saw immediately in 2003 that things were going south,” General Vallely, one of the Fox analysts on the trip, recalled in an interview with The Times.
    The Pentagon, though, need not have worried.
    “You can’t believe the progress,” General Vallely told Alan Colmes of Fox News upon his return. He predicted the insurgency would be “down to a few numbers” within months.
    So let’s see. General Vallely,
    Believed it was more important to lie to the public than let them question the purpose for war
    Took Pentagon talking points and used them for a WSJ op-ed
    Is documented by NYT’s sources to have stated publicly the precise opposite of what he acknowledged observing in Iraq
    All in the name of hiding the fact that Rummy had no credibility with his generals and in an attempt to sustain support for the war.
    So why should we care?
    Well, you might recall that Paul Vallely claimed, in November 2005 (just days after Libby was indicted), that Joe Wilson had outed his wife to Vallely in a Fox green room in 2002.
    A retired Army general says the man at the center of the CIA leak controversy, Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson, revealed his wife Valerie Plame’s employment with the agency in a casual conversation more than a year before she allegedly was “outed” by the White House through a columnist.
    Maj. Gen. Paul Vallely told WorldNetDaily that Wilson mentioned Plame’s status as a CIA employee over the course of at least three, possibly five, conversations in 2002 in the Fox News Channel’s “green room” in Washington, D.C., as they waited to appear on air as analysts.
    [snip]
    Vallely says, according to his recollection, Wilson mentioned his wife’s job in the spring of 2002 – more than a year before Robert Novak’s July 14, 2003, column identified her, citing senior administration officials, as “an Agency operative on weapons of mass destruction.”
    Now, far be it for me to suggest that General Vallely lied–outright–when he invented a story that would protect Libby, Novak, and Cheney. After all, that claim has been made before, so I don’t need to claim it anew. And I notice that Libby’s defense team ultimately decided that Vallely wasn’t going to help their case–though Vallely was listed as a witness in Libby’s trial, he spent precisely as long on the witness stand as Dick Cheney did.
    So I’m not claiming the news that Vallely is a lying hack is new. Rather, I’m pointing out that Vallely’s stated motives for lying about the war…
    Believed it was more important to lie to the public than let them question the purpose for war
    Took Pentagon talking points and used them for a WSJ op-ed
    Is documented by NYT’s sources to have stated publicly the precise opposite of what he acknowledged observing in Iraq
    … So closely parallel the motives he might have had for lying in order to pretend that Dick Cheney wasn’t desperate to hide the fact, in 2003, that he had lied us into war.
    That, and I think it’s rather sweet that Rummy lent his old friend Dick Cheney one of his Rent-A-Generals in his time of need.
    Update: Joe Wilson responds (via email):
    I too was curious when I read the NYT piece but my disgust that he would leave the troops hanging out to dry in order to do the Pentagon’s dirty business overwhelmed any thoughts of his feeble attempts to suggest I had told his wife of Valerie’s covert status. Our troops deserve not just our support as fellow citizens but even more the support of generals in whom they entrust their lives.

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  4. Bartolo says:

    Sorry, no comments possible above on Bolivia.
    Morales’ proposal: “It will let voters decide between 5,000 and 10,000 hectares as the maximum size for an estate.”
    Sounds good to me.

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  5. PissedOffAmerican says:

    These bastards will now tell us anything they choose to. After all, eight years of no accountability has demonstrated to them that there is no lie, no abuse, that is egregious enough to light a fire under the cowards in Congress.
    I see Yoo is refusing to testify before the House, joining a long list of Bush cabinet members singing a chorus of “fuck you” to the American people, our Constitution, yesterday’s checks and balances, and international law.
    It appears John McCain’s little refrain of “Bomb Bomb Bomb Iran” was more than just fanciful humming, and that it was prescient in its delivery.
    Now all we need is another “trifecta”, and all bets are off. And who can doubt the satanical monster Cheney and his following of neocon ogres have the perfect event in mind? The only question is, which city will they choose to sacrifice? This one’s going to be a doozy.

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  6. Bob says:

    Notice how Tony Blair, at the dinner, asserts that Iran “seeks to put itself at the head of [all] extreme Islam.”
    That’s pretty much like asserting that Ian Paisley’s old friends and the provisional IRA were all the same.
    Grouping Iran and al Qaeda together as a single entity is becoming more and more common.
    For instance, in a book review by Niall Ferguson, of Philip Bobbitt’s new book:
    http://nytimes.com/2008/04/13/books/review/Ferguson-t.html
    “Bobbitt’s central premise is that today’s Islamic terrorist network, which he calls Al Qaeda for short [...]”
    The political purpose of the conflation is clear.
    Islamic terrorists attacked the US on 9/11, and Iran is (according to the approximation endorsed by Blair and Bobbitt and Ferguson and McCain and etc.) “at the head of extreme Islam” – - therefore, by attacking Iran, we would supposedly be attacking al Qaeda.

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  7. Bob says:

    Notice how Tony Blair, at the dinner, asserts that Iran “seeks to put itself at the head of [all] extreme Islam.”
    That’s pretty much like asserting that Ian Paisley’s old friends and the provisional IRA were all the same.
    Grouping Iran and al Qaeda together as a single entity is becoming more and more common.
    For instance, in a book review by Niall Ferguson, of Philip Bobbitt’s new book:
    http://nytimes.com/2008/04/13/books/review/Ferguson-t.html
    “Bobbitt’s central premise is that today’s Islamic terrorist network, which he calls Al Qaeda for short [...]”
    The political purpose of the conflation is clear.
    Islamic terrorists attacked the US on 9/11, and Iran is (according to the approximation endorsed by Blair and Bobbitt and Ferguson and McCain and etc.) “at the head of extreme Islam” – - therefore, by attacking Iran, we would supposedly be attacking al Qaeda.

    Reply

  8. arthurdecco says:

    I wonder what the audience thought as they listened to bullshit like: “the ideology of fanatics now has a nation, Iran, that seeks to put itself at the head of extreme Islam.” spewing from Tony Blair’s always actor-eloquent but potty mouth last night?
    Were they thinking, “My gawd! He’s right!” or were they thinking, “What a f_ckin’ idiot!”?

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  9. Bob says:

    From a news article about the dinner.
    http://kommersant.com/p885686
    RUPERT MURDOCH: “We must face up to a painful truth: Europe no longer has either the political will or social culture to support military engagements in defense of itself and its allies.” Expressing his view on the weakness the Alliance, Rupert Murdoch suggested that it be reformed, admitting as many states as possible. The scenario proposed by Rupert Murdoch was mainly directed against the so-called old NATO members, France, Spain and Italy in particular, who rarely show much enthusiasm for U.S. initiatives.
    TONY BLAIR: When asked by a reporter with London’s Times, what “the hard policy” meant, Mr Blair said, “We must be prepared to use military force.” In his address at the Dinner, he stressed that “the ideology of fanatics now has a nation, Iran, that seeks to put itself at the head of extreme Islam.” “They need to know what we say, we mean and, if necessary, will do,” Tony Blair claimed.
    http://kommersant.com/p885686

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  10. jon says:

    Those are remarkably provocative comments for the JCS to
    make. Particularly without any proof
    It’s obvious that the US could rain unparalleled destruction onto
    Iran. But to what end? Similarly, the US will not lose any major
    engagement the Mahdi Army. But the US will never pacify those
    areas, or be able to make their cat’s paw government
    administrate the land effectively.
    The US has asserted many times previously that various weapons
    are being supplied by the Iranian government, the Revolutionary
    Guards or the Quds Force. Never with any proof. And the
    slenderest reeds are trumpets as proof positive, only to collapse
    under the slightest inspection.
    Pretty amazing, that in five years there has never been any
    seizure of weapons crossing the border, no capture of Iranians
    in the field or in training conditions (let’s except the abduction
    of credentialed diplomats, in a consulate, following their
    invitation by the local Iraqi governor). It’s almost like it’s not
    true. That or the Iranians are so so devious that they possess
    super-ninja powers of invisibility and invincibility.
    The more likely answers are: that various private Iranians
    operating with astute free market capitalist objectives are selling
    weaponry to the local highest bidders, and transporting it; that
    Iraq was an open air munitions dump that the inadequately
    sized US invasion force neglected to secure until it was
    thoroughly looted; that Iraqis are skilled and motivated to make
    and find weapons to resist the illegal invasion of their country
    (ever see Red Dawn? It’s sorta like that). Is Iran the only
    manufacturer or supplier of 107mm or 240mm rockets and
    mortars? Likely not. In fact, they seem to be ubiquitous among
    Warsaw Pact countries, China and North Korea.
    That said, if I was the Iranian government (and I’m glad I’m not),
    I would be trying to assist the Shia resistance to the US
    occupation, and to maneuver to maximize any benefit that could
    ultimately derive to Iran. Just like any other country would in a
    similar situation. Frankly, the Iranians seem to have been
    extraordinarily restrained in the face of the multivalent US
    pressures being brought to bear.
    The US will never be able to undermine the Mahdi Army, Hamas
    or Hezbollah (lumping together very different organizations,
    aren’t you General?) until the US can understand why they have
    come to be and why they have support of significant portions of
    their populaces. The weaponry and violence are symptoms and
    effects of their underlying purpose and reality.
    The US practiced some pathetic and stillborn attempts at public
    diplomacy in the Arab world. Those efforts, if pursued
    diligently, honestly, and with consistency could have made a
    difference and created some support for US interests, and
    diluted the power and reach of those local organizations. But we
    couldn’t be bothered to supply 1% of the funding that the
    military is receiving, we couldn’t be bothered to apply skilled,
    knowledgeable people to the task, and we could be bothered to
    pursue the task with any enthusiasm for more than about six
    months. And we certainly aren’t showing any signs of learning
    from our mistakes.
    And I will second Mr. Murder’s observation – that really is some
    ‘fair and balanced’ representation of diplomatic firepower and
    insight represented on that panel. Between them, I suppose they
    could ‘fix’ any facts within an inch of their life.

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  11. Green Zone Cafe says:

    Iran is killing U.S. soldiers and civilians to be sure. Those 107mm and 240mm rockets which pound the Green Zone come from Iraq. Iran trains mortar and rocket and bomb making crews for the Shia militias.
    The question is not whether Iran is killing U.S. soldiers, but how many more could they kill if the U.S. bombed them.

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  12. Mr.Murder says:

    “…following Rupert Murdoch, Jim Jones, Brent Scowcroft, Tony Blair, and Colin Powell.”
    In a room full of liars, you’re likely to be judged by the company you keep.
    What kool aid reference would be complete without Jim Jones?
    Tony Blair share any stories on tresspassing Iran’s waters? Cutting their cables? Ongoing Psyops that Sy Hersh identified going on there?
    He highlights the area Britain failed to secure as a center of Iranian involvement, and Blair was there. Let me guess, he knows where the missing WMD were shipped to as well?
    Gas will be unavailable if we war with Iran. Can you push a tank? Do sailors need to be reminded what tanks are?
    Can hawks paint their feathers dove white, or was there some other reason these war supporters are being found in the same room?
    Nuremberg Precedent. Associations given ground to claim conspiracy. Fox network could be found liable. Aussies have signed Geneva?
    Saudi Arabia has more insurgent support going on for Iraq insurgents that Iran does. Perhaps you could have asked more of that topic when you went there.

    Reply

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