Citing 9/11 in Regards to Suleimani

If your case needs a 9/11 boost, perhaps your case is weak.

“Vice President Pence in PA” by The White House is in the Public Domain, CC0

Via the LAT: Pence falsely links Iranian general to 9/11 attacks

In that tweet, Pence wrote that Suleimani “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.”

Here’s the tweet, which was part of a list of Suleimani’s crimes according to Pence:

First, no one is claiming Suleimani was an innocent (far from it). Indeed, most critics of this action have explicitly stated that they shed no tears at his passing. But that does not make his killing a wise and prudent policy move.

In other words: the number of crimes one can associate with him does not sum to proof that this attack, at this time, and in this way, was a good idea.

Second, linking him to 9/11 is a tell that the administration knows it has to bolster their case. Worse, the linkage to 9/11 is tenuous.

As the LAT piece notes:

Although the 9/11 Commission report states that there was strong evidence suggesting Iranian officials “facilitated the transit of Al Qaeda members into and out of Afghanistan before 9/11,” and that some of them ended up as hijackers, the report did not state that Suleimani was involved, and, furthermore noted that there was no evidence to suggest “Iran or Hezbollah was aware of the planning for what later became the 9/11 attack.”

Indeed, Suleimani was not mentioned even once in the report, which was released in 2004.

It is a huge leap from “evidence suggesting” something and making a bold proclamation that Suleimani “assisted” ten of the 9/11 hijackers.

And, to me, trying to shoehorn 9/11 into the justification of the killing of Suleimani reeks of bad faith. It calls to mind false justifications for going into Iraq in the first place. It clearly feels like the kind of thing that would be raised because it a surefire way to inflame the passions of supporters who might not otherwise care or understand about these events.

FILED UNDER: Mike Pence, US Politics
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is Professor of Political Science and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Troy University. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. Two simple words.

    Pence lied.

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  2. @Doug Mataconis: Very Trumpian.

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  3. steve says:

    Guys, this is all about domestic politics. Remember that everything and anything Trump does is about making his base happy. (Aside from efforts to make him and family richer of course.) This is all about the election.

    Steve

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  4. Guarneri says:
  5. Kathy says:

    My projection: Trump will be referring to Suleimani as the mastermind of 9/11 in the near future.

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  6. @steve: I concur: it is about domestic politics.

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  7. de stijl says:

    We live in an interesting era. Trump, buffoonish, comically narscistic Trump clomping about with his daily Twitter rants.

    We forget how venal the workaday Rs are.

    Pence’s team just made shit up. Let’s see if this sticks. Can’t hurt to try.

    This is hyperbole because of the connotation, but the banality of evil springs to mind.

    Whatever it takes to win, even a single news cycle. Make shit up, who cares? If they care, they don’t vote for us so fuck them, let them waste their time rebutting our lie. We win.

    A new take on The Big Lie, a boat load of little lies that all need to be swatted down.

    Genius move if you are amoral.

    Tragedy in real time. Frank Luntz spawned a bunch of nihilistic goons.

    We have two valid proper political parties. One of them is descending and degenerating into gross tribalism.

    It is very concerning.

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  8. CSK says:

    According to The Daily Beast, Trump started swanning around Mar-a-Lago six days ago telling assorted gusts and associates that this was going to go down. I assume he did so to make himself look like a hero. I cannot imagine any of his predecessors doing so.

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  9. Kit says:

    @de stijl:

    Whatever it takes to win, even a single news cycle. Make shit up, who cares? If they care, they don’t vote for us so fuck them, let them waste their time rebutting our lie. We win.

    Regardless of who wins the next election, this dynamic is not going away. Republicans have embraced it. Democrats act as if winning by one vote suffices to set us on the road to recovery. I won’t.

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  10. Teve says:

    People on Twitter are sharing a clip of Pence on the house floor in 2004 saying that we found weapons of mass destruction.

    Pence is a conservative Christian public figure, calling him a liar is redundant.

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  11. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Lying liars gotta lie.

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  12. de stijl says:

    @Teve:

    I was shocked back in 2003 that they believed their own bullshit.

    Didn’t have the foresight to sneak in a convincing fake dirty bomb or whatever. It would have been so easy. The majority of us would have swallowed it whole with no inconvenient questions.

    A bunch of Saudi and Yemeni nationals drove a plane into the WTC and the Pentagon, so let’s invade and occupy Iraq.

    Which totally makes sense. Reason and sense are French, ergo bad. Shut up, you fifth columnist commie!

    It was an insane time.

    Any rookie cop has the sense to bring a throwdown if you oops shoot dead an innocent civilian. It’s Cop 101.

    Dudes believed their own bs. Didn’t bring the throwdown.

    Decades, trillions, at least 100,000 dead all to benefit Iran.

    You have to give ups to Tehran. It was very well played. Snookered the Bush 45 guys completely.

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  13. Gustopher says:

    @de stijl:

    You have to give ups to Tehran. It was very well played. Snookered the Bush 45 guys completely.

    And that is why we need to invade Iran now. Revenge for tricking us into invading Iraq.

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  14. OzarkHillbilly says:
  15. de stijl says:

    @Gustopher:

    You made laugh hard.

    Let’s invade Iceland, Indonesia, Ireland, Ivory Coast.

    A country that starts with “I” and has jack shit to do with the current situation, let’s just invade them for fun.

    It’s an homage. An homage to 2002 Dick Cheney. Creepily obsessed Dick Cheney.

    Bomb the fuck out of Dublin, Reykjavik, throw a dart. Pick one. Whatever.

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  16. mike shupp says:

    ” … a surefire way to inflame the passions of supporters…”

    Strikes me that way. Well, let’s sigh and move on. Who’s got a candidate in mind for the Democratic primaries in 2024? Assuming we can still run elections in 2024.

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  17. de stijl says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Jesus approved of assassination even more than krav maga’ing the fuck out those dirty money lenders. Outlanders. No one will care.

    Desecrate my temple? I’ll desecrate you!

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  18. senyordave says:

    Politically it is a win for Trump. His base will buy 100% of anything he does, no matter what the long term implications. So long as the operation works, most people won’t care, and the people who oppose it because of policy issues were against Trump anyway. The Democrats should drop it and keep pushing on all the investigations. Just keep all the impeachment and corruption stuff out in the public. This election needs to be largely about corruption, the rule of law, and the concept that the president cannot be above the law.

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  19. de stijl says:

    @de stijl:
    @Gustopher:

    You made *me* laugh hard. I effed that up.

    Hard, cynical laughter.

    Walking across the street from a graveyard cynical hard laughter.

    I hope we survive this. It all goes down over nonsense and foolishness? Donald fucking Trump? This shall not stand.

    We are better than this.

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  20. PT says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Assassination for the sake of domestic politics is disgusting. I’ve yet to see any rational justification.

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  21. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Teve: Clearly this whole “you’re the only Jesus that most people will ever experience” thing runs overwhelmingly to God’s disadvantage. It’s almost like American Christians are an afterthought in the whole divine scheme.

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  22. Modulo Myself says:

    It’s not only Trump’s base. We keep on hearing about how bad Suleimani was, as if Iran is this unique country with imperial interest in the countries around it. If someone blew up Elliott Abrahms, how many American politicians are going to be like he had it coming? But if anyone deserves to get droned it’s the sick bureaucrats who ran death squads against peasants. It’s what Gore Vidal said about Teddy Roosevelt–‘give a sissy a gun and he will kill everything in sight’. America has been run by sissies who don’t flinch from invading Iraq but can’t get their little minds around how a country like Iran whose democratic government America overthrew might have similarly violent ambitions. To them, Suleimani is a genuine villain because he did something cynical Americans endorse 24/7. The only good thing about Trump is that his base is so deluded that when he turns tail and backs down they’ll praise him even harder. They’re like Nazis content to retreat from the Eastern Front after 1941.

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  23. de stijl says:

    Some one hates me.

    I get random down-votes for innocuous comments.

    I have a stalker! Cool.

    Awesome! I am somebody. Jesse Jackson.

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  24. Barry says:

    @Guarneri: “https://www.mediaite.com/tv/ralph-peters-reaction-from-the-other-side-of-the-aisle-to-soleimanis-death-has-been-awfully-petty/”

    BTW, I’ve seen a couple of people opposed to Trump running *towards* the sound of gunfire.

    For example, David French is now trying to justify the killing, under the apparent grounds that (a) the USA has the right to kill anybody anywhere in Iraq at will and (b) a high-ranking member of a country with which we are not at war is an ‘enemy combatant’, whom we can kill at will.

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  25. SC_Birdflyte says:

    He didn’t get the nickname “Mike Dense” for no reason.

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  26. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @de stijl: Welcome to the club. It’s not a small club, and there are no perks with membership.

    Haters gotta hate.

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  27. Slugger says:

    Let me confess that this guy was unknown to me prior to his death. Other than masterminding 9/11 what were his other crimes? If we had a Nuremberg type of tribunal what would the prosecutor’s opening speech say? I am curious out of ignorance. It strikes me that attacks on military facilities are just part of how the game is played. If bombing civilians is wrong, then the number of bomb worthy leaders on all sides is pretty large.

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  28. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Slugger: Slugger, I pretty much spent my load in the other thread on this subject.. but you’ve always seemed a good faith commenter.

    This is the bottom line:

    The IRGC and QF led by Solemani are the primary vehicle through which Iran avoid US Sanctions. They allow the Regime a soda straw into the global market and obfuscate the money’s ties to Iran. Their unconventional warfare activities were formidable but not valuable enough make Solemani a target. Their money-making ability did. The Administration designated IRGC (against the recommendation of the Pentagon) as a Terrorist organizations in 2017 to give themselves the legal backing for future options to cripple this organization. Friday they played their card. It appears that they calculate that Iran will have a desecalatory response to save face…but have to choose between coming back to the table to renegotiate JCPOA or losing a valuable asset that’s been allowing them to buy time until Trump is out of office.

    They are Persians so I’m sure they’ve thought of this scenario and have a counter, they believe, gets them out of the dilemma the Administration apparently has them in and will place the US in one. This is a game of chess not checkers.

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  29. gVOR08 says:

    @de stijl:

    Any rookie cop has the sense to bring a throwdown if you oops shoot dead an innocent civilian. It’s Cop 101.

    I know. It made me crazy at the time. I mean it’s one of my stock lines that conservatives believe their own bullshit. But we must have gallons of anthrax, we couldn’t brink along an ounce or two? Just in case? Clowns.
    On the other hand, I do seem to recall just a quick reference to the French or someone saying that if we found something we’d better be willing to share samples with their forensics labs.
    And most of the conservatives I knew were sure they had WMDs because we found a pile of rusty gas shells that fell off the inventory.

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  30. Gustopher says:

    @Jim Brown 32: So, his main crime is he was effective?

    I have a difficulty distinguishing morally between lobbing cruise missiles at mixed use targets, and doing similar damage using suicide bombers and IEDs. Cruise missiles are more upscale, but that’s it.

    There’s a certain bizarre element to our definitions of acceptable military action if we are saying “nuclear weapons and chemical weapons are a no no” and saying “but you also need to be this tall to fight this war.”

    Taken to its logical but extreme conclusion, we will turn from warfare to Formula-1 racing with guns. Which will be very unfair to everyone who cannot field a Formula-1 team.

    And we will be very upset by people in old pickup trucks with automatic weapons on the back shooting at us from off the track.

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  31. Jax says:

    POTUS is taking OPSEC off the rails with his twitter feed.

    Nobody needed to fucking know we had 52 targets picked out.

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  32. gVOR08 says:

    @Jax: To be fair, it’s not like anyone should believe there are 52 targets just because Trump said so. He also said some of them were culturally important to Iranians, which would unite Iranians behind their government for no military purpose and be a war crime.

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  33. Jax says:

    @gVOR08: I just wanted to put it out there for the lurkers. There’s no good reason for them to rally behind someone who would run their effing mouth like that on Twitter, and put all of our people in danger.

    I have a vested interest in someone ever there trying to protect our interests, as I imagine a lot of the lurkers do. I do not appreciate this man putting them in danger to assuage his lack of self esteem and feel like a big man on Twitter.

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  34. Barry says:

    @Jim Brown 32: “The Administration designated IRGC (against the recommendation of the Pentagon) as a Terrorist organizations in 2017 to give themselves the legal backing for future options to cripple this organization.”

    I’m sure that the Iraqi government will be happy to know that the USA has declared their country to be a ‘kill at will’ zone.

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  35. charon says:

    @Barry:

    The Iraqi parliament has passed a resolution calling on the government to expel U.S. military.

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  36. charon says:

    The decision process of Donald Trump and his enablers, discussed:

    https://aelkus.github.io/problem/2020/01/04/normal

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  37. Joe says:

    @charon: While I have no love for endless occupation, sorry “presence” in Iraq, I have some significant trepidation about what it would mean for Iraq actually to expel US forces at this time. It seems pretty strategically important to have boots stationed on the ground for all the things going on there and it doesn’t seem like a comprehensive withdrawal will help anyone, least of all including the US.

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  38. Gustopher says:

    @charon: Well, that’s one way to fulfill his campaign pledge to bring our troops home.

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  39. charon says:

    https://twitter.com/tparsi/status/1213839002366861317

    According to the Iraqi Prime minister, Soleimani was not planning an attack. He was in Iraq carrying a message to Saudi on how to REDUCE Iran-Saudi tensions, as part of a Iraqi mediation effort!!

    https://twitter.com/janearraf/status/1213823941321592834

    This is stunning – #Iraq prime minister tells parliament US troops should leave. Says
    @realDonaldTrump
    called him to ask him to mediate with #Iran and then ordered drone strike on Soleimani. Says Soleimani carrying response to Saudi initiative to defuse tension when he was hit.

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  40. charon says:

    @Joe:

    While I have no love for endless occupation, sorry “presence” in Iraq, I have some significant trepidation about what it would mean for Iraq actually to expel US forces at this time. It seems pretty strategically important to have boots stationed on the ground for all the things going on there and it doesn’t seem like a comprehensive withdrawal will help anyone, least of all including the US.

    Supposed to be there to fight Daesh (ISIS). So we abandon the Kurds, piss off the Shi’a, humiliate the Iraq government. See my link above to T’s decision process, there’s a discussion of it at LGM (some post about “spherical cows”).

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  41. charon says:

    I am being repetitive here, dead horse beating, but the type of senile dementia T might have (frontoremporal) affects judgment, planning, prioritizing, foreseeing consequences early on. Not that T was much for those to begin with.

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