Fears of US attacks on Iran grow as media campaign heats up
Cheney continues to urge Iran strike
At a press conference on Thursday, President Bush delivered an apparent threat against Iran, stating, "One of the main reasons that I asked Ambassador Crocker to meet with Iranians inside Iraq was to send the message that there will be consequences for people transporting, delivering EFPs, highly sophisticated IEDs, that kill Americans in Iraq."
Neither Bush nor the State Department would elaborate on the meaning of "consequences." However, McClatchy Newspapers reports that "the president's top aides have been engaged in an intensive internal debate over how to respond to Iran's support for Shiite Muslim groups in Iraq and its nuclear program. Vice President Dick Cheney several weeks ago proposed launching airstrikes at suspected training camps in Iraq run by the Quds force, a special unit of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, according to two U.S. officials who are involved in Iran policy."
The Guardian reported in July that Cheney has been continuing to press for military action against Iran. When Larry King asked Cheney in an interview on July 31, ""Would you make an overt move on Iran?" Cheney said with a grin, "For what reason?" He then added, "I'm not going to speculate about prospective operations."
Media campaign against Iran accelerates
The degree of responsibility than can be placed on Iran and the Shiite groups it supports for current attacks in Iraq is not clear. Until recently the US tended to blame most Iraqi violence on Sunni insurgents and al Qaeda. However, what McClatchy describes as a "growing drumbeat of allegations about Iranian meddling in Iraq" appearing in US media is beginning to remind observers of the media campaign in 2002 that led up to the invasion of Iraq.
For example, in Wednesday's New York Times, Michael Gordon reported that "attacks on American-led forces using a lethal type of roadside bomb said to be supplied by Iran reached a new high in July, according to the American military. ... Such bombs, which fire a semi-molten copper slug that can penetrate the armor on a Humvee and are among the deadliest weapons used against American forces, are used almost exclusively by Shiite militants. American intelligence officials have presented evidence that the weapons come from the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in Iran, although Tehran has repeatedly denied providing lethal assistance to Iraqi groups."
The bombs Gordon described are the "EFPs, highly sophisticated IEDs" that Bush referred to at his press conference the next day.
According to Editor & Publisher, Bush's statement "was reminiscent of the day in September 2002 when Cheney and other officials went on Sunday talk shows and touted the now-infamous Gordon-Judith Miller front-pager in the Times on the 'aluminum tubes' in Iraq and the possible 'mushroom cloud' on the horizon. The Times, and Gordon specifically, have been giving the unproven Iranian IED charges far more prominent play than any other major news outlet."
Since last February, Gordon has written a series of articles promoting the administration charges against Iran, claims that, as blogger Glenn Greenwald points out, "amount to an accusation that the Iranian Government, at its highest levels, is directing fatal attacks on American troops in Iraq, which constitutes, of course, an act of war."
RAW STORY reported in February that Gordon's article appeared to violate the Times' own policy against using unidentified sources. Gordon's July 2 article was sourced solely to statements by Brig. Gen. Kevin J. Bergner, formerly a special assistant to the president, who had left the White House to become the spokesman for the US military in Iraq only three weeks previously.