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Pompeo and Bolton Following Dick Cheney’s Playbook for War on Iran

July 10, 2019 (EIRNS)—On April 2, Brian Hook, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s special envoy for Iran, held a press conference to announce that the U.S. government had definitive information that Iran was responsible for killing over 600 U.S. troops during the occupation of Iraq.

“I can announce today, based on declassified U.S. military reports, that Iran is responsible for the deaths of 608 American service members,” he said. “This accounts for 17% of all deaths of U.S. personnel in Iraq from 2003 to 2011.”

Investigative journalist Gareth Porter, in a report published in Truthout, debunks that claim, showing that its actual origin was then-Vice President Dick Cheney’s 2007 strategy to justify a war on Iran before the G.W. Bush Administration left office. Porter reviews the history of that effort, beginning with a Dec. 13, 2006, meeting at the Pentagon with Bush, Cheney, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Cheney was demanding a U.S. air campaign on the charge that Iran was building a nuclear weapon, but this was rejected by the Joint Chiefs. Cheney then turned to blaming Iran for providing Shi’ite militias in Iraq with the “explosively formed projectiles,” EFPs, which were being used by the insurgents to blow holes through U.S. armored vehicles, killing and maiming the troops inside. Gen. David Petraeus, who was the U.S. commander in Iraq at the time, enthusiastically supported Cheney’s strategy, but all the evidence pointed to Hezbollah providing the EFPs, as well as the equipment and materials to produce, to the Shi’ite militias, not Iran. On more than one occasion, Porter reports, U.S. military commanders were forced to admit during press briefings that, in fact, there was no evidence tying Iran to the supply and use of EFPs against U.S. occupation troops.

In fact, Porter reports further, the increase in U.S. military casualties was attributable to Petraeus’s decision to target Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al Sadr and his Mahdi Army.

“The bitter irony of the Petraeus propaganda campaign against the Mahdi Army is that Moqtada al-Sadr had stubbornly maintained his Iraqi nationalist stance completely independent from Iranian policy in Iraq since 2003,” Porter writes.

“Meanwhile, rival Iraqi Shi’ite organizations, the Badr Organization and the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), having fled to Iran years earlier, had followed strict orders from their Iranian patrons to collaborate closely with the U.S. military and civilian authorities to establish and consolidate a Shi’ite-dominated regime in Iraq.”

“When officials of the Trump Administration claim that Iran is responsible for U.S. deaths in Iraq, they are following Dick Cheney’s playbook,” Porter concludes. “As the Bolton-Pompeo team tries to steer the U.S. toward attacking Iran, it is important to draw that parallel to Cheney’s strategy, and understand the history behind this push for war.”

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