Perhaps in response to the Dick Cheney-mandated rightwing PR blitzkrieg to sell Americans on the efficacy and necessity of extending the Iraq war into Iran, the folks at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research have announced a book forum at the Wohlstetter Conference Center in DC on Monday, September 10, which is also the first day of testimony regarding the results of splurge of blood and bucks in Iraq.
On hand will be none other than Michael Ledeen, he of the "faster, please" school of overthrowing the government of Tehran. He'll be touting, perhaps reading a couple of excerpts from, his new book - The Iranian Time Bomb: The Mullah Zealots' Quest for Destruction, a title he's been employing on various columns for more than five years.
As Glenn Greenwald pointed out at Salon.com Wednesday: "Simply put, there is no more ridiculous, deceitful, untrustworthy and just outright laughable political figure of influence than Michael Ledeen." And that's being kind.
The list of Ledeen's idiocies - and, I might add, behavior that in a just world would be subject to prosecution - is too long to repeat here, although any interested reader unacquainted with the man would do well to check out emptywheel's Michael Ledeen's "Wilderness of Mirrors".
One item, however, is worth repeating. Last November, Greenwald (with me in a walk-on role) noted that Ledeen had been brazenly lying when he became one of the first of the revisionists to claim that he had never urged the invasion of Iraq. Worth repeating because of what Ledeen said in his "Tick, Tock" interview with Kathryn Jean Lopez at the National Review Online over this past Labor Day weekend:
Lopez: Why should I think "Iran" when I hear "al Qaeda"?
Ledeen: Because they've been working together since 1994, and we are now up to our uvulas in evidence showing Iran's support for al Qaeda in Iraq. The 9/11 Commission -- as Tom Joscelyn has written for years -- found striking evidence of the al Qaeda/Iran partnership, starting with the sensational discovery that Imad Mughniyah, the operational chief of Hezbollah, was on the plane that took some of the 9/11 terrorists out of Saudi Arabia, en route to the Twin Towers and the Pentagon.
Lopez: So does bin Laden and crew work for Iran? Have they always?
Ledeen: I don't know about "always." Certainly they have worked closely with Iran for quite a while. I think the Iranian domination of al Qaeda started when we destroyed al Qaeda in Afghanistan. The key leaders ran to Iran and have mostly been there ever since.
Lopez: Was Iran involved in 9/11?
Ledeen: I don't know. It's possible, but certainly unproven. The most tantalizing factoid is the story of Ramzi bin al Shibh, the logistics officer for the 9/11 operation. He went to Iran for a month in late December, 2000, and then he returned to Iran less than a week before 9/11.
Sly that Michael is. Remarks like his - only without the "unproven" part - will certainly be part of the final propaganda barrage if the day does come when the Cheney-Bush cabal chooses to lay down some bombs on Iran. They can then cite the language from the Authorization to Use Military Force passed on September 18, 2001, to wit:
Section 2 - Authorization For Use of United States Armed Forces
(a) IN GENERAL- That the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.
Joining Ledeen Monday for the book forum will be former CIA director R. James Woolsey and General Jack Keane, U.S. Army (retired), the latter, with NeoCon Fred Kagan, one of the inventors of the "surge" in Iraq.