Friday, October 14, 2011

Numerous American journalists seem to be having great difficulty believing the US government's claim that the Iranian government attempted to get Mexican drug cartel members to assassinate the Israeli and Saudi ambassadors in Washington DC. Their argument? That the Iranians would never be so stupid and sloppy as to risk being exposed this way as direct, flagrant perpetrators of a terrorist attack on US soil.

Let's put aside for a moment the bizarre notion that the same regime whose first major international action was seizing the US embassy in Teheran and holding its American occupants hostage for more than a year, and which has spent the last thirty-plus years since then engaging in a steady and completely overt campaign of international terrorism aimed in no small part against the US and Americans, would suddenly get all squeamish about provoking American anger by attacking a couple of foreign ambassadors in Washington DC. Let us instead take it on faith that the Iranian regime would have truly feared being exposed as the initiators of this plot.

Now let's consider the baffled journalists' scintillating logic: it was totally unlike the Iranians, they say, to operate this way--so much so, in fact, that even US investigators doubted Iranian involvement until rock-solid proof more or less fell into their laps. In other words, had the Iranians not been so horribly unlucky as to have chosen a Mexican contact who happened also to have been a paid DEA informant willing to cooperate actively with an FBI anti-terrorist investigation, there would have been every reason to doubt after the fact that the Iranians were in any way involved. Indeed, even today, when the US government claims to have smoking-gun evidence, many journalists have trouble believing it.

Take away that evidence--that is, assume that the plot actually succeeded, with at best a few circumstantial hints of Iranian involvement--and throw in a well-timed fake-but-vaguely-plausible-sounding after-the-fact claim of responsibility from some imaginary new offshoot of al Qaeda, and these doubting journalists would presumably have lots and lots of company among those initially skeptical US government investigators.

Now, remind me again why the Iranians ought to have considered this operation to entail such a hugely reckless risk of exposure?