In the days following Donald Trump’s ordered assassination of an Iranian general, we knew that we’d probably hear a whole lot of bragging about the attack which should’ve been authorized by Congress and will inevitably escalate tensions even further in the region. On Friday, he was far from the only one bragging about it – aside from a delighted Fox News, Mike Pence decided to also jump at the opportunity with a tweet, where he decided to overplay his hand with outright lying.
While Gen. Qassem Soleimani was guilty of a number of terrorist attacks in Iraq and Israel, Pence decided his statement had to be a bit more personal – so he thought it would be a good idea to lump Soleimani in with the 9/11 terrorist attacks – perhaps thinking it would justify his administration’s lack of leadership in Afghanistan as well.
“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,” Pence tweeted, implicating the Quds Force led by Soleimani. The problem is that this statement is so misleading, it’s not even wrong. The 9/11 commission report openly states that Pence’s tweet is at odds with the official findings of the 9/11 Commission Report, which openly states that there is no evidence that either Iran or Hezbollah was aware of the al Qaeda terrorist plot – adding that the al Qaeda operatives themselves were also likely unaware of the specific details of their mission when they traveled to the states. Pence also managed to get the number of hijackers wrong in his allusion – there were 19, not 12 – and the majority of them were from Saudi Arabia – not a single one was from Iran.
Clearly, Pence isn’t interested in the truth – but he alluded to 9/11 for a specific purpose: arguing that the death of Soleimani was a preemptive strike, preventing the organization from carrying out a future terrorist attack. There is currently no proof that Quds Force is planning such an attack, but Pence is hoping he can solidify support for the Trump administration wherever it may lead. After all, his favorite vice president is Dick Cheney. What we must be cautious of – is keeping this lie from sticking in subsequent media reporting.
James Sullivan is the assistant editor of Brain World Magazine and an advocate of science-based policy making