Vice President Mike Pence is facing fierce backlash after trying to link the 9/11 terrorist attacks to Iran in order to justify Donald Trump’s authorization of a drone strike that killed Iranian top commander Qassem Soleimani.
Pence posted a Twitter thread on Saturday in which he described Iran’s top military commander as “an evil man responsible for killing thousands of Americans”.
In the thread, the vice president claimed Soleimani had “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”.
In response to the vice president, foreign policy experts were quick to point out there were 19 terrorists who carried out the 9/11 attacks, not 12, and the majority of them came from US allies Saudi Arabia.
His accusation is also undermined by the conclusions of the official government report on the attacks.
The 9/11 Commission report found “no evidence that Iran or Hezbollah was aware of the planning for what later became the 9/11 attack”.
Addressing Pence’s tweet on MSNBC’s “AM Joy,” anchor Ayman Mohyeldin calling it a “low point in American politics” and demonstrably wrong.
“I think, first of all, it is a low point in American politics when you’re exploiting 9/11 to achieve a policy objective that is totally manipulated,” Mohyeldin began. “And let’s be very clear, Mike Pence’s tweet is factually wrong. Whether he did that unintentionally, I can’t imagine that the vice president sends out a tweet without five or six people around him debating, ‘hey, is this a smart decision or not,’ and doing it.”
“Our allies, like the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, were exploited for 9/11 by the hijackers, so, too, was Iran,” he explained. “To come around now and try to say Iran was somehow complicit in 9/11 is the same as saying that the United Arab Emirates government or the Saudi Arabian government are also complicit in 9/11, which this administration has categorically rejected.”
“So my issue with the Pence tweet is that it is a deliberate misleading, a misstating of the facts, a possible deliberate lie to lead Americans to believe once again that American military actions in the Middle East are justified,” he explained. “It’s clearly distressing to think that we haven’t learned the lessons of 2003. When politicians stand up and lie to the American public about weapons of mass destruction, lie to us about intelligence, the come out and carry out an attack in a sovereign nation and turn around, say there’s an imminent attack, provide no evidence, no intelligence, and expect us all to believe it.”
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