Why we must strike Iran / Its complicity in Sept. 11 demonstrates the danger of a nuclear nemesis (WASHINGTON TIMES COMMENTARY) By Adm. James A. Lyons 04/04/12)
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The Islamic fundamentalist regime in Iran has been at war with the
United States for more than 30 years, but every administration from
President Jimmy Carterís to the current one has tried to ignore it.
Currently, the Obama administration is wrestling with the issue of
Iranís drive to achieve nuclear weapons capability. The question of
what we should do about it really becomes moot, since we now have
clear evidence of Iranís direct involvement and support of al Qaeda
before and after the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. Evidence indicates
Iran, Hezbollah and al Qaeda made an alliance in the 1990s.
On Dec. 22, 2011, U.S. District Judge George B. Daniels in New York
ruled that Iran and Hezbollah provided both material and direct
support to al Qaeda in the Sept. 11 attacks against the United
States. Part of the convincing evidence was provided by three Iranian
defectors from Iranís intelligence agency, the Ministry of
Information and Security and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
One of the defectors, Abolghasem Mesbahi, a former Ministry of
Information and Security operative in charge of Iranís espionage
operations in Western Europe, testified that he was part of a joint
task force with the Revolutionary Guard Corps that designed
contingency plans for unconventional warfare against the United
States, code name ďShaitan dar AtashĒ (Satan in the Flames). These
plans included crashing hijacked airliners into the World Trade
Center, the Pentagon and the White House. During the summer of 2001,
Mesbahi stated that he received three coded messages indicating that
the plan had been activated.
Mesbahi also testified that, in 2000, Iran used front companies to
obtain a Boeing flight simulator for training the Sept. 11 hijackers.
Evidence from the 9/11 Commission Report that a senior Hezbollah
operative, Imad Mughniyah (terror chief) coordinated activities of
the hijackers in Saudi Arabia, where they were provided passports
with special markings so that they could proceed to and through Iran
without having their passports stamped en route to Afghanistan.
Unanswered questions include who provided the special Saudi
passports? How did the Iranian border guards know what to look for?
Was it a conspiracy?
Regretfully, the evidence presented to Judge Daniels was not the
result of U.S. government or congressional committee investigation
but by private attorneys and witnesses representing the families of
the Sept. 11 victims. By way of background, just one week before the
9/11 Commission sent its final report to the printers in July 2004, a
six-page National Security Agency analysis summarizing what the
intelligence community had learned about Iranís direct involvement in
the attacks was found in the ďlast boxĒ of classified documents they
This information was so devastating in implicating Iranís role in the
Sept. 11 attacks that the CIA tried to get it expunged from the final
9/11 Commission Report. Could it be they were trying to cover up
their own mistakes?
The information in the last box was critical in putting together the
mosaic of how the hijackers were able to prepare and carry out the
attacks. Many of the 9/11 committee members and staff members
believed further investigation by the U.S. government was required.
To date, no such investigation has been carried out or even
initiated. Is there no congressional intelligence committee willing
to stand up for America?
That there has been no follow-up investigations is evidence that the
Iran lobby is alive and well in America. It has been able to
penetrate into every level of government as well as many respected
think tanks that help influence government policy. There is an
excellent study by Clare M. Lopez, dated Feb. 25, 2009, promulgated
by the Center for Security Policy, which traces the rise of the Iran
lobby and how Tehranís front groups moved into the Obama
administration. The message that this group promotes is very
familiar. It calls for ďdirect and sustained dialogue without
preconditionsĒ between Iran and the U.S. Of course, this is the Obama
In addition to Iranís direct involvement in the Sept. 11 attacks, we
have a litany of Iranís acts of war against the U.S. Since the
takeover of the U.S. Embassy in November 1979, we have positive proof
of Iranís involvement in the April 1983 bombing of our embassy in
Beirut and the October 1983 bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks in
Beirut. With our nonresponse to these acts of war, there followed
countless kidnappings and murders of Americans and further bombing of
our facilities, and the training, equipping and financing of
insurgents we were fighting in Iraq and still face in Afghanistan,
which have costs thousands of American military lives.
As the Obama administration wrestles with the question of what to do
about Iranís nuclear weapon program, the action we should take should
be very clear. We certainly have more than sufficient justification
to launch a devastating strike against Iran. The failure of all
previous administrations to act, it can be argued, indirectly
contributed to the Sept. 11 attacks. The difference now is that
Israel must act to ensure its survival.
President Obama repeatedly has stated that a nuclear-equipped Iran is
unacceptable. As a great nation, we should prepare our own strategic
strike plans to eliminate Iranís nuclear weapon infrastructure and
other key targets. If we do not act, then it is most likely Israel
will launch its own strike before our national elections in November.
Whether we assist Israel or not, we will share the blame for failure.
Therefore, as a minimum, we should provide Israel with all the
necessary equipment and material to make their strike as effective as
possible. Nothing less is acceptable.
Retired Adm. James A. Lyons was commander in chief of the U.S.
Pacific Fleet and senior U.S. military representative to the United
Nations. (© 2012 The Washington Times, LLC. 04/04/12)
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