Alex Constantine - May 31, 2010
" ... Ledeen relies on dubious and discredited sources, such as Manuchar Ghorbanifar, who the CIA placed on its 'burn list' as a serial fabricator long ago. In the 1980s Ledeen and his Israeli colleagues' drive to get the U.S. to sell arms to Iran led to a now largely forgotten constitutional crisis known as the Iran Contra Affair. Today's veterans expect to read the work of experts with honest track records of assessing true threats in America's premier veteran's magazine. Ledeen is clearly not one of those experts. Unchallenged, Ledeen's disinformation has the potential for again steering U.S. policy into tragedy. ... "
May. 24, 2010
WASHINGTON, May 24 -- /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- U.S. veterans were shocked and dismayed that the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) refused to publish retractions, corrections or responses to an article by Michael Ledeen published in the April, 2010 edition of VFW Magazine. Three veterans—hailing from different parts of America—provided timely input, corrections, concerns, and supported multiple letters to the editor—which Richard K. Kolb refused to print in the May edition.
According to Dr. Sam K. Abul Haj of Ventura, CA, a highly decorated former chief surgeon and pathology consultant of Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Michael Ledeen's "Iran's 'Foreign Legion' Takes on America" was "riddled with serious misrepresentations." Ledeen stated:
"Although relatively small in numbers—total manpower is estimated at less than 150,000—the [Iranian National] Guards control a vast arsenal, ranging from surface—to—surface missiles to the covert nuclear weapons program. When and if Iran comes to possess nuclear armed missiles, the Guards will be in charge of them, too."
The April 21, 2010 Department of Defense "Unclassified Report on Military Power of Iran" states that Iran has no nuclear weapons program for Revolutionary Guards to control. This is also the consensus view of the International Atomic Energy Agency. According to Abul Haj, "Ledeen relies on dubious and discredited sources, such as Manuchar Ghorbanifar, who the CIA placed on its 'burn list' as a serial fabricator long ago. In the 1980s Ledeen and his Israeli colleagues' drive to get the U.S. to sell arms to Iran led to a now largely forgotten constitutional crisis known as the Iran Contra Affair. Today's veterans expect to read the work of experts with honest track records of assessing true threats in America's premier veteran's magazine. Ledeen is clearly not one of those experts. Unchallenged, Ledeen's disinformation has the potential for again steering U.S. policy into tragedy."
John K. Moriarty, a retired Air Force colonel of Manassas, VA found Ledeen's conclusions "dubious at best" and was eager to see how VFW Magazine would issue corrections in the future. Moriarty has a Ph.D. in Comparative Government and over twenty years as an analyst with the U.S. Government-affiliated Institute for Defense Analyses, as well as years of service in the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research.
According to Moriarty,
"This article wildly exaggerates the influence of the Revolutionary Guards in the Middle East as well as its threat to the United States. The idea that Iran's Revolutionary Guards masterminded and directed the 1983 bombing in Beirut of the U.S. Marine barracks is a stretch at best. The Shiite Lebanese had a plenitude of their own reasons for attacking American forces in Beirut, after the U.S. had tacitly supported the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, used the battleship New Jersey to shell Lebanese positions, and inserted the Marines to backstop Israeli objectives."Similarly, Ledeen's proposition that the Sunni al Qaeda in Iraq is a 'proxy' of Shiite Iran's Revolutionary Guards is almost a fantastic claim. Ledeen speaks of 'Iran's war against the U.S. in Iraq,' when surely it is apparent to even a casual observer that the resistance against the U.S. in Iraq was fought and directed by Iraqis and not Iranians. It might be remembered that in the 1980s Iraq fought an eight-year war against Iran. Is it likely that little more than a decade later they would submit to Iranian direction of their defense against an invading United States? Ledeen also implies that Shiite Iran is a major director of the Sunni Taliban war against the U.S. in Afghanistan. Is there any solid evidence for such a claim?"
"It is unfortunate that the VFW Magazine has allowed itself to be used by a foreign policy provocateur like Michael Ledeen, for his own purposes. I have too much respect for American military veterans to watch this happen without protest. I was in uniform throughout World War II and for a number of years thereafter. This article of Michael Ledeen's is provocative nonsense," affirmed Moriarty as Memorial Day approached.
Lt. Colonel (ret) Charles T. Lotreck of Norwich, CT was equally concerned that VFW Magazine not "censor" valid responses, noting that the Military Officers Association of America routinely solicits and publishes rebuttals in its publication. Lotreck is "greatly skeptical" about the motivations of neoconservative ideologues such as Frank Gaffney, Michael Ledeen, Paul Wolfowitz, John Bolton and Richard Perle. "Their vast distribution over the American news media on matters of war is inversely proportional to their time spent in military uniforms. VFW Magazine and the rest of the news media should seek out expert analysis from the many informed men and women with access to 'need to know' classified information and who have served in uniform. Fortunately for Americans, none of our intelligence agencies have to rely on Ledeen's knowledge or expertise," stated Lotreck optimistically.
IRmep is a Washington-based nonprofit that studies U.S. Middle East policy formulation.