Just to round out the picture, the DC Circuit Court of Appeals recently put some forgotten facts on the record, concerning Iran’s relationship to the Taliban on the eve of our invasion following 9/11:
Khairkhwa admits that he met with senior Iranian officials several times while serving as Herat’s governor. He does not deny that at one such meeting in January 2000, the participants discussed how to protect Afghanistan from United States intervention. Relying in part on these admissions, the district court found that Khairkhwa participated in another high-level meeting with Iranian officials in early October 2001. Id. at 37–38. The Iranian delegation included the deputy commander of the Iranian Foreign Intelligence Service and the head of the Afghan Department of the Iranian Foreign Intelligence Service. Id. at 37. In anticipation of the U.S.-led military operation, the Iranian officials offered military support for the Taliban’s defense, including anti-aircraft missiles, other unspecified equipment, and free passage for “Arabs” traveling between Iran and Afghanistan. Id. at 37–38. The Taliban delegation also included Abdul Manan Niazi, the governor of Kabul and commander of the Taliban forces who committed atrocities at Mazar-e-Sharif in August 1998. Id. at 37.
The court firmly denied an appeal by Mr. Khairkhwa and some of his comrades to be released from Guantanamo. And we can all be grateful to Judge Randolph for so carefully pointing out that Iranian support for our enemies goes back quite a ways, indeed to a moment when the conventional wisdom among our most celebrated savants insisted that the Islamic Republic was certainly no friend of Al Qaeda, let alone the Taliban.
As with the Soviet-supported terrorists of an earlier generation, there is enormous reluctance to acknowledge the role of evil regimes. Our policy makers, journalists, and intelligence experts want to consider the terrorists separately, and treat them as products of local circumstances.
The reason is the same today as it was back then: we don’t want to tackle the central issue (the USSR then, the Islamic Republic nowadays). Once again, “realists” and leftists tell us that we must find a way to “resolve our differences” peacefully, because the only alternative is…war.
But the war is on, and there is a better way: just as we subverted the evil empire by supporting the internal opposition, so the same option exists in Iran, where the overwhelming majority of citizens have cried out for American (non-military) assistance, only to be rebuffed in 2003 by Bush and Powell, and in 2009 and thereafter by Obama and Hillary.
Once again, we should go to the source. Wouldn’t you love to have the archives of the Iranian Intelligence Ministry and the Revolutionary Guards? A friendly pro-Western government in Tehran would be pleased to share them with us.
And the global war would suddenly get a lot easier.
Maybe some senator has the gravitas to ask Messrs Kerry, Hagel, and Brennan about these matters.