In a series of tweets, Vice President Mike Pence listed some of General Suleimani most heinous actions, and in one of them he absurdly claimed that Suleimani helped many of the 9/11 hijackers cross Iran into Afghanistan. This isn’t just factually wrong, it’s downright laughable if you know anything about the various religious divisions within Islam. Pence wrote:
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.
— Mike Pence (@Mike_Pence) January 3, 2020
So, why do I call this laughable and absurd? Because the 9/11 attacks were carried out by Sunni fundamentalists and Iran is a Shiite country. The 9/11 hijackers considered Shia Islam a heresy and false teaching, to the point of considering Shiite nations an enemy that must be taken over. The notion that Suleimani would have helped them do anything is simply ridiculous (not to mention the fact that there were 19 hijackers, not 12). You would think — hope, at least — that the vice president would know that. We can presume that Pence, then, is deliberately lying to gin up public outrage and support for his killing. Or he’s as ignorant as Trump is. Either prospect is frightening.
Look, there’s no question that Suleimani was a really bad guy who was responsible for all manner of terrible things. But that does not mean that killing him was a good idea. Actions have consequences and this action is likely to have some very negative ones for the United States and our allies. Deliberate thoughtfulness is required when making such decisions, something Trump simply isn’t capable of.