Oops: Pentagon history mistakes Iran for Iraq
In a memorable TV interview with former Secretary of State James Baker, prankster"Ali G" (Sasha Baron Cohen) wondered about the possibility of confusing"Iran" and"Iraq."
"Do you think it would be a good idea if one of them changed their name to make it very different sounding from the other one?" he asked Secretary Baker.
"Ain't there a real danger that someone give like a message over the radio to one of them fighter pilots whatever saying bomb 'Ira...' and the geezer don't hear it properly and bomb Iran rather than Iraq?"
"No danger," Secretary Baker gamely replied.
In an official history published on its web site, however, the Defense Intelligence Agency really has confused Iran and Iraq.
Among the"world crises" that transpired during the 1980s, the DIA history cites"an Israeli F-16 raid to destroy an Iranian nuclear reactor."
See"Defense Intelligence Agency: A Brief History" (originally published in 1997) at page 14:
But there never was an Israeli attack on an Iranian nuclear reactor.
Rather,"The description appears to match Israel's raid on Iraq's [Osirak] nuclear reactor" in 1981, observed Gideon Remez, an Israeli scholar who is co-author of the recent book Foxbats Over Dimona (Yale, 2007).
"Today's preoccupation with Iran's nuclear program seems to have been projected onto the events of 27 years ago," Mr. Remez suggested this week in an email message to DIA public affairs.
"If that is indeed the case, I'd recommend a correction," he wrote.
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