Former CIA Director Michael Morell said on CBS Morning News today he is persuaded from the evidence Iran is most likely behind the attacks on Japanese and Norwegian tankers. Yet, he also spoke about a credibility problem the US must overcome to convince its allies. He is not alone as newspapers in the European Union and United States have made similar reports.

Morell notes the US faces three credibility issues and he does so with chagrin and in a matter-of-fact way.

First, he said the US is remembered for the ardent and contrived evidence of Weapons of Mass Destruction that led to the invasion of Iraq. This information helped build a coalition of support. A UK commission faulted both President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair for being less than forthcoming.

Second, Morell said “let’s face it,” the US president is known for being untruthful on a recurring basis. So, anything he says must be verified. America is less trusted because its White House incumbent is untrustworthy.

Third, many allies view the US as contributing to this mess. By pulling out of a nuclear deal between Iran and six countries, when our allies and US intelligence noted Iran was in compliance, set us on a different path forward. It should be noted Secretary of Defense Mike Mattis said at that time we should remain in the deal. By asserting more pressure on Iran, we are pushing buttons that need not be pushed.

Morell said neither country wants to go to war, but all it will take is an attack on US interests or Saudi Arabia or Israel acting aggressively. It could be an actor that wants to instigate a fight. This should worry us.

I do not disagree with Morell and have tended to find him a voice of reason. What also concerns me is a president who is not (nor cares to be) a student of history and is more concerned with perception than reality. Reality is about to bite him on the behind and we have damaged one of our greatest strengths – our allied relationships.

18 thoughts on “Credibility

  1. Thank you for your post. As a Frenchman, I might disagree with Morell. The Iranis can be tough but they are far from stupid. And remember the Iraq/Irani war, the Iranis fight back. It would not be as “easy” as Iraq…
    Now, on the point of credibility, I agree totally. And let’s remember that additionally, Mr Trump since he has risen to power, has repeatedly insulted and aggravated America’s oldest allies, from France to Germany to the UK. So if he goes against Iran, (further destabilizing the region) he will probably go at it alone… Not good.

    • Many thank for stopping by. I am not sold on Iranian involvement. It would not surprise me that a small group did this to start something. Since I do not trust our president’s word either, I need more convincing. Morell is a voice of reason, so I do respect his opinion. Yet, too me his major points on credibility were what I wanted people to see. This lack of credibility is lost on his base who follows his every word. Keith

      • I don’t know Morell, I’ll trust your judgement on that. Credibility is a major current issue of Democracy. Boris Johnson is likely to become the next UK Premier when it is a fact that he blatantly lied for Brexit on the amount the UK paid to the UE daily. Everybody knows he lied and yet he may become Prime Minister… Tsss.

      • Thanks for responding. Boris is cut from the same cloth as the US president. It will be troubling if the two biggest English speaking democracies are run by very untruthful people. Keith

  2. While I respect Morell, and agree with his three salient points about Trump’s credibility, I’m not convinced that Iran was behind the attacks. I smell a rat … not with Morell’s opinion, but with the whole thing. The Japanese captain and others who were firsthand witnesses deny what Pompeo claims is ‘evidence’ of Iran’s involvement, and there are too many things that aren’t adding up in my mind. Either way, though, for Trump to start a war with Iran would be disastrous and ill-advised. Sigh. We have a madman at the helm and nothing much would surprise me. Interesting timing of Shanahan’s withdrawal from consideration for Secretary of Defense, too. Or, perhaps I’m only jumping at shadows. Time will tell.

    • Jill, see my response to Equinoxio21. I do not trust the White House occupant on anything, so I need more proof. When Bush/ Cheney used Colin Powell to sell their WMD story, it betrayed our troops, our allied troops and Powell’s good name.

      People die when the truth is not adhered to. I have said many times, before we send troops into harm’s way, we better get it right before hand and exhaust all means.

      As for Shanahan, that was a little bit of a surprise. But, one thing the president is absolutely horrible at is taking the time to vet people. Time and time again, candidates that should not be considered are.


      • I agree with you. I actually assume the opposite of everything Trump says. I still think there is something rotten in Denmark, as the saying goes, only in this case there is something rotten in the White House. Yes, people will die in a hurry if Trump keeps poking until he gets the war he thinks will make him appear ‘tough’. And I wonder just how much his base will love him when their sons and daughters start coming home in body bags? 😥

      • Thanks Jill. Please note my response to Joe regarding a few reasons for the mistrust, which we have discussed over time. Keith

  3. I think The Iranian regime claiming the USA staged this just shows this regime was not to be trusted with a deal that would allow them to go nuclear in a decade.

    Notice I blame the Iranian regime and not the Iranian people. The Iranian regime is bad for the world and should be sanctioned. Trump is not to be trusted. But trump derangement syndrome is when you just disagree with everything he says because he says it.

    • Thanks Joe. I agree about the Iranian regime. Neither they or Trump can be trusted. I have written before about those who call out “Trump Derangement Syndrome.” I do not like being lied to, which is why this independent and former Republican voter does not believe what Trump says. 10,000 verified lies, 69% lying rate, five biographers and the ghost writer of “The Art of the Deal” saying Trump has always had a problem with the truth, three separate attorneys who are on record saying Trump is untruthful, one saying “Trump lies everyday, even about things of no consequence,” etc. all of these factor into my not believing a word he says.

      What troubles me is when he sets policies of his lying. Here is an easy example. He has said time and time again that China is paying for the tariffs, which economists say simply is not true. So, with his repeating multiple times, only two explanations can be true. He either does not know how tariffs work or he is purposefully lying to convince his base. Which one is true? Both are plausible. I am OK with pressuring China some, but let’s be truthful about those who have to pay a price.

      To be frank, it saddens me not to believe a word the White House incumbent says and that is not due to Trump Derangement Syndrome. It is due to the person who looks back from the mirror when Trump shaves. You can tell I do not care for that kind of argument, as it belittles those who are concerned by his level of untruthfulness. As a former Republican, I am very interested in the Republicans for the Rule of Law, who are calling for impeachment due to his obvious obstruction of justice. Like the courageous Congressman Justin Amash, there are Republicans who are starting to speak up. We need them to.

      I will add I was pleased to see Trump’s daughter and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in Charlotte yesterday discussing the merits of an existing career training and apprentice programs between Siemens and the local community college. That is the kind of initiative I can get behind regardless of who is president.

      Thanks for your comments, Keith

      • Hi Keih
        Like I said he is not to be trusted. Although I think some of the “fact checking” on trump is absurd, you are preaching to the choir.

        But you are also drifting from the topic of the Iranian regime. We were told they were moderate and we were lied to by the Obama administration about them.

        Bottom line is we have to always be skeptical of government and politicians. That is why our founders wanted limited government power.

      • Joe, thanks for your follow-up. I agree on Iran. While encouraged by their president, he is not in charge and is beholden to the regime. I am believer in commerce as a way to find mutuality. The median age of Iranis is 35, so we had and have a chance through commerce and interaction to change the future paradigm. Same goes with other regimes. We opened the door to Cuba, but are closing it. That is a mistake after the progress was made. Talking with North Korea is better than not, but we must be careful with them, as their leader is not too trustworthy either.

        What frustrates me most about our president is his denigration of our allies and trade agreements. Relationships are so vital, an ambassador in another country said America’s two strengths are its military and its relationships. If we damage the latter, it leaves us more exposed. And, why would anyone do an agreement with us, if it will not last beyond the term of the current president.

        Thanks greatly for your thoughts. This is complex stuff. Keith

  4. Note to Readers: Another article in The Guardian yesterday said the following in article by David Wearing called: “Donald Trump’s reckless Iran policy casts doubt on the US as global leader.”

    “Irrespective of whether Iran is responsible for the recent attacks on Gulf shipping, the crisis now unfolding is fundamentally one manufactured out of thin air by the Trump administration. The implications go beyond the threat of a major war and consequent worldwide economic crash. Donald Trump’s reckless, incoherent Iran policy also throws into question the viability of the role of the United States as the global leader.”

    Sadly, this situation is destined to spiral out of control, as evidenced by the shooting down of a $180 million drone last night by Iran accusing the drone of being in its air space. We have feared have a mercurial, non-studious and impatient person at the helm in crisis. General Mattis is long gone and the hawks have Trump’s ear. There is a reason people passed on John Bolton to be in the role he is in today.

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