Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

February 11, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

IRAN'S BOMBS....Today was finally the day of the big briefing about the roadside bombs Iran is supposedly smuggling into Iraq, and you'd think the folks in charge of this long-planned event would want to put their best foot forward. But no. Despite being "repeatedly pressed on why they insisted on anonymity in such an important matter," they persisted in conducting the briefing entirely on background.

Golly. I wonder why no one wanted their name publicly attached to this stuff? I mean, it's ironclad, right? A slam dunk, so to speak. It's certainly puzzling that they're being so shy about taking credit for their work, isn't it?

But put that aside for the moment. Here's some interesting spin:

The defense officials said many of the Iranian weapons components are smuggled through three main border crossings: at Meran, at Amarah and near the southern Iraqi city of Basra. The weapons are typically supplied to what officials called "rogue" elements of the Mahdi Army, the powerful Shiite militia led by cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.

Hmmm. Rogue elements of al-Sadr's militia. That's certainly convenient, since not only do we not like Iran, but we also don't like al-Sadr. It's a twofer! And yet....isn't there another Shiite militia that's an equally likely recipient of these bombs? Let me think. Ah, of course, here it is:

The officials provided further details on the case of the two Iranians captured during the December raid in the compound of one of Iraq's leading Shiite politicians, Abdul Aziz al-Hakim of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq.

....[The raid] uncovered weapons inventory documents with information about sniper rifles and mortars, the officials said. When U.S. officials discussed the allegations with Hakim's representatives, their explanation was that "it is normal for different groups to acquire armaments for protection purposes," the senior defense official said.

In other words, if we had to guess where the bombs were going, we might guess that SCIRI's militia is getting a share of the action too. But that would be inconvenient. After all, just a couple of months ago Hakim was in the Oval Office for a chat and George Bush was calling him one of Iraq's "distinguished leaders" and praising "His Eminence's strong position against the murder of innocent life."

No doubt, no doubt. But who decides who's innocent?

In any case, this whole sorry episode just goes to show how deep a hole the United States is in these days. Sure, the timing of this briefing was childishly transparent, and there's also the nagging question of where the Sunnis are getting their bombs. If not from Iran, then maybe there's another source for these devices after all. Still, even with all that noted, it's not as if it would be wildly out of character for Iran to be smuggling this stuff into Iraq. If I were in charge of Iran, it's probably what I'd be doing. What's more, as McClatchy's Leila Fadel argues persuasively, "The evidence of Iranian meddling in Iraq...is far more compelling than much of the administration's pre-war intelligence about Iraq."

Still, everyone is skeptical, and who can blame them? The current gang in the White House would have to provide videotape of the Ayatollah Khamenei himself attaching tailfins to one of these things and putting it in a box labeled "Baghdad -- ASAP" before I'd be willing to take any action based on this latest dog and pony show. With any luck, in a couple of years we'll have a president I don't have to feel that way about.

Kevin Drum 6:45 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (91)

Bookmark and Share
 
Comments

The last Australian inmate at Guantanamo (David Hicks) is to be charged with taking potshots at the good guys while fighting with the Taleban. If I recall he admits to firing off 500 rounds. Who supplied the ammo?...Pakistan.

Posted by: Johnno on February 11, 2007 at 9:20 PM | PERMALINK

It's our oil. We fought for it fair and square. And don't let some carpet kneeler tell you otherwise.

Where do these Iranians get off!

Posted by: almost Al on February 11, 2007 at 9:25 PM | PERMALINK

I'm still struck by the use of the word "meddling" by the government that went halfway around the world to invade a country to describe that country's neighbor's involvement. It's even more galling when some of the Iranian "meddlers" were apparently invited by the nominally sovereign Iraqi government.

Posted by: ogged on February 11, 2007 at 9:27 PM | PERMALINK

they persisted in conducting the briefing entirely on background.

Which makes complete sense. Detailed facts of Iranian smuggling and funding of bombs involves very classified information. If the terrorists got wind of how much we knew about their activities, this would only drive them deeper underground and make it much more difficult to capture them. Bush is correct to not divulge too much information to the public about how much he knows despite clamoring by liberals and the liberal media to do so.

Posted by: Al on February 11, 2007 at 9:28 PM | PERMALINK

if you have ever been involved in a car crash, you'll know how time seems to slow down, and as each moment brings a fresh horror and the growing realisation of impending disaster, you can only sit and watch it happen, powerless to influence the events.

Bush's White House is one long car crash, and Iraq was just an initial glancing impact. As the car ploughs on, a huge wall looms up ahead. Writ large upon the brick is one word: Iran.

Posted by: billy on February 11, 2007 at 9:34 PM | PERMALINK

and there's also the nagging question of where the Sunnis are getting their bombs.

I assume from amazon.com, like everyone else.

Posted by: craigie on February 11, 2007 at 9:38 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin gets the award for the Most Moronic statement of 2007 for this gem:

"If I was in charge of Iran I'd be smuggling in devices to kill American troops, too."

Posted by: Frequency Kenneth on February 11, 2007 at 9:41 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks to the Lord for people like Tim Russert, who refuse to lower the integrity of the Press by revealing the names of high level officials who lack any other avenue for communicating with the American people. The 4th estate is not just a river in Egypt.

Posted by: almostly Al on February 11, 2007 at 9:42 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin Drum - your concern for the troops is nowhere to be found in this post. Iran is killing American soldiers and the only thing on your mind is figuring out a way to bash Bush. I suggest you stop claiming you support the troops, because you don't when it really counts.

Posted by: Frequency Kenneth on February 11, 2007 at 9:49 PM | PERMALINK

Freq Kennth: Kevin gets the award for the Most Moronic statement of 2007 for this gem:

"If I was in charge of Iran I'd be smuggling in devices to kill American troops, too."

So, freedom fighters are not patriots? You'd better tell that to the Founding Fathers, one of whom is my ancestor - and whom you and the history books praise for massacring some British Troops in Hillsboro, NC. (hint: think James the Regulator)

This just proves you are a partisan hack. You condemn anything 'they' do, and you support anything 'we' do. Even when 'they' are doing the same thing 'we' did.

Posted by: Absent Observer on February 11, 2007 at 9:49 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, your post is a bit of a copout. Yes, Bush was wrong about WMDs in Iraq. Maybe Bush is the worst President ever. So, what?

Iran is (apparently) sending powerful weapons to Iraq that are being used to kill our soldiers and to kill Iraqi soldiers and civilians. The question you (and posters) should be addressing is: What should the US should do about this?

Posted by: ex-liberal on February 11, 2007 at 9:50 PM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal: You notion of Iraq is so 2006. Even Bush is leaning toward a three-state solution. Which means, Iran will own the middle, Kurds own the North, and Saudi's own the south.

Or do you plan to somehow stop this?

Posted by: Absent Observer on February 11, 2007 at 9:52 PM | PERMALINK

Iran is (*allegedly*) sending powerful weapons to Iraq that are being used to kill our soldiers and to kill Iraqi soldiers and civilians.
Posted by: ex-liberal on February 11, 2007 at 9:50 PM

fixed that for ya!

Posted by: KerouacZac on February 11, 2007 at 9:56 PM | PERMALINK

I'll go with Juan Cole's take on whatever Iranian weapons are appearing in Iraq. As in most war zones, arms smuggling is a profitable business. It's quite possible that Iranian arms are showing up in Iraq, with private profit for the seller, and no involvment at all by the Iranian government. The US's contention that 25% of American soldiers are being killed with Iranian weapons makes no sense on the face of it. Most US soldiers are killed in Sunni-controlled regions. Juan has the details in today's blog at www.juancole.com.

Posted by: nepeta on February 11, 2007 at 10:01 PM | PERMALINK

The U.S. has supplied arms to numerous countries involved in civil wars - Nicaragua, Angola and El Salvador come immediately to mind. Not only that, we have armed both sides in a conflict - Iran and Iraq in the 1980s being the most prominent example.

But once again, it is a case of "do as we say, not as we do". Is it any wonder we are the pariahs of the world, with two-faced hypocrites like the Bush family running things?

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on February 11, 2007 at 10:10 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe Bush is the worst President ever.
Posted by: ex-liberal

Hey! They can learn!

Posted by: craigie on February 11, 2007 at 10:11 PM | PERMALINK

"It's not like it's out of character for terrorists to chop off people's heads. If I was a terrorist and I captured Daniel Pearl, I'd chop off his head, too." Kevin Drum, 2007.

Posted by: Frequency Kenneth on February 11, 2007 at 10:12 PM | PERMALINK

Dear F.K:

whatever

Posted by: Absent Observer on February 11, 2007 at 10:19 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin:

"With any luck, in a couple of years we'll have a president I don't have to feel that way about."

I fervently hope you're right -- but the more outrageous Cheney becomes, the more frightened I am that they won't leave....

We'll be at (nuclear) war, remember, and according to W, in 2006 we were "lucky to be able to vote when the country was at war."

They believed Karl's math in 2006 and got taken by surprise; do you really think they'll leave quietly in 2008?

Posted by: worried on February 11, 2007 at 10:21 PM | PERMALINK
It's quite possible that Iranian arms are showing up in Iraq, with private profit for the seller, and no involvment at all by the Iranian government.
Perhaps the insurgents got their hands on some of the billions of dollars in cash that we dumped into Iraq and lost track of and are using it to buy weapons? Posted by: KCinDC on February 11, 2007 at 10:24 PM | PERMALINK

I fervently hope you're right -- but the more outrageous Cheney becomes, the more frightened I am that they won't leave....

I think about this a lot. Cheney clearly believes he is above the law. Not just the office he occupies, but himself personally.

Just another reason why he's a lock for Worst American Who Ever Lived.

Posted by: craigie on February 11, 2007 at 10:24 PM | PERMALINK

With any luck, in a couple of years we'll have a president I don't have to feel that way about.

And are you also happy with the way that the Democrats are clearing out the swamp of corruption? I infer not, from your thread about the new K-street. They are not exactly living up to the highest hopes of the Porkbusters, either.

For all you know, the next president will do a Jimmy Carter and launch a small operation directly at Teheran. The Iranians wouldn't necessarily respond with a massive missile or submarine attack against one of our aircraft carriers, and such an attack might not succeed anyway, but you never know.

I don't think I'm cynical, but -- "Trust, but verify" is as good for the politicians you like as for those you don't. Even if you think that the next president could not possibly be as bad as Bush, you need to be alert to the possibility. "Eternal vigilance is the price of freedom." Does it seem to you now that the senior Democrats are acting especially alert to the possibility that Bush will order an attack on Iran while they are still second-guessing Feith over Iraq?

Posted by: spider on February 11, 2007 at 10:27 PM | PERMALINK

Been a lot of radio spots lately reminding kids to register with the Selective Service. Haven't heard those for awhile.

Posted by: wishIwuz2 on February 11, 2007 at 10:29 PM | PERMALINK

If I were in charge of Iran, it's probably what I'd be doing.

I wonder. Wouldn't you think that the sooner Iraq calmed down the sooner the Americans would leave? I think that's more consistent with your usual beliefs that opposing nominal enemies tends to get them riled up.

Also, compared to the scale of the violence, the Iranian connection seems slight. I think that supports the idea of commercial smuggling more than it supports the idea of Iranian government backing. And another note about scale: since last summer the Iranians have shipped thousands of rockets to Hezbollah. In comparison, their links to Iraq seem very slight.

In case I have been ambiguous, I do strongly support your skepticism.

Posted by: spider on February 11, 2007 at 10:44 PM | PERMALINK

Iran is (apparently) sending powerful weapons to Iraq that are being used to kill our soldiers and to kill Iraqi soldiers and civilians.

Iran is sending weapons to the shiite militias to defend against the Sunni insurgents, which are being supplied weapons by the Saudis. This is exactly what the US is doing, except that the US is also training the shiite militias.

Posted by: Disputo on February 11, 2007 at 10:47 PM | PERMALINK

I wonder why no one wanted their name publicly attached to this stuff?

Probably because they're products of the Iranian Directorate, which is a reincarnation of Feith's Office of Special Plans:

http://www.rawstory.com/news/2006/Pentagon_confirms_Iranian_directorate_as_intelligence_0615.html

Posted by: JJ on February 11, 2007 at 10:47 PM | PERMALINK

Detailed facts of Iranian smuggling and funding of bombs involves very classified information. If the terrorists got wind of how much we knew about their activities, this would only drive them deeper underground and make it much more difficult to capture them.

Dumbass, in a background briefing the info can be reported, just not the source. The only thing that was "classified" was who was shoveling the crap.

Posted by: Disputo on February 11, 2007 at 10:52 PM | PERMALINK

Al, you poor man, think about it: if the problem was, as you say, that "detailed facts of Iranian smuggling and funding of bombs involves very classified information" (and let me point out your grammar sucks as badly as your logic) then they just wouldn't put it into a briefing. Whether the information is classified or not is irrelevant to the briefing being "on background" or not.

Posted by: dcbob on February 11, 2007 at 11:02 PM | PERMALINK

How many insurgents are captured carrying American made weapons? The world is awash in military arms. Iranian support for shiites would not be surprising but the label on the weapon is poor evidence of Iranian state policy.

Posted by: jb on February 11, 2007 at 11:08 PM | PERMALINK

My memory is not as good as it used to be, but I seem to remember that during the Iran/Iraq war we (the US) were supplying weapons to both sides thereby ensuring extensive human carnage on both sides. Now we're rattling our sabres when it appears that Iranian made weapons are showing up in Iraq. Are we somehow above the rest of the world?

Posted by: sparky on February 11, 2007 at 11:08 PM | PERMALINK

Iran is (apparently) sending powerful weapons to Iraq that are being used to kill our soldiers...

So we bring our soldiers home. Seems like that would damp down the problem somewhat.

After we leave, are the Iranians going to be'sending powerful weapons' all the way to Fayetteville, NC?

Posted by: Conrad (Con) Sordino on February 11, 2007 at 11:15 PM | PERMALINK

And, the weapons supplied by Saudi Arabia to the Sunnis?

Of course, the Sunnis hate us the U.S. with a passion that Sadr and Badr can not muster. Badr is, presumably not attacking U.S. forces, and only "rogue" elements of Sadr are attacking U.S. forces, but the Sunnis, who are definitely not getting weapons from Iran, are attacking U.S. forces, so, naturally, we blame Iran and not Saudi Arabia for fueling the violence. In fact, no one mentions Saudi Arabia.

Today's briefing was conducted by Lewis Carroll and Alice Glass.

Posted by: Bruce Wilder on February 11, 2007 at 11:16 PM | PERMALINK

I should probably give people more to go on than a URL:

****Current military and former intelligence officials remain concerned about a US-led strike on Iran, despite the recent appearance of diplomacy on the part of the US State Department and the offer of an incentives package to Iran...

These officials also add that an as-yet uncompleted Phase II investigation into pre-war Iraq intelligence suggests the same problems may recur when addressing Iran. They note that the Pentagons Iranian directorate mirrors the so-called Office of Special Plans, which played a major role in feeding intelligence to the President that bolstered a case for war.****

http://www.rawstory.com/news/2006/Pentagon_confirms_Iranian_directorate_as_intelligence_0615.html

Posted by: JJ on February 11, 2007 at 11:24 PM | PERMALINK

It's not just that we can't trust them. It's that it doesn't matter if they're right. We just can't afford to go to war with Iran. They can pretty much do what they want, we can have all the proof in the world, and staying out of Iran will still likely be the best choice.

Posted by: Mike Meginnis on February 11, 2007 at 11:40 PM | PERMALINK

"If I was in charge of Iran I'd be smuggling in devices to kill American troops, too."

Frequency Kenneth suggests that Kevin was "moronic" for writing this line. Then again, if I were Iran, with the US army on my eastern and western borders, I'd do the exact same thing as well.

For that matter, I don't know what practitioner of realpolitik who wouldn't be arming Iraq if he were leading Iran.

Of course, the only logical course of action, if you're FQ, is to act in the interests of the Bush Administration, no matter what country you represent.

Posted by: chuck on February 11, 2007 at 11:45 PM | PERMALINK

The Iranians are sending bombs into Iraq to kill Americans AND PUTTING LABELS ON THEM?

How could anybody be credulous enough to take that story at face value?

Posted by: Jethro on February 11, 2007 at 11:46 PM | PERMALINK

If Russia invaded Canada, you better believe I'd start up a factory building IED's for Canadian freedom fighters. I'd smuggle them weapons too. And I might even take a shot at a Russian soldier or too while I was there.

Posted by: Extradite Rumsfeld on February 11, 2007 at 11:47 PM | PERMALINK

It is entirely plausible that Iran is smuggling weapons into Iraq. Their leader, like our leader, is not very popular domestically, and a war with the US would (in the short-to-medium term) give him a boost. The question is whether our leader (who is also not very popular domestically) is thinking the same thing, and if he is stupid (or desperate) enough to take the bait. I wish he weren't that stupid, but I am pretty sure that he is, and I wish that Congress would quit fretting about that damn surge, and start thinking of ways to make it harder for Bush to start a war with Iran.

Posted by: dr2chase on February 11, 2007 at 11:57 PM | PERMALINK

I'll go with Juan Cole's take on whatever Iranian weapons are appearing in Iraq. As in most war zones, arms smuggling is a profitable business. It's quite possible that Iranian arms are showing up in Iraq, with private profit for the seller, and no involvment at all by the Iranian government. ...
Posted by: nepeta on February 11, 2007 at 10:01 PM | PERMALINK

Given Ghorbanifar's involvement with some of the others in the neocon cabal, and consulting in the Iraq war, (including Chalabi), I'd say this was by far the most likely explanation.

Posted by: Extradite Rumsfeld on February 11, 2007 at 11:57 PM | PERMALINK

.......Hmmm. Rogue elements of al-Sadr's militia. That's certainly convenient, since not only do we not like Iran, but we also don't like al-Sadr. It's a twofer! And yet....isn't there another Shiite militia that's an equally likely recipient of these bombs? Let me think. Ah, of course, here it is:

The officials provided further details on the case of the two Iranians captured during the December raid in the compound of one of Iraq's leading Shiite politicians, Abdul Aziz al-Hakim of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq.

....[The raid] uncovered weapons inventory documents with information about sniper rifles and mortars, the officials said. When U.S. officials discussed the allegations with Hakim's representatives, their explanation was that "it is normal for different groups to acquire armaments for protection purposes," the senior defense official said.

In other words, if we had to guess where the bombs were going, we might guess that SCIRI's militia is getting a share of the action too. But that would be inconvenient. After all, just a couple of months ago Hakim was in the Oval Office for a chat and George Bush was calling him one of Iraq's "distinguished leaders" and praising "His Eminence's strong position against the murder of innocent life."......
—Kevin Drum 6:45 PM Permalink |

Yep, I guess now it is time to sow dissension in the Shia political alliance in Iraq. Al-Sadr has been on the shit list since early 2004 when we tried to shut him down then. This could be the set up for the provocative act from Iran that's needed. However, I am beginning to wonder whether Cheney's visit to Saudi Arabia and a desire for GWB to keep his political enemies in Congress aiming at a constantly moving target until he can step out and leave the mess to a Dem in 2008 is more likely here. We're probably promising the Saudis a bunch of bull too... while everybody cashes in their chips and sneaks out of the casino...

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on February 12, 2007 at 12:04 AM | PERMALINK

By the way - those of you with kids of "draftin'" age, there are a couple of foolproof ways to get out of danger.

1. Be a multimillionaire. Donate to Republicans. This seems to be statistically the safest option to keep your kids safe.

2. Have your kid feign colorblindness. They can induct him, but there's a good chance he'll be rejected outright. There's absolutely no way to prove he's NOT colorblind. If they don't reject him, they'll certainly keep him out of combat.

Posted by: Extradite Rumsfeld on February 12, 2007 at 12:04 AM | PERMALINK

This idea that Iran is arming the Sunni insurgency is the intellectual property of the same people who also saw logic and wisdom in their arming of both sides in the 1980-88 war between Iran and Iraq.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on February 12, 2007 at 12:08 AM | PERMALINK

I wonder why no one wanted their name publicly attached to this stuff?

Just because a source is anonymous doesn't mean that it's unreliable.

Liberals have always been happy to listen to anonymous sources that serve their purposes, like Deep Throat. But they question the integrity of patriotic military officers who only want to warn America of the dangers we face.

Posted by: Al on February 12, 2007 at 12:19 AM | PERMALINK

Posted by: Al on February 12, 2007 at 12:19 AM |

TWEEEETT! Red Herring! By #49. Half the distance to the goal, repeat 3rd down!

Posted by: Absent Observer on February 12, 2007 at 12:29 AM | PERMALINK

Hey, thanks Extradite Rumsfeld! But I'm pretty sure we could take the Ruskies in a snowball fight (they throw like girls).

Anyway, it seems Putin is more concerned with you guys, and not so much us. And since they provided weapons to the Iranastanis, what would *that* mean if the Cheney Regime invaded Iranistan? Oh dear, oh dear.

Posted by: Soviet Canuckastani on February 12, 2007 at 12:38 AM | PERMALINK

"The question you (and posters) should be addressing is: What should the US should do about this?"

The US should not be itching to expand a war that it should not be in or have started in the first place. The US should be pulling out in order to reduce the troops' exposure to these devices, wherever they come from.

Posted by: bob on February 12, 2007 at 12:50 AM | PERMALINK

I'm with dr2chase- the US and Iran are two of few nations that still use the death penalty- actually, the Saudis, US and Iran are numbers 2,3 & 4 in most prisoners executed- alas, far behind the Chinese.
Like Iran, we have a fanatical leader whose popularity requires loudmouthed foreign enemies. Our leader and the Iranian leader are two pit bulls. Like the Iranians, ordinary Americans suffer economically - in our case because the profits go to the elite who own our Congress, pensions vanish and wages remain unchanged.

Posted by: kapow on February 12, 2007 at 12:55 AM | PERMALINK

…question the integrity of patriotic military officers who only want to warn America of the dangers we face.

Wake up Al. It’s also the credibility of the New York Times that’s being questioned here. The NYT, bastion of the liberally biased MSM says they have anonymous sources. Why do you believe them? Why would patriotic military officers even talk to the NYT?

Posted by: antiphone on February 12, 2007 at 1:03 AM | PERMALINK

Al Kinda: "Bush is correct to not divulge too much information to the public..."

Yes, highly sensitive information such as who the government officials might be when they are making public pronouncements of national importance.

Don't know about you, Kool-Aid breath, but I was born in a democracy. Bootlickers like you don't seem to know about that.

Posted by: Kenji on February 12, 2007 at 1:06 AM | PERMALINK

Al, if the liberally biased AP wire service shows pictorial evidence of Iranian meddling in Iraq, patriotic Americans shouldn’t accept such evidence at face value. If you lay down with the MSM you will wake up with fleas. You don’t want fleas do you, Al?

Posted by: antiphone on February 12, 2007 at 1:13 AM | PERMALINK

bob: The US should not be itching to expand a war that it should not be in or have started in the first place. The US should be pulling out in order to reduce the troops' exposure to these devices, wherever they come from.

I agree that the US shouldn't be looking to expand the war. But, Iran has already expanded the war. Their agents are bringing IEDs into Iraq and using them to kill Americans and Iraqis. That's an act of war against the US and an act of war against Iraq.

Although it's tempting to use Iran's sorties into Iraq as an excuse to attack their nuclear sites, I would hope that our military could deter Iran's war efforts in Iraq by means short of all-out war. At the very least, Iranis captured bringing weapons into Iraq shouldn't be released by claiming that they're diplomats.

Posted by: ex-liberal on February 12, 2007 at 1:18 AM | PERMALINK

You really are a pathetic tool, aren't you ex-lib?

Quick, over here! Lucy has a football she's really gonna let you kick this time. Honest...

Posted by: Kenji on February 12, 2007 at 1:24 AM | PERMALINK

But, Iran has already expanded the war. Their agents are bringing IEDs into Iraq and using them to kill Americans and Iraqis.

No they're not.

The officials offered no evidence to substantiate allegations that the "highest levels" of the Iranian government had sanctioned support for attacks against U.S. troops.

Next baseless charge.

Posted by: trex on February 12, 2007 at 1:35 AM | PERMALINK

...Iranis captured bringing weapons into Iraq shouldn't be released by claiming that they're diplomats.

Absolutely, Teh Iranis should have the decency to at least claim they’re liberating Iraq and making it safe for democracy. Then they could bring all the weapons they want, hell bring their army and set up bases, but leave the diplomats at home.

Posted by: antiphone on February 12, 2007 at 1:37 AM | PERMALINK

…it's tempting to use Iran's sorties into Iraq as an excuse to attack their nuclear sites…

As if we need an excuse, excuses are for wimps my friend. If commander Cheney wakes up on the wrong side of the bed and feels like invading that’s enough for patriotic Americans.

Posted by: antiphone on February 12, 2007 at 1:45 AM | PERMALINK

Iran is a neighbor to Iraq and has a big stake in the outcome there..."meddling" would not be a surprise, and I would bet you that there are several other neighbors "meddling" as well, all with their own interests at heart. Indeed, we're "meddling" there ourselves.

Evidence may be stronger of Iranian "meddling", but that's not saying much compared to what was being described about Iraq, which was fraudulently described as a grave and imminent threat.

We need to hear more than ambiguous claims of "meddling" to justify hostilely blowing our nose in Iran's direction let alone bombing, invasion or war.

Posted by: Jimm on February 12, 2007 at 1:53 AM | PERMALINK

What should the US should do about this?

A very skeptical Democratic leadership in Congress should start hearings right away. That's easier than passing a resolution to prohibit the President from attacking. I don't agree with the strongest criticisms of Bush that are written here, but Congress really should get ahead of the curve. I am glad that the IG released that report on Feith, but they need to investigate what the Executive Branch is doing now.

Posted by: MatthewRMarler on February 12, 2007 at 2:02 AM | PERMALINK

Iran is (apparently) sending powerful weapons to Iraq that are being used to kill our soldiers...

1. I want proof, proof, proof, proof, proof and then proof.

2. If America wasn't in the empire business, you wouldn't face the problems of empire.

Posted by: snicker-snack on February 12, 2007 at 2:05 AM | PERMALINK

Once again, ex-liberal fails to look up what the I in IED means. You're like a five-year-old who looked up the term MAD in an encyclopedia and thinks he's Henry Kissinger.

Also, when you write things like "If I were in charge of Iran, it's probably what I'd be doing," you're engaging in something called political analysis. Now, if you were FDR during WWII, wouldn't you be thinking "If I were Hitler, I would do _____" to figure out his next move? Of course so. That's what political scientists do. Saying "people that fall out of airplanes die" is not the same thing as "I like to throw people out of airplanes to see them die." The first statement is showing cause and effect. The second statement is a statement of personal wish and intent. Is it that hard to understand the difference?

Posted by: Reality Man on February 12, 2007 at 2:09 AM | PERMALINK

It's certainly considerate of Iran to label its mortar rounds in English. If a "senior official" said, it, that's it for me, I'm convinced. Let's level the place!

Next up: did you know AK-47s are as common as dirt in Iraq? Know where THEY come from? Yep--from Russia with love!

I can see Frequency Kenneth, Egbert, Al, American Hawk, ex-liberal, and that "sunbelt" guy all lining up for the Stalingrad Yellow Elephant Brigade as we speak, so just remember: The man with the rifle shoots. The other man follows him. When the man with the rifle gets killed, the other man picks up the rifle and shoots.

Clear?

Posted by: Lionel Hutz, attorney-at-law on February 12, 2007 at 2:21 AM | PERMALINK

Just like anywhere else in the world, people who want weaponswill get them at the prevailing price. That's capitalism for you!

As I raised a couple of days ago, where is Russia in this equation? 25 years ago we were quite willing to tweak the USSR's tail in Afghanistan. We were quite willing to supply Iraq to fight the "brutes" in Iran, and quite willing to sell arms to Iran and fly cocaine to the US to fund rebels in central America.

Oh, yes. We really are the good guys.

So why wouldn't Russia AND Iran make our own misadventure more expensive for us.

For Christ's sake, wake and smell the air. It stinks and so does this administration and as did Reagan's. It's the men and women who are actually paying the ultimate and near-ultimate price (which is worse?) for the crud inhabiting the WH.

Posted by: notthere on February 12, 2007 at 2:25 AM | PERMALINK

Shorter Kevin:

Doesn't matter if any of this is true or not. It's BUSH!

Posted by: rnc on February 12, 2007 at 2:31 AM | PERMALINK

antiphone, I have got to ask.

Is that "antiphone" as in against telephones, or is it some Greek woman I should know about, like the ugly sister of Aphrodite or something?

Posted by: notthere on February 12, 2007 at 2:35 AM | PERMALINK

A lot of good logical analysis here, but unfortunately it's not logical analysis that will determine if we go to war against Iran.

Rather, it's what lies Cheney can cook up and the networks can repeat without questions. That's what will make the difference.

The claim that Iran is sending to Iraq weapons used to kill Americans is very cleverly crafted. Once the networs and right-wing radio have worked on this for a few days, any Democrat in Congress trying to argue against the new war will be automatically labelled as not supporting the troops. It's the neocon strategy to neutralize the Democratic argument "we are against the war but we support the troops". Very clever.

The window of opportunity for Congress to pass a resolution stating Bush does not have automatic authority for the new war is closing fast. And all this while Congress is debating the last war.

Posted by: JS on February 12, 2007 at 2:40 AM | PERMALINK

Is that "antiphone" as in against telephones, or is it some Greek woman I should know about, like the ugly sister of Aphrodite or something?

I’ts an archaic musical term actually, among other things. Google it.

Posted by: antiphone on February 12, 2007 at 2:41 AM | PERMALINK

rnc --

not quite. More like, this is Bush and we have no, I repeat NO reason to trust the lieing SOB.

He doesn't even care if people die by the thousand for his political contrivances, and he certainly doesn't care about the $ cost.

And he's never deigned to explain any of it to the US people. How arrogant is that?

Posted by: notthere on February 12, 2007 at 2:43 AM | PERMALINK

"And he's never deigned to explain any of it to the US people. How arrogant is that?
Posted by: notthere on February 12, 2007 at 2:43 AM | PERMALINK"

It's pretty morally repugnant to be the guy that does this. How pathetic is it to be the guy that spouts stupidity to support him? People like ex-liberal and Al are like battered women who blame themselves for getting hit. If someone is raping you in the ass, do you tell him you love him or do u first (1) point out that is rape and then (2) cut off his dick and balls with a rusty spoon?

Posted by: Reality Man on February 12, 2007 at 2:53 AM | PERMALINK

Antiphone --

Ahah. Gottit! Thanks.

Well I'm going to pronouce it "antiffonnee". Sounds better to me. More correct Greek.

Posted by: notthere on February 12, 2007 at 3:25 AM | PERMALINK

Just now on the BBC World Service:

Weapons supplied and used in Iraq, re US accusations:

Normal RPG = RPG7 very common. More penetrative, newer RPG27 Russian made and supplied to Syria but has got through to Hizbullah also. Not supplied to Iran.

The more penetrative IEDs, using shaped charges, BBC called them ESPs (electro-static precipitator?, I missed it if they defined), effective armor penetration to 100m, plasma projected to penetrate, trigger made and available from Taiwan, famous terrorist supplier, and technology available among Hizbullah, again.

So some commonality between the 2 but it's not Iran necessarily. Surprised?

Not standing someone up to put their name and the administration behind this statement amounts to irresponsibility, doesn't allow the press to ask and follow up on any questions, and has nothing to do with mad Al's claims at the top of this item. It has nothing to do with revealing sources. It goes to the root of credibility.

Posted by: notthere on February 12, 2007 at 3:39 AM | PERMALINK

Wouldn't it be ironic if we were the ones that supplied them with the financing to purchase all those weapons. That missing $12 Billion in cash had to go somewhere now, didn't it?

Posted by: jhill123 on February 12, 2007 at 5:55 AM | PERMALINK

This is an important topic but you folks seem to be bouncing off the walls in dealing with it.

Here's a link that might help:

http://tinyurl.com/2xoe4s

Posted by: bert on February 12, 2007 at 5:59 AM | PERMALINK

Has anybody bothered to figure out the number of AMERICAN weapons that are being used against us in Iraq? I'll bet our lost or stolen explosives far outnumber Iranian bombs. And if true, in Bush's lexicon, that means we should be starting another war -- with ourselves!

Posted by: dalloway on February 12, 2007 at 9:44 AM | PERMALINK

"The evidence of Iranian meddling in Iraq...is far more compelling than much of the administration's pre-war intelligence about Iraq."

Hell, the evidence of [fill in any name here] meddling in Iraq would be more compelling than much of the administration's pre-war intelligence about Iraq. This is hardly a high standard for evidence. All very funny (in a tragic and disturbing way) coming from the number one meddling nation in the world.

No one seriously believes the Iranians wish us well, but where is the discussion of what the Saudis are doing to help the Sunnis?

Posted by: dogofthesouth on February 12, 2007 at 10:25 AM | PERMALINK

Once again, we see the Bush supporters are willing to accept anything this administration says. These guys are still buying the Brooklyn Bridge hoping to set up toll booths.

And has anyone noticed that the British have been saying they doubt that any large scale arms smuggling is going on. Been saying it for months.

Since the Brits are on the ground around Basra, I think their view should carry some weight. Unlike the view of the serial liars who got us into this mess.

Posted by: zak822 on February 12, 2007 at 11:48 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin: If I were in charge of Iran, it's [smuggling this stuff into Iraq] probably what I'd be doing.

Yes, in a civil war where murderous aggressors are using terrorism to overthrow a democratic government, I'm afraid many leftists would be on the side of the murderous aggressors. It's called the Stockholm Syndrome.

Posted by: ex-liberal on February 12, 2007 at 12:09 PM | PERMALINK

I saw no persuasive argument from McClatchy that what the Army itself calls "educated guesses" about the Iranian govt sending weapons. Merely the statement.

As for "ex-liberal," he apparently hasn't noticed that there are at least 4 sides to Iraq's Civil War, at least two of whom SUPPORT the "democratically elected" govt, but also ethnic cleansing.

We don't even know which side we're on from day to day.

Posted by: Jethro on February 12, 2007 at 12:27 PM | PERMALINK

I sure don't understand the reluctance of the experts to attach their names to this presentation. How will Bush know who gets the Medals of Freedom when their info is shown to be wrong?

Posted by: cowalker on February 12, 2007 at 12:31 PM | PERMALINK

Jethro, the Iraqi government supports itself, the democratically elected government. Which is the other side that supports the democratically elected government, in your view?

ISTM the Shia and Summi insurgents are opposing the democratic government, and, of course, al Qaeda in Iraq opposes democracy.

Posted by: ex-liberal on February 12, 2007 at 12:36 PM | PERMALINK

Sigh. Wish I'd kept the cite of the Brit officer who was sending out patrols to prove what he already damned well knew : claims about Iran supplying Iraqis with arms are - as is colourfully said - shite.

Posted by: opit on February 12, 2007 at 3:09 PM | PERMALINK

So, why does Iran write in English on there explosives?

Why not in Arabic?

Posted by: Dude on February 12, 2007 at 4:15 PM | PERMALINK

Do you think the Bushies will get Colin Powell to come out of retirement for a return engagement at the UN?

Posted by: Jim Montgomery on February 12, 2007 at 4:26 PM | PERMALINK

Dude,

So, why does Iran write in English on there [sic] explosives?

Why not in Arabic?

I have no idea why they would write in English, but given that Iran is not an Arab state, I see little reasonw why they would use Arabic. I suppose if you were talking about reference material and they were creating something just for their southern Iraq allies, they might write in Arabic, but they certainly wouldn't label their own weapons in Arabic for their own inventory needs.

Posted by: Edo on February 12, 2007 at 4:46 PM | PERMALINK

but they certainly wouldn't label their own weapons in Arabic for their own inventory needs.

They would certain label them in Arabic lettering, as Farsi uses the Arabic alphabet.

They would NOT use English.

Posted by: trex on February 12, 2007 at 5:03 PM | PERMALINK

This is all sort of rubbish, isn't it? I mean, does anyone seriously believe we're going to go to war with Iran to save the skins of our friends the Sunni insurgency?

I don't buy it. Not even Bush is that stupid. This is all squawking, pure squawking. So I'm not all that concerned about it leading to an actual conflict with Iran. What I am a little worried about is the behavior of our press corps, many of our Democratic elected officials, and just ordinary people when faced with such a obvious farce. Because they seem to be pretty much on board with this bluff to such an extent that you wonder if they actually know it's a bluff. And that is just sad.

The saddest thing is that it's a repeat of the idiocy that got us into war in the first place, when all the discussion was on some technical detail about whether Saddam had some barrels of something or another. It turned out he didn't, but that was a bit of a surprise, since usually these farces at least succeed in finding something that can be stretched out to be a cause for war. And of course, it shouldn't have mattered anyway, since the war would have still been a horrible idea even if he did have some anthrax.

Surely it will be much easier to cook something up in the case of Iran. Of course Iran is sending weapons into Iran, supporting its dog in the fight just like Saudi Arabia. But just who is that dog? The US has been one of the prime supporters of SCIRI, Iran's most friendly partner in the Iraqi government. The US has also been doing Tehran's dirty work in rooting out Anbar and Baghdad of Sunni insurgents. The US has even taken on Moqtada al-Sadr, the most anti-Iranian of Shiite leaders. So explain to me again exactly why Iran would be arming its own enemies to attack the very power that is supporting its friends? Apart from there being no physical evidence that Iran

Please, someone explain that to me. Anyone who can gets a gold star.

Then explain to me why on earth we would want to side with the Sunnis in the worldwide intra-Islam war that will surely come about if we start a war with Iran. There are actually people out there who really think this is the right idea, the way to "win" in Iraq, and sometimes I wonder how such people made it past millions of years of human evolution. It's times like these when the most moronic of "contrarians" are able to make their huckster theories (remember Thomas Friedman's advice that the US should act 'crazy' to earn respect?) sound not half bad, because everyone else is too focused on the minutiae of where some bomb was put together or what some jingoistic speech by an Iranian populist means (here's a hint---try "nothing"). The Iranians, meanwhile, may through silence walk right into the "trap" because they-like Saddam--couldn't believe that the Americans would actually be dumb enough to attack them.

The contrarians these days unfortunately have the ability to sometimes create the very situation they worry about. We may currently have some Iranian weapons which were whisked away by marginal factions or mercenary traders from their original purpose of killing Sunnis and ended up killing Americans (the Iraqi army itself can't even keep track of its own fucking American-supplied weapons, so why do we think some shitty militia has the ability to do so?) . But once we start antagonizing Tehran, we'll find ourselves in exactly the situation we worried about. Leaders around the world are starting to realize just how crazy and unstable our leadership (and alas, our entire foreign policy elite) really is. A country who would pull off the stunning illogical turn-around that our contrarians would like to see (from a tacit and pretty-well understood alliance with Iran against the Sunni group to a sudden embrace of the Sunni-Saudi bloc against anything having to do with Iran) would be a country that would never, ever again be trusted by anyone, at any time, for any purpose. For the same reason you don't trust a schizophrenic.

The dark stain that such a calculation would leave on our history would make the already considerable stain we have on our conscience pale in comparison.

Luckily, it ain't gonna happen. Perhaps Cheney would if he could, but we just wouldn't be able to pull it off and everyone knows it. The Sunnis aren't going to suddenly stop trying to kill us just because we say we hate Iran. The gulf states are not going to allow an open war to threaten their precarious ability to export through Hormuz. The Saudis will be their usual weaselly selves, and their consummate cowardice (don't want to get those F-16s dirty, do we?) will save the peace. Even the Iranians are probably not going to be as dumb as Saddam. They'll point out these elementary facts about motive and lack of physical evidence to anyone who'll listen. And a three year old will understand it. Maybe Tehran will even put up a show of controlling their border more closely against "rogue elements" as a sign of goodwill.

Things will boil over. Not in Iraq, of course, which will continue to be a bloodbath (and in which we will continue to support Iran's proxies in the government, because we have to support "democracy", see, and the majority ruling Shia parties will always have ties of one kind or another with Iran. Whereas the disenfranchised minority Sunnis won't. This idealistic vision of "helping democracy"--which is always tantamount to helping the majority faction--- is why we got into our pro-Shia stance to begin with, and it's going to be very hard to back out of it now).

But at least there won't be Sunni v. Shiite WW3.

God, I hope I'm right.

Posted by: kokblok on February 12, 2007 at 5:46 PM | PERMALINK

In a couple of years you'll have a president who obediently hands the world over to Islam.

Posted by: Walter E. Wallis on February 12, 2007 at 5:54 PM | PERMALINK

Walter,

Yep. Well, only if it's Obama, I think you meant to write. Because only with Obama would we really end up with the full nine yards: burqas in the streets, rose water in our candies, and so on. The others in the "Democrat party" candidate field would just hand us over to liberal college professors.

At least, that's the word on the street. Get with the program, man.

Posted by: kokblok on February 12, 2007 at 6:09 PM | PERMALINK

rose water in our candies

I already add cardamom to my coffee. Clearly I must want the terrorists to win.

Posted by: trex on February 12, 2007 at 6:21 PM | PERMALINK
In a couple of years you'll have a president who obediently hands the world over to Islam. Walter E. Wallisat 5:54 PM
No one has done more to encourage the cause of radical Islam than George W. Bush. He has killed and supported the killing of hundreds of thousands of Muslims; he has illegally invaded Muslim countries; he has occupied Muslim countries using terrorism and torture. In a couple of years, we can hope to have grownups in charge of the White House and American foreign policy. Posted by: Mike on February 12, 2007 at 6:21 PM | PERMALINK
... I'm afraid many leftists would be on the side of the murderous aggressors....ex-lax at 12:09 PM
The only murderous aggressor I'm aware of is George W. Bush who has invaded a couple of countries and is planning to bomb a third. Posted by: Mike on February 12, 2007 at 6:24 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin Drum :

The current gang in the White House would have to provide videotape of the Ayatollah Khamenei himself attaching tailfins to one of these things and putting it in a box labeled "Baghdad -- ASAP" before I'd be willing to take any action based on this latest dog and pony show.
-- Kevin Drum, Sunday, February 11, 2007, 6:45pm
Joe Klein :
http://time-blog.com/swampland/2007/02/iran_who_funds_the_revolutiona.html
... this Administration has a fabulously phony record when it comes to cooking intel and I'd say that (1) "inferences based on general intelligence assessments" just won't cut it here and (2) if you're going to implicate the Iranian leadership, I want to see satellite photos of Ayatollah Khamenei personally lugging the bombs across the border before I come to any conclusions.
-- Joe Klein, Monday, February 12, 2007, 12:54pm
Carl Jung said there'd be moments like this.

Posted by: nobody on February 13, 2007 at 1:24 AM | PERMALINK

online pharmacy - online pharmacy store
discount pharmacy - discount online pharmacy

Posted by: top choice on February 13, 2007 at 7:33 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

Read Jonathan Rowe remembrance and articles
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

Advertise in WM



buy from Amazon and
support the Monthly