Bending the Third Rail
Because We Should, We Can, We Do
Saturday, February 10, 2007
Here We Go Again +
I wanted to expand a bit on an earlier post linking to the story of the White House making the case for Iranian's supplying weapons to Iraqi's. This story is nonsense on so many levels it's not even funny.

First off, if you look closely at the evidence that's been presented, it 's pretty flimsy. Glenn Greenwald does a pretty good job dismantling the arguments noting that (again) intelligence sources are questionable, data on the weapons is flimsy, the administration has already had to pull back their presentation due to over-inflated claims, and news reporting sources are also questionable.

On the subject of arms from Iran, it's my opinion that Iranians are, indeed, supplying weapons and support to their sympathetic groups in Iraq, most of which have been peripheral players in the insurgency. For example, the largest Shiite faction opposing the United States in Iraq is Moqtada al Sadr who is adamantly opposed to Iranian influence. I'm also fairly certain Iran has providing support for years and will continue to do so indefinately. But I'm also equally sure that the Saudi's have provided money, manpower and perhaps even weapons to the Sunni's who have been our most ardent foes in Iraq. I would also not be surprised to find out that Russia, China, Israel, and many other nations are pumping in arms and support into their various client factions in Iraq.

But here's the really nutty part of the entire discussion. It is clear (and you don't need any intelligence reporting to know this) that the largest support for the insurgency and various other sectarian groups in Iraq has been (ta da!) the U.S. of A.! Money, training, arms, and munitions have been routinely funneled to those wishing U.S. soldiers harm since the very beginning. So when does Bush begin the bombing of Washington D.C.?

Finally, Glenn Greenwald (link above) does a scathing review of how the NY Times is, once again, acting as a stenographer for the White House. The story published today is merely a reporting of the White House position without any real context, fact checking, and with numerous anonymous sources (again). Take a look at these LA Times piece on the story (excerpt):
For all the aggressive rhetoric, however, the Bush administration has provided scant evidence to support these claims. Nor have reporters traveling with U.S. troops seen extensive signs of Iranian involvement. During a recent sweep through a stronghold of Sunni insurgents here, a single Iranian machine gun turned up among dozens of arms caches U.S. troops uncovered. British officials have similarly accused Iran of meddling in Iraqi affairs, but say they have not found Iranian-made weapons in areas they patrol.
Now compare that with this from the NY Times FRONT PAGE hack piece:
WASHINGTON, Feb. 9 — The most lethal weapon directed against American troops in Iraq is an explosive-packed cylinder that United States intelligence asserts is being supplied by Iran.

The assertion of an Iranian role in supplying the device to Shiite militias reflects broad agreement among American intelligence agencies, although officials acknowledge that the picture is not entirely complete.

In interviews, civilian and military officials from a broad range of government agencies provided specific details to support what until now has been a more generally worded claim, in a new National Intelligence Estimate, that Iran is providing “lethal support” to Shiite militants in Iraq.
Did the Times not learn anything from the Judy Miller/Iraq debacle? Un-freaking-believable.

Anyway, as with all things Bush, you can always tell when he's lying because his mouth moves. Do not believe any of the headlines stories or claims as the Bushies ratchet up a case to go to war with Iran. It's nonsense, propaganda and totally dangerous if believed.

Update: And how about this little inconvienent development published in the Washington Post (h/t Josh Marshall):
Last week, the CIA sent an urgent report to President Bush's National Security Council: Iranian authorities had arrested two al-Qaeda operatives traveling through Iran on their way from Pakistan to Iraq. The suspects were caught along a well-worn, if little-noticed, route for militants determined to fight U.S. troops on Iraqi soil, according to a senior intelligence official.

The arrests were presented to Bush's senior policy advisers as evidence that Iran appears committed to stopping al-Qaeda foot traffic across its borders, the intelligence official said. That assessment comes at a time when the Bush administration, in an effort to push for further U.N. sanctions on the Islamic republic, is preparing to publicly accuse Tehran of cooperating with and harboring al-Qaeda suspects.

The strategy has sparked a growing debate within the administration and the intelligence community, according to U.S. intelligence and government officials. One faction is pressing for more economic embargoes against Iran, including asset freezes and travel bans for the country's top leaders. But several senior intelligence and counterterrorism officials worry that a public push regarding the al-Qaeda suspects held in Iran could jeopardize U.S. intelligence-gathering and prompt the Iranians to free some of the most wanted individuals.
Now how in the hell can you make a case for war when the other side won't cooperate? Capturing al Qaeda members in Iran? Cum'mon Iran, get with the program. You're supposed to be harboring al Qaeda, not helping fight the war on terrarism. More on the story here.

Update II: Ahhhh. This explains it. The author of the NY Times hack piece is Michael Gordon. Here, we find out about Mr. Gordon:
NEW YORK—New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller today announced that the paper's longtime staff writer Michael Gordon is not an actual person, but rather a voice-activated tape recorder.

"I'm not sure why everyone didn't figure this out before now," said Keller, pointing to the fact that, in Gordon's 26-year career, all of "his" stories have consisted entirely of transcribed statements by anonymous government officials.

According to Jill Abramson, the paper's Managing Editor, Gordon was purchased for $27.95 at a Radio Shack on West 43rd Street. Describing the situation as "a prank" that had "gotten slightly out of hand," Abramson said the paper had decided to acknowledge Gordon's identity because—after the tape recorder's front page story today, "Deadliest Bomb in Iraq Is Made by Iran, U.S. Says"—there "was no place left to take the joke."