Wednesday, February 14, 2007

GWB on Iranian weapons

Josh Marshall urges us to examine GWB's claims carefully. After all, these are the same bozos who brought us "slam dunk" WMD info about Iraq.

President Bush says "with certainty" that Qods forces are giving these weapons to fighters for use against American troops. The only question, he says, is whether the leaders of the Iranian government at the highest level directly told them to do so. CNN's Barbara Starr says that this is the same thing that Gen. Pace is saying.

But they're actually not saying the same thing. And President Bush's remarks are intentionally framed to duck the key issue of who the Iranians are really arming and why.

First, as Juan Cole has discussed at length, there's a logical disconnect in these claims since the Iranians are supporting their Iraqi Shi'a coreligionists and most of our casualties are from the Sunni insurgents they oppose. So are we supposed to believe that Iran is arming their mortal enemies, the Sunnis?

Indeed the only direct evidence the administration has been willing to publicize comes from December when we found Qods force personnel at the headquarters of our allies, Abdel-Aziz al Hakim's Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), delivering weapons to Hakim's group.


Now, given the black market traffic in arms in Iraq right now, it's not at all a stretch to believe that weapons are dispersing from Iranian proxies like SCIRI (who we're holding up as our allies) through black market channels to Sunni insurgents who are in turn using them against US troops. Indeed, it seems like a more probable theory than the conclusion that the Iranians are acting in concert with the Sunni militants who are involved in an on-going campaign of indiscriminate slaughter of Iraqi Shi'a civilians.

So, to summarize, as Gen. Pace said, we seem to know that Iranian-made weapons are turning up in Iraq and being used against Americans.

For context, how many US-made weapons do you think are now being used against US forces. Indeed, how much US weaponry sent to Iraq specifically by the US are in turn being used by insurgents against US forces.

What Pace said was "We know that the explosively formed projectiles are manufactured in Iran. What I would not say is that the Iranian government, per se [specifically], knows about this. It is clear that Iranians are involved, and it's clear that materials from Iran are involved, but I would not say by what I know that the Iranian government clearly knows or is complicit."

And look what President Bush is saying ...

As of late this afternoon, we're being told that the briefers in Baghdad went beyond what they were supposed to say and that the president is now dialing the claims back. In fact, President Bush is intentionally giving Americans the impression that we know something we don't -- that the Qods force is providing weapons for use against U.S. forces. This makes all the difference in the world. So even as Wolf Blitzer says just after 5 PM this afternoon that President Bush is "backing off" the claims, he's actually still trying to fool Americans into believing something that we not only can't prove but that is more than likely false.

A reporter friend told me recently that the administration is saying on background that the really slam-dunk evidence they're not yet able to release. But as I told this person, after the experience of 2002 and 2003, mere self-respect prevents me from putting any credence whatsoever in such claims.

If they had the evidence we'd be seeing it. But without any solid evidence, the president still wants to fool the American public into believing these bogus claims.

After the Iran war, we'll probably be walked back and shown that President Bush never really said that the Qods force was giving these weapons to the people using them against US troops. He didn't fib. We just didn't listen closely enough. He was just saying that the Qods folks gave them to someone. But he wasn't saying who. So before all our soldiers die and before the president makes yet a million more screw ups for which we'll pay for decades into the future, let's look closely at what he's actually saying.


Blogger liberal journal man said...

"If they had the evidence we'd be seeing it."

That's the easiest way a casual observer can see that this a farce. Any tenuous connection is being used, and being heavily reported on day after day, to trump up this phony case for war.

For those of us who are more than casual, the seeds of an Iranian conflict, the criminal deception of this Administration, are familiar refrains. I mean, they rejected an Iranian offer for peace that the State Dept wanted.

If you take a few steps back, this war push is laughable. Just look at how the Administration is contradicting itself. And this is after destroying all of their credibility with the Iraq debacle.

If I were living outside the United States, I'd be rolling in laughter. Alas, I am not.

6:23 PM  
Blogger Bill said...

There are so many ways that one can see that it's another obviously trumped up "phony case for war" but that's only the case for those "with eyes to see".

You're right about it being easier to see clearly from a distance but the consequences already suffered (and those looming on the horizon) are so serious that none of us living outside the United States is laughing. When the stakes are this high, we're all in it together.

10:36 PM  

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