January 23, 2007

REMEMBER THE MAINE:

Scant evidence found of Iran-Iraq arms link: U.S. warnings of advanced weaponry crossing the border are overstated, critics say. (Alexandra Zavis and Greg Miller, January 23, 2007, LA Times)

In his speech this month outlining the new U.S. strategy in Iraq, President Bush promised to "seek out and destroy" Iranian networks that he said were providing "advanced weaponry and training to our enemies." He is expected to strike a similar note in tonight's State of the Union speech.

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.

The lack of publicly disclosed evidence has led to questions about whether the administration is overstating its case. Some suggest Bush and his aides are pointing to Iran to deflect blame for U.S. setbacks in Iraq. Others suggest they are laying the foundation for a military strike against Iran.


The next war we start without a bogus pretext will be the first.


MORE:
Prominent lobbyist Perle: U.S. will attack Iran if it obtains nukes (Yossi Melman and Mazal Mualem, 1/23/07, Haaretz)

President George Bush will order an attack on Iran if it becomes clear to him that Iran is set to acquire nuclear weapons capabilities while he is still in office, Richard Perle told the Herzliya Conference on Sunday. Perle is close to the Bush administration, particularly to Vice President Richard Cheney.

The difference between an empty threat and a real threat is the respective military capabilities and geopolitical histories of Iran vs America.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 23, 2007 8:50 AM
Comments

The LAT headline editor apparently didn't read his own article:

U.S. forces have picked up specially shaped charges used to make roadside bombs capable of penetrating advanced armor, he said, with markings that could be traced to Iran and dates that were recent. The markings have been found on the devices themselves or the crates in which they were smuggled into the country, he said.

"Two years ago we were debating whether this was really happening," the official said. "Now the debate is over."

Posted by: Gideon at January 23, 2007 9:39 AM

You aren't going in the direction of "FDR knew about Pearl Harbor in advance!", are you?

Posted by: Brad S at January 23, 2007 9:39 AM

You aren't going in the direction of "FDR knew about Pearl Harbor in advance!", are you?

Posted by: Brad S at January 23, 2007 9:41 AM

If you believe anything written in the LA Times I have a beachfront condo for you in South Dakota.

Posted by: BJW at January 23, 2007 9:46 AM

The LA Times could probably send some enterprising reporter to Irvine or another area with a large Persian community and get some direct information on the Iranian connections with Shi'a extremists in Iraq, as well as the links with Al Qaeda and other nutjobs (Sunni).

But, that would require some real work.

Posted by: ratbert at January 23, 2007 10:26 AM

Hardly. FDR held the Japanese in such racial contempt that the severity of the assault he provoked terrified him.

Posted by: oj at January 23, 2007 10:39 AM

They use American made material too--are we arming them?

Posted by: oj at January 23, 2007 10:44 AM

They use American made material too--are we arming them?

They just use the best possible materials, just like anyone who takes pride in their work would do. No cheap Chinese knock-offs for them!

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at January 23, 2007 11:01 AM

rat;

No, it would require a fiction writer rather than a journalist.

Posted by: oj at January 23, 2007 11:46 AM

Meanwhile, refusing to believe facts because they appear in the media is a form of psychosis.

Posted by: oj at January 23, 2007 11:48 AM

'There cannot be a connection between Saddam Hussein and Al-Qaeda'

Elitist media, academia, and the Democratic party, 2003-present

'Iran's involvement in Iraq is fiction'

Orrin Judd, 2006-7

Such statements are reminiscent of comments on the Soviet-German relationship prior to August 1939.

Posted by: ratbert at January 23, 2007 1:28 PM

So, is it psychosis to doubt whatever the AP writes about Iraq? Or to doubt whatever CBS reports about George Bush's youth? Or to doubt whatever the MSM writes about the economy? Or to doubt whatever the NYT writes about terrorism (and abortion)?

Posted by: jim hamlen at January 23, 2007 1:39 PM

"facts [that] appear in the media"

To use math terms, that may not be a null set, but "the media" is doing everything they can to approach that limit.

Once you can demonstrate that what they purvey are just facts, and not their fantasies and opinions and outright lies disguised as facts, then you can make that statement about psychosis. Until then, it's just a rational decision about their lack of credibility on an increasingly wide range of subjects.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at January 23, 2007 1:50 PM

OJ, I realize you have a certain affinity for the Shi'a and of seeing them get their justice after years of oppression, but this sort of article by the LA Times is opening a door this nation does not want opened.

If the LAT is even remotely successful at planting this meme, this nation can forget about doing anything that smacks of a muscular foreign policy.

Posted by: Brad S at January 23, 2007 2:03 PM

OJ, I realize you have a certain affinity for the Shi'a and of seeing them get their justice after years of oppression, but this sort of article by the LA Times is opening a door this nation does not want opened.

If the LAT is even remotely successful at planting this meme, this nation can forget about doing anything that smacks of a muscular foreign policy.

Posted by: Brad S at January 23, 2007 2:05 PM

That's silly. When has the bogosity of the pretext ever stopped us? We'll bomb Iran's nuclear program just because we want to, not because we need to.

Posted by: oj at January 23, 2007 2:36 PM

So the Patriots won on Sunday?

Posted by: oj at January 23, 2007 2:37 PM

Of course it is psychotic to doubt reality just because you disagree with a few editors.

Posted by: oj at January 23, 2007 2:39 PM

Saddam had no ties to al Qaeda, but the sorts of folk who insist he did are extremely likely to fall for the notion that the insurgency is an Iranian op.

Posted by: oj at January 23, 2007 2:41 PM

A few editors? What about reporters, photographers, professional apologists, and propagandists?

No direct ties to Al-Qaeda, but they were in Iraq just the same (that darned Sunni connection), and you can bet he knew who and where.

And the dead at the Khobar Towers? Were they killed by Bedouin sheepherders?

Posted by: ratbert at January 23, 2007 4:29 PM

A few editors? What about reporters, photographers, professional apologists, and propagandists?

No direct ties to Al-Qaeda, but they were in Iraq just the same (that darned Sunni connection), and you can bet he knew who and where.

And the dead at the Khobar Towers? Were they killed by Bedouin sheepherders?

Posted by: ratbert at January 23, 2007 4:30 PM

I forgot to mention that your comment on the Patriots proves Raoul's point quite nicely. One could watch the whole game, and get the whole picture - the big plays, the trends, the whole experience. Or one could merely check the final score that night on the CNN crawl. Both would be factual. With anything Iraq and/or Bush, the AP and Reuters don't do it that way. The NYT doesn't do it that way. This website has posted on that very point.

Posted by: ratbert at January 23, 2007 4:34 PM

Which one said the Patriots won?

Posted by: oj at January 23, 2007 5:47 PM

No they weren't. They were in the territory we controlled and denied to Saddam. They were safe in the no-fly zone. They'd have been dead men in Iraq.

Posted by: oj at January 23, 2007 5:48 PM

In case you have forgotten, the Khobar Towers bombing was run out of the Iranian Ministry of Defense. I have always suspected one reason Khatami was on the ballot in 1997 was to provide a buffer against and American counter-strike, although Clinton would not have done anything had 500 servicemen been killed instead of just 19.

Posted by: ratbert at January 23, 2007 7:15 PM

No, it wasn't. It was an al Qaeda op. The Sa'uds would have publicized the former, not the latter. If you don't have even basic facts right it's no wonder your hysteria is misdirected.

Posted by: oj at January 23, 2007 8:20 PM

Both Louis Freeh and the Defense Dept. concluded otherwise. The Saudis executed the folks they arrested and never really let the FBI into the loop. Perhaps it is easier to believe Al Qaeda was behind it, but you are swallowing a lot of Saudi propaganda.

Why would they have publicized an attack on their soil by Iran? It was an embarassment to them, but we were the target, not the house of Saud. And most of the Saudis were probably sympathetic at the time.

Posted by: ratbert at January 23, 2007 9:42 PM

Because they need to rally the Sunni against the Shi'a and they have to hide the fact that al Qaeda is basically only concerned about Arabia. why do you think they fed Freeh--who knows nothing about the Middle East--that line?

Zawahiri immediately called bin Laden to congratulate him on Khobar and it's one of the attacks bin Laden mentioned in his tirades.

Posted by: oj at January 23, 2007 11:20 PM

If Al Qaeda is only concerned about Arabia, then why were so many of its meetings conducted in Europe and South Asia? Why be in the Philippines or Indonesia or East Africa? And why hide out in Afghanistan?

Al Qaeda is 'concerned' with gangsterism. Nothing more, nothing less. bin Laden is a wannabe capo with a big chip on his shoulder (and an ego to match). Sure, he spouts Islamic lingo. But does he really believe in anything except oppression and violence?

Posted by: ratbert at January 24, 2007 10:02 AM

Because they have to hide. If they were in Arabia they'd be dead.

Posted by: oj at January 24, 2007 10:31 AM
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