Tuesday, April 15, 2008


Dan Froomkin has an excellent run-down in washingtonpost.com on the signals coming out of the Bush administration about its bellicose policy towards Iran. Froomkin lays out many of the reckless statements of Bush, Cheney, Gates and the generals on how Iran is arming "special groups" and Shiite militias, and how these weapons kill U.S. troops.

But as Froomkin notes, there is never any proof. Everything is innuendo and conjecture. Like Defense Sec. Robert Gates claiming Ahmadinejad knows about weapon shipments from Iran to Iraq. Here Froomkin quotes Yochi J. Dreazen of the Wall Street Journal:

"Yochi J. Dreazen reported in Saturday's Wall Street Journal (subscription required): "Senior U.S. defense officials accused Iran of stepping up its shipments of weapons to Shiite militias in Iraq, underscoring a marked hardening of American rhetoric about Iran in recent days.
"Adm. Michael Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Iranian support for the Shiite-extremist groups had grown, while Defense Secretary Robert Gates said for the first time that he believed Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad knew about the shipments.
"'I find it inconceivable that he does not know,' Mr. Gates told reporters at the Pentagon, adding that Iran was playing a 'malign' role in Iraq.""

Note all that Gates can say is, "I find it inconceivable . . . " But where is the proof that Ahmadinejad knows or directs these shipments? And where is the proof that "Iranian support for the Shiite-extremist groups had grown," as Admiral Mullen claims?

As Froomkin writes:

"Where's the proof? Who knows? Also left unaddressed is the widespread assumption that the Iranians actually supported both sides in the recent Shiite-on-Shiite conflict. And then there's the fact that it was Iran that brought both sides together to end hostilities. . . "

"A rare voice of skepticism about these claims came on Sunday from Sen. Richard Lugar, the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He told CNN's Wolf Blitzer: "[I]n this hearing on Iraq, Iran kept being mentioned. The fact that the Iranians are intruding. A proxy war is being fought. In other words, it was almost as if we were justifying our continued presence in Iraq with the fact that we may be in a conflict with Iran, and furthermore, the al Qaeda, wherever they may be. It's a very confusing picture to say the least.""

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