Monday, October 13, 2008


Once again, we hear the drumbeat of those trying to demonize Iran and make it the "enemy" of the United States. This time from Gen. Ray Odierno, commander of U.S. forces in Iraq.

Ernesto Londono writes in The Washington Post:

"Gen. Ray Odierno said in an interview that Iran, a Shiite Islamic nation eyed warily by the United States and Sunni Arab countries, is working publicly and covertly to undermine the status-of-forces agreement as officials from Iraq and the United States report nearing a deal that must be ratified by Iraq's parliament."

But like similar charges by U.S. military officials against Iran, this one has no proof. We are asked to accept Gen. Odierno's word.

Reports Londono:

"Odierno said he had no definitive proof of the bribes, but added that "there are many intelligence reports" that suggest Iranians are "coming in to pay off people to vote against it." The reports have not been made public."

Remember that Iran and Iraq share a contiguous border, that many Iraqis are Shiites like most Iranians, and that many current Iraqi leaders fled to Iran for refuge during Saddam Hussein's regime. So there are naturally close ties between Iran and the present government of Iraq. That Iran would be exercising political influence should not be surprising. However, it should not be used to stir up anger in the United States against Iran.

We need to see any "evidence" in order to judge Odierno's charges and the level of Iran's influence, if any. Is the influence legitimate or illegitimate? Without evidence, Odierno should quit stirring up the anti-Iranian resentment pot.

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