Sunday, February 11, 2007
the sacred and the profane: both lie in your domain:
A few weeks ago, I found myself drunkenly arguing with a conservative journalist about the wisdom of a war with Iran. It didn't go well for me. The unshakable response went roughly as follows: It's not us declaring war on them. They have declared war on us. They attack our troops. Your position amounts to requiring soldiers in a firefight to check the nationalities of their assailants before returning fire; and so you have reached absurdity. Victory is mine.

Perhaps you find this less than compelling, yet with today's long-delayed briefing into the extent of Iranian malediction in Iraq, expect us to move from the Age of the IED and enter the Age of the EFP. It's significant that the Bush administration chose to make the unveiling of the case against Iran occur outside of Washington and outside of civilian clothes, but no less obfuscatory.

The reasons why tensions are mounting against Iran have exactly nothing with Explosively Formed Penetrators and everything to do with much, much larger strategic concerns. But the Bush administration isn't making the case it believes, which, according to Condoleezza Rice, is that Iran is the source of instability in the region and must be confronted and made to stop. Instead, it's presenting the proposition that Iran has already attacked us -- precisely in order to put its opponents in the trap of arguing against what one official at today's briefing termed "force protection." This isn't a rationale the administration isn't presenting; it is a casus belli. It's the new WMD argument -- the proximate cause that, in Paul Wolfowitz's words, the bureaucracy can agree upon for public consumption, rather than the substantive rationale for war.
--Spencer Ackerman
The Defense officials presenting that evidence of Iranian EFPs insisted upon anonymity, which, to me, makes this presentation not so much a brick in a casus belli as a journalist-abetted shot across Iran's bow.
Blogger Jackmormon | 11:08 PM

I know little about arms manufacture and trade, so perhaps this is a silly question, but why is the discovery of Iranian weapons in Iraq an indicator that the Iranian government is supplying Iraqis with weapons? Many militias worldwide use Russian or American arms without either the Russians or the Americans supplying them directly. Also, several blogs have raised questions about the national origin of these weapons, though I am not inclined to question the Pentagon's ability to identify a weapon's pedigree.
Blogger hamlet loves stew | 12:34 PM

Just to be clear, it seems obvious that Iran has had some role in directing Iraqi politics, but there is a big step between political meddling and arming the militias with traceable weapons.
Blogger hamlet loves stew | 12:36 PM

The Iranians would have to be pretty stupid to mark their shells with convenient English markings so the US could identify them, wouldn't they? Farsi (Iranian language) doesn't use western numbers at all, including dates.

One report (from where, lost in my mind) said that the Dawa party folks in Iraq said that they did receive arms from Iran (their close 'friends') for their 'self-protection'.

Your are 100% correct, Spencer, BushCo knows it can't a war resolution from Congress for Iran, so it is going in the back door. The problem is (as Juan Cole pointed out), that the guys attacking US troops are overwhelmingly Sunni in Baghdad and 'points west and north', and for sure Iran isn't directly supplying Sunnis with weapons to attack the Iranian's bffs - Shia friends in Iraq.

And the press prints this crap just like it was the holy truth.
Blogger JimPortlandOR | 6:09 PM