The Anonymous Briefing on Iran's Weapons
February 12, 2007
Democrats were rightly skeptical of the Administration's anonymous, camera-free, tape-recorder-free briefing on Iran's weapons yesterday. The weapons--armor-piercing explosive charges called EFPs (Explosively Formed Penetrators)--are lethal to U.S. troops in Iraq. But why the focus now on this aspect of the war, which has been an issue for more than a year? And why the anonymous charges against the Iranian government? After all, Sunni insurgents are responsible for more US casualties than the EFP-wielding Shia militias. As things continue to unwind in Iraq, Iran's role--supporting the Shia-controlled Iraqi government--hardy seems central.
This latest Administration briefing sounds like the Iraq WMD strategy all over again--string together bits of unsubstantiated intelligence to justify a war--in this case, with Iran. By the time the claims can be sorted out, it will be too late to stop the drastic consequences.
On BBC radio Monday morning military analysts pointed out that the bomb-making technology the Administration says must come from Iran has also been found in Lebanon and Syria. Hezbollah, armed by Iran and actively supporting Shia factions in Iraq, is just as likely a culprit for these weapons in Iraq as the Iranian government.
But Hezbollah is not the Bush Administration's target.
In the New York Times today, Paul Krugman points out that the Pentagon's Iranian directorate is headed by Abram Shulsky--the former director of the Pentagon's Office of Special Plans, which cooked up phony intelligence linking Iraq and Al Qaeda. "Why would the Pentagon put someone who got everything wrong on Iraq in charge of intelligence on Iran?" Krugman asks.
"For a start, the fear among some is that the US is softening up world opinion for an attack on Iran," says BBC world affairs correspondent Paul Reynolds. "Such an attack would be aimed at Iran's nuclear facilities."
But the Administration might have a harder time making the sale to Americans this time. Administration credibility is at an all-time low. It seems incredible that Bush would choose this moment to widen the war in the Middle East. Neocon dreams die hard, apparently.
Let's hope Congress can resist letting the loony theorists who launched the Iraq war with a pack of lies move to the next stage of their plan, and send the whole region up in flames.