Is it any accident that George Bush picks today of all days, when the House is about to excoriate his latest Iraqi surge plan, to hold a press conference (something he’s normally loathe to do) and announce that he has smoking gun evidence that Iran is behind attacks on our boys in Iraq?? Or that a day or so ago the U.S. held its big show and tell press conference at which they trotted out all these alleged Iranian weapons that have been captured in Iraq? You don’t think that Bush decided to steal a march on House Democrats before they could drop the hammer on him for yet another failed attempt to revive his Iraq war?
The echoes of Bush frauds past haunted today’s press conference. You remember the WMD dog and pony show that led up to the Iraq war. I’m not saying, as many fear, that the current charges against Iran are a prelude to war. Unlike Sy Hersh, I’m not prepared to go there yet, though war plans are a distinct possibility knowing the Mars-like proclivities of this president.
Doesn’t the attempt to tie Iran to Iraqi terror remind you of yet another fake connection provided by Doug Feith and the Cheney boys tying Saddam to Al Qaeda? Remember that fake meeting in the Prague hotel? Pretty soon, I have no doubt that Dick will be on Fox touting “incontrovertible proof” that the Grand Ayatollah or the Iranian president have personally approved Iranian support for Iraqi terror. You know that’s coming given these guys standard MOs.
But unlike last time, the Bush folks don’t seem to have their ducks in a row:
A senior Defense analyst said at a briefing in Baghdad over the weekend that the effort was being directed “from the highest levels of the Iranian government.” But Gen. Peter Pace, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, offered a contradictory account this week, telling The Associated Press that while some bomb materials were made in Iran, “that does not translate that the Iranian government, per se, for sure, is directly involved in doing this.”
In 2003, Administration officials were willing to walk the plank for Bush. They’d do and say practically anything to support his policy. Few are now willing to drink the Koolaid like they did last time. These fissures are a good thing because they will tend to inhibit the rashest impulses within the Bush-Cheney cabal.
Even former loyal Republican House stalwarts are abandoning ship by voting to concemn the Surge.
What is their proof of Iranian complicity?
Maj. Gen. William B. Caldwell IV was…careful not to link the actions of the Quds Force directly to Iran’s top leaders. He said American assertions about a link between the weapons and the force were based on information obtained from people, including Iranians, detained in Iraq in the past 60 days.
“They in fact have told us that the Quds Force provides support to extremist groups here in Iraq in the forms of both money and weaponry,” General Caldwell said. He added: “They have talked about how there are extremist elements that are given this material in Iran and then it is smuggled into Iraq.
Bush’s smoking gun is unnamed “people, including Iranians detained in Iraq.” It doesn’t say who these people were, how many of them there are, how they knew what they are alleged to know, how reliable their information is. Is any of this terribly credible?
Like everything this president does, the press conference and the anti-Iran drumbeat do have a political purpose. Unlike last time when it was ginning us up to war, this time it’s to distract the public from the House vote; and to distract the American people from the numbing numbers of dead among our own troops and Iraqi civilians in the daily suicide bombings and IED attacks.
Such distractions will not work. We’re way beyond that. Things have gone so bad that absolutely nothing can turn anything around for Bush. I’m pleased to hear House Democrats saying that this non-binding vote is only a prelude to a future binding vote which will start to restrict presidential action in Iraq just as happened in the case of Nicaragua and Vietnam, when Congress drew the purse strings shut. Unfortunately, it will have to be a gradual process. If it is too abrupt, it will give the neocons an opening to accuse Dems of “cutting and running.” Not that they won’t do that. But it will be less likely to stick if Dems go gradually. But I have little doubt that within a year we will be out of Iraq–and not a moment too soon.