The military is trying to recover from the embarrassment of the secret briefing two weeks ago in which unnamed senior military officials in Baghdad tried to "prove" Iran was providing weapons to militant Shiite groups in Iraq. From Monday's New York Times:
A raid on a Shiite weapons cache in the southern city of Hilla one week ago is providing what American officials call the best evidence yet that the deadliest roadside bombs in Iraq are manufactured in Iran, but critics contend that the forensic case remains circumstantial and inferential.
"Circumstantial and inferential" indeed. It sounds to me like the spinsters are still trying to blow bull feathers up our collective skirt.
The "new evidence," according to the Times, "includes infrared sensors, electronic triggering devices and information about plastic explosives used in bombs that the Americans say lead back to Iran." But it's closer to the truth to say that these sensors, devices and explosives could have come from anywhere. As the Times notes…
The most specialized part of the E.F.P.s [explosively formed projectiles] that were found is the concave copper disc, called a liner, that rolls into a deadly armor-piercing ball when the device explodes. Although American explosives experts say that the liner is deceptively difficult to make properly, the discs in Hilla look like a thick little alms plate or even a souvenir ashtray minus the indentations for holding cigarettes.
The electronics package is built around everyday items like the motion sensors used in garage-door openers and outdoor security systems; in fact, at the heart of some of the bombs found in Iraq is a type of infrared sensor commonly sold at electronic stores like Radio Shack.
Ashtray hardware and Radio Shack electronics. Yeah. This stuff had to come from Iran, all right.
In apparent reaction to the skepticism expressed by darn near everyone about the fact that the original "proof" of Iran's involvement with supplying weapons to Iraqi militants was presented by anonymous sources, the military has now allowed the press to publish a real name--Major Marty Weber, an "explosives expert." I’m halfway surprised Major Weber agreed to go along with being set up as the fall guy in this. It's the sort of thing Private Pyle would have enough sense to walk away from.
According to the Times the military promises that there's more "proof" to come "about materials found in a raid in Diyala Province, the mixed Sunni-Shiite battleground north of Baghdad, that, according to one military official, included enough components to make more than 100 E.F.P.s. The official asked not to be identified because the matter is so sensitive."
If the matter is so damn sensitive, why is yet another "unidentified official" talking about it at all? What, they couldn't find a Gomer dumb enough to attach his name to the to the latest wild assertion?
Higher and Deeper
As the Los Angeles Times reported a few days ago, four years and change of U.S. attempts to back up its claims of Iran's intention to produce a nuclear weapon have run into a dead end.
Although international concern is growing about Iran's nuclear program and its regional ambitions, diplomats here say most U.S. intelligence shared with the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency has proved inaccurate and none has led to significant discoveries inside Iran.
The officials said the CIA and other Western spy services had provided sensitive information to the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency at least since 2002, when Iran's long-secret nuclear program was exposed. But none of the tips about supposed secret weapons sites provided clear evidence that the Islamic Republic was developing illicit weapons.
Hence the administration's shift from mushroom cloud rhetoric to accusations that Iran is providing Iraqi militants with weapons to use against U.S. troops. If such a connection could be made convincingly, it could be used as a justification for war under provisions of the War Powers Resolution of 1973.
The constitutional powers of the President as Commander-in-Chief to introduce United States Armed Forces into hostilities, or into situations where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances, are exercised only pursuant to (1) a declaration of war, (2) specific statutory authorization, or (3) a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces.
Proof that Iran's government is directly involved in attacks of U.S. armed forces in Iraq could give Mr. Bush all the ammunition he needs to seek war authorization from Congress--if, that is, he bothers to consult Congress. The Resolution also states:
The President in every possible instance shall consult with Congress before introducing United States Armed Forces into hostilities or into situation where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances.
If Mr. Bush had evidence--compelling, manufactured or otherwise--that the Quds force had participated in an attack on U.S. troops, would he then claim that he had no time to confer with Congress before ordering a counterattack?
Given this administration's track record for playing fast and loose with the law, he just might.
What if there's an incident at sea between U.S. and Iranian naval forces? Would Bush bother with Congress before he struck back?
And along comes the March 5 issue of Newsweek with a tale of concerns that Iran may have already targeted New York City for a series of terror attacks. What timely news. These attacks would supposedly be aimed at bridges, tunnels, Jewish organizations and Wall Street. That would constitute an "attack upon the United States" wouldn't it?
Where did Newsweek get this information? From "a person with access to the briefing materials who asked for anonymity because of the sensitive subject matter."
From "a person." Not from a "senior official" or even an "official person."
How much longer will the mainstream media allow the government to plant propaganda via anonymous sources?
Joltin' Joe Cola
Tuesday morning at the Senate Intelligence Committee hearings, Joe Lieberman tried to bully witnesses into agreeing with him that the Quds' involvement in Iran had to be sanctioned by Iran's Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei because, well, it just had to be.
Lieberman has turned into a one man Katrina.
Commander Jeff Huber, U.S. Navy (Retired) writes from Virginia Beach, Virginia. Read his commentaries at Pen and Sword.