This weekend three US defense officials put on a demonstration meant to prove that Iran is supplying weapons to people fighting our forces in Iraq. The presentation wasn't just shoddy, it was pathetic.
First, no one would go on the record. Why? There is no conceivable reason why a US defense official can't say who he is and what his expertise is when talking about very serious charges we are making against another country. As Eason Jordan has pointed out, it is inexcusable.
They don't want to go on the record because what they are doing is literally embarrassing. They don't want to be pointed out for ridicule later when the charges and the so-called evidence turn out to be fabricated. I was having an aluminum tube flashback just reading the story.
But here's where the demonstration goes from piss-poor to downright pathetic:
"The analyst's exact title and full name were not revealed to reporters." [emphasis added]
Not only would these guys not go on the record, but the so-called analyst wouldn't even give his last name. No one from the CIA, the Director of National Intelligence or the State Department would take part in the presentation. And this was all after Stephen Hadley had to water down the presentation because it was already filled with unreliable information.
People are running away from this thing in a full-speed sprint. So, two questions arise. Why are people so desperate not to be associated with this presentation? And why is the government so desperate to put it on despite the fact that they have nearly nothing?
Because the new war against Iran - and the new offensive against the Mahdi Army - must be hyped. And no one wants to take the blame afterward.
So, let's get to the so-called evidence. We were promised that there would be proof that linked these weapons to the upper echelons of the Iranian government. What did we get on that front? Bupkis!
"The officials offered no evidence to substantiate allegations that the 'highest levels' of the Iranian government had sanctioned support for attacks against U.S. troops." [emphasis added]
Not a little evidence. Not even Colin Powell at the UN kind of evidence. No evidence.
Then the officials made the highly dubious claim that 170 US troops have been killed by these so-called Iranian weapons. Really? They CSI'ed the scene of all the troop deaths and found forensic evidence linking these weapons to exactly 170 deaths. I call bullshit.
During the demonstration they talked at length about these cylindrical pipes that shoot molten hot balls of copper through the armor of US vehicles. In all of the gruesome stories of our men and women dying in Iraq, I have never heard of this weapon before or any deaths being attributed to it.
In the real news, I hear a lot about IEDs. They were nowhere to been seen in this presentation because we all know that Sunnis plant the IEDs and the Iranians would never arm the Sunnis in Iraq. So, all of a sudden, we have another new weapon we never heard of before - EFP. Voila!
Guess who's supposed be bringing in the EFPs? Why Iran, of course. Really? Can these brilliant, anonymous defense analysts tell us who fire these EFPs and for what purpose?
They gave a lot of generic blame to the Mahdi Army because that is who we are going to attack next in Iraq. But are they saying the Mahdi Army is now engaging in combat against US troops? Because that would be news to everybody. Right now, it is believed that they are fighting - and often times brutally killing - Sunnis. But I haven't read anything about the Mahdi Army attacking coalition forces. Can this explosive new charge be proven in anyway? Have there been any of their fighters captured in the battlefield?
So many charges, so little evidence.
Now, there was some convincing evidence that the Badr Brigade has been armed by the Iranians, but that was quickly glossed over because their backers are the main political party in the Iraqi government - and our allies. But in the whole presentation, that was the only case where someone actually admitted they got weapons from Iran. But their leader is Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, who just visited the White House in December. That's politically embarrassing. So, on to the next slide.
Speaking of embarrassing, here's one of my favorite parts. No one was allowed to take pictures of any of the so-called evidence, videotape anything or in any way record and confirm any of the evidence that was shown to them in that room.
Come on, how is that not comical? It sounds like a bad magician's act. The kind where it starts to get awkward because you feel so bad for the man up on stage. You just wish it was over.
Even Iraq's deputy foreign minister was left unconvinced. He added, "It is difficult for us here in the diplomatic circles just to accept whatever the American forces say is evidence ... If they have anything really conclusive, then they should come out and say it openly." Ouch.
Look, are some of the weapons inside Iraq made in Iran? Probably. Is it a significant amount? There's no way of knowing and no real evidence was presented on this. Has it actually harmed any of our troops? There was very shoddy and unconvincing evidence on this.
Are the weapons sent and authorized by the Iranian government? There is absolutely no evidence of this. Finally, who really has the weapons and what do they use it for? Likely our allies in the Badr Brigade, and maybe the Mahdi Army (but they are far more nationalist and less likely to cooperate with Iran). And they largely use it against the Sunnis, not us.
The administration is trying to build a case against Iran based on this crap? Please. It's getting awkward watching them squirm on stage. It's a good thing they're doing this dog and pony show with bags over their head. I don't even want to know who they are.