Monday, February 12, 2007

The Noodle Nonsense, No-Case Noise Against Iran

So today peace activists in America got salt poured in their wounds over learning that while everyone wants them to STFU about the Occupation of Iraq, and Bush is going to get his troops surge, our troops in Iraq are still expected to defend themselves with cardboard. Bush's surge is being deliberately sent out their to incur those massive casualties our dear leader admitted would occur, since the Army won't cough up enough protective Humvee armor until the middle of the summer.. which probably means October if the private contractors don't get arrested for graft.

Oh wait.. your moonbat has to back off in her rhetoric for a moment, since as far as anyone can figure, only 11 Americans soldiers and 1 Iraqi interpreter have been killed by EFPs since November 2006. The military this week moved to conceal the exact number and locations from a briefing it decided to hold, to prove what a horrible threat these EFPs posed, and their source as maybe, possible, considered to be Iranian-but also assuredly given to Iraqi militants on the orders of Tehran. No Iranian components have been linked to the 4 helicopters shot down by other insurgents since Jan. 20th of this year.

The State Department advised against travel because of a rise in explosively formed penetrators almost a year ago, but apparently it's taken almost a year for the U.S. military to hold their own press conference. A ... what? EFP, or a hand-held anti-tank weapon for infantry of all sorts. You can even make your own out of champagne bottles, if you are into the classics. Google is a lot more exciting than the pathetic briefing the military did hobble together, so noodle-limp that no one wanted posterity to be able to quote them by name as having worked on it, or end up in the next book categorizing Iraqi Occupation bloopers. Simply outrageous that the military refuses to take responsibility for their own Intel, and blatantly underscores the political use of finger-pointing at Iran.

TalkingPointsMemo has the slides from the briefing. First page opens with a quote from Bush. Since the British haven't found evidence of an Iranian arms cartel operating in Iraq they weren't invited. Since General Peter Pace doesn't back the briefing, it was held while he was in Australia. Ouch. So... besides the press, whom the briefing was not held to romance, who else was there and what was it like? WaPost took Gen. Pace's seat and reports:

"With so much official U.S. buildup about the purported evidence of Iranian influence in Iraq, the briefing was also notable for what was not said or shown. 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. Also, the military briefers were not joined by U.S. diplomats or representatives of the CIA or the office of the Director of National Intelligence.

....The process of the briefing, delayed by more than two weeks, was unusual. President Bush's national security adviser, Stephen J. Hadley, said in a recent meeting with reporters that the original media presentation had overstated the evidence against Iran and needed to be toned down.

At the Green Zone briefing Sunday, the senior defense official said charts and graphs outlining the scope of attacks with shaped charges had been removed from the presentation by the intelligence community. "The reason we're talking about this right now is the vast increase in the number of EFPs being found," he said. The U.S. forces in Iraq "are not trying to hype this up to be more than it is"."

One of the photos compares markings from a known Iranian munitions shell to a found shell in Iraq:

However, many con-blogs and the International Herald Tribune are reporting a comparison match as that the markings are an absolute match. They clearly are not the absolute same mark. At best, Antiques Roadshow would call them a replica or "made in the same era." The Tribune goes on to confusingly mesh the use of the vast Iraqi Army munitions, left unguarded by the U.S. military after the 2003 invasion, in the Sunni insurgency, to the appearance of EFP in the hands of Shiite militants. The two are unrelated through a half-hearted increase in armor as the Tribune makes out, although the EFP is being used to keep Coalition forces out of Shiite neighborhoods. A sort of mind your own business door prize. Not nearly as great a shock to the con-blogs that links exist between the Shia militias that back Iraqi's current Shiite Prime Minister, and Iran's Revolutionary Guard. Yawn fest to the reality-based community, considering that while Saddam was in power these militias were largely Shiite exiles in Iran being trained in guerrilla tactics by the Iranians to (maybe) one day overthrow Iraq's Sunni dictator. Yes, I know there are a lot of "s" words in there, but I wouldn't throw the letter around if it didn't apply to some important shiit.

I should be ashamed that I have laughed my way through a good bottle of Merlot over the drumbeat for war by the conblogs. The most amusing little delicacy comes courtesy of RedState.

On EFP: "There can be no doubt that these weapons are designed and manufactured to kill personnel. The impact punches a hole in an armored vehicle, not destroying it, the slug searching out the vehicle’s occupants."

Get the joke yet? What, we had some doubt that all the other IEDs and RPGs and regular small arms aren't being used by militants in Iraq to... actually kill personnel? IEDs are planted to destroy vehicles but not harm it's passengers? Slugs can think and plot? Forgetting that IEDs of the normal variety kill far more American soldiers? Clown. And what, are we also going to declare war on ourselves since the U.S. has been supporting the same Shia militants as Iran?

Truth is that Saudi Arabia is the major player behind the deaths of American soldiers, which have been overwhelmingly from the hands of the Sunni Insurgency and not Shiite guerrillas. In fact, U.S. officials are claiming that these Iranian weapons might only be responsible for about (only) 170 Coalition deaths since June 2004. In the meanwhile, pay attention to the Saudi cash-cow, on whose back private donors and charity boxes at grocery stores funnel millions to the Iraqi Sunni, who then by Russian missiles through the black market. Russian armaments available with such ease, but it's inconceivable for Iranian goods (or pseudo-Iranian) to be likewise out there for the savvy insurgent shopper? Give me a break. Pipe, aluminum shell, TNT, blasting cap, copper, night vision goggles, money to buy articles from Western websites: shake and bake.

One of the more amusing arguments being made is that Iraqis are just not smart enough to make EFP, so they need help, when less than four years ago they were a hair away from nukes. Now, Iran is a hair away from nukes, but not smart enough to wipe their factory marks from shell canisters before smuggling them into Iraq, and then, is also stupid enough to smuggle all the components through the limited Iran-Iraq boarder check points in the same trucks. Obviously, nukes are only made by stupid people. Just ask the con-blogs who just a year ago were certain that Iran wasn't capable of producing high-tech things. Iran's made a vast jump in their esteem in one year... Meanwhile, the black market ensures that 1/8 of a shipment of Austrian sniper rifles, bought to defend the Iranian border against a horrendous upsurge in drug violence following the 2001 *cough* U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, made it to Iraq. Of course they did- they sell for $25,000 in a legal sale and how much do you think members of Iraq's border patrol got for them?

Why does the charge that U.S. military officials offer "evidence" to push for military strikes against Iran as an opportunity to strike possible nuclear facilities have such an unpleasant ring? Simply because it fails to offer a reasonable explanation of what Tehran stands to gain in supplying such munitions as official government policy, in the light of the years long hunt for WMD in Iraq, the sheer scrutiny of the U.S. military on armaments used by any Iraqi guerrillas. Iran has no vested interest in destabilizing a Shiite majority government like itself, which as soon as Coalition forces leave, will use it's oil wealth to land on Iran's side of the Shiite-Sunni power balance.

Iran's power will be increased by an American withdrawal no matter when that happens; can't be helped tomorrow or two years from now. Iran will be benefited by a stabilized world partner in Iraq. And the truth is, if Iran had those nukes, the U.S. military would be absolutely silent regardless of the evidence of whatever, and everyone knows that, especially Tehran. Let's make the case for a nuclear Iran real clear to the Iranian people by bombing them then, eh? Right on!!

1,975 days have passed as of 2-13-07 since Bush promised us OBL's head on a pike. Pike's still empty.

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