The neo-cons running this administration’s foreign policy are like most ideologues. Rather than allowing the facts to determine a course of action, they have their predetermined opinions and then shape the evidence to match.
On Sunday, a group of anonymous senior United States military officials held a press briefing in Baghdad to present their case that Iran was supplying weapons to Shiite groups in Iraq. They displayed mortar shells, rocket-propelled grenades and an explosive device capable of blasting through an armored Humvee. According to The New York Times,
The officials also asserted, without providing direct evidence, that Iranian leaders had authorized smuggling those weapons into Iraq for use against the Americans. The officials said such an assertion was an inference based on general intelligence assessments.
One senior defense analyst said, The Times noted, that “direction for the operation was ‘coming from the highest levels of the Iranian government.’”
The reaction was skeptical. The British Independent wrote:
The United States is moving closer to war with Iran by accusing the “highest levels” of the Iranian government of supplying sophisticated roadside bombs that have killed 170 US troops and wounded 620. The allegations against Iran are similar in tone and credibility to those made four years ago by the US government about Iraq possessing weapons of mass destruction in order to justify the invasion of 2003.
The London Financial Times called it a “Dodgy Dossier,” and noted:
The much-postponed presentation of the case that Iran is arming opponents of the U.S. army in Iraq finally took place in Baghdad on Sunday. It was unconvincing and resembles, albeit in a minor key, Colin Powell’s misrepresentation four years ago to the United Nations Security Council on Iraq’s alleged possession of weapons of mass destruction. The former secretary of state’s allegations were not borne out by the facts, but they did smooth the path to invasion.
And, then, Marine Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, disagreeing with his analysts, said:
We know that the explosively formed projectiles are manufactured in Iran … What I would not say is that the Iranian government, per se, knows about this. … It is clear that Iranians are involved, and it’s clear that materials from Iran are involved, but I would not say by what I know that the Iranian government clearly knows or is complicit.
So which is it? It reminds me of the old television show Dragnet with Sgt. Joe Friday and his signature phrase, “Just the facts, ma’am.” Is that too much to expect from our government? Having once taken the country to war on non-existent evidence driven by their ideology, we must not allow them to do it again. I don’t want to hear “assertions” and “inferences.” Just the facts.