Fears of Iranian economic dominance in Iraq are being stoked, although the story is already weeks, if not months old. We've also been told the Iranians are cooperating with the North Koreans in their bid for nuclear weapons. Never mind that the North Koreans use plutonium in their reactors and the Iranians use uranium. Ooops.
Not to worry. A parade of administration officials from the President on down inform us that Iran is aiding and abetting the chaos in Iraq by providing weapons to Iraqis. Never mind that there is little or no proof that the Iranians are supplying weapons to groups in Iraq actively targeting American forces. (The Washington Post conducted a similar investigation in October of last year with similar results: no evidence found.) Then we were told the US is fighting a proxy war in Iraq with Iran. That news was complete with evidence, in the form of a leak and just one paragraph in the article, of Iranian weapons to support to Iraqis, never mind exactly which Iraqis.
In response to these clear provocations President Bush authorized US forces to kill Iranian operatives in Iraq. Although the rules of engagement have yet to be worked out in typically incompetent Bush Administration fashion.
There was a serious conference in Israel about Iran attended by the right Democrats who made the right speeches about the right position on Iran, giving the President much needed political cover to seem reasonable, statesmanlike and bipartisan.
We're also being told the murders in Karbala are the fault of the Iranians although at this point it is a 'working theory' only. Motive: revenge.
Still, the right newpapers cooperate with the right headlines. Josh unpacked some of what this all means last night. Col. Sam Gardiner reminded us last week of "the outrage effect' and its uses.
We've been duly informed that the Iraq effect--that the President would never lead the country to war under false pretenses, especially not after the disaster of Iraqi WMDs--will prevent a war with Iran.
What of the secret committee tasked with provoking the war? Right on time and with almost perfect effect news of 'a Secret Dossier' is produced, a document to be made public later this week in Baghdad that will contain evidence that "irrefutably link[s] Iran to weapons shipments to Iraq."
Finally, tonight Joshua Micah Marshall at TPM sums it all up:
I've said this before. But perhaps it seems like hyperbole. So I'll say it again. The president's interests are now radically disjoined from the country's. We can handle a setback like Iraq. It really is a big disaster. But America will certainly surive it. President Bush -- in the sense of his legacy and historical record -- won't. It's all Iraq for him. And Iraq is all disaster. So, from his perspective (that is to say, through the prism of his interests rather than the country's -- which he probably can't separate) reckless gambits aimed at breaking out of this ever-tightening box make sense.
Nobody thinks this is possible, but it's happening right before our eyes. It's time for the House and the Senate to speak up and do so very, very quickly. Otherwise we're going to stumble into a disastrous war with Iran.
That's the reality. It's that bad.