…for all the sloppy internal contradictions, the most incriminating indictment of the new White House disinformation campaign is to be found in official assertions made more than a year ago. The press and everyone else seems to have forgotten that the administration has twice sounded the same alarms about Iranian weaponry in Iraq that it did last week.
In August 2005, NBC News, CBS News and The Times cited unnamed military and intelligence officials when reporting, as CBS put it, that â€œU.S. forces intercepted a shipment from Iran containing professionally made explosive devices specifically designed to penetrate the armor which protects American vehicles.â€ Then, as now, those devices were the devastating roadside bombs currently called E.F.P.â€™s (explosively formed penetrators). Then, as now, they were thought to have been brought into Iraq by members of Iranâ€™s Revolutionary Guard. Then, as now, there was no evidence that the Iranian government was directly involved. In February 2006, administration officials delivered the same warning yet again, before the Senate Intelligence Committee.
So why are the Bushies hyping this stuff again now?
After General Pace rendered inoperative the first official rationale for last Sundayâ€™s E.F.P. briefing, President Bush had to find a new explanation for his sudden focus on the Iranian explosives. Thatâ€™s why he said at Wednesdayâ€™s news conference that it no longer mattered whether the Iranian government (as opposed to black marketeers or freelance thugs) had supplied these weapons to Iraqi killers. â€œWhat matters is, is that theyâ€™re there,â€ he said. The real point of hyping this inexact intelligence was to justify why he had to take urgent action now, no matter what the E.F.P.â€™s provenance: â€œMy job is to protect our troops. And when we find devices that are in that country that are hurting our troops, weâ€™re going to do something about it, pure and simple.â€
Darn right! But if the administration has warned about these weapons twice in the past 18 months (and had known â€œthat theyâ€™re there,â€ we now know, since 2003), why is Mr. Bush just stepping up to that job at this late date? Embarrassingly enough, The Washington Post reported on its front page last Monday â€” the same front page with news of the Baghdad E.F.P. briefing â€” that there is now a shortfall of â€œthousands of advanced Humvee armor kits designed to reduce U.S. troop deaths from roadside bombs.â€ Worse, the full armor upgrade â€œis not scheduled to be completed until this summer.â€ So Mr. Bushâ€™s idea of doing something about it, â€œpure and simpleâ€ is itself a lie, since he is doing something about it only after he has knowingly sent a new round of underarmored American troops into battle.
The real goal is to provoke war with Iran, of course.
See also Derrick Jackson, “The Wrong World War.”