Saturday, February 03, 2007

Fooled Again...?

The following comes from a NYT article concerning the theory that an off-shoot of the Mahdi army was behind the attack in Karbala that killed five U.S. soldiers. This is the entire sourcing:

"Investigators say...according to American and Iraqi officials knowledgeable...The officials said...Officials cautioned... A senior Iraqi official said... An Iraqi knowledgeable about the investigation said... the Iraqi said... the senior Iraqi official said, citing information directly from the prime minister's office... Another senior Iraqi official said... the official said ...the American military has said... the military said... An American military official said... the military official said... officials say... Two American officials in Washington confirmed... One of those officials said... The second official said...."

While we're watching, listening to and reading this all-too-familiar line of propaganda, it would serve us well to do our own investigative reporting. While we wish for our media to do that as well, we are becoming more used to the idea that the mainstream media is the mouthpiece of the powerful and falls into the role of propaganda dissemination when the powerful have an agenda that it desires public support for - such as extending the disastrous Iraq war to Iran. You would think that they would want to consult experts who could shed light on anonymous administration official's claims that don't make any sense in the context of what is known about Iran's influence in Iraq.

For instance, the Congressional Research Service reported (9/29/06) that Iran was encouraging Shiite participation in electoral politics ("To that extent, Iran's goal in Iraq differs little from the main emphasis of U.S. policy in Iraq"), and that Iran's closest links in Iraq are to two large Shiite factions firmly connected to the U.S.-backed government: the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) and the Da'wa Party, of which Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki is part. And the Iranian government has engaged in wide-ranging negotiations with the Maliki government regarding trade, diplomacy and military training. This information is important to consider alongside U.S. allegations that Iran is engaged in fomenting violence in Iraq.

And University of Michigan professor Juan Cole wrote recently in (1/30/07) that there many reasons to be skeptical of U.S. claims:

"To begin with, some 99 percent of all attacks on U.S. troops occur in Sunni Arab areas and are carried out by Baathist or Sunni fundamentalist (Salafi) guerrilla groups. Most of the outside help these groups get comes from the Sunni Arab public in countries allied with the United States, notably Saudi Arabia and other Gulf monarchies. Washington has yet to denounce Saudi aid to the Sunni insurgents who are killing U.S. troops.

"Meanwhile, the most virulent terror network in Iraq, which styles itself 'Al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia,' has openly announced that its policy is to kill as many Shiites as possible. That the ayatollahs of Shiite Iran are passing sophisticated weapons to these, their sworn enemies, is not plausible.

"If Iran is providing materiel to anyone, it is to U.S. allies. Tehran may be helping the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq and its Badr Corps paramilitary, but the U.S. is not fighting that group (their leaders were, in fact, granted an audience at the White House recently). By sale or barter, some weaponry originally given to the Badr Corps might be finding its way to other groups, such as the Mahdi Army of nationalist Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, that do sometimes come into conflict with the U.S. That problem, however, must be a relatively small one, and cannot explain Bush's hyperbolic rhetoric about Iran."

That said, let's watch for more deception in the form of repeated claims from anonymous officials, and take the station, newspaper, and radio editorial departments to task for their lazy stenography, shall we?

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