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April 08, 2008

The Iranians are Coming
Posted by Michael Cohen

I am struck today by the focus of Petraeus and Crocker on the "Iranian threat" because it dovetails nicely with the Lieberman/Graham op-ed in yesterday's Wall Street Journal. Check out some of the incendiary language they were using and the conflation of Iran with Al Qaeda:

Iran also continues to wage a vicious and escalating proxy war against the Iraqi government and the U.S. military. The Iranians have American blood on their hands. They are responsible, through the extremist agents they have trained and equipped, for the deaths of hundreds of our men and women in uniform. Increasingly, our fight in Iraq cannot be separated from our larger struggle to prevent the emergence of an Iranian-dominated Middle East.

We will not fare well in a world in which al Qaeda and Iran can claim that they have defeated us in Iraq and are ascendant.

It used to be that "defeat" in Iraq meant the raise of an Al Qaeda led caliphate; but now that the Administration is trumpeting the demise of AQI as a result of the Sunni Awakening they need a new bad guy - enter the Iranians!

Apparently, now its an Iranian-dominated Middle East that we have to fear -- even though a Sunni-dominated Middle East pretty much ensures that this apocalyptic scenario is a chimera.

I don't think this sort of Iranian bashing is accidental. If AQI is no longer a huge threat in Iraq then we need a new bogeyman to defend keeping US troops there indefinitely. It seems as though the Iranians will do just fine.


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It's getting rather transparent now, isn't it? Unfortunately, there are plenty of suckers eager to be led by the nose on Iran just as they were back in 2002 on Iraq.

Some high-profile US statesman needs to call bullshit on this - very publicly, with perhaps an NYT or WSJ editorial of his own. And he needs to do it in a definitive and dismissive way, without a lot of hemming and hawing, granting of points and modest and timid caveats. Someone with heft has to step up and make the public claim that the administration and its employees in Iraq are simply bullshitting the American public once again.

"We will not fare well in a world in which al Qaeda and Iran can claim that they have defeated us in Iraq and are ascendant."

This linkage of AQI and Iran creates a problem and an opportunity:

Though there is a risk that the electorate will blindly accept that there are two enemies in cahoots against us, it opens the door for some public education.

On my first day as an intelligence analyst in 2002, I was lectured extensively by my supervisor about how dangerous an assertion the AQ/Iran linkage is.

Progressives should go on the offensive against this kind of faulty logic -- it's representative of the same thought processes that got us into Iraq in the first place.

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