(Photo credit for this heartbreaking shot to Damir Sagolij/Reuters — CHS)
NOTE: Yesterday afternoon, the Judge in the Libby trial received a note from the Jury (likely a question, but we're not sure), and that matter will be taken up some time this morning. Jane and Marcy will be at the courthouse by about 9:30 a.m. EST, and they will post word from there when they know. So while we're all waiting . . .
Tuesday's Boston Globe ran a front page article, "Uneasy start to Baghdad plan," that reports on how the current plan to pacify the Iraqi capital is going. As you'll see from the link, the subtitle is "Identifying insurgents proves difficult," and to prove the point, half way through the article, we find this stunning quote from a US soldier involved in the Baghdad operations:
I don't know who I'm fighting most of the time.
He was not kidding. To understand how serious this problem is, consider just the news we've seen in the last few days. The Administration is telling us that Iranians are supplying money, weapons and training to unnamed people in Iraq, and those weapons are being used to kill Americans. So Iranians are the enemy, right? Well, no, and the Secretary of Defense, who's next to the top in the chain of command, has just assured the American people that we are not planning a war against Iran. Moreover, anyone with any sense who has thought about this at all is warning that starting a war with Iran would be a huge strategic blunder that could inflame the entire Middle East and create uncontrollable conditions that would endanger US troops in Iraq. So we shouldn't be carelessly antagonizing the Iranians, okay? Except we are. Sy Hersh's The New Yorker article, which is starting to resemble The Iliad in its ability to spawn further stories ("feeding off the crumbs from Homer's table"), says this:
The U.S. military also has arrested and interrogated hundreds of Iranians in Iraq. “The word went out last August for the military to snatch as many Iranians in Iraq as they can,” a former senior intelligence official said. “They had five hundred locked up at one time. We’re working these guys and getting information from them. The White House goal is to build a case that the Iranians have been fomenting the insurgency and they’ve been doing it all along—that Iran is, in fact, supporting the killing of Americans.” The Pentagon consultant confirmed that hundreds of Iranians have been captured by American forces in recent months. But he told me that that total includes many Iranian humanitarian and aid workers who “get scooped up and released in a short time,” after they have been interrogated.
As Hersh reports, it seems the Administration has recognized, but not admitted to the public, that it made a huge blunder in invading Iraq and dismantling its Sunni-based but non-sectarian government and army, because that allowed the fundamentalist Shia regime in Iran to gain too much influence in Shia-dominated Iraq and throughout the region. This has alarmed our Sunni friends in Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt. To curtail that Shia/Iranian influence, US policy has shifted to support anyone who might check the Iranian influence. So a good soldier should be asking: which groups in Iraq are allied with the Iranians and which are independent or opposed? (more…)