13 April 2008

Facts are such pesky things

Looks like someone had better let Deferment Dick know he can stop looking for kryptonite to use against SuperQaeda:
Last week's violence in Basra and Baghdad has convinced the Bush administration that actions by Iran, and not al-Qaeda, are the primary threat inside Iraq, and has sparked a broad reassessment of policy in the region, according to senior U.S. officials.

Evidence of an increase in Iranian weapons, training and direction for the Shiite militias that battled U.S. and Iraqi security forces in those two cities has fixed new U.S. attention on what Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates yesterday called Tehran's "malign" influence, the officials said.

The intensified focus on Iran coincides with diminished emphasis on al-Qaeda in Iraq as the leading justification for an ongoing U.S. military presence in Iraq.

In congressional hearings this week, Army Gen. David H. Petraeus said the U.S. military has driven al-Qaeda from Baghdad, Anbar province and central Iraq, and he depicted the group as now largely concentrated in a reduced territory around the northern city of Mosul.

During their Washington visit, Petraeus, the top U.S. military commander in Iraq, and Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker barely mentioned al-Qaeda in Iraq but spoke extensively of Iran.

With "al-Qaeda in retreat and disarray" in Iraq, said one official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the record, "we see other obstacles that were under the waterline more clearly. . . . The Iranian-armed militias are now the biggest threat to internal order."

You'd think the Vice President would be someone who'd be aware that there had been "a broad reassessment of policy in the region." You'd be wrong. Just four days ago, he was doing his best Chicken Little impression on the Sean Hannity show, warning against an al Qaeda takeover of the Iraqi oilfields.

So...clueless or mendacious?

I don't know which of those leadership qualities should make us sleep better at night, but I know this: the remains of the old guard in Russia are laughing their asses off hearing Sec Def Gates whine about Tehran's "malign influence."

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