James Joyner has a good round-up of links on the presentation by the U. S. military yesterday of evidence of material Iranian support for “Shiite extremist groups” within Iraq. As I understand it the case is, basically:
- explosive devices and materials that clearly originated in Iran are being used against us in Iraq (this part of the case looks pretty sound to me)
- the Revolutionary Guard Qods Force is responsible for the distribution of these materials (asserted but not proven)
- the activity is being conducted under the direction of the highest levels of the Iranian government (asserted but not proven)
As best as I can determine from the various links that James provides where you sit depends on where you stand.
My question is “So what?”
If what our military is claiming is true, Iran is engaging in acts of war against us. I’d be nonplussed if that were not the case. Iran declared war against us nearly a generation ago. There’s no mandate, when another nation engages in acts of war against another, that the nation so attacked should respond in kind. That’s only done when it’s in the national interest to do so.
I don’t see any objective short of regime change in Iran that would make an attack on Iran a sensible thing to do and further the national interest. I’ve been extremely consistent on that point here: I don’t believe that invading or bombing Iran is in our national interest.
So, my reaction to the news that Iran is engaging in covert acts of warfare against us is that we should engage in covert acts of warfare right back at them.
As I’ve also written before I’d like to see our Congress investigate these claims and actually take a stand one way or another on the subject. I doubt they will.
Before I close this post I’d like to draw your attention to a post by publius at Obsidian Wings. publius makes the following proposal:
Any Democrat who supports military action against Iran gets a primary challenger. Any presidential candidate who supports military action against Iran loses primary support. Period. No exceptions.
Does anyone else agree with me that this is most callow, idiotic proposal they’ve ever seen?
Regardless of party what I want in a president in someone who will weigh the situation at the time and makes decisions in the national interest predicated on the situation rather than making inane pledges of non-violence. Further, uncertainty is a powerful tool in foreign relations. When you will only accept a candidate that pledges no to use force regardless of the circumstances, you guarantee that you will either get a candidate who promises to forego even the tool of uncertainty or who is promising to lie to get the nomination when circumstances warrant.
Here Olivier Guitta makes the case for increased sanctions against Iran.
The headline on this article from VOA News, “Top General Disputes US Military Claim on Iran”, is misleading. Here’s the quote:
General Pace said he was not aware of the Baghdad briefing, and that he could not, from his own knowledge, repeat the assertion made there that the elite Quds brigade of Iran’s Republican Guard force is providing bomb-making kits to Iraqi Shiite insurgents.
“We know that the explosively formed projectiles are manufactured in Iran. What I would not say is that the Iranian government, per se [specifically], knows about this,” he said. “It is clear that Iranians are involved, and it’s clear that materials from Iran are involved, but I would not say by what I know that the Iranian government clearly knows or is complicit.”
Gen. Pace is not disputing the claim, he’s failing to confirm it which IMO is quite politic of him.