Does the president have any credibility on Iran?

No.  Alright, tempting as it to make it a single word post, I'll elaborate.  President Bush today made big news by talking about all the Iranian made weapons being used against US troops.  Bush denies he is using this for a pretext for a war with Iran.  And we should believe him on this why exactly?  At TPM Muckraker, Spencer Ackerman has a nice smackdown of Bush's remarks.  Most notably, the supposed Iranian weapons are being used by primarily Sunni Arab insurgents.  The Shiite Persians that run Iran are not exactly big friends of Sunni Arabs.  The Sunni insurgents may very well be using Iranian weapons against us, but it strikes me as highly unlikely that they are getting them directly from the Iranian government.  Heck, the insurgents are also likely using Russian, Chinese, and even American armaments against us.  Ackerman's take:

And there should be some explanation of why most of the deaths of US
forces from these IEDs are coming from Sunni insurgents who are opposed
to the people Iran supports — a fact that some believe points to the
black market.

Three things are significant about this. First, it's deliberately an
argument by innuendo. Without specifying even what the U.S. is alleging
about Iran, viewers (and journalists) are invited to draw their own
inferences — inferences understandably likely to be alarming. Second,
we've been here before. It's exactly the sort of innuendo put forward
by the administration before the Iraq war, when officials endlessly
told us that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was “in Baghdad” — and so we were to believe that al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein had the sort of operational relationship they never had.

Finally, these two points represent something of a gauntlet to
administration critics. It becomes incumbent on them to make the case
that the Iranian government isn't involved in attacks on U.S.
forces. Bush, on the other hand, takes the posture that he won't wait
for dangerous threats to gather until they're perfectly clear. It's an
emotionally compelling stance. Unfortunately, we've seen its effects in
Iraq for the past four years.

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

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