American Politicians: "Yes, we do still have our heads up our butts." Oh, Wait, That’s Not What The Associated Press Really Meant…

The Globe today carried a story headlined “US says Iran still training militants”.  The reporters are Anne Flaherty and Robert Burns of the Associated Press.

The Lion has taken a dislike to the Associated Press. Their writing more often than not seems to distort and twist matters into the borderlands of propaganda.

But of course it doesn’t help that the politicians in the United States make it easy to do so.

Here’s the full story, with commentary.

Military officials accused Iran yesterday of continuing to train and arm insurgents in Iraq, while US lawmakers said they were disappointed that Baghdad opened up its doors to the Islamic Republic’s top leader.

    “I think it’s offensive,” said Senator Carl Levin, Democrat of Michigan, of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s two-day trip to Iraq this week.

    Why is that offensive, Carl? They’re neighbors. They do have some common interests. And frankly it’s none of your business who the Iraqis choose to invite. Are you offended that the Iraqis gave the Iranian the red carpet treatment while America’s Boy Emperor has had to sneak in under cover of darkness and sneak about like some feral little beast whenever he visits Iraq?

    Iraq has “got every right to invite whomever they want. They’re sovereign. But we have a right to express an opinion about it,” added Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

    That’s right, they do. And yes, you may shoot your mouth off all you want, Carl. But sovereign? Not hardly, Carl, not hardly. Iraq is an occupied country, occupied by an illegal invasion force from the United States, destroyed by that force, and that after a decade of brutal sanctions, insisted upon by the United States, that were responsible for the deaths of a half-million Iraqi children. The so-called sovereign government of Iraq rules little more than the Green Zone, and that barely.

    Levin made the remarks as the United States is struggling to combat Iran’s growing influence in the region, and senior military commanders say it continues to provide powerful bombs to Shi’ite militias in Iraq.

    “We have no doubt they are still supporting insurgents,” said Lieutenant General Ray Odierno, the former number two military commander in Iraq, at a Pentagon press conference.

    Most of the bombs used in Iraq against United States troops have been shown to be manufactured in Iraq by Iraqis. And used by Iraqis. The United States has yet to prove conclusively that Iran is conducting any serious activity within Iraq. American politicians and military commanders keep saying it’s true, but they have yet to offer solid proof, and they have yet to overcome their predilection for lying about these matters for political gain.

    As for supporting insurgents, again, no proof is offered, and even if Iran is supporting some insurgents, so what? Iran lives there. The United States has threatened Iran with bombing or invasion for years. It is reasonable to expect that the Iranians might look after their own interests by pursuing actions that would get the United States off their doorstep. They would be stupid not to, and The Lion doubts that they are stupid about matters in their part of the world, whereas the United States has conclusively demonstrated its stupidity and ignorance about the Iranian and Iraqi part of the world.

    The AP article offers no independent investigation or sourcing, but simply takes what these people say at face value.

    Asked whether that was the greatest threat to stability in Iraq, he said: “If you ask me what I worry about most, I do worry about that as a long-term threat. And I think we have to, you know, constantly watch it.”

    Odierno, who has been nominated for a fourth star and assignment as vice chief of staff of the Army, said it was not surprising that there were fewer attacks during Ahmadinejad’s visit to Baghdad, since it is mainly Iranian-backed Shi’ite military personnel who have been conducting rocket and other attacks in the capital.

    Odierno has never been the most perceptive of commanders in Iraq, and the question of who’s conducting attacks is open to question. He says Iran’s behind the Shi’ite militias, but again, offers no proof, no evidence. And does he think that the militias would suddenly just give up their efforts if Iran, assuming Iran is involved, stopped supporting them? They’re not attacking the United States  because Iran tells them to; they’re attacking because United States troops invaded and occupied their country. Iraqi militias are entitled to get all the help they want from whomever they want. Iraq is the aggrieved party, not the United States. The United States is the criminal party. 

    Admiral William Fallon, the top commander of troops in the Middle East, echoed those remarks in a Senate hearing at which he said Iran was fanning the flames of global terrorism.

    Since the United States invaded Iraq terrorism has risen around the world. To think that Iran is behind every incident is short-sighted folly. If any nation has fanned the flames of terrorism, it is the United States, in its ridiculous use of massive military power to pursue what was at best a minor irritant in the politics of the world. And lest the cry of “9/11, 9/11, 9/11” rises in defense of massive stupidity on the part of the Bush administration, the United States might do well to remember that the Bush administration was warned, often and strongly, that an Al Qaeda attack was in the works, and Bush and his crew of really bright ideologues chose to ignore the warnings.

    While Ahmadinejad has denied charges of harmful meddling in Iraq, “the facts prove otherwise,” Fallon told the Senate Armed Services Committee.

    Which facts are those, Fallon? Oh, wait, the AP is going to provide them in the next paragraph in the name of accurate reporting, right? Right?

    Ahmadinejad’s visit to Iraq marked the first by an Iranian leader since the country’s 1979 Islamic Revolution.

    During his trip, he insisted US power is crippling the region and portrayed himself as the enduring partner of Baghdad’s Shi’ite-led government.

    Oddly enough, the little guy will probably be a better partner to Iraq than the United States, its brutal military, and its pirate corporations that would steal everything that’s not nailed down in Iraq, with the complicity of the government of the United States.

    The United States has no diplomatic ties with Iran because it regards the country as a state sponsor of terror. But recognizing its influence on Iraq’s stability, officials last year opened limited discussions with Iranian officials by demanding the country stop arming Shi’ite militias.

    Of course one reason the United States has no diplomatic ties with Iran is because the United States believes that telling them what to do counts as diplomacy. The United States government wants to pretend that an entire nation of sixty-five million people simply doesn’t exist except as a boogey man to scare United States citizens and politicians for personal political gain at home. Demanding that the Iranians stop doing something really doesn’t count as diplomacy.

    The entire nuclear issue is a perfect case. The United States barks, “Stop enriching uranium or we won’t talk with you about you enriching uranium.” Right this way to the asylum, folks.

    Fallon called Ahmadinejad’s visit a “mixed bag” because it presented an opportunity for Baghdad to push Ahmadinejad directly to stop the flow of weapons and start working with coalition forces.

    “From our perspective, we are not going to help resolve the problems inside that country without assistance from outside,” he said.

    If The Lion understands this correctly, Fallon wants Iran to work with the United States, which has vowed to bomb Iran back to the Stone Age, to help crush native Iraqi forces fighting to get the United States out of their country. The Lion is sure the Iranians will see the reasonableness of such a request.

    And of course the Iranians think it entirely reasonable to have a United States occupied country on its border for the next hundred years (taking John ‘McTorture’  McCain at his word), in a state of perpetual unrest and violence. That would certainly be in the best interests of their people and their economy, right? Right?

    But several lawmakers on the panel said they saw Baghdad’s invitation as a grave mistake and said Iran deserves only to be isolated.

    “I would hope that others in the administration would express their indignation about this visit and the comments made by that president because they go to the very heart of the enormity of the sacrifices of life and limb that we have suffered in trying to provide Iraq the ability to become a strong and sovereign nation,” said Senator John Warner, the committee’s number two Republican.

    And finally, the ultimate touch of propaganda, the stirring, patriotic cry of ‘sacrifices of life and limb we have suffered’ blah blah blah.

    Someone might want to tell Senator Warner that people in his social class have suffered nothing and in fact have benefited handsomely; that the United States invaded, occupied, and destroyed Iraq; that the hundreds of thousands of deaths there can be laid directly at the feet of George Bush, the Republicans, and the United States military, and that there has been no evidence of intent to create a strong and sovereign nation, but that there has been the absolute intent to create an American dependency that could be raided by American corporations for the benefit of the upper classes in the United States and to the detriment of the Iraqi people.

    The Lion asks you to hold your applause for the valiant efforts of the Associated Press until they are finished doing what they are doing. You might also want not to hold your breath in anticipation, as it is likely to be a long time until the Associated Press gets around to doing real news again.

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    17 Responses

    1. Another good analysis. God, if only Americans could learn to take off our blinders and try to see ourselves as others see us.

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    2. The Globe today carried a story headlined “US says Iran still training militants,” although Iraqi President Jala Talabani and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki strongly dispute this but when Ahmadinejad said

      “Making accusations against others will not resolve the U.S. problems in the region…The United States should accept the fact that Iraq does not want the U.S.”

      They didn’t disagree at all, al-Malki called te talks with Ahmadinejad

      “friendly, positive and full of trust”

      and Talabani asked Ahmadinejad to call him “Uncle Jalal”!

      Maybe the headline should have said, “US says Iran still training militants — Iraq says bullshit!”

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    3. steph –

      But the Associated Press would never say ‘bullshit’. They’re too prissy. Except of course when it comes to printing bullshit.

      Good catch on Talabani and al-Maliki. I’d forgotten they had rejected the US view on the matter. I’m glad somebody’s awake around here…

      Like

    4. you’re a terrible bore. go outside and take in some fresh air, will you?

      Like

    5. norris, norris, norris –

      O my god, oh dear, I had no idea my work would bore you. Be assured that if I had known how important it was to you that I not bore you, I would have never written anything in my whole life. Why, I’m just devastated. I may never recover. My ego is crushed. You were my whole world, and now, sniff, you’ve gone and rejected me.

      Heavy sigh.

      There, there, are you happy now? Is your life complete? Wouldn’t want to put a crimp in it, would I?

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    6. You say:

      They’re not attacking the United States because Iran tells them to; they’re attacking because United States troops invaded and occupied their country.

      Truth is they are NOT attacking the US because Iran has told them not to. Specifically they are holding Sadr’s leash. Now why are they doing this ? Well contrary to the opinion of some it’s because they would like to see a positive happen in Iraq. Again contrary to the view of some that positive is not a mini Iran puppet state. It is a stable nation that doesn’t go super Sunni somehow and allows for a US presence to go away. It has been reported and generally known as truth that there is plenty of Iranian ordnance in Iraq. The stuff could very well be holdovers as opposed to direct supply.

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    7. @ Fray

      Your right there is a lot of Iranian ordinance in Iraq dating back to their eight yer war but no evidence that they are supply militants – America is doing that — the militants they are arming at the moment are called “Sahwa al-Iraq”, who have been heavily infiltrated by al-Qaeda in Iraq and Baathists according to the Iraqi Prime Minister, the Iraqi president is also critical of America supplying arming these supposedly “former” insurgents.

      The only people caught supplying the insurgents attacking American troops is the militant group called Blackwater-USA, the Iraqi president and Prime Minister have called for these terrorists to be expelled from their country.

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    8. @ Norris

      You were interested enough to respond.

      Like

    9. fray –

      I agree that Iran is not looking for unrest and violence in Iraq, and I suspect they realize they have not much chance to create a puppet state whether they want one or not. I would guess that the Iranians, in contrast to Fearless Frat Boy in the White House, understand the stupidity of trying to control the roiling pot of Iraqi aspirations and blood lusts.

      As for the ordnance, the military has yet to offer any convincing evidence that it is current supply rather than, as you note, holdovers. And even if they had legitimate evidence, we would have no reason to believe them given the history of lies and distortions and manipulations that are a core feature of this war from day -730, give or take a few days.

      In a story about KBR’s offshore tax flummery today, there was an innocuous paragraph stating that KBR had been given a secret no-bid contract by the Pentagon in 2002 to draw up plans to restore Iraq’s oil production after the invasion. Oh, but we weren’t thinking about invading…

      As for Iran leashing Sadr, I’m not sure how much credence we can give that. They’re close, and I’m sure they have influence with him, but Iraq is Sadr’s country and whether he holds off may have more to do with just how stupidly the United States behaves and how much power he ultimately wants. I suspect that his calculus involves what acts he can take to get the United States out of Iraq, sooner rather than later. If it’s to his advantage to unleash his militia again, he’ll likely do it, all else being equal.

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    10. Thanks Ric 😉

      I’m guessing that Bush isn’t to happy with Uncle Jalal and al-Malaki right now.

      Like

    11. steph –

      Poor Uncle Georgie. No one wants to play “Mother may I?” with him.

      Like

    12. steph –

      Good point on Norris.

      I don’t mind if someone doesn’t like what I have to say, or doesn’t like my writing voice or style, or disagrees. I’m not even offended if they’re bored with my work. Can’t please all the clowns all the time in the circus of life. But to just say ‘you’re a terrible bore’ because you have some disagreement on some level strikes me as fatuous and silly. It’s the sort of remark that might be tendered by someone who’s afraid to put his own opinions out there in public for comment.

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    13. @Ric I floated the Sadr thing after seeing a pretty in depth report. I’m trying to get a copy to either post on it or “put up” if someone tells me to “shut up”. The other thing that can’t seem to nudge American Idol or the pathetic Dem election news from the forefront is that the US and Iran are working on their fourth meeting regarding security in Iraq.

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    14. fray –

      Oh my goodness! The Bush administration is actually talking with Iran. Oh me oh my, won’t that upset his base! 🙂

      I’d heard that there were discussions going on via back channels. Interesting, given the history. Iran offered serious discussions back in 2003 via the Swiss and Frat Boy couldn’t be bothered to look up from his handbook on Wingnut Conservative Ideology.

      Lemme know if you turn up the Sadr report or a link. I’d like to read it.

      I have yet to watch a session of American Idolatry. It’s always struck me, in reading about it, as a fancied up version of all the other dumbass unreality shows. But I’m not surprised that it gets more attention and press than the really vital matters.

      Say, are you looking forward to all the hysteria and fear-mongering that’s going to erupt over the pathetic little bomb in Times Square this morning? Should be quite a show of bombast and ‘I told you so’ from the Republicans as they use it to try to queer another election. And I’m sorry, but I have to laugh when anyone acts surprised that this happened. After Timmy McVeigh and Eric Rudolph and other nutcases, and after the mess Bush has created in the world, anyone who says this was a surprise is either a Republican, a Conservative, a dumbass Democrat, or been living in a cave in the Rockies.

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    15. I heard of Times square on the radio Bloomburg stating New York was open or something pseudo Rudy. I just took it as something against the military. Given the timing which avoided harm I’ll go that route. Who knows maybe it’s the grandson of the ConEd bomber,bright lights pissed him off.As for “queering” the election not for nothing brother but how hard are the Democrats gonna work to lose ?
      I will say the meetings were 2 at “expert” level and one Ambassador. Supposedly there was one meant for today at the “expert” level. US denies,Iraq says I don’t know and Iran says what’s up with dat ?. To be fair a previous one had it in reverse order.I’m trying to make a password work so till then know it had nothing to do with the MEMRI coma report.

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    16. Ric,hopefully I don’t get sued,the site said I could do this. You’ll have to lower yourself to stopping by my place.

      Like

    17. @ Ric/Fray

      I think Iran has a lot of influence over Sadr – they forced a treaty between him and Hakim. Not attacking America wasn’t really the issue, the treaty would unravel if the JAM attacked the occupier or Iraqi forces because a lot of Badr are in the the Iraqi security forces.

      BTW I’ve just been told that the Badr Brigade, are actually the 9th Badr Brigade of the IRGC. Iran is trying to preserve the peace between Hakim and Sadr for theological reasons, not just political ones but the Western media, which call Iran a theocracy, never seem to consider that there might be moral reasons for anything Iran does.

      Like

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