August 14, 2005

TIME Viewed Askance

TIME magazine is running a story in which it purports to have evidence, gained as part of an investigative report, documenting widespread Iranian interference in Iraq both prior to and since the U.S.-led invasion. The report, breathless in terms of what's going on and extremely light on specific evidence (many "classified documents state that..." and "military intelligence sources say...") leads up to some troubling questions, and not just those offered by TIME.

First of all, why this coverage now? Is it because the evidence was not available earlier? If so, where is this evidence - or, if I can't see it, who can in order to verify it?

Second, what comments has TIME sought from U.S. policymakers, if any? The report does not mention any official requests for comment, or any attributed sources of information or responses.

Third, if Iran is acting in the manner described, is it a monolithic policy? Or is it the actions of multiple interest groups/actors inside Iran's government and military?

With respect to TIME (well, some) and more to other journalists who present this, I am forcibly reminded of the media blitz involving other 'intelligence sources' and non-attributed folk, who assured us that Iraq contained WMDs and 9/11 links. While this story serves to point out an area of trouble, it comes across (to me) as dangerously vague - it is too vague (or light on evidence) to support serious prodding of the policy establishment. At the same time, it is a serious enough description of a problem that it could certainly be used to galvanize support for punitive action versus Iran, even without further verification.

That's where we got into all this trouble last time.

Given Iran's current nuclear games with the IAEA and the world community in general, along with other disturbing hints of the U.S. Executive's preference to extend punitive measures to Iran, this story really raises more suspicion in me of domestic agendas than of Iran. If the world's only superpower had just taken down my next door neighbor, you can damn well bet I'd have as many assets as possible inside it.

I should state, in expectation of the wingnuts, that I don't in any way support Iranian assistance to the Iraqi insurgency - although I can certainly understand it. Oh, and if any of them have trouble figuring out how someone can 'understand' something without 'supporting' it, they can fuck off right now as too half-wit to begin arguing with (yes, this has come up via email).

TIME needs to produce this evidence, not a broad-brush set of assertions. I want to see this evidence, or (minimally) I want as many people as possiblenot employed by the Bush Administration to view it and declare it genuine.

Posted by jbz at August 14, 2005 9:47 PM | TrackBack


You're a terrorist sympathiser! You hate America! Blah blah blah.

I've heard it all before too. It sucks - so simplistic, and not true either. :(

Posted by: maw at August 14, 2005 11:16 PM
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