(The American Conservative) -- by Philip Giraldi --
Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta was in Iraq yesterday. He said two things that are interesting. First, he connected the unrest in Iraq to al-Qaeda, claiming that there are 1,000 terrorists in the country. He told a gathering of soldiers “The reason you guys are here is because of 9/11. The US got attacked and 3,000 human beings got killed because of Al-Qaeda. “We’ve been fighting as a result of that.” The comment has either been seen as a gaffe or as the implausible but generally expected citation of al-Qaeda to tie in the continued Iraqi presence of American soldiers to the terrors of 9/11, a common ploy used by politicians when they have no other argument to make. Subject, verb, 9/11.
His second comment was that Iran is behind the weapons being used to kill American soldiers in Iraq. He said that the weapons had been provided to Shi’ite militias that are opposed to the US presence in the country. He was obviously referring to militias controlled by cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. He said that the United States would act unilaterally to defend its soldiers and would also be taking other unspecified steps to counter the Iranian involvement.
The comment on al-Qaeda’s presence might or might not be based on solid evidence, though one has to doubt whether the United States has much good intelligence on any insurgent groups in Iraq. One might also note that there was no al-Qaeda infrastructure in Iraq when the United States invaded in 2003. The subsequent occupation by as many as 160,000 US troops and the widespread reports of abuses like Abu Ghraib actually served as a magnet to bring al-Qaeda in. Does Panetta really regard al-Qaeda in Iraq as a threat to the United States? It is not clear, but it would appear the Administration would like to have us think so...
Iran is perpetually the government’s favorite target for abuse and it will likely only get worse as the presidential election approaches. It is interesting how the White House sees Iran as a problem because the United States has hundreds of thousands of troops in the neighborhood. Take away the troops, who are dying while accomplishing absolutely nothing, and Bingo! Iran ceases to be a problem...MORE...LINK
Leon Panetta, yet another in a long line of statist "liberal" hawks enforcing the party line