Bush Administration Can't Keep Its Story Straight On Threats
Bush and his cronies can't decide which lie to tell next
What a difference a day makes. One day Ambassador Ryan Crocker states the obvious: al Qaeda is a much greater threat in Afghanistan and Pakistan than in Iraq. But that's a bit inconvenient for the Bush administration, because it implies that to the extent that the Iraq War has diverted attention and resources from Afghanistan (and boy howdy, has it!), the Iraq War has helped al Qaeda.
So the next day, the White House makes a ridiculous "correction." The official story is that al Qaeda in Iraq is exactly as dangerous as al Qaeda in Afghanistan. Of course, that's ridiculous on its face. There's never been any danger that al Qaeda and its allies would take over Iraq. They're not even popular among the Sunni minority in Iraq. In contrast, al Qaeda's allies once ran Afghanistan and allowed them to openly operate a recruiting and training base inside the country. Those allies were propped up by the Musharraf government in Pakistan. They still control much of western Pakistan, where they harbor Osama bin Laden himself. In the unlikely (in fact, impossible) event that al Qaeda gained control of Iraq, they would control a vast supply of oil. If they gained control of Pakistan, they would control nuclear weapons.
So it's no contest. Obviously, al Qaeda in Iraq is less of a threat than al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The Bush administration is lying. Again.
But there are more threats on the horizon, threats that Bush officials say are as dangerous or even more dangerous than al Qaeda. Homeland Security Chief Michael Chertoff warns that the threat posed by computer hackers is "on par" with the attacks of 9/11.
Wow. Think about THAT for a second. That means that a bunch of cyber criminals in San Jose are every bit as dangerous as the 19 hijackers whop attacked us in 2001. And the Bush administration has made it plain that they think it's OK to wiretap, kidnap, detain indefinitely, and torture anyone who poses that level of threat to the US. Chertoff hasn't said what action should be taken to prevent cyber attacks, and his evidence of the threat level is spotty at best, so it's possible that instead of gearing up to kick down some doors in Silicon Valley, he's just trying to draw attention away from something. Like the administration's ridiculous position on al Qaeda in Iraq. Or the fact that DHS employees have the lowest morale of any department in the Bush administration. Or maybe he's trying to make up for the last time Chertoff tried to address a technology issue, an effort that cost taxpayers at least $42 million with nothing to show for the effort.
But as scary as computer hackers are (as scary as the 9/11 hijackers!), they're not as scary to the Bush administration as Iran. According to General David Petraeus, even al Qaeda in Iraq is not as much of a threat to American security as Shiite militia groups backed by Iran.
What Petraeus "forgets" to mention is that the militia most closely tied to Iran is the Badr Brigade, the military arm of the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council. That's the organization that the Iranian government set up in 1982 to spread the Islamic Revolution to Iraq, and some senior SIIC officials still receive money from the Iranian government.
So why didn't Petraeus talk about the Badr organization? Probably because the SIIC is the real power behind Prime Minister Maliki. Maliki's Dawa Party is a relatively small religious party. To continue as prime minister, Maliki depends on the support of the SIIC. And Iraq's security forces are thoroughly infiltrated by Badr members who are more loyal to the Iranian-backed SIIC than they are to the government of Iraq. The infiltration problem was exacerbated just last week, when suspected Sadrists were purged from Iraq's security forces and up to 10,000 Badr militiamen were inducted. That had the effect of making Iraq's security forces even more pro-Iranian than it already was.
So according to Petraeus, the greatest threat to the US, graver than al Qaeda or even computer hackers, are the very Iranian-backed militias that we supply with arms and that we support in combat. I can't wait for this nightmare known as the Bush administration to end.
(cross posted at Liberal Avenger and appletree)