As Karen DeYoung reports for The Washington Post, the biggest news on the Iran front is that:
Marine Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said yesterday that he has no information indicating Iran's government is directing the supply of lethal weapons to Shiite insurgent groups in Iraq.
"We know that the explosively formed projectiles are manufactured in Iran," Pace told Voice of America during a visit to Australia. "What I would not say is that the Iranian government, per se, knows about this."
"It is clear that Iranians are involved, and it's clear that materials from Iran are involved," he continued, "but I would not say by what I know that the Iranian government clearly knows or is complicit."
Pace's comments came a day after U.S. military officials in Baghdad alleged that the "highest levels" of the Iranian government have directed use of weapons that are killing U.S. troops in Iraq. No information was provided to substantiate the charge. Administration officials yesterday deflected requests for more details, even as they repeatedly implied Tehran's involvement.
Meanwhile, Dan Froomkin continues to be on top of all Iran developments. In his column today, Tuesday 2/13/07, ”Bush Puzzled by Doubters,” he reports:
President Bush yesterday sounded perplexed that anyone would think he is preparing to attack Iran -- going so far as to make a sour face and lower his voice in a mocking imitation of his critics.
"I guess my reaction to all the noise about, you know, 'He wants to go to war' is, first of all, I don't understand the tactics, and I guess I would say it's political," Bush told C-SPAN's Steve Scully yesterday.
"On the other hand, I hope that the members of Congress, particularly in the opposition party, understand the grave danger of Iran having a nuclear weapon. Therefore, we all need to work together to solve the problem."
Here's the text and video of the interview. Thinkprogress has a video clip of Bush's sour-faced cynic-imitation.
So where is all that "noise" coming from? Why might anyone be doubting Bush's stated intentions?
Well, it could be that when it comes to the Middle East, the war in Iraq has so damaged Bush's credibility that even some of his natural allies don't believe what he has to say anymore -- even his pro forma denials of hostile intentions toward Iran.
And then there's the fact that those sour-faced, unhappy-sounding critics Bush was mocking have, time and again, been proved right.
Froomkin also provides a good round-up of more reactions to the deep background briefing, most of it skeptical. He also quotes at length from the DeYounf article linked above, remarking:
I love journalistic transparency -- and DeYoung today takes readers through her fruitless quest for evidence to back up the allegation that the "highest levels" of the Iranian government have directed use of weapons that are killing U.S. troops in Iraq.
DeYoung does indeed do a great job of this, providing a great model for how to deal with a less-than-forthcoming administration. I was tempted to post the entire section in question, but the article’s short enough you might as well read the whole thing yourself, and check out Froomkin’s other items.