The Washington Monument Defense
Two posts ago I noted that US officials were very publicly briefing Iraq on the extent of Iranian subversion and remarked that it was a prelude to enlisting the Government of Iraq in a non-kinetic roles against Iran. That process appears to be unfolding now. The New York Times reports that Maliki has sent a high level team to Iran to read them the riot act.
BAGHDAD — The Iraqi prime minister is sending several senior Shiite leaders to Tehran to discuss their concerns that Iran is arming and financing militias in Iraq, senior Iraqi and American officials said Wednesday.
Iraqi officials including Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki have previously traveled to Iran, but this appears to be the first time that an elite delegation has been dispatched by Mr. Maliki to take up reports of Iranian intervention in Iraq.
American officials supported the trip, but portrayed it as the brainchild of Mr. Maliki. One American official described the Iraqis’ concern about Iran’s role as “the silver lining” to recent fighting between Shiite militias and Iraqi and American security forces in Basra and in the Sadr City area of Baghdad, a militia stronghold.
The delegation, which was scheduled to leave Wednesday, was handpicked by Mr. Maliki, who went out of his way in an interview Wednesday to stress his independence. “I have never been the man of Iran, and I told America that I’m not the man of America in Iraq,” he told Al Arabiya, an Arab news channel.
It's ironic that a foreign ally, the Government of Iraq, may acknowledge the de facto belligerence of Iran before the domestic antiwar movement does. And that may be part of the Administration's plan. Getting Iraq out ahead of the American left in the matter of confronting Iran will make it that much harder for either Hillary or Obama to withdraw at the rate of two brigades a month as they've promised their constituents.
There's an apocryphal story the parks department defends against cuts to its budget by slating the Washington Monument as the first thing it will cut in a period of austerity. Since no politician will take responsibility for tearing down the Washington Monument, the budget is thereby defended. This strategem, known as the "Washington Monument" defense is a generic name for digging a policy in so deep it has to be blasted out with dynamite. But it's always well to remember that dynamite exists.
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