Psywar, a core skill of the US Military (used most often on us)

They do this so well, running long-term information operations to deceive America.  This drama, written by the US Department of Defense, comes to you in two acts: 

  1. Convincing the marks
  2. The truth comes out, long after nobody cares

Running a successful democratic republic requires that we pay attention — better than we do today.

Act I:  convincing the marks

DoD News Briefing with Major General Lynch from Baghdad, 4 May 2007 — Except:

What we’re finding is that the technology and the financing and the training of the explosively formed penetrators are coming from Iran. The EFPs are killing our soldiers, and we can trace that back to Iran.

A U.S. and Iraqi joint raid in Mahmudiyah uncovered three weapons caches containing mortar systems, rockets and ammunition on the 22nd of April. Recent date stamps and Iranian markings appeared on the ammunition. There is plenty of evidence of Iranian influence in our area, and candidly, this is just simply counterproductive. The discovery of these caches, the interdiction of their trafficking, and the capture of the men responsible for their distribution is our main focus.

Joint Chiefs Chair Says Iran Still Sending Weapons to Iraqi Insurgents“, Fox News, 25 April 2008 — Excerpt:

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff accused Iran on Friday of “ratcheting up” its arms and training support to insurgents in Iraq, and warned that the U.S. has the combat power to strike Tehran if needed.

Adm. Mike Mullen told a Pentagon news conference the military has evidence – such as date stamps on newly found weapons caches – that shows that recently made Iranian weapons are flowing into Iraq at a steadily increasing rate. Some of that firepower was used to support insurgents during the recent fighting in Basra in southern Iraq. Mullen said he has seen evidence “that some of the weapons are recently not just found, but recently manufactured.”

CIA Director Hayden Says Iran Wants Americans in Iraq Killed“, Fox News, 30 April 2008 — Excerpt:

It is my opinion, it is the policy of the Iranian government, approved to highest level of that government, to facilitate the killing of Americans in Iraq,” Hayden said. “Just make sure there’s clarity on that.”

In recent weeks, U.S. officials have ratcheted up their complaints that Iran is increasing its efforts to supply weapons and training to militants in Iraq.

Military commanders in Baghdad are expected to roll out evidence of that support soon, including date stamps on newly found weapons caches showing that recently made Iranian weapons are flowing into Iraq at a steadily increasing rate.

Another senior military official said the evidence will include mortars, rockets, small arms, roadside bombs and armor-piercing explosives – known as explosively formed penetrators or EFPs – that troops have discovered in caches in recent months. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the evidence has not yet been made public, said dates on some of the weapons were well after Tehran signaled late last year that it was scaling back aid to insurgents.

Act II:  the truth comes out, long after nobody cares

Where Are Those Iranian Weapons in Iraq?“, Gareth Porter, Inter Press Service, 21 May 2007

But U.S. officials have failed thus far to provide evidence that would support that claim, and a long-delayed U.S. military report on Iranian arms is unlikely to offer any data on what proportion of the weapons in the hands of Shiite fighters are from Iran and what proportion comes from purchases on the open market.

When Maj. Gen. Kevin Bergner was asked that question at a briefing May 8, he did not answer it directly. Instead Bergner reverted to a standard U.S. military line that these groups “could not do what they’re doing without the support of foreign support [sic].” Then he defined “foreign support” to include training and funding as well as weapons, implicitly conceding that he did not have much of a case based on weapons alone.

Bergner’s refusal to address that question reflects a fundamental problem with the U.S. claims about Iranian weapons in Iraq: if there are indeed any Iranian rockets and mortars, and RPGs in the Mahdi Army’s arsenal of stand-off weapons, they represent an insignificant part of it.

{The article continues with detailed analysis of the government’s claims and the available evidence.}

Arming our own enemies in Iraq“, Gareth Porter, Salon, 6 June 2008 — Excerpt:

Bush officials claim that Iran has supplied grenade launchers to Iraqi militants — but the real source of the weapons is U.S. negligence.

In recent months, Gen. David Petraeus charged that Iran has supplied powerful rocket-propelled grenade launchers to Shiite militias in Iraq. But according to the U.S. government’s own reports, there is no evidence to support that charge. In fact, the vast majority of RPGs in the hands of Shiite militants have come from either U.S.-purchased weapons intended for Iraq’s new security forces, or from Saddam Hussein’s old stockpiles, which the U.S. failed to secure when it took control of the country.

The Bush administration has long sought to create the impression that Iran has been playing a major military role in Iraq by supplying arms to Shiite militias, including the cleric Muqtada al-Sadr’s powerful Mahdi army. But to date, U.S. military officials have offered scant or even dubious evidence of Iranian military involvement in Iraq — and Petraeus’ allegation about the RPGs is a clear-cut case of unsubstantiated charges.

Last October, and again in late December, Petraeus stated emphatically there was “absolutely no question” that Iran provided RPG-29s, a sophisticated anti-tank weapon, to Iraqi Shiite militiamen. He even called the RPG-29 an Iranian “signature weapon.”

What Petraeus failed to mention, however, is that RPG-29s are manufactured by Russia, not Iran, and those that have shown up in Iraq apparently came from Syria. The Syrian government bought large numbers of RPG-29s from Russia in 1999 and 2000, many of which ended up being used by Hezbollah in the war against Israel in 2006, according to Israeli and Lebanese media reports. Even some U.S. military officials were quoted in the media in May 2006 as saying that they believed RPG-29s had been smuggled into Iraq from Syria.

Moreover, as Air Force Col. Scott Maw of the Multi-National Force Iraq (MNF-I) Strategic Communications Office told me in a telephone interview last week, “very few” RPG-29s have actually been found in Iraq. An examination of U.S. military press releases on weapons caches found in Shiite areas reveals no mention of RPG-29s. Additionally, the U.S. military has never displayed a captured one to reporters.

{The article continues with detailed analysis of the government’s claims and the available evidence.}

Iranian Strategy in Iraq: Politics and ‘Other Means’“, Joseph Felter and Brian Fishman, Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, 13 October 2008 — Excerpt from Chapter 4:  Iranian Lethal Aid in Iraq:

U.S. officials continue to claim that they have compelling evidence directly linking Iran with the provision of weapons and munitions to insurgents in Iraq.1 Iran staunchly denies these claims, and counters that they are desperate attempts by the United States to recast responsibility for failure in Iraq.

Despite Iranian protests, however, there is clear evidence of Iranian support to Iraqi militias, including many weapons manufactured after the Iran‐Iraq war, some of which were produced after the 2003 invasion.

… The complexity of international arms markets and the legacy of warfare between Iran and Iraq complicate efforts to assess the scope of Iranian lethal aid in Iraq.

Many of the Iranian weapons scattered across Iraq do appear to have been left in Iraq during the Iran‐Iraq War in the 1980s.  Caches recovered by Coalition Forces in Iraq include older weathered munitions that likely have been in the ground for some time.9 Likewise, some reports erroneously attribute munitions similar to those produced in Iran as Iranian, while other Iranian munitions found in Iraq were likely purchased on the open market.

Based on the findings of this expert assessment, MNF‐I reported that Iranian munitions were recovered in 166 incidents between 1 January and 23 May 2008.18 Of these incidents, 85 were determined to include weapons and/or ordnance produced in 2003 or later and 28 incidents had sufficient evidence to determine they were manufactured before 2003. The remaining 53 recorded incidents were deemed not to have sufficient information to determine when the weapons and munitions were produced.

That sounds convincing.  Here is additional data that changes the picture.

U.S. Task Force Found Few Iranian Arms in Iraq“, Gareth Porter, Inter Press Service, 15 November 2008 — Excerpt:

The data collected by the task force in the previous 6 weeks showed that relatively few of the weapons found in Shi’a militia caches were manufactured in Iran.

According to the data compiled by the task force, and made available to an academic research project last July, only 70 weapons believed to have been manufactured in Iran had been found in post-invasion weapons caches between mid-February and the second week in April. And those weapons represented only 17% of the weapons found in caches that had any Iranian weapons in them during that period.

The actual proportion of Iranian-made weapons to total weapons found, however, was significantly lower than that, because the task force was finding many more weapons caches in Shi’a areas that did not have any Iranian weapons in them.

The task force database identified 98 caches over the 5 month period with at least 1 Iranian weapon, excluding caches believed to have been hidden prior to the 2003 U.S. invasion. But according to an e-mail from the MNFI press desk this week, the task force found and analysed a total of roughly 4,600 weapons caches during that same period. The caches that included Iranian weapons thus represented just 2% of all caches found. That means Iranian-made weapons were a fraction of 1% of the total weapons found in Shi’a militia caches during that period.

The extremely small proportion of Iranian arms in Shi’a militia weapons caches further suggests that Shi’a militia fighters in Iraq had been getting weapons from local and international arms markets rather than from an official Iranian-sponsored smuggling network.

… In late April, the U.S. presented the Maliki government with a document that apparently listed various Iranian arms found in Iraq and highlighted alleged Iranian arms found in Basra. But the U.S. campaign to convince Iraqi officials collapsed when Task Force Troy analysed a series of large weapons caches uncovered in Basra and Karbala in April and May.

Caches of arms found in Karbala late last April and May totaled more than 2,500 weapons, and caches in Basra included at least 3,700 weapons, according to official MNFI statements. That brought the total number of weapons found in those former Mahdi Army strongholds to more than 6,200 weapons. But the task force found that none of those weapons were Iranian-made. The database lists 3 caches found Apr. 19, but provides no data on any of them. It lists no other caches for the region coinciding with that period, confirming that no weapons had been found to be of Iranian origin.

In announcing the weapons totals discovered in Basra to reporters on May 7, Maj. Gen. Kevin Bergner said nothing about the provenance of the weapons, implicitly admitting that they were not Iranian-made.

Only 2 months before the new high-level propaganda push on alleged Iranian weapons supply to Shi’a militias, the U.S. command had put out a story suggesting that large numbers of Iranian-supplied arms had been buried all over the country. On Feb. 17, 2008, U.S. military spokesman Rear Admiral Gregory Smith told reporters that Iraqi and coalition forces had captured 212 weapons caches across Iraq over the previous week “with growing links to the Iranian-backed special groups”.

The Task Force Troy data for the week of Feb. 9-16 show, however, that the U.S. command had information on Iranian arms contradicting that propaganda line. According to the task force database, only 5 of those 212 caches contained any Iranian weapons that analysts believed might have been buried after the U.S. invasion. And the total number of confirmed Iranian-made weapons found in those 5 caches, according to the data, was 8 , not including 4 Iranian-made hand grenades.

The task force database includes 350 armour-piercing explosively formed penetrators (EFPs) found in Iraqi weapons caches. However, the database does not identify any of the EFPs as Iranian weapons. That treatment of EFPs in the caches appears to contradict claims by U.S. officials throughout 2007 and much of 2008 that EFPs were being smuggled into Iraq by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps. The allegedly Iranian-manufactured EFPs had been the centrepiece of the U.S. military’s February 2007 briefing charging Iran with arming Shi’a militiamen in Iraq.

Press reports of a series of discoveries of shops for manufacturing EFPs in Iraq in 2007 forced the U.S. command to admit that the capacity to manufacture EFPs was not limited to Iran. By the second half of 2008, U.S. officials had stopped referring to Iranian supply of EFPs altogether.


If you are new to this site, please glance at the archives below.  You may find answers to your questions in these.

Please share your comments by posting below.  Per the FM site’s Comment Policy, please make them brief (250 words max), civil, and relevant to this post.  Or email me at fabmaximus at hotmail dot com (note the spam-protected spelling).

For more information from the FM site

To read other articles about these things, see the FM reference page on the right side menu bar.  Of esp relevance to this topic:

Posts on the FM site about psy-ops (aka propaganda, psy-ops):

  1. News from the Front: America’s military has mastered 4GW!, 2 September 2007
  2. 4GW at work in a community near you, 19 October 2007
  3. The media discover info ops, with outrage!, 22 April 2008
  4. Successful info ops, but who are the targets?, 1 May 2008
  5. The most expensive psy-war campaign – ever!, 13 July 2008
  6. A moment of truth about Iraq; apologies quickly follow – please forget this ASAP!, 3 August 2008

14 thoughts on “Psywar, a core skill of the US Military (used most often on us)”

  1. Thanks, FM. Maybe you can email this to the Obama team, since nobody else seems to want to talk about it. I assume you’re getting ready to analyze Obama’s hot-to-trot Afganistan escalation (a la Johnson in Vietnam when he took over a small intervention and made it a war that “had to be won”).

  2. Dr. Terry Tucker

    I am not entirely convinced that this was a deliberate propaganda program perpetrated by …?

    Although, the military may not beyond such measures, I am also inclined to belive that this is also the process of analysis and decision making used by the military; please allow me to explain.

    The military has a penchant for “answers” and they want them Now! I used to work for MG Rick Lynch and although he is a good commander, he is also prone to demanding information in a very short suspense. Regrettably, the military does not always go through the process of vetting information for “inaccuracy”, but rather, always finds intel to validate. I am almost positively convinced that the “intel” guys may have made some early discoveries of a few Iranian weapons but then never bothered to address the situation in seeking the “Evidence of Absence”; of course this is oppossed to how they are taught at the institution to seek confirmation or trends of evidence of presence. Generally speaking, for the military, two or three such incidents become a trend. Unfortunately, they are a product of Institutional learning and culture. So, 10 or 15 or even 5 weapons was enough for the intel guys to declare that the Iranians were strictly involved. So now we have come to why the military has not posted a retraction, the lyrics of a country song come to mind;…Thats my story and I’m stickin’ to it”

  3. Porter’s writing includes several logical fallacies, common polemical devices used by writers of the second and third rank. Small example:
    “In recent months, Gen. David Petraeus charged that Iran has supplied powerful rocket-propelled grenade launchers to Shiite militias in Iraq. But according to the U.S. government’s own reports, there is no evidence to support that charge. In fact, the vast majority of RPGs in the hands of Shiite militants have come from either U.S.-purchased weapons intended for Iraq’s new security forces, or from Saddam Hussein’s old stockpiles, which the U.S. failed to secure when it took control of the country.”

    The false dichotomy is clear. Both of the bolded assertions are not only possibly true, but probably true.
    Fabius Maximus replies: Not correct. A false dichotomy says that all A are either B or C. There is no possibility of D.

    Porter’s statement says that the “vast majority” — not all — are either B or C. Hence some are D or something else. He supports this by US government data.

  4. Did I miss something? In this instance, “B” is the assertion that Iran has supplied the RPG launchers, and “C” is, no, they are in-country weapons.

    I don’t know if this is a false dichotomy, but the point is that the evidence that Porter cites is vague “U.S. government reports.” The “vast majority” comment doesn’t exclude a “small minority” from being supplied by Iran, and it certainly does nothing to disprove Patraeus’ statement. In fact, we know Iran supplied many explosively formed penetrators (a type of IED), so it would be reasonable if some RPGs came from there as well.
    Three Iranian factories ‘mass-produce bombs to kill British in Iraq“, 21 August 2006

    This is in fact sloppy journalism that seeks (and fails) to disprove a minor point while ignoring the larger picture.
    Fabius Maximus replies: None of this makes any sense to me.

    (1) The core of Porter’s is the report by Joseph Felter and Brian Fishman of Combating Terrorism Center at West Point. Not vague at all. I provide a link and excerpt from it.

    (2) No, we don’t “we know Iran supplied many explosively formed penetrators”. That is the point of the Felter-Fishman report.

    (3) Does it make sense to cite a newspaper story to refute Porter’s allegations of propaganda? Porter cites a study using government data; you cite a newspaper article that relies on stores from exiles (like the misinformation that sucked us into Iraq) — National Council of Resistance in Iran (NCRI). The information was “processed” by a pressure group, the Iran Policy Committee.

    (4) These allegations against Iran were a major part of the campaign to build support for a strike against Iran. Hardly a “a minor point.”

  5. One thing that seems mixed in this discussion is Iranian manufactured vs Iranian supplied. These are potentially two different things. To say that an arms cache was not Iranian manufactured does not mean that it was not supplied by Iran.

    I am not in any way defending what to me is likely a neo-contrivance to point the finger at Iran. Thank whomever (Gates?) that the road to war with Tehran has been at least temporarily derailed. We don’t need another one.
    Fabius Maximus replies: I do not understand. All three of the US government statements I quote specificall referred to arms manufactured in Iran.

  6. Re comment #5 by Arms Merchant:

    Quote from Telegraph article “Members of the Washington-based Iran Policy Committee have released the details about the three bomb factories gathered by the exile group, the National Council for Resistance in Iran (NCRI).”

    Sounds to me someone have a vested interest here. Anyone remember a certain mr. Ahmed Chalabi and his Iraqi National Congress? (Information Clearinghouse)

    Quote from #5 “In fact, we know Iran supplied many explosively formed penetrators”

    I beg to differ, we have no hard facts on that. Quite on the contrary “The task force database includes 350 armour-piercing explosively formed penetrators (EFPs) found in Iraqi weapons caches. However, the database does not identify any of the EFPs as Iranian weapons.” and how does EFPs tie in with your attack on Porters statement on RPGs?

  7. Rune and FM, my point was in support of Foundling’s comment that Porter used a false dichotomy. The way Porter framed the argument certainly looks to me like he was trying to assert mutual exclusivity of the two alternatives (Iran-supplied or in-country weapons). Nor are the two alternatives collectively exhaustive.

    Also, if the U.S. government was conducting Psywar against its citizens to drum up support for an intervention in Iran, how does that make U.S. “government reports” more credible?

    No matter, I’ll grant you that I gave an unconvincing link. Here are a couple that are better and more recent. You tell me if you think it’s credible that Iran is providing at least some arms to Shia militias in Iraq: “Top Iran commander: We supply arms to Middle East militias“, AP, 27 October 2008 — Excerpt:

    A top Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander has said Iran is supplying weapons to liberation armies in the Middle East, a state-run news agency reported – the first official confirmation the country provides weapons to armed groups in the region.

    Gen. Hossein Hamedani, deputy commander of a volunteer militia that is part of the elite Revolutionary Guards, did not provide specific details. But Iran is widely believed to provide weapons to Lebanon’s militant Shiite Hezbollah group. The U.S. military has also accused Iran of arming Shiite militias in Iraq.

    A slightly different take on the West Point report: “Documents Say Iran Aids Militias From Iraq“, Ny Times, 18 October 2008 — Excerpt:

    Now, more than 80 pages of newly declassified intelligence documents for the first time describe in detail an elaborate network used by Iraqis to gain entry into Iran and train under Iranian supervision. They offer the most comprehensive account to date to support American claims about Iranian efforts to build a proxy force in Iraq. Those claims have become highly politicized, with Bush administration critics charging that accounts of Iranian involvement have been exaggerated.

    The prisoners’ accounts cannot be independently verified. Yet the detainees gave strikingly similar details about training compounds in Iran, a clandestine network of safe houses in Iran and Iraq they used to reach the camps and intra-Shiite tensions at the camps between the Arab Iraqis and their Persian Iranian trainers.

    If supplying arms is only part of a larger picture of Iranian support, training, Quds Guards intervention, etc., then Porter’s rebuttal of Petreaus is in fact a “minor point.”
    Fabius Maximus replies: I am astonished at this comment, so weak I wonder why you bothered. Perhaps the worst part of Obama revealing himself as yet another pro-war President is 4 more years of replying to this kind of nonsense.

    (1) “The way Porter framed the argument certainly looks to me like he was trying to assert mutual exclusivity of the two alternatives”

    My reply to your allegation of a “false dichotomy” was to give the definition and Porter’s exact quote: “Porter’s statement says that the “In fact, the vast majority of RPGs in the hands of Shiite militants have come from either…” What part of “vast majority” so you find unclear?

    (2) “Also, if the U.S. government was conducting Psywar against its citizens to drum up support for an intervention in Iran, how does that make U.S. “government reports” more credible?”

    The US government is not a unitary entity. We speak like that as a convenience, but most of us understand that the government is not an anthill or beehive. Elements in the government were pushing for war with Iran, others resisted. This was evident in the media coverage through-out the struggle; much of that is documented in my posts about the struggle (see the archive “Iran – will the US or Israel attack Iran?“).

    (3) Neither of the articles you cite support the claim of Iran providing weapson to Iraq forces. The first just mentions US government allegation (General Hossein Hamedani probably referred to Iran’s support to Hezbollah in Lebanon). The 2nd only refers to training.

    (4) “If supplying arms is only part of a larger picture …”

    If the first phrase of the sentence appears false, why should the rest be convincing?

  8. I always thought if a professional person stated something as a fact , in context of their profession , that fact should be verifiable . Otherwise , the statement should be prefaced by ‘ in my opinion ‘, ‘ I have been told ‘ or similar caveat . Allowing for misreporting. Or interpretation by politicians , who do not claim to be professionals .
    Fabius Maximus replies: It’s a good rule, but makes for dull text. I try to follow this (slips occur) by inserting that or equivalent phrases every few lines, so that this is clear.

    To what is this remark addressed?

  9. Re, #8. Well, I agree this is tedious. We are talking past each other. Go back and read Foundling’s comment carefully; maybe you’ll get it.

    So what do we make of the following? More psywar?

    “Iranian programs to support Iraqi militias are very robust. The IRGC‐Qods Force, augmented by Lebanese Hizballah trainers, sponsor basic and advanced paramilitary training at camps in Iran and Lebanon.” (Felter-Fishman report, “Key Findings,” 4th bullet on p. 8)
    Fabius Maximus replies: We are not talking past each other.

    Almost everything discussed on this site is on the edge of the known. Here for instance: neither of us knows if Iran is providing arms to Iraq militia. All we have is evidence, which we sort through and compare. That presumes good faith on both sides.

    If you give a citation for evidence of “A”, we assume that does in fact say “A.” When you describe what Porter says, it should match with what Porter says. Your comments violate both these good-faith rules, necessary for the operation of this site.

    Specifically, you cited 3 articles. Upon reading them, I find that they do not show that Iran provides weapons to Iraq militia (see comments #5 and #8). When called on this, you don’t even bother to offer a defense or explanation. This is in effect saying “You caught me! I’ll try again.”

    “Tedious” does not accurately describe this practice.

    Also, you ignore the evidence on the other side.

    Changing the subject — to Iran training Iraq Shiite, a long-standing practice, not in dispute — is not an impressive response.

  10. A possible Georgian attempt at psywar. If true will it have consequences in the US perception of President Saakashvili?

    Georgia ‘may have staged’ Kaczynski shooting, EU Observer, 28 November 2008

    FM Note: from Polskie Radio:

    The Internal Security Agency ABW accuses Georgia, headlines Dziennik (a Polish newspaper). The Agency considers that the shots fired close to the convoy with Polish and Georgian presidents near the border with south Ossetia on Sunday were a Georgian provocation. What confirms the thesis? asks the paper. The Agency services argue that the moment where the first series of shots was heard, the Georgian guards did not react. The ABW underlines that the bus carrying journalists had been deliberately let through at the head of the cavalcade to allow for the filming of the whole incident. In a confidential report, the Agency writes that the incident played into the hands of the Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili who wanted to divert attention from internal problems on the day of the anniversary of the ‘Rose Revolution.’

  11. FM note: I will do this one more time. Interjecting comments into the text (repeating them makes the reply too long).

    Not trying to argue in bad faith. Perhaps I need to be more explicit:

    1. Porter says “Bush officials” claim… , then launches into Petreaus. Military officers generally are not considered political appointees.

    FM: This is a common usage, and with justification. Senior military appoints have input from senior political officials.

    2. Petreaus charged that Iran is supplying RPGs to Shi’ite militias.

    3. Porter takes Petreaus to task, saying there is no evidence, citing MNF Task Force Appendix C to the Felter-Fishman report. His support is that that the vast majority of weapons are in-country (U.S.-purchased or Saddam leftovers).

    4. You need one RPG to disprove that Petreaus is making a false statement (I suppose two because “RPGs” plural). How much is a small minority? Is Petreaus conducting psywar, or is #3 above a more reasonable explanation?

    FM: What does that mean? Do you mean “need 1 RPG to prove Peteaus’ statement” that Iran is supplying RPGs. (assuming the double negatives cancel each other out). Perhaps, on some meaningless trivial level.

    5. Porter makes a case that the administration has exaggerated the weapons piece, but that still doesn’t address the overall issue that Iran is actively supporting the Shi’a militias in Iraq. So it doesn’t address whether Petreaus is misleading or misinformed (#3 above again).

    FM: Please stick to the point. Petreaus made specific claims, which Porter examines. That’s is how evidence and credibility are evaluated.

    6. It seems reasonable to me that if Iran is providing training and active personnel (as the Felter-Fisman report states) that some of their weapons would also make it into Iraq in the hands of the fighters they’ve trained, or carried in by Iranians who are actively participating. Or maybe not, if they can be had cheaply on the Iraq black market, as Porter writes.

    FM: At this point, after sorting thru the rubbish of these comments, what seens reasonable to you carries little conviction to me. You have provide little meaningful evidence to support your claims, and much that proves irrelevant under examination. This is, of course, similar to what Porter shows about the Bush Administration’s claims in these articles. The parallellism is striking.

    7. But in the big scheme of things, how important is it that Iranians are killing you with their weapons or Saddam’s, and with their guys or proxies? The actors and intent are the same (Iranians are trying to kill you).

    FM: What’s your point? Conflict among great powers is waged by proxies. We have moved US forces adjacent to Iran, aempted to setup a puppet state, and built a chain of large obviously permanent bases. Of course they will push back, and hard. We would do the same. We have done the same in the past, as our neighbors to the south can attest.

    I’ll stop digging now ; )

  12. The point of the comment about ‘professionals’, was that if army officers regard themselves as such ,(perhaps they no longer do), I think they have a duty to be truthful in their official statements regarding the past or present. So was Petraeus truthful ? To speak old-fashioned , was his word , his bond ?
    Fabius Maximus replies: I suspect the concept of “word as bond” has been superceded by utilitarian considerations. Psywar is a tool to weaken the enemy’s morale and boost that at home.

    Also, our society has evolved to no longer value traditional concepts of honor — and the military is part of our society. James Bowman has written much about this: here is a listing of his articles on this subject.

  13. Just stumbled onto this but Iran has been actively arming certainly Iraqi factions. About 18 months ago I was a member of a task force operating in Najaf. On two separate raids that I was involved in members of local insurgent groups were caught in the company of Quds agents.

    Now I am just specialist nobody reservist, but you I guarantee you they weren’t there showing the insurgents how to bake a pie.

    And Gareth Porter … seriously … this guy has absolutely no credibility left does he?

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