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“It’s Hard To Say No”

In today’s Los Angeles Times, Mahdi Army commander Abu Baqr cops to getting weapons from Iran to use against Americans.

He still hates Iran. But now, he said, he accepts its weapons to fight the U.S. military, figuring he can deal with his distaste for the Iranians later. So he takes bombs that can rip a hole in a U.S. tank and rockets that can pound Baghdad’s Green Zone without apology or regret.

“I think that the Iranians are more dangerous than the Americans. I hate them and I don’t trust them,” he said in an interview over soft drinks. But the militia has limited resources, he said, and “therefore, when somebody gives you or offers help, it’s hard to say no.”

He laughed: “If it came from Israel, we would use it.”

This supports what the U.S. has been saying for a long time: Iran is arming Iraqis who kill Americans. When General David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker testified on Capitol Hill last month, General Petraeus engaged in the following exchange with Joe Lieberman:

LIEBERMAN: Is it fair to say that the Iranian-backed special groups in Iraq are responsible for the murder of hundreds of thousands – excuse me – hundreds of American soldiers and thousands of Iraqi soldiers and civilians?

PETRAEUS: It certainly is. I do believe that is correct.

Yet, in an interview shortly after the testimony, when ABC News asked Ryan Crocker if Americans were in a “proxy war” with Iran, Crocker responded, “It may be that the Iranians see it in that light, we certainly do not.”

If one country decides to go to war (proxy or otherwise) with another country and the second country doesn’t acknowledge it, does that mean only one country is at war? With today’s admission from Abu Baqr, we have to admit that we’re choosing not to defend ourselves in the proxy war with Iran. Of course, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton has just announced he’s all for moving things out of the “proxy” realm altogether. It’s hard to figure out just what it will take before the U.S. decides to do something about Iran.



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