Monday, September 24, 2007
The Bush administration and its proxies have been ramping up the rhetoric about Iranian interference in Iraq now since about January. And while it's understandable to suspect that the charges might be exagerrated (a healthy skepticism seems warranted as far as this administration and casus belli go), I don't think there's anything on the face of them that's surprising. In fact, it seems obvious that Iran would attempt to influence the outcome in Iraq, and not only influence it, but influence it in its own favor.
That's probably why securing the Iran-Iraq border to seal off smuggling routes for Iranian-supplied weapons has been such a high priority since the early days of the American occupation. Manned outposts were immediately put in place to plug the gaps in the border, well-known because they'd been used for years to supply anti-Saddam militants. The Iraqi troops trained to patrol the area were well-supplied and backed up by American firepower...
Oh, wait a minute. Maybe I got that wrong:
...Mueller and his troops are also getting a late start, basically trying to secure the thinly patrolled border from scratch after it was largely ignored during more than four years of war...
The problem has roots in the immediate aftermath of the 2003 U.S.-led invasion, when the American military was focused on seizing Baghdad. The U.S. Marines received orders to send patrols to the area southeast of Baghdad - but not to the frontier itself, despite fears it was a tempting entry point for Islamic militants from Iran.
In other words, the "Iran meddling in Iraq" talking point is yet another instance of the Bush administration's failure to plan for the aftermath of the invasion. I've seen a lot about the unguarded munitions dumps that basically provided the insurgency with explosives for use against American troops. But I haven't seen a lot on this. The same goes for the Syrian border.
If the Iranians are in Iraq, at least part of it has to do with the fact that we did everything but print out a personal invitation for them.