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February 16, 2007

White House backs off bogus briefing on Iran

The White House says that the unnamed military official who briefed reporters Iran's alleged meddling in Iraq went too far when he claimed that the U.S. had proof that the Iranian government was supplying explosively formed penetrators (EFP) to insurgents in Iraq.

The White House is clinging to the claim that military hardware from Iran is surfacing in Iraq, but even that assertion is tenuous. No doubt the vast majority of the improvised explosive devices in Iraq are being made inside the country. However, the U.S. wants us to focus on a very special high-tech kind of IED, the explosively formed penetrator. Now, some EFPs aren't improvised at all, they're made in factories. However, more rudimentary EFPs can be assembled in backyard workshops. If you find a homemade EFP in Iraq, the logical assumption is that it was made there.

David Hambling of DefenseTech shows us what a real factory-made EFP looks like:

Whereas, these EFPs depicted in Sunday's PowerPoint slides (top row) look like they were assembled in someone's garage.

Even if Iranian EFPs are turning up in Iraq, it doesn't mean that the Iranian government sent them. Remember, that there's a huge international arms trade. During the early occupation of Iraq, the U.S. was constantly reminding us about all the foreign fighters pouring in to Iraq from all over the Muslim world, including Iran. If Iranian-made weapons or Iranians show up on the battlefield in Iraq, there's no reason to assume that the Iranian government sent them.

Interestingly, Iran is now accusing the U.S. of aiding Sunni insurgents with a car bombing that killed 11 elite Iranian troops in Tehran two days ago. I'm not aware of any evidence to support Iran's counter-accusation, but I'm sure Instapundit would approve.


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Hi Lindsay,

Interestingly, Iran is now accusing the U.S. of aiding Sunni insurgents with a car bomb that car bombing that killed 11 elite Iranian troops in Tehran two days ago. I'm not aware of any evidence to support Iran's counter-accusation, but I'm sure Instapundit would approve.

I'm sure Mr. Reynolds will now post that he feels Iran would now be perfectly justified in following his advice...not.

Isn't Instapundit a Law professor?

When I studied UK contract law, we were told a simple premise - "if the situation were inverted, would both parties still be just as happy? If not, it's an unfair contract." That advice applies to so much more than just contracts. Suggestions like Instapundit's, for example.

Regards, C

See Andrew Cockburn's In Iraq, anyone can make a bomb in today's LA Times:

PRESIDENT BUSH HAS now definitively stated that bombs known as explosively formed penetrators — EFPs, which have proved especially deadly for U.S. troops in Iraq — are made in Iran and exported to Iraq. But in November, U.S. troops raiding a Baghdad machine shop came across a pile of copper disks, 5 inches in diameter, stamped out as part of what was clearly an ongoing order. This ominous discovery, unreported until now, makes it clear that Iraqi insurgents have no need to rely on Iran as the source of EFPs.

The truth is that EFPs are simple to make for anyone who knows how to do it. Far from a sophisticated assembly operation that might require state supervision, all that is required is one of those disks, some high-powered explosive (which is easy to procure in Iraq) and a container, such as a piece of pipe. I asked a Pentagon analyst specializing in such devices how much each one would cost to make. "Twenty bucks," he answered after a brief calculation. "Thirty at most."

These things can be made in any machine shop. The only difficult part is obtaining detonators and plastique. But then y’all recall ">this story.

Please check this link for some relief ! (it's my blog but it takes you straight through to the page if you click the link to "Impeachment passes Two hurdles in New Mexico"

In hands of CentCom, PowerPoint doesn't do war planning any better than it does rocket science. What is it about PowerPoint presentations? Is it the cryptic bullet points that fog the mind and stop rational thought dead in its tracks? The confusing graphic style made up of what Edward Tufte calls "chartjunk"? The look of meaningful discourse without any real substance, which facilitates groupthink and leaves dissenters without a handhold?

Tufte's famous essay, "PowerPoint Does Rocket Science," makes a strong case that the cognitive style of PowerPoint contributed to NASA's failure to properly diagnosis what was wrong with space shuttle Columbia before its disastrous reentry. PowerPoint in the hands of Rumsfeld's military technocrats seems to have had an equally stupefying effect on rational thought.

Personally, I suspect that the majority of the munitions in use by the various Iraqi insurgencies is probably made in some other country... You know, the biggest arms manufacturer in the world? Sells weapons to anybody? Persistently refuses to improve traceability in the arms trade? What's the name again...?

Oh yeah, the USA.

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