An update and partly

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An update and (partly) a revision of the post below. Juan Cole throws serious cold water on the Iran element of the Post story, fingering a lot of that info as coming from the Iranian exile community eager to have the US turn our attention to them. Cole, as in recent posts, continues to see the current troubles as much more a matter of ex-Baathists than the still small stream of jihadists coming in from over the borders. See Cole’s morning post here and particular the second graf … Perhaps the name of Sue Schmidt on the byline of the Post piece should have gotten my reportorial defense mechanisms more in gear (alas, such are the dangers of penning political analysis late on a Saturday night.)

Two points seem clear to me. 1) The chaos in Iraq has opened the place up to serious infiltration by all manner of bad-actors from around the region — a development which is not a justification for administration policy, but an example of its failure. 2) The administration is far from weaned of its propensity for using manipulated or just plain bogus intelligence to advance its policy or cover its tracks. One veteran journalist/sage whose take on things I never discount tells me this morning: “Yes, the more I think of it, the more the timing is suspicious, and reminiscent of the last Sept. 11 ‘celebration.’ Ridge saying there is a new Al Q threat in the US (but not issuing an alert, because they know that alerts are now politically counterproductive). The Wolfowitz opeds on terrorism. I’d watch for Bush to make a reference to the Post article, or at least to its contents, in his speech tonight. The main difference this year is that they are using the Post rather than the Times to do their leaking.”

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