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How sharper than a serpent's tooth, the loss of message discipline.
One of the things we've been highlighting since Sunday's briefing on Iranian meddling in Iraq is the reliance on innuendo instead of fact. Remember that Bush administration had delayed the briefing out of fear of overstating its case and calling attention to its past history of inaccurate statements about intelligence.
As a result, the administration relied on anonymous military officials to present Iranian-made weapons, but relied on a chain of inferences to make the case that "the highest levels of the Iranian government" were involved. So the problem is a lack of clarity as to the actual significance of what was presented. Hence Gen. Peter Pace's agnosticism.
Today in his briefing, Tony Snow saw the wages of all that.
Snow, faced with a direct question about what the administration is in fact alleging about Iran, whiffed badly. He said that the "central fact" was that the explosives were Iranian-made, even though what matters is why those weapons are in Iraq, and who's using them.
Everything else is a "process argument," he said:
It's now being developed into a process argument that overlooks the key fact: weaponry made its way from Iran to Iraq and it's killing Americans.
Wow: a failure of bamboozlement. Unless the administration gets specific about what it's in fact saying, expect a lot more "process arguments" in the future.