Bush Not Apace With Pace

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February 14, 2007 12:02 p.m.

CNN’s Barbara Starr just reported that President Bush and General Peter Pace are on the same page about munitions in Iraq. In reality, they’re not even in the same book.

President Bush said it doesn’t matter whether or not Iran ordered the weapons into Iraq as a deliberate strategy to attack U.S. troops. In Australia on Monday, Pace said he hadn’t seen any evidence suggesting that the Iranians had done anything of the sort:

“We know that the explosively formed projectiles are manufactured in Iran. What I would not say is that the Iranian government, per se [specifically], knows about this,” he said. “It is clear that Iranians are involved, and it’s clear that materials from Iran are involved, but I would not say by what I know that the Iranian government clearly knows or is complicit.”

The president is banking on a rhetorical sleight of hand. Are Iranians giving weapons to fighters battling US forces? President Bush wants to duck that issue — implying that’s the case without saying it and pretending that the only question is whether the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps’s Qods Force has authorization from the highest levels of the Iranian government to supply weapons for use against US troops. Gen. Pace is keeping to what seem to be the actual facts; President Bush isn’t.

And Bush’s innuendo is working its mojo on the press, it appears. Starr said it would be “extraordinary” if Bush and Pace’s statements didn’t coincide. On that score, she’s right.

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