Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Given Scottie Mac's normal verbal effluvium during the press briefings, I thought this exchange:

Q Is Sadr being supported by Iran? Do you know?

MR. McCLELLAN: I don't have any information on that.


Q Are you suggesting that Sadr is acting independently? Are you suggesting that he doesn't have any foreign assistance or support in this current situation?

MR. McCLELLAN: I don't have any information to share with you on that.

in this morning's gaggle spoke volumes.

This is a White House that considers talking points one of the fundamental building blocks of any successful action. And Scottie has nothing to say about Iranian involvement with Sadr?

The Christian Science Monitor can find something to say:

The US military will need to be careful about how it confronts or catches Mr. Sadr (he's wanted for the murder of a rival moderate cleric last year). His real danger lies less in possibly spreading violence than in the potential appeal of his brand of Islam, which is modeled after the father of the Islamic revolution in Iran, the late Ayatollah Khomeini. Sadr is the protégé of Ayatollah Kadhem Husseini Haeri, an ultraconservative Iraqi based in Iran who may well be one of Tehran's tools in influencing events in Iraq.

Heck, the Financial Times even offers some reason to think Sadr isn't taking cues from Tehran:

...the feud with the elderly Mr Sistani has continued. Mr Sadr's followers deride the Ayatollah for his Iranian stock and heavy Persian accent, which they say precludes him from interference in Iraq affairs.

But Scottie Mac has nothing. Which means the White House has nothing. Which means this isn't something they anticipated. At all.

Keep it in mind, folks -- what's happening in Iraq isn't an intelligence failure, in that we had bad intel before the invasion. It's an intelligence failure, in that the White House doesn't use theirs.

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