Strategic Confusion

When Michael O’Hanlon sneezes, the resulting mucous becomes two op-eds in prominent newspapers. Bill Kristol, Charles Krauthammer, and Robert Kagan are all regular columnists. But when CAP’s Brian Katulis and Matt Duss want to bring some facts into the discussion it winds up in The Baltimore Sun. Fortuately, thanks to the magic of the internet, a Sun article can be read anywhere. Let’s hope it is:

Speaking before Congress, General Petraeus said, “Iran has fueled the violence in a particularly damaging way through its lethal support to the special groups,” referring to Shiite splinter groups allegedly receiving support from Iran. According to the general, the recent clashes between Shiite groups stretching from Basra in the south all the way to Baghdad “highlighted the destructive role Iran has played in funding, training, arming, and directing the so-called special groups.”Conservatives such as Sen. John McCain, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, have latched on to this incomplete description of the ongoing intra-Shiite struggles in Iraq as the latest reason why our over- stretched military forces must remain in Iraq. […]These depictions ignore an inconvenient truth: The leaders in Iraq’s current government are closely aligned with Tehran and represent some of Iran’s closest allies in Iraq. This is perhaps best illustrated by the warm welcome Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad received in his visit to Iraq last month, which punctures the myth that the current battle is between a unified Iraqi government and fringe groups receiving support from Iran.

But we need resolve or else people get bolder!