Cutting through the bullshit.

Wednesday 21 February 2007

We don't need no stinkin' slide show!

Last Wednesday US president Bush said

that he was certain that factions within the Iranian government had supplied Shiite militants in Iraq with deadly roadside bombs that had killed American troops. But he said he did not know whether Iran's highest officials had directed the attacks.

…Bush dismissed as "preposterous" the contention by some skeptics that the United States was drawing unwarranted conclusions about Iran's role…

"I can say with certainty that the Quds Force, a part of the Iranian government, has provided these sophisticated I.E.D.'s that have harmed our troops," Bush said…

As Bush discussed Iran in Washington, the chief American military spokesman in Baghdad provided a more detailed, on-the-record account of how the administration believed the weapons, particularly lethal explosive devices known as explosively formed penetrators, or E.F.P.'s, got to Iraq. The spokesman, Maj. Gen. William B. Caldwell IV,…said American assertions about a link between the weapons and the force were based on information obtained from people, including Iranians, detained in Iraq in the past 60 days.

Doubtless Bush is just as certain about the EFPs as he was about the WMDs. But Andrew Cockburn shows that explosively formed penetrators (EFPs) are not Iranian.

…in November, U.S. troops raiding a Baghdad machine shop came across a pile of copper disks, 5 inches in diameter, stamped out as part of what was clearly an ongoing order. This ominous discovery, unreported until now, makes it clear that Iraqi insurgents have no need to rely on Iran as the source of EFPs.

The truth is that EFPs are simple to make for anyone who knows how to do it. Far from a sophisticated assembly operation that might require state supervision, all that is required is one of those disks, some high-powered explosive (which is easy to procure in Iraq) and a container, such as a piece of pipe. I asked a Pentagon analyst specializing in such devices how much each one would cost to make. "Twenty bucks," he answered after a brief calculation. "Thirty at most."

"You can do as much or more damage with a 5-pound EFP, which is aimed, as with a 200-pound conventional IED, where most of the energy is dissipated away from the target," the Pentagon analyst said.

So who will present the slide show at the UN this time?


  1. The following is a quote from this article in the New York Times, buried deep on the second page:

    An Iraqi unit, aided by American advisers, caught militants in the act of constructing devices known as explosively formed projectiles in a house in Hilla, south of Baghdad, on Saturday, according to the American military. The explosive devices have proved especially lethal to American troops in recent months, and both military commanders and the White House have pointed to Iran as the source of a component essential in making the devices.

    Weird, huh? I thought the complete devices came from Iran.

  2. Well spotted, mate! You'd think they could get their story straight, but then, I suppose they realise there's no need for that. Hopefully, their chutzpah will meet with nemesis sooner rather than later.