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Evidence, Please?

Two weeks ago, President Bush said, "Iran is providing material support for attacks on American troops. We will disrupt the attacks on our forces." Presumably he'll hit those notes during the State of the Union tonight, vaguely hinting that escalation with Iran might be in the fold. (Hey, his health care proposals aren't going to garner that much applause...) The only problem, as the Los Angeles Times reports today, is that "evidence of Iranian involvement in Iraq's troubles is limited." Last October, Ellen Knickmeyer of the Washington Post reported much the same thing: "British Find No Evidence Of Arms Traffic From Iran." Not that I don't trust Bush's say-so completely, of course, but it's all very curious.

Glenn Greenwald's pleased that it's not the fall of 2002 anymore and major newspapers are finally treating White House statements with a heavy dose of skepticism. Well, me too. If we want to go further, though, the Times story also suggests that Iran actually does worry, to some extent, about stability in Iraq. And, just to belabor the obvious, Tehran could make things massively worse if it wanted to--by, for instance, "supplying Shiite militias with surface-to-air missiles and other weaponry that was part of Hezbollah's arsenal."

--Bradford Plumer