Iranian Weapons. American Lives.
As with an ordinary mine field, you have to be very careful where you put your emphasis. Stress the wrong truth and either the left or the right wants to blow you up.
Here at Camp Victory, a sprawling concrete and razor wire American base that wraps around Baghdad International Airport, Maj. Weber was trying to explain how to negotiate that mine field. On the one side he wanted me to know me that the captured weapons on the table before us were -- definitely, no doubt about it, absolutely -- from Iran. On the other hand, he avoided drawing the obvious conclusion that Iran is supplying America's enemies inside Iraq.
That simple and obvious conclusion would anger the Democratic leadership in Congress, much of the press corp, and a large swath of the antiwar set.
Bear this is mind, when you watch this exclusive Pajamas Media video shot in Iraq. The video offers startling new evidence of Iran's involvement in the insurgency. It is the first up-close, online video showing captured Iranian weapons. These particular weapons have not been shown to the public before.
Far from being offered up by the military, it took me weeks of wangling to see Maj. Weber. The military does not want to talk about the mortars, rockets and bombs flooding in from Iran. It has been burned by the press every time the subject comes up.
Senior officers also realize that the Democrat-led Congress doesn't want to hear about Iran's sinister role in Iraq and that President Bush does not want a confrontation with Iran now. To make the interview even harder to get, Maj. Weber's specialty, Explosives Ordnance Disposal or EOD, has a culture of not talking to the press. Any EOD officer who does, owes his unit a case of beer for each appearance.
So conspiracy theorists who feel this exclusive Pajamas Media Video is military propaganda couldn't be more wrong--the military would have been happier if the interview never happened.
Finally, Maj. Weber agreed to this exclusive interview with Pajamas Media on two conditions: that a public-affairs officer be present to interrupt him if he said anything with political ramifications, and that the conversation be limited simply to the weapons themselves.
I agreed to those conditions because a large story the rest of the media missed: the weapons themselves. These Iranian weapons and others like them are killing American soldiers.
Twice before the military has tried to present to the press overwhelming evidence of Iran's involvement in the Iraq war, only to be met by hostile skepticism. The skepticism basically takes the form of three questions:
1) Couldn't these weapons have been made anywhere?
2) Isn't it fishy that these weapons were marked in English with American-style dates?
3) Isn't all of this a ploy to justify a neocon war with Iran?
As you will see from the video, Maj. Weber can definitively answer the first two questions. As for the Daily Kos-inspired third question, well, who can address questions from planet Paranoid? And who should bother?
A West Point graduate, Maj. Weber has spent the last decade studying bombs made by the FARC in Colombia to Hezboallah in Lebanon. Like other skilled bomb technicians, he can examine the components and design of a bomb or weapon and tell you who made it and where. For the weapons shown in this video, he can even point out the page in the Iranian arms sales catalog where one can find these weapons. As for why Iran is selling or giving these weapons to insurgents, that is a question for someone else.
Maj. Weber is matter of fact. He laughingly admits that he got into EOD because he liked to hear things go BOOM. He's an old fashioned army officer who abhors politics but loves his profession. He's not trying to pedal a line, that's for the guys upstairs. He's just trying to tell you what he found and what it means.