General Peter Pace, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, insists there is no evidence to support the idea that the Iranian government is supplying insurgents in Iraq with the ready-made bombs and other materials. Pace said some of the material can be traced to Iran and that U.S. forces have arrested Iranians. His assertion that Iran itself is not involved contradicts three senior military officials in Baghdad who have said the Iranian government is responsible for having provided Shiite militants in Iraq with bombs now blamed for the deaths of more U.S. troops.
“That’s all I needed to hear,” Bush said on his way into an emergency meeting he’d called shortly after hearing what he said were “the words of our proud patriots in combat. Pace isn’t in combat. What does he know?”
Bush, Cheney, and Peppy the coffee guy emerged hours later to announce plans to invade Iran. Bush snickered at a press conference held later in the day saying, “If someone paid by me to agree with me doesn’t agree with me, well, that’s all she wrote. The cows have come home.” Amid murmurs of “What the hell does that mean?” from the press corps, Bush was noticeably beside himself with glee when suggesting using the 20,000 troops “…I’ve sent to build up the force there…” to invade Iran.
When reminded that 20,000 additional troops haven’t yet been sent and that the increase in troop numbers can be explained by the extensions of tours of those still there, Bush guffawed, “Six of one, half dozen of the other. A bird in the hand is less poop on the floor.” Bush grew serious and red-faced in response to what he called “unpatriotic confrontation” when questioned about his loyalty to the war-weary troops.
“What the heck did you think I wanted more troops sent to Iraq for? To fill out the chow line? I am the terror that flaps in the night! I say troops will go into Italy, I mean Indonesia, crap, one of those ‘I’ countries. You’re either with us or against us,” at which point White House Press Secretary Tony Snow moved Tango-close to the President. Bush covered the mic, but could still be heard hissing, “Get off me!”
“If you make a product or material that somehow ends up in the hands of terrorists, I don’t care how it got there,” Bush smirked. “You’re aiding the terrorists and we’re coming after you.”
General Pace held his ground. “That does not translate that the Iranian government per se, for sure, is directly involved in doing this. What it does say is that things made in Iran are being used in Iraq to kill coalition soldiers. “There are all kinds of things that originate in the United States that end up in the hands of terrorists — cell phone cases, heavy gauge wire, copper tubing, Paris Hilton videos — and those things are also being used to kill coalition forces. Leave it to Bush to follow a path that will lead him to feel justified in invading his own damn country.”
Some in the media say Pace’s comments fall under the shadow of U.S. intelligence used to justify invading Iraq and therefore question his credibility. “Or,” Pace shot back, “it raises credibility questions about this President and the people who are so damned afraid to contradict him. You’re not questioning those who agree with him, are you? It doesn’t matter and it hasn’t mattered one damn bit what United States Military leaders say or advise. Bush is on his own track with his own train and no one else but Cheney is allowed in the play roo — excuse me — war room.”
Later, when Tony Snow emerged from under Bush’ podium, he was asked if he was sure there are weapons coming out of Iran with the blessings of the government there. Snow replied, “Yes.” It wasn’t immediately clear whether he was answering that question or one posed at the same time: “Are you Max Headroom’s love child?”
Iran denies any involvement. Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hossein said, “No one in Iran had sex with Max Headroom. Such accusations cannot be relied upon or be presented as evidence. The United States has a long history in fabricating evidence. Such charges are unacceptable.”
Tony Snow watched Hossein’s broadcast with misty eyes and a trembling bottom lip. As he was being escorted from the room, he glanced back at the television and eked, “Mother?”