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Scant Evidence?

12:01 PM, Jan 23, 2007 • By MICHAEL GOLDFARB
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The Los Angeles Times reports today on the "scant evidence" of an Iran-Iraq arms link. And what evidence does the Times offer to back up this claim?

During a recent sweep through a stronghold of Sunni insurgents here, a single Iranian machine gun turned up among dozens of arms caches U.S. troops uncovered.

No surprise there, Iran is unlikely to funnel weapons and cash to Sunni insurgents (though it shouldn't be ruled out). Still, the Times concedes "that U.S. forces have picked up specially shaped charges used to make roadside bombs capable of penetrating advanced armor . . . with markings that could be traced to Iran and dates that were recent."

"Two years ago we were debating whether this was really happening," the [high-ranking intelligence] official said. "Now the debate is over."

So, "the debate is over," and every serious discussion of the IEDs focuses on the increased lethality of the devices owing to the influence of Iran--and the Times admits as much:

A second high-ranking U.S. intelligence official in Washington acknowledged that only a "small percentage" of explosions in Iraq could be linked to shaped charges coming from Iran.

"But in terms of American casualties, they are significant," he said, because they are much more lethal than standard roadside bombs.

How on earth, then, does the Times run a story under the headline "Scant evidence found of Iran-Iraq arms link"?