Let me make sure I have matters correct here: military officials were about to fill us in on exactly what Iran has been up to since the United States turned Iraq into The Academy For Lil' Terr'ists, but they've decided not to because it might draw an unpleasant reaction from Iran's leader? Since when has concern for another leader's reaction stopped BushCo et. al. from doing whatever it wanted? And oh, those pesky "inevitable follow-up questions" about how the U.S. should solve a problem like Mahmoud--can't people just let the Decider be the Decider? But wait, now there are senators asking stuff, too:
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A plan by the Bush administration to release detailed and possibly damning specific evidence linking the Iranian government to efforts to destabilize Iraq have been put on hold, U.S. officials told FOX News.
Officials had said a "dossier" against Iran compiled by the U.S. likely would be made public at a press conference this week in Baghdad, and that the evidence would contain specifics including shipping documents, serial numbers, maps and other evidence which officials say would irrefutably link Iran to weapons shipments to Iraq.
Now, U.S. military officials say the decision to go public with the findings has been put on hold for several reasons, including concerns over the reaction from Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad — as well as inevitable follow-up questions that would be raised over what the U.S. should do about it.
During pointed questioning, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., told Negroponte, "What I think many of us are concerned about is that we stumble into active hostilities with Iran without having aggressively pursued diplomatic approaches, without the American people understanding exactly what's taking place."
Obama, a candidate for president in 2008, warned during the hearing that senators of both parties will demand "clarity and transparency in terms of U.S. policy so that we don't repeat some of the mistakes that have been made in the past," a reference to the intelligence questions still dogging the administation's decision to invade Iraq.
Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., a possible presidential candidate, asked Negroponte if he thinks the United States is edging toward a military confrontation with Tehran. In response, Negroponte repeated President Bush's oft-stated preference for diplomacy, although he later added, "We don't rule out other possibilities."
Uh-oh. When a Bushie like Negroponte says something about "other possibilities", it's time to run for cover (bolds mine):
Negroponte, a career diplomat who is leaving a higher-ranked job as the nation's top intelligence official, gave only a mild endorsement of the administration's diplomatic hands-off policy toward Damascus and Tehran.
Negroponte would lead the department's Iraq policy if confirmed, as expected. He said Syria is letting 40 to 75 foreign fighters cross its border into Iraq each month and repeated the charge that Iran is providing lethal help to insurgents fighting U.S. forces in Iraq. Iran and Syria are not helping promote stability and peace in Iraq and understand what the United States and other nations expect of them.
"I would never want to say never with respect to initiating a high-level dialogue with either of these two countries, but that's the position, as I understand it, at this time," Negroponte said.
And of course, Dear Decider plays along, pretending to share our skepticism even as he shovels another 20,000+ young Americans into the Big Oil Profit Protection pipeline:
"I'm like a lot of Americans that say, 'Well, if it wasn't right in Iraq, how do you know it's right in Iran,'" the president said.