Michael Gordon of the NY Times, whose article is reprinted on the front page of the Philly Inq or Inky today (Feb 10) also worked with Judith Miller in producing her now-discredited (But never accepted by the left blogosphere) scare stories about Iraqi WMD in late 2002 and early 2003. Gordon is in full Pravda mode here, citing "officials" and "intelligence" without once examining or analyzing whether any of his charges are accurate or even credible.
Jonathan Schwarz throws further cold water on the theory, "revealing" (snark alert) that "According to Jill Abramson, the paper's Managing Editor, Gordon was purchased for $27.95 at a Radio Shack on West 43rd Street." Y'see, "Gordon" is just a voice-activated tape recorder that regurgitates Bush Administration talking points on cue. It's all really very amusing, you see. Well, of course, people die from these cute little "jokes" but hey...well...err...hmph.
Right-wing blogs have been claiming for several years that there was a sort of a "Ho Chi Minh Trail" running from Iran to the Iraq insurgency. Major problem with that thesis is not simply the lack of evidence for any such trail, but the complete lack of a need for one. As the (British) Independent puts it: "...most Iraqi men possess weapons. Many millions of them received military training under Saddam Hussein." The Iraqi Army received training in advanced armaments directly from US and US-allied sources. The ammo dumps, storing vast quantities of ammunition that can be fashioned into IED's (Improvised Explosive Devices) were left unsecured in the rush to take Baghdad in March-April 2003. The technology used to fashion IED's is not terribly advanced, in fact, it was used back during World War I and immediately afterwards. Shaped charges (The devices that are designed to "...explode and spit out molten balls of copper that cut through armor") were developed during that war and roadside bombs, which can be detonated from afar, were developed during the Irish war of independence in 1919-21. The assertion made by the US that serial numbers on retrieved bomb fragments prove that the bombs came from Iran calls for an unbelievable level of incompetence from Iranians that would be on a par with an agent sneaking into an enemy country on a secret mission and carrying his ID card with him. Why on earth would a country identify the materials that it was sending over to another country if it wanted to keep its involvement secret?
It is not possible to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that Iran is not sending arms into Iraq. What is very unclear is why Iraqi insurgents would require any such help in order to fight American troops or, given the hostility left over from the Iran-Iraq war of 1980-1988 (Iraqi Shiites are friendly to Iran. The insurgents are mostly Sunnis, who hate Iran), why they'd welcome any such help.