If people can tear themselves away from all the media hype about Anna Nicole Smith and the circumstances of her death that seems to be overshadowing nearly everything else in television news coverage today, there’s actually something that needs a closer look.

This story starts out with a headline that quotes Defense Secretary Robert Gates saying flat out that the U.S. can prove Iran has been actively involved in supporting some of the insurgents in Iraq.

Gates: U.S. can prove Iran’s Iraq role (AP)

AP – Serial numbers and markings on explosives used in Iraq
provide "pretty good" evidence that Iran is providing either weapons
or technology for militants there, Defense Secretary Robert Gates
asserted Friday.

The problem is that given this headline, and this opening paragraph, you’d expect a pretty strong followup wouldn’t you?  Unfortunately, that’s not at all what we get:

Offering some of the first public details of evidence the military has collected, Gates said, “I think there’s some serial numbers, there may be some markings on some of the projectile fragments that we found,” that point to Iran.

Um, Excuse me, but after an opening like that all we get from him is "I think theres some serial numbers" and "there may be some markings"?!  This guy’s got to be kidding.

Make no mistake, I don’t doubt for one second that Iran is up to it’s turbans in supplying and helping insurgent groups whose politics & religion agree with the official Iranian line.  None whatsoever.  At the very least, they’re still mad about the Iran – Iraq war, not to mention the strong possibility that they’re playing power games trying to have more control over that part of the world.

My point here is that if a Defense Secretary is going to make a statement like the above headline quotes, then he’d blasted well better be able to back it up with something a lot stronger than "I think" and "there may be".  Instead, he needs to trot out hard data and actual physical samples.

Show some projectile fragments with Iranian serial numbers and markings on them and say "This is Iranian manufactured".  If you’re going to accuse somebody of something and say you’ve got evidence, then you need to trot that evidence out for all to see and say "Here’s the proof of what I’m accusing you of."

Statements like "I think" and "there may be" don’t accomplish anything but make you look like you don’t really know what you’re talking about.

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