Remember the local Boston TV reporter who gave George Bush a pop quiz on the names of foreign leaders during the 2000 campaign? Some neat trick, huh? Well, maybe it's time to trot out that trick again. Howard Dean just told Wolf Blitzer on Newsnight that Ansar al-Islam was not only not a threat to us but harassing Iran and therefore may have been "tacitly supported" by us. Well they were doing a whole lot more than harassing the Kurds, and trying to do a whole lot more than that to our European allies (remember the various ricin scares in Paris and London last Spring?). No one disputes that they trained in Afghanistan with al Queda and I haven't heard anyone dispute that after we attacked Afghanistan their ranks were increased by al Queda on the run.
There is a group -- I am going to butcher this name and no doubt get a dozen emails -- that was allowed to base in Iraq by Saddam because they were anti-Iranian, and on second thought, I don't even remember well enough to butcher the name, I just remember the intials, MeK. And some Americans, including some in Congress thought because of their anti-Mullah attitudes we should cut them some slack and after the war there was controversy when despite their status as a terrorist group we called a cease fire with them. But that ain't Ansar al-Islam, Mr. Governor. Would have been a really neat trick if famed foreign correspondent Wolf Blitzer had gotten into any of this, huh?
Update: I knew I'd gotten the initials right. Mujahadeen al (or "el") Khalq -- an alert (and helpful) reader sends in this: