Media Imprecision

Matt's observation that the media, in discussing Iraq's future, is conflating a pro-Iranian government with an Iranian-style government misses the point, I think. The conversation isn't really about the institution of velayet-e faqih (Khomeini's philosophy that only those steeped in Islamic jursiprudence can rule) or friendly relations with their Shi'a neighbor. The commentary on Iran is being used as a heuristic for the possibility of Iraq emerging as an anti-American government. That's what they mean by Iran-style, they may as well say "hostage-crisis style". And that's also the fuzziness Matt's picking up on. The media, invested in pro-democracy spin, doesn't want to publicly legitimize the potential for democracy to achieve an anti-American result, but they do want to discuss it somehow. Iran, despite having been instrumental in the success of our invasion, is useful in conjuring up images of Western-hating theocracies. So they keep name-dropping it, sometimes in context of who Iraq's allies will be, sometimes in context of how Iraq's government will form, but always with the same end in mind.