So, Mike Mullen’s contention here is that Iran is arming Shiite militias to attack Americans in Iraq.

Iran is sending Shiite Muslim militias in Iraq the most lethal weapons it’s ever provided them, aimed at killing American troops there, the top U.S. military officer said Thursday.

Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, made the accusation in a roundtable with members of the Pentagon Press Association on the same day that two American service members were killed in Baghdad, apparently the victims of a bomb known as an explosively formed penetrator, a type of weapon that U.S. officials say comes from Iran.

“Iran is very directly supporting extremist Shiite groups, which are killing our troops,” Mullen said.

These things never seem to have direct evidence attached to it, but OK. I’ll give that to you. Let me offer a suggestion for stopping these well-armed militias from killing US troops.

US troops could leave Iraq.

Unless Mullen thinks that the Shiites will follow the troops back home – maybe hang on the bars as the helicopters leave the last Iraqi base – I don’t see the issue here. Shiite militias have been extremely explicit – they are targeting US troops because of the rumors that they will extend their military presence beyond the agreed timeline of December 2011. If we announce that we leave, the targeting is likely to stop, and it will certainly stop by December, because there will be no US forces left to be targeted.

Now, Mullen may say that, if we leave, Shiites will terrorize the Iraqi government. Well, the Iraqi government is made up of Shiites, including the Sadrists, who are driving the militia activity. Iran already has the influence inside the Iraqi government that would be feared here. Mullen says that Iran “wants influence.” They already have it!

It seems too perfect that this activity is being used to justify an extended presence in Iraq, when ending the presence would end the activity, too. But this is life at the end of empire.