Monday, December 03, 2007

The Iranian Nuclear Program

The NYT reports that declassified excerpts from a National Intelligence Estimate declare "with 'high confidence' that a military-run Iranian program intended to transform that raw material into a nuclear weapon has been shut down since 2003, and also says with high confidence that the halt 'was directed primarily in response to increasing international scrutiny and pressure.'" Although the NYT suggestively writes that the new NIE contradicts "judgment two years ago that Tehran was working relentlessly toward building a nuclear bomb" the fact is that the "contradiction" was issued from the same shop. Intelligence agencies regularly revise their assessments with the availability of new information. It's a feature, not a bug.

But what does the core assertion that Iran was once working on a nuclear weapons program but is no longer doing so really mean? A number of questions arise in this regard.



  • Why was Iran not provoked into further and more frantic efforts to develop nuclear weapons by the invasion of Iraq?
  • Why did Iranian leadership on so many occasions threaten to rain fire and destruction down Israel when they were apparently stopping their nuclear weapons efforts at the same time? Or to put it another way, why threaten to shoot someone while at the same time unloading the gun?
  • As this timeline from the BBC shows, no new sanctions were imposed on Iran between 2000 and 2005. In March 2000, US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright called for a new start in US-Iranian relations and announces lifting of sanctions on Iranian exports ranging from carpets to food products." The UN Security Council voted to impose additional sanctions in 2006, but this was one year after Iran had essentially given up, according to the NIE estimate.

Whether or not the Iranian nuclear program is active today, the items above suggest that diplomacy and sanctions alone don't tell the whole story. The biggest source of pressure on Iran in the period immediately before 2005 was obviously the US operation in Iraq. What effect it had on the Iranian nuclear decision historians will decide. But it is probable that cumulative pressure from a wide variety of sources stopped Iran's program -- if indeed it has stopped. Diplomacy can record its effect on a state's behavior, in the same way a thermometer records the temperature. But just as a thermometer doesn't cause the temperature neither does diplomacy in and of itself create effects.

In the post The Real Surge I argued that the reconstitution of the Iraqi state and it's army would push Iran to the stretching point and perhaps facilitate a relatively peaceful transition in that country in the same way the Soviet empire was collapsed. I wrote:

Even if the US never takes any military action against Iran the creation of a new and modern Iraqi Army, well supplied with artillery and logistics (as appears to be the case) will create a threat in being for the Ayatollahs. From a situation in which the Teheran could contemplate virtually annexing southern Iraq (as would have occurred if the US had admitted defeat in early 2007 and left) the Ayatolahs now face the prospect of having to maintain large permanent standing forces on their border with Iraq. Nor is this all. If most US ground forces are freed up by the Real Surge the Iranians will suddenly face the prospect of dangerous mobile US reserve. All in all it would be a nightmarish burden for Teheran to shoulder.

Does this mean war in the Middle East? Ironically the Real Surge may actually reduce the prospect of war considerably, while at the same time improving the prospects for the peaceful resolution of the Iranian nuclear problem. While it is possible that Iran, watching its window of opportunity closing, may become suddenly reckless and launch an all-out attack to destabilize Iraq, it is probably too late for banzai measures. The odds are that Iran has been strategically beaten, first by the American Surge and worse, by the follow-on Iraqi resurgence.

The intolerable burden of maintaining a war-footing against the new Iraq, guarding against possible American action, Western sanctions and the need to refurbish its collapsing oil industry while maintaining a nuclear program may collapse the theocrats in Teheran in the same way it did the old Soviet Union.

That might be a good thing. For Iran, Iraq, America and the whole world.

Something like this may be happening already. Many pundits will now seize upon the new NIE to argue that the Iranian threat was overblown from the start; that it was never really necessary to do anything to prevent the Ayatollahs from getting a bomb. But that is a perverted argument which reverses the order of things. The reason the Iranian bomb program was prevented or slowed was because it was taken seriously and the necessary counter-pressures were implemented.

Whether or not Iran's nuclear weapons program is stopped is a question that will be re-examined in future NIEs. But if it has stopped the probable reason is that the Aytaollahs looked at what it would cost them and said, "nah". All that the Latin maxim "igitur qui desiderat pacem, praeparet bellum" really means is that you want to be treated with respect, don't act like a chump.

38 Comments:

Blogger whiskey_199 said...

Wretchard --

I think you give too much credence (which is any) to the NIE. Which is made up of hardline Bush-haters "determined to prevent the next war" or ... do anything about Iran, and therefore lied to give Iran space to build their bombs.

Iran suddenly STOPS making Nukes? PLEASE.

If they stopped, why not announce it and let inspectors in? Ask for normalization with the US since Iran would very notably NOT be making nuclear weapons? Ask for the same set of goodies Libya got, including release from terrorism judgments.

Why threaten Israel repeatedly along with the US? Why all the nuclear weapons rhetoric? Why the confrontations with Israel in Lebanon, Gaza, the West Bank, along with the US in the Gulf and Iraq, and the UK in the Gulf, and elsewhere?

Moreover, WHY GIVE UP 30 years of STATED Iranian policy from Khomeni onwards to develop nuclear weapons?

The NIE and the rest are likely to be proven wrong within a year when nuke tests are conducted, possibly over Jerusalem and Tel Aviv and Iran makes it demands (or else NYC gets it).

Please. Iran has gone the extra step to make nuclear weapons and keep inspectors out. Lied every step of the way. Because gutless intel people want to kick the problem down the road we are supposed to believe them instead of our "own lying eyes?"

12/03/2007 04:35:00 PM  
Blogger TigerHawk said...

I'm listening to CNN with one ear at gate C1 at O'Hare, but I think I just heard that the report was essentially finished a year ago and only released now. Why the delay? If it was so the nefarious Bushies could plot against Iran, why is it now released? My guess is that its purpose is to prepare Americans for some sort of "settlement" with Iran that was only possible because the Bush administration has been rattling and even deploying sabres for the last year.

I have to board now, but I'll swing back around later and see what the BC's esteemed readers do to that theory.

12/03/2007 05:06:00 PM  
Blogger eggplant said...

I'm compelled to view this thing cynically. President Bush has said that he would resolve the Iranian thing before he left office. Unfortunately resolving the Iranian thing almost guaranteed a world-wide recession because the Iranians would have bottled up the Straits of Hormuz. It is clear that the President has decided the price was too high. Therefore he has "declared victory" by releasing this NIE (maybe he figures the Pakis are a bigger nuke threat).

Watch what Israel does. They're the canary in the coal mine.

12/03/2007 05:07:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

There was a report earlier this year that I gave little credence to, that the North Koreans sent a ship loaded with nuclear material and possibly missiles as well to Iran and that the USN sunk it just before it entered the Persian Gulf. Sounded too Tom Clancyish to me, but shortly thereafter both sides seemed to start getting a lot more "reasonable." As the old saying goes "A Smith and Wesson beats four aces."

And I hope our gracious host will not mind too much if I post the following:

If you go to this web site, www.letssaythanks.com , you can pick out a thank you card and Xerox will print it and it will be sent to a soldier that is currently serving in Iraq. You can 't pick out who gets it, but it will go to some member of the armed services.

12/03/2007 05:16:00 PM  
Blogger CW said...

There are a few things to point out about this new NIE.

First, the NIE cites new intel. The only intel that might be available could have been from documents Israelis spirited out of the Syrian target site.

Second, that target site may have been an assembly site for nuclear weapons. Iran's program is currently geared toward weapons-fuel production. There was an obvious synergy here. Moreover, if Iran does develop enough fissionable uranium (rather than plutonium), then assembling a fission bomb is a comparatively low-tech operation.

Third, this NIE could have been written for domestic consumption. The brief may simply be another way of saying that Bush will leave Iran for his successor to deal with.

CW

12/03/2007 05:27:00 PM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

Or alternatively, the NIE is written by Plame and friends (who knows more about Iran than a Trophy Wife?) to rebut Dem weakness.

Hillary or Obama soft on Iran? No problem, redefine the threat away. Now if Iran will only cooperate by not nuking anyone between now and the Dem Coronation, the surrender can begin in earnest.

Of course the NIE is garbage. Meant mainly to elect Dems.

12/03/2007 05:34:00 PM  
Blogger Wretchard said...

This might be worth thinking about. Is there a value to the current members of the nuclear club (China, Russia) to keeping the membership small? If the Russians and the Chinese let anybody get the bomb what would that mean to their geopolitical influence?

12/03/2007 05:50:00 PM  
Blogger Westhawk said...

I conclude in this post that Iran gave up nothing by halting its nuclear weaponization effort in 2003.

1. The nuclear weapons engineering aspects of Iran's (or anyone's) nuclear program can wait until the fissile material processes are more mature. Iran lost nothing when it halted weaponization while proceeding with uranium enrichment and the Arak heavy-water reactor.

2. There is likely a severe "mole hunt" now underway in Iran, and the U.S. intel effort will pay the price for that. But because Washington leaks, the Bush administration had to go public with this NIE.

3. This NIE makes war more likely. Although nothing about the Iranian threat has changed, urgency about the problem is now deflated. The chance of miscalculation has gone up.

Please read my post and let me know what you think.

Westhawk

12/03/2007 06:15:00 PM  
Blogger Kinuachdrach said...

It is very hard to take the NIE "no problem" estimate seriously when it begins by ascribing the presumed Iranian 2003 decision to stop work on nuclear weapons to diplomatic pressure rather than to the obvious military misadventure which then befell Saddam Hussein. Especially when the removal of Saddam had the precise effect on Libya at that same time of causing them to cease development of nuclear weapons.

The simplest explanation for this NIE is that it is the usual bunch of Washington bureaucrats trying to assist Democrat candidates by lowering concerns about national security. Knowing that the bureaucrats would leak the NIE to the NYT anyway, the Bush Administration released it -- so that all could read it and see how thin it really is.

12/03/2007 06:40:00 PM  
Blogger Wretchard said...

More developments. Ottawa says Iran expels Canadian ambassador

12/03/2007 06:44:00 PM  
Blogger eggplant said...

I urge members of Belmont Club to read the NIE PDF linked by Westhawk:

http://www.dni.gov/press_releases/20071203_release.pdf

RWE repeated the bit of gossip that the USN may have earlier sunk a North Korean ship carrying nuclear material to Iran. I've never read of this before (RWE, do you have a link to this story?). However most of us have read the accounts of the Israelis destroying the nuclear reactor in Syria. There has been some speculation that the U.S. was involved in the Israeli action. Also there has been considerable speculation about why the Syrians didn't make a bigger fuss about having their reactor destroyed. Perhaps the Iranians were more involved in the Syrian nuclear activity than is common knowledge? Perhaps by destroying the Syrian nuclear capability, a significant Iranian nuclear asset was destroyed as well?

Again, for more insight, listen to what the Israelis are saying on this topic but distrust DEBKA which is unreliable.

12/03/2007 06:54:00 PM  
Blogger buck smith said...

Interesting to note that the opinions of the two worthies - Wretchard and Westhawk are not contradictry. It can be true that Real Surge may actually reduce the prospect of war considerably AND that this NIE makes war more likely.

12/03/2007 07:50:00 PM  
Blogger Wretchard said...

The only long term solution to the Iranian problem is a regime change. The question is how to achieve that change.

The problem with the Iranian bomb has never fundamentally been with the bomb itself, but with the nature of the regime.

Since the "international community" cannot bring itself to overthrow the Ayatollahs, it has approached the problem from the standpoint of saying that nuclear weapons are bad -- from the viewpoint of nonproliferation -- led by a Security Council all of whose members are nuclear powers. But in the end only the emergence of a democratic and non-hostile Iran will solve the nuclear crisis in the region. Now maybe this can happen without resort to military conflict. Perhaps Iran can be made to shake itself straight in the manner of Eastern Europe. It's a nice prospect, but it's far from certain. However, there's merit to trying to bring about regime change in Teheran short of military action.

12/03/2007 08:07:00 PM  
Blogger Mad Fiddler said...

Much wiser commenters than I have pointed out that Iran is PERSIAN, as much as it is MUSLIM.

The people of Iran are acutely aware of their own legacy and inheritance as an empire from out of the mists of history. This seems to have colored their own brand of Shi'ah Islam.

I remember during the Hostage Crisis of 1979 watching newsreels of tens of thousands of Iranian Pilgrims whipping themselves with barbed thongs and cutting their foreheads and scalps with blades as they marched and sang.

For the Shi'a of Iran, this is ASHURA, the commemoration of the murder by the caliph Yazid the first, of Imam al-Husayn (Husayn ibn Ali --- Grandson of Muhammed) and 72 others of his family in an ambush near Karbala' in the 61st year of Islam. (680 A.D.--- Thanks, but I really don't care for that C.E. crap...)

Imam al-Husayn is regarded as the patron, founder, spiritual fount of Shi-ite, and most importantly, by birth the proper inheritor of the mantle of leadership from the Prophet.

The THIRD Imam, he shoulda been.

Although the Prophet Muhammed had on his deathbed is said to have declared his preference for his own son-in-law --- a blood cousin --- to be his successor, jealousy prevailed among his followers, and envious ones refused to bring him pen and paper to record his words. Flouting his intent, they voted among themselves and declared a more mature person to be their leader --- Abu Bakr.

Even though Abu Bakr was father-in-law to Muhammed and already an acknowledged leader, his elevation was an affront to those who believed the succession should be through the bloodline of Muhammed himself.

The gulf between Sunni and Shia starts in this sundering.

Evidently there were no contemporary historical accounts of the events, only oral traditions that were passed down for a number of generations of the diverging camps before being set down with much coloring and shading.

Many of the oral traditions have become the so-called "Hadith" which are not regarded as sacrosanct as the Qur'an itself, but pretty darned sanct, nonetheless.

So anyhow,

12/03/2007 08:48:00 PM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

Westhawk, I agree completely that war is more likely. Iran gave up nothing. Very likely they will let off a test within the next two years.

WHEN that happens the credibility of intel will be in tatters, and we'll face nuclear war. Since Iran will already have nukes, the ability to hand them off to Hezbollah as a deniable proxy, and the belief that America can get rolled easily.

We had a chance to do something about Iran's regime (Wretchard is right) but too many people are afraid. So a small but manageable problem becomes an existential one.

And no Wretchard, Tigerhawk is wrong. Nukes give China and Russia no real leverage for their agenda: displacement of the US as the dominant power by themselves. Thus they have every incentive to proliferate since the US is the main target while they can pick up the pieces after the US is nuked.

12/03/2007 09:54:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

Wretchard said....
The problem with the Iranian bomb has never fundamentally been with the bomb itself, but with the nature of the regime.
///////////////
I disagree.

The problem has been the bomb itself. The reason for this is that if the Iranians get the bomb--this will set off an arms race in the Moslem world. The Arabs in the gulf and north africa have already initiated plans to build nuclear power plants in the last year. They all did so simultaneously and response to the Iranian sabre rattling. If the Iranians get away with building a bomb --then the arabs will build their own.

The NIE is either a rogue agency or something very fundamental has been learned in recent months. and it would have only been learned very recently.

The problem here is that to avoid being bombed and to wait out the bush administration -- the iranians could very well have stood down their nuclear bomb program.

No biggie. Wait out the GWB and start again under a new president. With a little luck a clinton might get in.

Which is it? Beats me. More info please.

12/03/2007 10:25:00 PM  
Blogger Gary Rosen said...

Charles:

"The problem here is that to avoid being bombed and to wait out the bush administration -- the iranians could very well have stood down their nuclear bomb program."

Makes sense to me.

12/03/2007 11:14:00 PM  
Blogger eggplant said...

I wonder if the release of this declassified NIE has less to do with Iran and more to do with political damage control?

Reading between the lines, here's a possible scenario: Someone with an agenda leaked the classified version of the NIE to the MSM. Perhaps the classified NIE was one of many different documents with different perspectives concerning Iran's nuclear program. The President was made aware that the MSM was about to slowly leak out the classified information to cause maximum political harm. Therefore the President preempted them by releasing a declassified version of the NIE as damage control.

12/03/2007 11:33:00 PM  
Blogger ledger said...

It doesn’t help our posture to have a significant number of F-15 aircraft grounded at this time. And, I would assume the dems are holding up funding to get them back in the air.


11/4/2007 - WASHINGTON (AFPN) -- The Air Force suspended non-mission critical F-15 flight operations on Nov. 3 following the crash of a Missouri Air National Guard F-15C aircraft Nov. 2.

See: Air Force news

12/03/2007 11:40:00 PM  
Blogger TGGP said...

Greg Cochran is skeptical, and he's the guy who wrote Size Matters.

Personally, I wouldn't be too upset if they had nukes. Maybe MAD would stop the crazies in our government from screwing around.

12/04/2007 12:01:00 AM  
Blogger Mike H. said...

eggplant, the NK ship story was from Debkafile. In this instance it's being reported by securenet.bc.ca.

12/04/2007 12:32:00 AM  
Blogger Kevin said...

This NEI is most likely the reward Iran gets for quieting things down in Iraq. STRATFOR has been warning of this for some time. Not that the US had a realistic military option. And perhaps now that Iran controls most of southern Iraq it feels it is time for peace so that the US can gracefully exit.

In any case, Iran is continuing to develop its capacity to enrich uranium and to produce plutonium. These are the real keys to achieving nuclear weapons. The final step of weaponizing these materials is relatively straight forward and difficult to detect. So the distinction between a weapons and a power generating nuclear program is small.

I think many people can agree that it would be best for Iran if some sort of regime change could take place. History shows that the best people to do this would be the Iranians themselves. A diminishing of regional tension could give the Iranian people the breathing room they need to get the job done.

12/04/2007 02:44:00 AM  
Blogger CW said...

Earlier today (Middle East time), Ehud Barak said that the released NIE does not fully describe the situation. He says that Iran resumed work on its nuclear weaponry program and that the US intel community knows this.

To me, the existence of all of those centrifuges and the refusal of Iran to accept cheaper, foreign supplied reactor fuel demonstrates that Iran aims to have a nuclear weapon. Therefore, I say that this NIE is a message that Iran will be the next POTUS' problem.

CW

12/04/2007 06:02:00 AM  
Blogger joe buz said...

NI"Estimate" as opposed of course to NI"Fact".
Interesting possibility... that sitting on intel regarding some sort of stoppage in weaponization could have also possibly been intended for use as later leverage. If that was in fact what was done in order to force Iran to stand down in Iraq, then there are a few in the community earning their pay while others bat their eyelashes and hoist cleavage in front of Congress and the lame stream media.

12/04/2007 06:34:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...

If, as Tigerhawk suggests, the administration released the report to prepare the political battlefield on the homefront, there are two without-a-doubt predictions we can make.

1. The narrative put forth will be Bush's success in stopping Axis-of-Evil proliferation. Iraq flattened and being rebuilt "bottom-up"; North Korean proliferation neutralized by the much maligned "Six-party talks"; and now Iran reacting to military encirclement (and saber-rattling) by quietly giving up their weapons program. None of this would have happened had the Democrats had their way.

2. Rove is involved. His statement that we can't count Bush out, that against all odds he will be politically consequential in 2008, and the timing of the report's release (after several televised debates and campaign stops where the candidates were forced to carve out positions on Bush foreign policy*) -- this has all the signs of Rovian gamemanship. In fact, a fun exercise would be to sift through the youtube clips of both parties' candidates and try to pick out the clip and/or montage that creates the soon-to-be-exploited vulnerability.

* Remember John Kerry?

12/04/2007 07:10:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...

Oh, and one more thing.

State of the Union. While lesser officials might float trial balloons in the weeks leading up to it, it will almost certainly be this speech where Bush will gift-wrap the "winning narrative" for the Republicans.

And note: next to a message of Surge success -- which is immanently vulnerable to EVENT, and therefore a house built on sand -- a narrative derived from "proliferation reports" is a house built on solid rock, especially when your opponents, to attack the report, have to reverse themselves so completely (and risk giving the Bush War Machine the dreaded justification for another military adventure).

I could be wrong. But it would be pretty smart, no?

12/04/2007 07:27:00 AM  
Blogger sleeper said...

When you read the whole text of the NIE, you notice that they are very confident that Iran halted the nuclear weapons program in 2003; they state with only "moderate confidence" that Iran has not restarted the program.

12/04/2007 08:09:00 AM  
Blogger eggplant said...

sleeper said:

"When you read the whole text of the NIE, you notice that they are very confident that Iran halted the nuclear weapons program in 2003"

That text is what makes me suspect that significant Iran weapons hardware was destroyed when the Israelis took out the Syrian nuclear facility. My reasoning/speculation is the Iranians shifted their nuclear weapons assets over to Syria in 2003 to consolidate them with North Korean shipments. Moving the hardware to Syria gave the Iranians the option of having their own territory subjected to exhaustive inspections by the UN while continuing their nuclear weapons development program unhindered. Then the Israelis destroyed the Syrian facility and the game was over. Release of the NIE might be intended as a signal that the US knows the game is over so lets talk about it privately.

Obviously there is more to this NIE than meets the eye.

Mike H. said:

"the NK ship story was from Debkafile."

That means the story is disinformation. DEBKA mainly does agitation and propaganda. Most of DEBKA's stories are fabrications produced by people very knowledgeable about the Middle East. When reading DEBKA, ignore what they're saying but instead ask "Why are they saying this?".

12/04/2007 08:42:00 AM  
Blogger Neo Conservative said...

*
geez, guys... never mind the iranians, somebody should be keeping an eye on toronto city council.

*

12/04/2007 10:19:00 AM  
Blogger Brian said...

In January or February 2007, Ali Rez Asgari, a former deputy defense minister who once commanded the Revolutionary Guard, defected and began cooperating with western intelligence agencies.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/03/07/AR2007030702241_pf.html

I'll bet that is where the new intelligence comes from. whether we should believe it - I don't know. Hopefully we are competent enough to find some ways to verify his info.

I think that this is clear sign that the United States and Iran have struck a deal and I shudder to think what its terms are. This administration has now publicly committed itself to not attack Iran. It also recently began to publicly state that Iran was no longer sending EFP's to Iraq.

I never thought an attack on Iran was remotely likely - nor did Iran. If it was going to have happened it would have had to happen in the 2003 to 2005 time frame. After that, Bush was hobbled.

So that makes me wonder what is the real consideration for the deal.

What did we agree to give Iran for a little peace (face saving?) in Iraq?

If I were a Christian Lebanese, I would be very worried.

Or perhaps with this disclosure we just told Iran that it was free to discretely develop nukes - and when they finally test them the former Bush admin and the new administration will shrug its shoulders and say "hey - Intel said they stopped - we did all we could".

12/04/2007 11:31:00 AM  
Blogger mike said...

I've always seen conflict with Iran as something more likely to occur over Iraq than over "the nuclear issue". Particularly after the Saddam-WMD mess.

Even BushHitler might know this.

So, maybe the dust-up with Iraq was always REALLY about Iraq. Now that we *appear* to have some cooperation from them in terms of Iraq...we ease up on them in terms of the nuclear issue (which was never really an issue).

A bit wild-eyed I guess. But maybe it *was* an issue...which we "solved" in 2003...but we used it against them anyway to pressure them on Iraq.

Just an idea.

12/04/2007 03:51:00 PM  
Blogger Zenster said...

Although nothing about the Iranian threat has changed, urgency about the problem is now deflated. The chance of miscalculation has gone up.

One question: Exactly who stands to lose the most from making any miscalculation? Hint: It isn't Iran.

We had a chance to do something about Iran's regime (Wretchard is right) but too many people are afraid. So a small but manageable problem becomes an existential one ... Nukes give China and Russia no real leverage for their agenda: displacement of the US as the dominant power by themselves. Thus they have every incentive to proliferate since the US is the main target while they can pick up the pieces after the US is nuked.

Again: Which single country alone faces the greatest penalty for any misjudgment?

In any case, Iran is continuing to develop its capacity to enrich uranium and to produce plutonium. These are the real keys to achieving nuclear weapons. The final step of weaponizing these materials is relatively straight forward and difficult to detect. So the distinction between a weapons and a power generating nuclear program is small.

Then, given such well-documented efforts upon Iran's part to conceal, harden and dissemble about the extent of their nuclear program, how is it that we are suddenly able to be so confident about anything having to do with Iran?

I think many people can agree that it would be best for Iran if some sort of regime change could take place. History shows that the best people to do this would be the Iranians themselves. A diminishing of regional tension could give the Iranian people the breathing room they need to get the job done.

Far too optimistic. There is only one way of making sure that Iran is incapable of constructing a nuclear bomb. First: Wipe out all of the known facilities and the infrastructure (power grid & roadbeds) that support them. Second: Obtain regime change.

Regime change alone will not guarantee the absolute preclusion of Iran acquiring nuclear weapons. Demolishing their R&D program through a campaign of catastrophic dissasembly is one of the only measures that will give us any peace of mind.

Iran has been one of America's absolute worst enemies for the last three decades. Even if we were entirely mistaken about their current intentions, bombing the crap out of them would be the very least retribution they deserve for all of the Americans they have already killed.

Taqiyya makes is completely impossible to trust Iran as far as we can throw it. How can anyone possibly trust an outdated NIE that furthers an incredibly partisan agenda at such a crucial hour? Even Arab appeaser extraordinaire, Condi Rice, says that easing pressure on Iran would be a "big mistake".

Broken centrifuges cannot refine fissile material. End of story.

12/04/2007 06:05:00 PM  
Blogger mike said...

Hey, Time seems to agree, in some ways, with my previous idea: http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1690696,00.html

"The real story behind this NIE is that the Bush Administration has finally concluded Iran is a bridge too far. With Iranian-backed Shi'a groups behaving themselves, things are looking up in Iraq. In Lebanon, the anti-Syrian coalition and pro-Syrian coalition, which includes Iran's surrogate Hizballah, reportedly have settled on a compromise candidate, the army commander General Michel Suleiman. Bombing Iran now would upset the fragile balance in these two countries. "

12/05/2007 06:43:00 AM  
Blogger Fred said...

I think it is curious that the people who control and dominate the NIE have chosen to ignore or discount the MOSSAD intel on Iran's nuclear weapons' development programs. I think MOSSAD is a far better intelligence organization than the CIA, DIA, and NSA combined, because it does what we seem unwilling or unable to do: rely on HUMINT more than technology.

We are witnessing the ongoing tragedy of the politicization of our intelligence communities. Thank you, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter. You've destroyed what remained of the fine capabilities we had inherited from the OSI and what it accomplished.

The result of that is going to be catastrophic for our nation and our allies. My only hope is that when this happens we acquire the backbone and the patience to rebuild - learn from our mistakes.

12/05/2007 01:48:00 PM  
Blogger Fred said...

I ceased trusting and having faith in our intelligence agencies many years ago. FISA did inestimable damage to them. It put a dark cloud over them and politicized them. The lawyers took over and displaced the real professionals. And it was The Party of Jackasses that did this, because it is the party most dominated by the legal professionals. Every one of their candidates for CIC is a lawyer by profession. The vast majority of their senators and congressmen are LAWYERS.

Lawyers just think differently than warriors do. It's CYA and looking forward to how to politically exploit conflicts, building alliances within the State Department and that crowd.

12/05/2007 01:56:00 PM  
Blogger Fred said...

Yes, I think President Bush has kicked this can down the road. Let the Party of Jackasses deal with it in their own fashion when their person is in the Oval Office. It will be sanguinary, but it will be a lesson learned that the American people will finally "get it."

12/05/2007 01:59:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Fred - I think it is curious that the people who control and dominate the NIE have chosen to ignore or discount the MOSSAD intel on Iran's nuclear weapons' development programs. I think MOSSAD is a far better intelligence organization than the CIA, DIA, and NSA combined, because it does what we seem unwilling or unable to do: rely on HUMINT more than technology.

Oh, please Fred..be a Zionist dupe, but hopefully relocated in another country willing to shed lives and treasure so the Zionists shed not a drop or a shekel.

Israel uses its Intel to at times manipulate dumb goys into fighting and spending on Israel's behalf. NO other declaration, not even the UK;s, was as important to Bush and AIPAC as (1)Declaration without doubt that Israeli HUMINT had confirmed Iraqi had Vast, Hidden Quantities of WMD that threatened Israel. (2) Ace Mossad agents "fully assured" America that the "vast hidden WMD stockpiles" were shipped to Syria then Lebanon's Bekaa Valley, and buried for use by AQ and Sunni Ba'athists in insurgency ops.

Then of course, as the US bogged down, the puppeteers changed the primary target to the "Munich Appeasement-Holocaust slavoring-for" Iranians with "genocidal nukes" were almost ready to wipe out America and "Our Special Friend".

Lessons:

1. Beware of intel from any nation seeking to make you their Golem and expend blood and treasure on their behalf.

2. More closely trust the intelligence of people who will bleed and blow huge sums of money alongside you in war.

3. Don't attribute legendary genius to a Mossad agency that relied mainly on the disloyalty of Jews in Arab lands to get info by spying. That may have been true in the 50s and even 60s, but the disloyal Jewish elements have been recognized thanks to Mossad blabbermouths as a hidden 5th column, and fairly well cleansed out of Iran, Iraq, Egypt, Syria.

12/05/2007 06:51:00 PM  
Blogger showhank said...

Maybe this is a bit late.

Could this NIE be a method for the West to step back from confrontation with the Russia-Iran alliance? How strong is this alliance? Is a move against Iran to costly with Russia in the picture? Are we back to a Cold war type standoff?

This was my first thought when I saw the news break.

12/06/2007 09:44:00 AM  

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