Esoteric Dissertations from a One-Track Mind

December 6, 2007

The National Intelligence Estimate Blowback

Filed under: politics — Tags: , , — codesmithy @ 10:27 am

A newly released National Intelligence Estimate undermines one of Bush’s arguments for keeping all options on the table with respect to Iran.  It states:

We judge with high confidence that in fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program (1) ; we also assess with moderate-to-high confidence that Tehran at a minimum is keeping open the option to develop nuclear weapons. We judge with high confidence that the halt, and Tehran’s announcement of its decision to suspend its declared uranium enrichment program and sign an Additional Protocol to its Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Safeguards Agreement, was directed primarily in response to increasing international scrutiny and pressure resulting from exposure of Iran’s previously undeclared nuclear work.

1 For the purposes of this Estimate, by “nuclear weapons program” we mean Iran’s nuclear weapon design and weaponization work and covert uranium conversion-related and uranium enrichment-related work; we do not mean Iran’s declared civil work related to uranium conversion and enrichment.

I would suggest reading the whole report from the link provided. However, I’ll summarize it: it is basically the consensus of the intelligence community that Iran does respond to diplomatic pressure, and that is the best route to deal with their potential nuclear weapons programs. Secondly, there is no need to rush because it is unlikely Iran will be able to produce the highly-enriched uranium they would need before late 2009, and it is most likely going to be later.

Why was this report released when it seems to deflate Bush’s rush to war? He probably couldn’t help it. Government is naturally very porous. The Iraq war is very unpopular. The intelligence community got slammed as a scape goat for the Iraq war and 9/11. People within the government know what is going on. If an opponent to the administration’s policy on Iran in the government had the report, they would leak it to the press. The political calculation that Bush made was to fess up now, rather than be caught by it later. The essential conclusions of the report aren’t new, the IAEA has been saying the same thing for over a year.

Time tells us “Why the Pentagon Is Happy about the NIE

The latest National Intelligence Estimate on Iran was the final factor in a military equation that now appears to guarantee that there will be no war with Iran during the Bush Administration.

Although, there are apparently still some die-hards still pushing for sanctions.

I still don’t think that the U.S. is off-the-hook with respect to Iran. As Seymour Hersh explains in his interview with Wolf Blitzer.

There is still the possibility of Israel attacking Iran unilaterally, or with U.S. support covertly.

The one thing that I always find mind-bending is the acting as if nuclear weapons are the sole reason for attacking Iran. The important unstated reasons are still in play. Iran doesn’t take orders from Washington. It supports groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas. It is still sitting on top of a lot of oil that U.S. companies are not profiting from. So, it should be obvious that Bush would try to continue to pressure Iran, telling them to “come clean.” As if proving a negative statement is even possible. In this case, absence of evidence must be taken as evidence of absence.

In all, I don’t think the showdown with Iran is over. But, if an attack on Iran is going to happen, it will probably come from Israel with some behind-the-scenes endorsement or backing by the U.S.

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