Thursday, February 09, 2006

Like Clockwork

What do agenda-driven hawks do when U.S. intelligence is already on record with an estimate that Iran is a decade away from the ability to build a nuclear weapon? They get busy intimating, intoning, and leaking. Anonymously, of course---and preferably to the same reporter, WaPo's Dafna Linzer, who first wrote about that estimate of a decade. Excerpts from a longer WaPo piece by Linzer (my bolds):
Iranian engineers have completed sophisticated drawings of a deep subterranean shaft, according to officials who have examined classified documents in the hands of U.S. intelligence for more than 20 months.

Complete with remote-controlled sensors to measure pressure and heat, the plans for the 400-meter tunnel appear designed for an underground atomic test that might one day announce Tehran's arrival as a nuclear power, the officials said.

By the estimates of U.S. and allied intelligence analysts, that day remains as much as a decade away -- assuming that Iran applies the full measure of its scientific and industrial resources to the project and encounters no major technical hurdles. But whether Iran's leaders have reached that decision and what concrete progress the effort has made remain divisive questions among government analysts and U.N. inspectors.

Drawings of the unbuilt test site, not disclosed publicly before, appear to U.S. officials to signal at least the ambition to test a nuclear explosive. But U.S. and U.N. experts who have studied them said the undated drawings do not clearly fit into a larger picture. Nowhere, for example, does the word "nuclear" appear on them. The authorship is unknown, and there is no evidence of an associated program to acquire, assemble and construct the components of such a site.

Other suggestive evidence is cloaked in similar uncertainty. Contained in a laptop computer stolen by an Iranian citizen in 2004 are designs by a firm called Kimeya Madon for a small-scale facility to produce uranium gas, the construction of which would give Iran a secret stock that could be enriched for fuel or for bombs. Also on the laptop -- obtained by U.S. intelligence -- were drawings on modifying Iran's ballistic missiles in ways that might accommodate a nuclear warhead. Beyond the computer files, an imprisoned Pakistani arms dealer recently offered uncorroborated statements that Iran received several advanced centrifuges, equipment that would vastly improve its nuclear knowledge.

U.S. intelligence considers the laptop documents authentic but cannot prove it. Analysts cannot completely rule out the possibility that internal opponents of the Iranian leadership could have forged them to implicate the government, or that the documents were planted by Tehran itself to convince the West that its program remains at an immature stage.

CIA analysts, some of whom had been involved only a year earlier on the flawed assessments of Iraq's weapons programs, initially speculated that a third country, such as Israel, may have fabricated the evidence. But they eventually discounted that theory.

"There is always a chance this could be the biggest scam perpetrated on U.S. intelligence," one U.S. source acknowledged. "But it's such a large body of documents and such strong indications of nuclear weapons intent, and nothing seems so inconsistent."

Bush administration officials, convinced that Iran has a weapons program, believe that the body of documentation is the nearest anyone can expect to "smoking gun" evidence. But even in the U.S. government, the predominant interpretation is more complex. And any step toward uranium enrichment, experts said, is consistent with three competing explanations -- that Iran's program is peaceful, that it aims for a weapon, or that the Tehran government is still keeping its options open.

In a brightly lighted office at police headquarters in the Malaysian capital, Bukhary Syed Tahir sat down recently for his second round of talks with CIA officers since his arrest 20 months ago on the streets of Kuala Lumpur.

Tahir is held in a high-security prison, without charges, for his alleged role as a manufacturer, salesman and partner in Pakistani scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan's nuclear network, which supplied materials to Libya, Iran and North Korea. After more than a year of denials about shipments to Iran in the 1990s, Tahir has changed his story and now claims to have recalled a previously forgotten sale, according to U.S. sources.

Two sources with direct knowledge of Tahir's recent claims said they did not know what led him to offer a new account. They had no information on whether his new claims were made under duress or came after promises of release.
Undated drawings of an unbuilt tunnel, authorship unknown. More drawings on a "laptop stolen by an Iranian citizen." A Pakistani arms dealer imprisoned in Malaysia---no, you couldn't make this up---graciously helping out with newly-recalled details. Dark claims on background from Bush administration officials that it all adds up to a slam-dunk-redux "smoking gun."

If I find myself at a bad movie, I have no qualms about walking out. But I'm beginning to sympathize with the character Alex in A Clockwork Orange, tied to a chair with continuous eyedrops for his pinned-open lids, forced to watch the same bad flick again and again.

68 Comments:

Blogger Spider said...

I myself feel like walkin out as well. Thank the stars that I have dual citizenship. Moving to Ireland seems better and better everyday. Now, they have had their own terrorist problems for years. But I can deal with that.

The reality that America seems heading towards. .. I don't know if I can, or want to.

Damn good post, TCR. If you ever teach a class or give a lecture, in the NYC area, in any subject, please let me know. I'd love to hear you lecture. You'd find me an engaged audience member.

2/09/2006 8:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have long felt that the real nuclear/WMD threat was Iran and not Iraq. Unfortunately with the scam/"boy who cried wolf" that is Iraq I don't believe the US government. It is not as much a distrust of the intelligence community as much as an extreme distrust of the administration who likes to bully bureaucrats, cherry pick intel, and con citizens.

2/09/2006 8:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brilliant analogy, TCR! It's a sad day when I find myself hoping that our military has been stretched so thin that the politicians will be literally incapable of starting up another war. This is starting to feel more and more like the Weimar Republic, except that they had better performers. -- Anne Laurie

2/09/2006 10:18 AM  
Anonymous muddy said...

Hey! The smoking gun could be a mushroom cloud! It's the damn 16 words crap all over again.

I hate reruns.

2/09/2006 10:23 AM  
Anonymous Mike said...

Well-stated, CR.

I've reached the point where I believe nothing -- zero, zilch, nada -- that comes out of the Administration's mouths, or the mouths of its cronies & hacks.

And I don't like the feeling of being so distrustful, skeptical and cynical.

2/09/2006 11:15 AM  
Anonymous kindness said...

I find I'm an anomoly here. I'm progressive politically but I do think Iran is going to build a bomb.

Let's look, they have the uranium ore within their country. They have the scientists AND the technology to refine the ore to both fuel & weapons grade. They have no reason to trust the US or the West as we've repeatedly made every effort to dominate them completely.

IMHO they are going to have a bomb in time. We can slow that date by bombing their facilities but we can't stop them.

So, then the question becomes, do we want an nuclear power to hate us completely, or are we willing to maturely invite them to join the club?

Call me a heratic, but I think we'll go alot farther without a nuclear confrontation if we ask them to join the club.

2/09/2006 11:29 AM  
Anonymous JWC said...

I get sick to my stomach when I read the administration pushed "news" on Iran. I worry for the future on my grandchildren, one of which is a 13 year old boy.

To think that this country has changed so much that the main stream media discusses using nuclear bombs on a country that has not attacked us... like it is a normal thing... One sees how low we have sunk.

I agree, you can't make this stuff up. And it is like a very bad movie.

2/09/2006 12:01 PM  
Blogger 277fia said...

Good post, C.R., but I'm thinking about how the North Koreans have gone from having the potential to enrich uranium to actually having nuclear bombs, all within the four years after 9/11.

If I had time, I'd doublecheck my recollection on the North Korean timeline but I can't shake the sense that one day, I woke up and, there you go! everybody agreed that North Korea had deliverable nuclear weapons.

In the last post, I asked about the capability of Iran and Israel to reach each other's country with longe-range planes. Now I'd like to know if a country has to test nuclear weapons before they are used.

If they don't have to be tested first, why on earth would Pakistan tell anyone that it had nuclear weapons? I suppose the answer is deterrence. But didn't Pakistan's tests just open another can of worms?

Re Kimya Madon - I found a link on Teoma to the WaPo's online comments section with Dafna Linzner. The comments, from first glance, appear to be fascinating. I don't have the time to search for the exact comment but Teoma returned this blurb:

"- in first paragraph: 'kimeya madon' -- kimeya means alchemy in farsi, but madon is not an immediately recognizable farsi word suitable for..."

2/09/2006 1:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, my best friend's sister's boyfriend's brother's girlfriend heard from this guy who knows this kid who's going with a girl who saw Iran enriching uranium at 31 Flavors last night. I guess they're pretty close.

2/09/2006 1:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pakistan announced it to put India on notice, but also as a deterrence. You'll notice they are a prominent ally of the US in the war on terror even though al Qaeda treats it as something of a summer home. Once you have the bomb, you get to move from the little folding table in the corner up to eat with the grownups. It's hugely important for a small nation.

North Korea was able to move quickly because their borders are terribly opaque. We really don't have a good idea of what's going on in there, so they can go balls-to-the-wall on an enrichment project without people really knowing. Further, they're willing and able to completely destroy their community and economy to make it happen.

Iran is different - they're much more transparent than NK. You can fly there and poke around the country quite a bit. Further, the public would not tolerate the economic costs to go full-tilt. NK has had decades to shape the public's perception of reality - the people that live there have no idea what the rest of the world is like so NK can starve them to death and tell them that's the way things are everywhere. Iran is generally very well educated and the people there have a pretty good sense of where they stand in the world. If Iran really went all-out for the bomb, everyone would know it and the people there would react to it to some degree (I live in a rather large persian community and my opinion is that the leadership's aggressive attitude in Iran is not widely shared - they'll tolerate posturing because they do care about a secure and independent Iran, but they likely won't tolerate recklessness). Their only realistic plan is to go slow and easy to keep things secret because I think they are realistic about what Israel would do if there was a credible program up and running. I think the only thing stopping the world from reacting to the overt threat by Iran is the lack of a clear target - Israel isn't about to go carpet bombing, it'll be a tactical strike designed to minimize casualties and put a clear end to the program.

Bottom line, it's a goddamn mess being handled poorly, but not an immediate threat.

2/09/2006 2:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

its "Groundhog Day." And to make things easy, instead of doing a full word search and replace in all the talking points, all the administration has to do is change all the "q"s to "n"s.

2/09/2006 5:30 PM  
Blogger Roy said...

I agree with you TCR. This whole Iran problem is completely made up by Bush. They are not dangerous at all. They don't want weapons and it is a fact that they are at least 10 years away. In fact Iran is the most peace loving planet in the world, Bush on the other hand is the most evil dictator and is the biggest threat in the world. I just do not know how he managed to hoodwink Europe this time. Iran only preaches tolerance and peace, why cant everyone else see the truth?

2/09/2006 5:52 PM  
Blogger wendyo said...

...you forgot to mention the shoe-bombers Roy.

2/09/2006 5:54 PM  
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2/09/2006 7:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Once you have the bomb, you get to move from the little folding table in the corner up to eat with the grownups. It's hugely important for a small nation."

Well said. Of course, what small nation, feeling a bit threatened by the US or Israel, wouldn't want a big bomb? If Iran had one tomorrow, would the mullahs actually go out and use it, or even seriously threaten to use it? Remember Mutually Assured Destruction? Even North Korea knows it can never actually use their WMD, for obvious reasons. For the same reasons they will be exquisitely careful not to share a bomb with a terrorist. NC has been put on notice that if a nuke goes off anywhere in the world sacred to America, and there is even a whiff of suspicion that NC was behind it, their country will be immediately flattened, no questions asked. The ruling family in NC may be peculiar but they are not suicidal. In fact they quite like being in power in their little dustbin and wish to continue to enjoy their fine wines and single malt and imported caviar. In around a decade, Iraq will be told the same thing (with an emphasis on hands off Israel) and we will have another member of the club. The only reason to wish to be a member of the club and eat with the big boys, is that it would certainly prevent being invaded by the United States. No wonder Iran would like a bomb--the ayatollahs do not wish to follow Saddam down the rat holes of history. And America's idiotic adventure in Iraq results in yet another unintended consequence.

2/09/2006 7:58 PM  
Blogger Nathan said...

It does seem like a bad movie on repeat, I agree.

I also will say that I wonder about this point incessantly: when did our world become the movie Minority Report?

Now, don't get me wrong, I do not support Iran having the bomb, but frankly I don't support anyone having the bomb. However I also wonder why 'having the bomb' is now a rationale for violent action? Is not violent action a reason for action? I wonder if the pre-cogs running our country and our country's media could focus on this question? Just because I have a gun doesn't mean I am going to use it. It may in fact be because my neighbor has many very large guns.

Nathanbutnet.blogspot.com

2/09/2006 8:32 PM  
Blogger Mark Jones said...

Ok Bettencourt, here is what your hero's in the Bush Whitehouse are really about; please read and actually t-h-i-n-k about it, before you write another bird brained post.....

"Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff, I. Lewis (Scooter) Libby, testified to a federal grand jury that he had been "authorized" by Cheney and other White House "superiors" in the summer of 2003 to disclose classified information to journalists to defend the Bush administration's use of prewar intelligence in making the case to go to war with Iraq, according to attorneys familiar with the matter, and to court records.

Libby also indicated what he will offer as a broad defense during his upcoming criminal trial: that Vice President Cheney and other senior Bush administration officials had earlier encouraged and authorized him to share classified information with journalists to build public support for going to war. Later, after the war began in 2003, Cheney authorized Libby to release additional classified information, including details of the NIE, to defend the administration's use of prewar intelligence in making the case for war. (...)"

2/09/2006 8:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There was a really good Brooks column from a couple years back, before the war we're fighting now was displaced from the front burner by the war we're fighting next.

The piece http://www.nytimes.com/2004/04/13/opinion/13BROO.html was called the Uncertainty Factor, in which Brooks expounded on something that always bugged me, namely the inconsistency of the Iraq doves in criticizing the president for not pre-empting September 11th. The column accuses the administration's critics of flip-flopping between two camps, as personified by Reagan's SecState (Shultz) and SecDef (Weinberger), whose philosophies were often at odds with each other.

It boils down to this:

"If you follow the 9/11 commission, you find yourself in a crowd of Shultzians. The critics savage the Clinton and Bush administrations for not moving aggressively enough against terror. Al Qaeda facilities should have been dismantled before 9/11, the critics say.

"Then you look at the debate over Iraq and suddenly you see the same second-guessers posing as Weinbergerians. The U.S. should have been more cautious. We should have had concrete evidence about W.M.D.'s before invading Iraq."

You can't have it both ways, folks. We either take 'em out or we don't and live with the consequences.

It's easy to look back with 20/20 hindsight and say we should have taken out al Qaeda in August '01. But what I can't figure out was how that intelligence was any more thorough, credible and reliable than the intel that said that Saddam had WMD's. Yes, the August 6 memo was pretty incriminating, but I'm sure that, at the time, there was just as much intel to contradict those conclusions. Just as there was evidence both for and against the notion that Saddam had WMDs.

In the end, there is never any certainty, only selective interpretation and educated guessing. And in a world that demands absolutes, this is rarely going to be enough to justify starting a war.

And that's what leads me to conclude that I'm a Weinbergerian at heart. Regardless of the cause and the seriousness of the threat, we can't take a pre-emptive approach to dealing with every perceived threat that pops up around the globe. Diplomacy and merciless retaliation are our only defenses. Unpopular though it may sound, this means that sometimes we are going to have to take the first hit, as we did with 9/11. The tradeoff is that only then will we have the universal support and cooperation needed to annihilate those responsible.

Do the mullahs really want to call us on this? Bush's mistake was in not carrying out the destruction of al Qaeda when he had the backing to do so, instead choosing to take the fight to Iraq, without concrete evidence, when the mandate wasn't there. I have to believe he won't make the same mistake next time.

2/09/2006 10:51 PM  
Anonymous J Thomas said...

I agree that pre-emptive action is usually stupid. We don't absolutely have to be consistent about it, there might be an exception where it's the right thing to do. But usually it's clear -- don't do it.

For "taking out" al Qaeda, the assumptions look stupider than usual. Say we bombed some places in afghanistan or the kurdish areas of iraq. Say we killed bin Ladin. Would that have helped to stop 9/11? I tend to doubt it. Maybe the reverse, they might have stepped up the schedule. As it is, the declassified material looks pretty ambiguous. The original plan called for capturing 60 planes? And they actually got 4? This could have been a FUBAR, where 4 teams got the word wrongly....

It made sense to pick up known al Qaeda agents in the USA. It's possible letting them run might have turned up leads to unknown agents. But it's also possible that catching them would turn up more leads.

Oh well. About Bush, I see no reason to suppose he wouldn't make the same mistake twice. Except there are so many mistakes available to make, there's a fair chance he'll have already made an incompatible mistake that doesn't let him make the same one again.

2/09/2006 11:13 PM  
Blogger wendyo said...

I missed something in your post...you mentioned that when we "take the first hit, as we did with 9/11...only then will we have the universal support and cooperation to annihilate those responsible."

WHAT universal support? Perhaps we had that for Afghanistan, but Iraq? The "coalition of the willing" was hardly universal support. The blunder of going into Iraq completely eroded any chance we will probably have for decades to have "universal support."

Too bad, because one day, we might really need it.

2/09/2006 11:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The bomb effectively isn't an offensive weapon any more. Yeah, it is in the hands of nutjobs, and we do have those out there, but really the bomb is a deterrent against a conventional incursion.

If Saddam had the bomb when we invaded, and it became apparent that his forces were outgunned, a single bomb detonated over home soil against the invaders might well be sufficient to turn the tide or at least avoid an overall defeat.

While a nation like the US or China could overcome such an act, we'd need to be REALLY damn determined to walk into that scenario to begin with. There's no way we would have gone into Iraq if they had nukes. And that's the real point of having the bomb.

And to the poster above, Brooks was wrong in his analysis. He fails to see the significant distinction between a non-state sponsored guerrilla group (al Qaeda) bent on social disruption and a nation-state (Iraq). For one, there is a structure for dealing with rogue nation-states, but no such structure for the guerrilla groups. You can't point the UN at al Qaeda, there's nobody with responsibility for them. As an organization, they are nationless and effectively outside of anyones jurisdiction, though individually they aren't. As such, you need to deal with them differently.

But the main distinction, one which gets lip service but no action, is that al Qaeda is a fully militarized group. There are no al Qaeda civilians, there is no al Qaeda public works, and so on. There's nothing in al Qaeda that deserves preservation or protection in spite of the threat presented. Yes, the Iranian government may present a threat to us, but the Iranian people, it's culture, it's society doesn't. As a world power, it's is incumbent upon us to act *only* on the threat agents and protect the rest. For al Qaeda, that means going directly after them. For Iraq, it means going after *Saddam* and those who protect his power (the military) and not the nation of Iraq as a whole. Of course, as we've seen, that's easier said than done. We've not protected the Iraqi people. They aren't yet better off than they were. Yes, they've had a few elections, but they have no power, no water, no gas, and they get blown up fairly regularly with no real end in sight. Elections are a good thing, but only when they result in positive change in all of the other areas. In Iraq, that ain't happening.

So, it's perfectly logical to ask for different courses of action against different types of threats. And Bush and Brooks may see al Qaeda and Iraq as equivalent, but they aren't in any possibly sense.

2/09/2006 11:39 PM  
Blogger Roy said...

Jones,
Wow, you really have a keen eye for the obvious!
First let me be clear, Bush is not my boy, I think the Dems & the Repubs are all a bunch of no good crooks. You may believe it is only the mean republicans that are bad while your democratic heroes are saints, but not me.

My point is that all of these newspapers are using unnamed sources and guessing as to when Iran might develop a weapon. To pretend that this is all a Bush created problem is delusional. Neither you are I know when Iran will get a weapon, to imply that you do or TCR does is just a lie. To pretend that Iran poses no threat at all is just idiotic.

2/10/2006 11:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are real threats to us, and it is really disheartening and sad that we have an administration that chooses to play fast and loose with the facts for political reasons.

Movie: 1984?

Here's a good clip )click on video) from Keith Olbermann on MSNBC on the Bush's use of National Security (like Tom Ridges color coded system was used) to scare us into letting them do whatever they want whenever they want to whomever they want with no checks and balances.

Also referenced is this book, "Why America Slept: The failure to prevent 9/11".

2/10/2006 12:22 PM  
Anonymous J Thomas said...

Roy, there's an old Mafia teaching story about how you keep people honest. How do you keep them from lying about the collections and keeping the money themselves?

And the answer is, you put in two guys who hate each other as co-bosses. They'll keep each other from getting away with anything and you can sleep soundly, knowing that they aren't ripping you off. There's the problem that every now and then they might kill each other and you have to get new managers, but that's doable.

The problem we're having here is we let the Republicans get too much control. And there's a second problem that it looks like the Democrats don't hate Republicans enough, they look like they're ready to let Republicans get away with anything, provided they get a kick in the butt and a lollipop for cooperating.

Sure, it would likely be pretty bad if the Democrats got in control too. So my suggestion is we get rid of the GOP completely, and give about half the seats to Libertarians. They hate Democrats even more than Republicans do, and I expect they could get Democrats to hate them pretty easy too.

2/10/2006 1:32 PM  
Blogger Roy said...

J, Thomas,
That is nice. I have long believed it would be nice to have one president responsible for Foreign policy and a seperate one for domestic policies. Personally, I would love to see more libertarians in congress. Although I would like to purge the democrats as well as the GOP.

I find it odd that people say Bush is attempting to scare us to push his agenda forward. After 9/11 I thought everything would be blamed on terrorists. It seems quite the opposite. Nothing is ever terrorism, not the snipers, not the LAX killings, not a person committing suicide in Oklahoma by way of a bomb.

Certainly Bush has used 9/11 to his advantage but to suggest he is scaring people seems untrue. Maybe some people scare really easy though. For my money it has been beheadings, attacks in Europe, and crazy rioters that make me uneasy.

2/10/2006 4:05 PM  
Blogger copy editor said...

You did an excellent job highlighting the weaker points of this article and thereby completely undermining the thin intelligence.

2/10/2006 4:07 PM  
Blogger wendyo said...

Roy, thank you for (slightly) clarifying your stance on this stuff. However, it seems to me that when you respond to a lot of these posts, you react using the "fear factor."

I, for one, am just not that paranoid. I believe this administration is using fear as a manipulation tool and it's becoming increasingly obvious and ridiculous. Of course there are a lot of terrible things happening all over the world, but we shouldn't let our democratic principles cave in over it...and I don't mean the democratic party here. Are you willing to give Bush carte blanche to bug phones? If so, you are not much of a Libertarian.

Also, I don't understand your comparison of the snipers and OK bombers to the beheaders and rioters in your point.

2/10/2006 4:25 PM  
Blogger Roy said...

Wendyo,
I am not sure what you mean by "fear factor."

My point on the snipers, the Oklahoma bomber and the 4th of july incident was that all of these incidents seemed to be terrorist related yet the Bush administration sweeps them under the rug. It seems that if Bush was really trying to use fear he would have used these incidents to create more fear, but he did not he acted like they never happened.

Admittedly I am no Libertarian. I do not think there is a party that would accurately define my views,(fiscal conservative, anti-religous, socially liberal, and an advocate for foreign intervention) seeing as they are all over the place.

No I dont want to give Bush carte blanche but I really dont have a problem if he is bugging calls from the Middle East.

It seem rather foolish to me to assume that Bush is making up all of the world problems. There really are some serious problems out there. I never get the feeling that Bush is trying to scare me, sometimes I get the feeling that he is not giving these issues enough attention.

That being said I think he is handling Iran, 200% better than he did Iraq. We should act with the global community and defintely not attempt to go it alone.

2/10/2006 5:36 PM  
Anonymous kilfarsnar said...

Roy,
What I would say about the fear factor is that Bush must keep us afraid, but have us still think he is doing a good job protecting us. The incidents you cite actually happened. So to attribute say, the DC snipers to terrorism would show that Bush is not keeping us safe. But color coded terror alerts and near miss "we got 'em just in time" scenarios (like the LA threat we are just hearing about.) are the ticket to keeping people aware of the threat and making the Bushies look competant at the same time. It's a balancing act.

2/10/2006 6:10 PM  
Blogger wendyo said...

...and the OK bombing took place during the Clinton administration, by the way.

If you are looking for "a party that would accurately define my views,(fiscal conservative, anti-religous, socially liberal, and an advocate for foreign intervention)"...that would be the Republican party pre-Reagan.

2/11/2006 10:56 AM  
Blogger Moron99 said...

yeah, between US, EU, Russia, and the UN world diplomacy is stinking up the joint. Could it be handled any worse? They're trying to make us think that Iran is a bunch of wild-eyed lunatics who want a bomb so that they can start blowing stuff up. I'm not buying it.

Iran wants nuclear weapons so that it can wave them around and scare people. It's not about who they can blow up. It's about who they can scare into submission. Good doplomacy could render Iranian nukes non-scary. Something like a new version of NATO that puts M.A.D. back on the table. If crazy dictator "x" shoots a nuke at the Congo then he gets back 5 nukes from each member of the club. No questions, no talks. You shoot first and you will die. Doesn't matter who you shoot at. You shoot =>> you die. With a deal like that out in public nobody would be afraid of some crazy dictator with "le bomb". If nobody is afraid, then the dictator won't waste billions of dollars building radioactive paperweights.

2/11/2006 7:28 PM  
Anonymous J Thomas said...

I have long believed it would be nice to have one president responsible for Foreign policy and a seperate one for domestic policies. Personally, I would love to see more libertarians in congress. Although I would like to purge the democrats as well as the GOP.

Fine with me. Say it split between Libertarians and Greens. The point is, you need two strong parties that don't get along or they won't tattle on each other. With the government structures we have now, any party that get successful enough to be worth bribing will turn corrupt in ten or fifteen years. It's no good depending on a political party to have some sort of fanatical zeal that will keep it from being corrupted. But if they just don't get along then at least they'll try to catch each other for us. Checks and balances.

2/11/2006 9:37 PM  
Anonymous J Thomas said...

Moron, thank you. That was said clearly. You made it obvious.

The alternative that's usually put forth is that iranians are fervent muslims who welcome the idea of getting nuked so they can get to Paradise. This doesn't seem plausible to me, but then there's the story going around that a lot of members of the Bush administration are christian fundamentalists who welcome a nuclear war to bring on the Second Coming and their place in Heaven. Somehow I'm more ready to believe that one, and by rights I shouldn't be.

Just because they say it doesn't mean they mean it.

2/11/2006 9:42 PM  
Blogger Roy said...

Wendyo
Just for the record I was not refering to McVeigh but the man who used a bomb to comit suicide outside of the football game. I am well aware that McVeigh was before Bush.

2/13/2006 1:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does it make any difference if Plame's covert work was investigating Iran, and by Cheney's leak he sabotaged our efforts and jeopardized our National Security.

2/13/2006 5:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is scary to think about what it would mean to the world, but I suspect like the earlier than expected "shock and awe" attack on Iraq, we'll wakeup one morning, turn on the news, and find out Bush bombed Iran, regardless of intelligence. It doesn't matter, he'll just spend another 1.6 billion on propaganda.

2/13/2006 5:21 PM  
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