Sunday, September 17, 2006

It's Five Minutes To Midnight

....according to Charles Krauthammer's alarm clock. Read all about it here. He advocates breathlessly (via "calculus" and thus with irrefutable mathematical precision!) a U.S. attack on Iran: "With the crisis advancing and the moment of truth approaching, it is important to begin looking now with unflinching honesty at the military option." And this: "These are the questions. These are the calculations. The decision is no more than a year away."

Krauthammer's "unflinching honesty" aside, we know that as of one year ago, the official estimate of the U.S. intelligence community was that Iran was about a decade away from developing nuclear weapons. A few weeks ago, The Washington Times reported that the Pentagon is working off an estimate of 5-8 years. What developments during the past year led the Pentagon to cut the National Intelligence Estimate potentially in half? It's a legitimate question, since according to this report the NIE timeline was "designed to reflect a program moving full speed ahead without major technical obstacles." Nevertheless, even the Pentagon's estimate makes it clear that there can be no responsible, justifiable use of military power against Iran during Bush's second term based on what we know right now. What we know (or can estimate reasonably) may change -- but it certainly won't be because of any swill that comes out of an "Office of Special Plans"-redux in Rumsfeld's attic or farcical "Iranian Expats for Democracy" via Cheney's office.

I've said before in this space that we must do everything possible to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. But the raison d'etre for our intelligence community is balancing knowledge with uncertainty and reward with risk. That's how our political leaders once developed and implemented sensible geopolitical strategy. Have we reached the point at which that's too rigorous or constraining? Then let's disband our intelligence agencies immediately and send everyone home. We'll save a few hundred billion a year and, without any "slam dunk" scapegoat, there will be no doubt about whom to blame for the ensuing disasters undertaken on faith.

If we approach the point at which diplomatic options on Iran have failed and the minimum estimate for nuclear capability draws uncomfortably near, you'll hear me shout clearly that it's time for action. In the meantime, those inside our intelligence community ---many of whom are competent, hardworking patriots doing their best to protect us -- need to take a stand against the misuse and politicization of their work. And yes, taking a stand means putting one's job on the line as a whistleblower if necessary. As disastrous as Iraq has been, the stakes are even higher with Iran.

32 Comments:

Anonymous Jifi said...

"Some officials at the CIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency and the State Department said they're concerned that the offices of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and Vice President Dick Cheney may be receiving a stream of questionable information that originates with Iranian exiles, including a discredited arms dealer, Manucher Ghorbanifar, who played a role in the 1980s Iran-Contra scandal.

"Officials at all three agencies said they suspect that the dubious information may include claims that Iran directed Hezbollah, the Lebanese militant group, to kidnap two Israeli soldiers in July; that Iran's nuclear program is moving faster than generally believed; and that the Iranian people are eager to join foreign efforts to overthrow their theocratic rulers.

"The officials said there is no reliable intelligence to support any of those assertions and some that contradicts all three.

http://www.editorandpublisher.com/eandp/news/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1003123299

9/17/2006 1:38 PM  
Blogger Ned said...

Now if you could only sing Krauthammer's editorial to the appropriate Iron Maiden song.

9/17/2006 6:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why does that asshole still get published? By now you can crank out a Krauthammer screed with a simple algorithm. Why does he get any attention?
-- sglover

9/17/2006 7:01 PM  
Blogger kaimu said...

ALOHA !!

There is already a Muslim country with nuclear weapons ... PAKISTAN!! Why is it we have not invaded them, especially in light of Pakistan's latest declaration of love for Al-Qaeda and Bin Laden?

Most of Europe is overrun with Muslims. Will we invade Europe because they have Muslims and nuclear weapons also?

Or are we just going to invade countries who "verbal" assault Israel? Nevermind that Israel and Western governments record of violence against Muslims
is undisputed historically. How should Muslims protect themselves? Now even the Pope wants them "crusaded" yet again ...

9/17/2006 11:03 PM  
Anonymous Mr. Hedley Bowes said...

One imagines him surrounded by a cloud of foul green gas.

9/17/2006 11:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There was a "good economy" brain-drain and a tentative but sweeping purge that I know of during Clinton's reign (does "Clipper" ring any bells, or has Total Awareness of that bit of Information leaked out of people's ears?). Then came Bushco. "We'll f*ck him, we'll f*ck him like he's never been f*cked before!" Pretty strong response for a politically inconvenient fellow human being, but the new broom sweeps clean, and there was plenty where that came from. Then Plame. Then a number of other things. Now it's late 2006, you're either on the bus or off the bus a million miles ago already.

It's not just the Army's cupboard that's bare. When Bamford writes his next book in twelve years, check out the chapter on the CIA's Krazy Adventure in Italy. As the amazed local police repeatedly commented afterwards, bank robbers, kidnappers and even actual blow-things-up terrorist cells operating in The Boot are infinitely less cooperative at broadcasting their every move electronically and leaving a Real Name-studded paper trail a mile wide and three feet deep.

Six years in, who's left in a position to blow a whistle who would want to? Seriously? "Mr. Abu Gonzales, I wanna turn state's evidence, 'cause I'm kinda up to my eyebrows in everything I know about. You guys can protect me, right?" Not a good idea. Colin Powell still hasn't breakfasted on his service pistol, though, and that annoys me just a little more every single time I'm reminded of his existence.

9/18/2006 5:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

CR said: "I've said before in this space that we must do everything possible to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons."

Really? EVERYTHING? Nuke Tehran? That's possible. So, you support that?

9/18/2006 9:22 AM  
Blogger copy editor said...

Hahaha.

"via 'calculus' and thus with irrefutable mathematical precision!"

If only this did not concern war.

9/18/2006 2:38 PM  
Anonymous semper fubar said...

I have yet to hear any reasonable explanation why Iran "cannot be allowed" to have nuclear weapons, if in fact that's even what they're up to, but it's perfectly OK for India to have them, Pakistan to have them, Israel to have them, Russia to have them, China to have them, the UK to have them, France to have them, even North Korea to have them. Not to mention it's OK for US to have them, us being the only country who's ever actually used them.

Why would America think it should be able to start a war with Iran over this?

That strikes me as just yet another pre-emptive immoral illegal war.

9/18/2006 5:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the reason that seems to creep up is that they're islamofascists...(not terrorists)...you can tell they are supporting this new fascism from all the news reports quoting hate mongering islamic sites (that cannot be verified)...it will sink in with time...bet rupert sells it in the end...with the new cyber czar and a bit of new blood here and there...pakistan's isi is practically cia...

http://washingtontimes.com/national/20060918-124708-8979r.htm

9/19/2006 5:59 AM  
Blogger David Studhalter said...

Krauthammer is not only an idiot, he's a warmongering idiot. Heaven help us

9/19/2006 4:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

it'll be ok with iran for now...

http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=34786

9/20/2006 3:01 AM  
Anonymous goldhorder said...

Have to agree with sempar fumbar. When was the last time Iran launched an agressive war (Iraq was defensive)? The late 1700s? Why isn't leaving them alone an option? I suspect this is because our politicians have convinced themselves that if Iran wasn't providing any support for Iraqi insurgents, the Iraqi population would roll over and play dead for us. I don't think that is even true(I doubt Iran is providing much support to the Sunni insurgents) but our politicians have to point the finger somewhere. It cetainly can't be their grandiose plans to transform the muslim world into a secular liberal democracy that's to blame. How could such a fantastic idea be wrong? I mean come on people.

9/20/2006 1:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why isn't leaving them alone an option? I suspect this is because...

Isn't it more straight forward to just take what they've been saying at face value? They want Israel destroyed and they have some weird fixation about the 12th imam. IOW -- the mullahs running the joint are crazier than a shithouse rat.

Even so, we don't need a war with Iran, and indeed one isn't necessary. A simple naval blockade of the ports they import gasoline through will suffice to bring their economy to a halt. Iran has oil, but they don't have any significant refining capacity. They import about 80% of the gasoline they use.

9/21/2006 12:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://www.cfr.org/publication/11498/ahmadinejad_spars_with_cfr_members.html

9/21/2006 4:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh, that the litani would be taken...it wasnt...so back to brzy...

"...As far as Israel taking unilateral action, we do say in the report that the United States should convey to Israel that American interests would be adversely affected if Israel took unilateral military action against Iran, and I should think that would be of some relevance to the calculations of the Israeli government if it were to be undertaking, in a sense, unilateral action. Moreover--and that's not in the report; this was just an aside by me--it is difficult to imagine an Israeli military strike against Iran without Israel overflying airspace that's controlled by American military forces. And, therefore, one would have to either assume that there would be some reaction or that there would be, in effect, complicity if there was no reaction..."(brzy)

http://www.iranwatch.org/privateviews/CFR/perspex-cfr-iranreport-pressconf-071904.htm

9/21/2006 6:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the neocons knew the writing was on the wall from the time of mear and walt's...dont see anyone calling the cfr pro islamofacist though...

http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2006/09/22/news/UN_GEN_UN_Iran_Event_Canceled.php

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/1,7340,L-3306894,00.html

9/22/2006 1:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yes marky but think the realists say the fight is another day...

http://www.indianexpress.com/story/13219.html

9/23/2006 1:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the cunning realists will set georgy on the right path...

http://haaretz.com/hasen/spages/766855.html

9/26/2006 8:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=34905

the kirkuk/kurdistan oil grab may be effected though before withdrawing, perhaps using turkey cutting out iran/shites...the un resolutions could be a fun read in time...

http://www.debka.com/article.php?aid=1214

9/28/2006 1:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://www.iraqupdates.com/p_articles.php/article/10770

http://www.iraqupdates.com/p_articles.php/article/10745

9/28/2006 3:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"October 2, 2006 -- With Bob Woodward's revelations in his book State of Denial that Vice President Dick Cheney confirmed that Henry Kissinger is frequently consulted by both Cheney and George W. Bush, comes ironic news from our Pentagon sources.

Kissinger, who as Secretary of State, helped oversee the U.S. military evacuation of South Vietnam in 1975, is trying to convince the Bush White House that it should remain in Iraq to make up for Congress' lack of resolve to win in Vietnam. However, our Pentagon sources report that plans for a massive and quick U.S. military evacuation from Iraq have been drawn up -- and that they borrow heavily from the U.S. evacuation experience in South Vietnam.



Back to the future: Planned Iraq evacuation to mirror U.S. evacuation from South Vietnam in 1975. U.S. helicopter lifts off from rooftop of U.S. embassy in Saigon.

Pentagon and U.S. Central Command contingency planners, fully expecting a major insurgent offensive against U.S. forces in Iraq that will result in a mandatory U.S. military withdrawal, have already identified evacuation staging locations, including from the grounds of the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad's Green Zone and Baghdad International Airport. Other evacuation points reportedly include major hotels and U.S. military bases in Iraq. It is planned that evacuees will be airlifted by plane and helicopters to U.S. Navy ships in the Gulf, Kuwait, Jordan, and Germany.

British forces in Basra have also drawn up evacuation plans.

With Anbar province already lost to the insurgents and much of the country in turmoil, the failure of the United States to evacuate in the face of an all-out insurgent offensive could result in a number of U.S. forces being taken prisoner by insurgent forces. And with the recent decision of Congress to permit torture of enemy prisoners, the fate of a large number of U.S. military and civilian prisoners in insurgent hands has Pentagon officials extremely worried." [wayne madsen]

so this may just be posturing...

http://globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=viewArticle&code=NAZ20061001&articleId=3361

10/03/2006 12:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

cunning realists at work...think more heads going to roll...jb3 maestro...

http://www.forward.com/articles/scholars-land-a-book-deal-for-attack-on-israel-lob/

http://www.lewrockwell.com/floyd/floyd31.html

10/05/2006 12:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

sadly there may be no peanuts, salted or unsalted for november or for a long time in iraq...

http://www.antiwar.com/justin/?articleid=9820

10/10/2006 6:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

but at least iran looks clear for a bit...thank goodness for small mercies...

http://www.iranian.ws/iran_news/publish/article_18126.shtml

10/10/2006 6:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"It is not enough to say we must not wage war. It is necessary to love peace and sacrifice for it."

– Martin Luther King, Jr

10/11/2006 7:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

new terrorists...

http://www.azstarnet.com/allheadlines/150937

10/13/2006 9:14 AM  
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10/26/2006 2:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://www.salon.com/opinion/blumenthal/2006/10/26/iraq/

10/26/2006 9:01 PM  
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11/22/2006 2:43 AM  
Anonymous ilona@israel said...

I've said before in this space that we must do everything possible to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons-great statment.the problem is -its pretty hard to prevent russia from selling s-300 and enriched uranium to iran. iran is possible to be controlled untill they get nuclear weapons-but russia-is unpredictable and selfish country.

12/27/2009 6:25 AM  

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