So, as you may know, Iran stopped nuclear weapons development round the time we went to war with Iraq. So says every single intelligence agency we have, including Mossad, it would seem.
So this means we've had a bit of fear mongering coming for a while, as suspected, yet still on a scale not quite understood. I mean, we knew Iran wasn't that big a threat, but basically no threat? Unexpected.
Moreover, this means that either Bush willingly was deceiving the populace, fear mongering again into war, or that he actually was ignorant about Iran not being a threat until he was briefed a few weeks ago, meaning he was out of the loop, meaning Cheney was feeding him bull...
I don't know which is more disconcerting, but praise the Lord we're nearly at the election...
Ron Paul: The only anti-war candidate that will let you keep your money.
Buy Destructo, Adidas, Satori, Creation if you skateboard, the quality of their product is ridiculously dope.
An old friend of Ron Paul compared this campaign to the tortoise, and our opponents to the hare, in the old Aesopís fable. The hare was fast and flashy, and because of over-confidence, he ended up losing the race.
This was written by a NAVAL INTELLIGENCE OFFICER who actually knows what he is talking about:
1) You really need to read it fairly closely to see that the headlines and the sound bites in the media are not even coming close to capturing the true substance of the report. It does *not* say that Iran has been wrongly accused of having a nuclear weapons program - they had one, they just suspended it because of perceptions that external pressures made it in their best interests to cease.
Two of the more salient points that haven't gotten a lot of press are towards the end:
a) "We do not have sufficient intelligence to judge confidently whether Tehran is willing to maintain the halt of its nuclear weapons program indefinitely while it weighs its options, or whether it will or already has set specific deadlines or criteria that will prompt it to restart the program."
b) "We assess with moderate confidence that Iran probably would use covert facilities—rather than its declared nuclear sites—for the production of highly enriched uranium for a weapon. A growing amount of intelligence indicates Iran was engaged in covert uranium conversion and uranium enrichment activity, but we judge that these efforts probably were halted in response to the fall 2003 halt, and that these efforts probably had not been restarted through at least mid-2007." (my emphasis added)
The takeaway is that if the Iranians choose to press ahead with a weapons program, the authors assess it will be difficult to ascertain this fact by observing their acknowledged facilities. Also, the IC doesn't know for sure whether they have or have not ceased these efforts - only "probably" sure. The bottom line is that intelligence is not magic, absolute certainty can be hard to come by, and that relatively simple questions (e.g., "Do the Iranians have a nuclear weapons program?") can be remarkably difficult to answer with any degree of confidence.
I just hope that the lessons of the Iraq WMD situation don't get taken too much to heart, and that the willingness of analysts to extrapolate to reach conclusions isn't hamstrung by impossibly high evidentiary standards. There's a fine line out there - and this is as serious a business as it gets.