Patterico's Pontifications

12/4/2007

Iran and Nuclear Weapons

Filed under: International — DRJ @ 4:49 pm



[Guest post by DRJ]

A new National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) states that Iran halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003 and has not restarted it:

“A new assessment by American intelligence agencies concludes that Iran halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003 and that the program remains frozen, contradicting judgment two years ago that Tehran was working relentlessly toward building a nuclear bomb. The conclusions of the new assessment are likely to reshape the final year of the Bush administration, which has made halting Iran’s nuclear program a cornerstone of its foreign policy.

The assessment, a National Intelligence Estimate that represents the consensus view of all 16 American spy agencies, states that Tehran is likely keeping its options open with respect to building a weapon, but that intelligence agencies “do not know whether it currently intends to develop nuclear weapons.”

First, I recommend Eric Scheie’s post at Classical Values on the inherent contradictions of this assessment.

Second, I want to know what the phrase “a consensus view of all 16 American spy agencies” means. “Consensus view” seems vague to me. Do they each get a vote when they answer questions like “Does Iran have a nuclear weapons program?” and, if so, is that a majority rule vote? I’d sure like to know if the vote was 9 for “No” and 7 for “Yes.”

Third, raise your hand if the NIE changes your opinion of Iran’s ultimate nuclear weapons goal and what it would do with those weapons if it had the chance.

The interesting thing to me about this NIE is what it says about the Iraq invasion. If Iran stopped its program in 2003 (and that’s still a big “if”), what could have motivated the halt? Let’s look at 2003 world news and see if we can spot a motivating factor:

“# North Korea withdraws from treaty on the nonproliferation of nuclear weapons (Jan. 10).

# In State of the Union address, Bush announces that he is ready to attack Iraq even without a UN mandate (Jan. 28).

# Ariel Sharon elected Israeli prime minister (Jan. 29).

# Nine-week general strike in Venezuela calling for President Chavez’s resignation ends in defeat (Feb. 2).

# U.S. Secretary of State Powell presents Iraq war rationale to UN, citing its WMD as imminent threat to world security (Feb. 5).

# U.S. and Britain launch war against Iraq (March 19).

# Baghdad falls to U.S. troops (April 9).

# First Palestinian prime minister, Mahmoud Abbas, sworn in (April 29).

# U.S.-backed “road map” for peace proposed for Middle East (April 30).

# The U.S. declares official end to combat operations in Iraq (May 1).

# Terrorists strike in Saudi Arabia, killing 34 at Western compound; Al-Qaeda suspected (May 12).

# Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi again placed under house arrest by military regime (May 30).

# International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) discovers Iran’s concealed nuclear activities and calls for intensified inspections (June 18).

# Palestinian militant groups announce ceasefire toward Israel (June 29).

# Liberia’s autocratic president Charles Taylor forced to leave civil-war ravaged country (Aug. 11).

# NATO assumes control of peacekeeping force in Afghanistan (Aug. 11).

# Libya accepts blame for 1988 bombing of flight over Lockerbie, Scotland; agrees to pay $2.7 billion to the families of the 270 victims (Aug. 15).

# Suicide bombing destroys UN headquarters in Baghdad, killing 24, including top envoy Sergio Vieira de Mello (Aug. 19).

# Palestinian suicide bombing in Jerusalem kills 20 Israelis, including 6 children (Aug. 19).

# After Israel retaliates for suicide bombing by killing top member of Hamas, militant Palestinian groups formally withdraw from cease-fire in effect since June 29 (Aug. 24).

# Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas resigns; “road map” to peace effectively collapses (Sept. 6). Background

# The Bush administration reverses policy, agreeing to transfer power to an interim Iraqi government in early 2004 (Nov. 14).

# Suicide bombers attack two synagogues in Istanbul, Turkey, killing 25 (Nov. 15).

# Another terrorist attack in Istanbul kills 26 (Nov. 20). Al-Qaeda suspected in both. See suspected al-Qaeda terrorist attacks.

# Georgian president Eduard Shevardnadze resigns after weeks of protests (Nov. 23).

# Paul Martin succeeds Jean Chretien as Canadian prime minister (Dec. 12).

# Saddam Hussein is captured by American troops (Dec. 13).

# Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi announces he will give up weapons program (Dec. 19).

If this NIE is correct, one thing it suggests is that two of the biggest news events of 2003 – the Iraq war and the capture of Saddam Hussein – had an impact on at least three of the world’s dictators: Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, Libya’s Muammar Qaddafi, and Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

On the other hand, I guess it’s always possible Iraq had nothing to do with it, and Iran halted its nuclear weapons program because of the threat of IAEA inspections.

— DRJ

74 Responses to “Iran and Nuclear Weapons”

  1. Its important to note that the intelligence that Iran has not restarted their weapon program is rated lower than the intelligence that they halted it in 2003.

    And nonetheless, the most difficult part of a gun-type weapon program continues, the construction of the manufacturing infrastructure to produce enriched uranium.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  2. Sorry gang, but it looks like World War IV has been cancelled.

    David Ehrenstein (4f5f08)

  3. it’s always possible Iraq had nothing to do with it, and Iran halted its nuclear weapons program because of the threat of IAEA inspections.

    That’s why I like you… You’re just so damn funny…

    Sorry gang, but it looks like World War IV has been cancelled.

    What happened to WWIII?

    I’ve been looking forward to WWIII since I was 10.

    Idiot.

    Scott Jacobs (a1de9d)

  4. Ehrenstein’s only purpose, Scott, is evidently name calling. That one was his version of subtle, we are all warmongers, get it?

    SPQR (26be8b)

  5. Iamanutjob has repeatedly stated, in no uncertain terms, that they proceed forward with their nuclear program. Why do they need nuclear power when they sit one of the world’s largest oil deposits? Wouldn’t it be easier for them to just build their own refineries?

    Their expressed desire is to wipe Israel off of the map, and I for one, have no problem taking them at their word. Simply shrugging our shoulders and walking away would be foolish. As President Bush pointed out, our humint in Iran has not been all that spectacular since 1979.

    JD (2c9284)

  6. My aunt, whose father was a banker for the Shah, thinks that we would be remiss in not taking their nuclear aspirations seriously.

    JD (2c9284)

  7. George Tenet in his memiors covers the process by which a National Intelligence Estimate is created. Its very complicated, and individual intelligence agencies do dissent from “Key Judgments” if their own work disagrees from the consensus of the other agencies. As I understand part of this new Estimate on Iran, both the Energy Dept. and the CIA have dissented to some degree from the view that Iran has halted its weapons program. Their view is taht Iran has halted ONE of its programs — the one thought to be furtherest along — but that there is good evidence that they are pursuing others, which are not yet as far along.

    In “Legacy of Ashes” about the failures of the CIA since its inception, there is a quote attributed to Bedell Smith, Eisenhower’s Chief of Staff during WWII and the CIA Director appointed by Truman following the start of the Korean War. He said the Estimates are “descriptions of things we know we do not know” — or words to that effect.

    wls (bafbcb)

  8. FWIW – I suspect that Israel is not going to change their position one iota, nor should they. With Iran wanting to see Israel removed from the maps, there is no reason to let down their guard.

    JD (2c9284)

  9. Looks like the Valerie Plame wing of the CIA is making another attempt to overthrow the Bush administration.

    Perfect Sense (b6ec8c)

  10. Given the intelligence community’s well documented failures over the years, I wouldn’t be any more satisfied if it was their now unanimous view that Iran wasn’t developing nuclear weapons. Why should we believe they have it right now as opposed to having it right a couple of years ago when they pretty much reached the opposite conclusions? And why should we place much faith in people who now stand before us admitting they screwed things up in the not-too-distant past? While an admirable thing to do, admitting one has screwed up forever entitles others to wonder if one has screwed up yet again. Like one’s virginity, there are some things that, once lost, can’t be recovered, and in this case, it’s the presumption that our spy agencies get things right.

    Furthermore, their conclusions aren’t (I presume) based on ‘smoking gun’ evidence but rather bits and snippets of information that have been picked up from all sorts of people with varying degrees of believability…. thousands upon thousands of data points and we’re supposed to be comfortable thinking that these analysts got all the right pieces in the right places? No way. They may mean well but, face it, they’ve screwed up way too many times for us to entrust the safety of our friends and families to their being right this time (fool me once….). And I’m not comfortable assuming that all these analysts have no personal agenda at play that would not only have colored their conclusions but may have led to their suppressing data that contradicted their talking points (any Sandy Bergers trying to keep others from seeing important data? Any incompetent and lying Joe Wilsons whose conclusions were based on sitting around and sipping tea? Any Democrats in the group wanting to issue a report that makes Bush look bad? As partisanship is no longer left at the water’s edge, why assume it is set aside in the conference rooms of our intelligence agencies?).

    Since we can’t be sure that what they’re telling us is correct, I still call for using military force to pressure the Iranians to prove to us beyond a reasonable doubt that they’re not pursuing nuclear weapons. If the Iranians aren’t chasing nukes, let them open up each and every one of their facilities to American inspection.

    Might using the military be too much? Sure, but when we’re talking nuclear weapons and Iran, tis far better to err on the side of going too far than to not go far enough. The lives and well-being of our families demands nothing less.

    stevesturm (d3e296)

  11. Since it was always Sy Hersh and the rest of the hysterical, pearl clutching left claiming that an invasion of Iran was imminent as opposed to the right, I have no problem with those morons being proved wrong again. Hersh has been banging the invasion drums for at least three years and the left still views him as credible. How they try to spin this as a Bush debacle is beyond me when many of them claimed we were focused on the wrong country, Iraq, to begin with. Many on the left refused to believe Iran was even playing a role in Iraq until the evidence became too obvious to ignore.

    The NIE doesn’t call for throwing caution to the wind with respect to Iran. The initial idea of using allies to negotiate was to avoid further charges of Cowboy diplomacy, but try reminding the left of that. Hypocrites and hindsight heroes one and all.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  12. I still call for using military force to pressure the Iranians to prove to us beyond a reasonable doubt that they’re not pursuing nuclear weapons.

    Will we be greeted as liberators?

    I wonder if the next President will tolerate an intelligence staff that requires three months to elevate a tentative conclusion into an NIE on a matter as vital to our national interests as Iran having a nuclear weapons program.

    steve (7e241a)

  13. steve – Good point on the three months, except that even after three months the collective wisdom of our intelligence agencies still can’t come to a firm conclusion on the subject. Would more time help? Probably not.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  14. The part that boggles me is the shell game with the ‘enrichment program’.

    They’re enriching to well beyond the norms for civilian use. That doesn’t mean it can’t be used there. But the higher your purity, and the more fissile material you’re willing to put in, the less elaborate your detonator strategy has to be.

    And if you’ve suddenly received papers from, say A.Q. Khan… in 2003, you suddenly don’t need ‘research’ so much as ‘manufacturing’. As a bonus, you might not need to explain what you’re doing to whatever company is doing the manufacturing. “Hey, I need a dozen bits to this spec.”

    Al (b624ac)

  15. Let’s review:

    1. Iran threatens regularly to “wipe Israel off the map” with “nuclear fire” … while dismantling their nuke weapons program?

    2. Iran has consistently refused Russian and EU offers for fuel that cannot be used for weapons in favor of domestic fuel that CAN.

    3. Iran regularly boasts about how many centrifuges (over 3,000) they have producing HEU which is a key material for nuclear weapons manufacture.

    4. Iran has purchased on the black market working russian nuke designs (through a CIA screwup).

    5. Iran has refused any inspections.

    These are things we know. From news reports if nothing else.

    What we don’t know is what efforts are underway or not about taking plutonium and turning it into an implosion bomb (Fat Man style). It requires precision milling of extremely radioactive and toxic plutonium, which undergoes 17 phase state changes after refining. Not to mention precision explosive “lenses” and fuses to produce the microsecond implosion of the plutonium and thus the super-criticality event that a fission bomb is based on.

    These are not impossible, India and Pakistan and North Korea and South Africa and Israel all solved them.

    That part, however, does not require a massive facility. A few warehouses can do it. That was basically Los Alamos. Hanford was pretty hard to hide, so too Natanz and North Korea’s reactor. A few warehouses? Easy.

    Now how sure are we that there are no secret facilities in the production from raw materials for nuclear weapons?

    This NIE does not pass the laugh test. To truly know we’d have to have go-anywhere inspections. Even a small economy Iran could hide the latter portion, while conducting the public part of creation of nuclear raw material (HEU) in public through centrifuges which is exactly what Iran is doing in fact.

    Likely bet: Iran lets off a nuke in testing within 18-24 months and it is too late to do anything.

    If you liked Khobar Towers, Buenos Aires, the Embassy take-over under the “moderates” wait until Iran has nukes and is therefore impregnable.

    Jim Rockford (e09923)

  16. Jim in Rockford – Bravo!

    Who, exactly, is beating the drums of war on this one?

    JD (2c9284)

  17. Why did that evil bastard Rove force Valerie Plame into retirement by revealing her name just when this country needs her crazy spy skilz the most? Curse you KKKarl Rove!!!!

    daleyrocks (906622)

  18. Rockford, the harder part to hide of a plutonium bomb program is the reactors that produce plutonium from uranium. The rest is a medium sized industrial process, but not the breeding reactor.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  19. daleyrocks – You owe me a monitor. Between you and alpuccino, you are keeping Samsung in business.

    JD (2c9284)

  20. Considering 2 years ago, there was a consensus in the NIE that Iran was making a bomb, and now there is consensus that they stopped in ’03; which is true?

    Of course, those against war of any kind will say the new one is absolutely true and the other false, why? We know (as does the left) that the NIE can and does get it wrong occasionally. What makes this NIE ‘truer’ than the previous one 2 years ago?

    How exactly do you have enough evidence of a weapons program in ’05 to declare it in high confidence and again enough evidence in ’07 to declare that it was stopped 2 years previous to you last ‘high confidence’ report?

    Lord Nazh (62fa3b)

  21. Nazh – That’s the mystery which makes neither of them particularly more reliable than the other, isn’t it. As Jim pointed out above, there is plenty of publicly available information about Iranian activities to keep the U.S. alarmed without debating the finer points of shading in NIEs.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  22. I have never understood the argument that Iran would attack Israel with nuclear weapons. How, practically, would that work, given the small size of the country, the large Arab populations both within and surrounding Israel, the existence of sites holy to Islam in Jerusalem and the ability of Israel to respond in kind? Could somebody explain what the threat is?

    JayHub (0a6237)

  23. Leave it to blah to answer my question, unknowingly. Sy Hersch appears to be the only one beating the war drums in re. Iran, and the leftists simply fall in line.

    JayHub – Since when have the Islamofascists shied away from killing some of their own in pursuit of their perceived “greater good” ?

    JD (2c9284)

  24. Has blah ever posted an original thought?

    JD (2c9284)

  25. #22 A partial answer.

    As Persians, Iranians don’t care how many Arabs they kill if they attack Israel. Iranians dislike Arabs, particularly Sunni Arabs and if they kill millions of Arabs along with the Jews, its a bonus, not an impediment.

    Retaliation is difficult because Iran is a large country and in any event, the religious leaders don’t care if millions of Iranians die – they are all warriors for Allah and headed to paradise.

    Perfect Sense (b6ec8c)

  26. JD, OK, let’s assume for argument that Iran would be willing to kill a lot of collateral Palestinians to destroy Jewish power in Israel, but aren’t you killing way too many of the people whose cause you are trying to advance. The point in the Arab world is that Israel is an illegitimate state that needs to go away so the Palestinians can get their land back. How does nuclear destruction advance that? It would do terrible long lasting damage to the land itself. Israel is small, 10,000 square miles, roughly the size of Vermont.

    JayHub (0a6237)

  27. Perfect sense – If Iran doesn’t care about Arabs, what’s there motive for ending the Jewish state?

    JayHub (0a6237)

  28. JayHub – AQ and the “freedom fighters” are killing their Arab brothers in Iraq, and nobody seems to be bothered by it. Are you serious that the Palestinians would not be willing to sacrifice in order to get rid of Israel once and for all? They send their kids out to pizza parlors and public transportation with homicide vests, and kill indiscriminately. If you believe that their beef with the Israelis is just the land, then you must be incredibly naive. They hate the Jews.

    JD (2c9284)

  29. FWIW…
    According to Podhoretz per, WW-III was the Cold War.
    We Won!

    WW-IV is the War on IslamoFascism.
    I think we can actually date it to the Embassy takeover in 1979. We were on defense (I think that’s the best explanation for being virtually asleep) until 9/12, now we’re on offense – Kicking Ass and Taking Names.

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  30. Perfect Sense – Israel could retaliate. Israel has an estimated 50-100 nuclear weapons. At least a third of the 71 Million Iranians reside in densely populated urban areas. Here’s the breakdown

    Major cities of Iran and their approximate populations:

    Tehran 12,059,000
    Mashhad 2,926,000
    Esfahan 1,598,000
    Shiraz 1,271,000
    Tabriz 1,222,000
    Ahvaz 830,000
    Karaj 1,090,000
    Bandar Abbas 508,000

    JayHub (0a6237)

  31. Jews, Christians, Persians, Arabs, Sunnis, Shias???

    This is the Middle-East. It doesn’t have to make sense!

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  32. JayHub,

    I want to make sure I understand your comment #31. Do you think Israel is protected because Iran believes in detente?

    DRJ (a6fcd2)

  33. I am comfortable with honoring the threat, and Imanutjob has explicitly stated their goals. Who are we to question their stated objective?

    JD (2c9284)

  34. JD – Arabs constitute 20% of Israel’s population, not counting Gaza and the West Bank. Sending a suicide bomber into a pizza parlor is a long way from a nuclear holocaust. You’ve seen the pictures of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. What’s the use of the Right of Return if there’s little to return to. Also, Israel’s prevailing winds are to the West, so what about the fallout in Jordan?

    JayHub (0a6237)

  35. Sy Hersh’s imminent war with Iran is just as real as the shredded constitution the left keeps talking about. It’s sort of like an eventual left turn when somebody ahead of you never turns their blinker off. Maybe he’ll be right some day.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  36. DRJ, not detente, but I find it hard to believe that they don’t believe in self-preservation.

    JD – First Ahmadinejad is not the final authority in Iran and doesn’t control Iran’s actions and military the way Sadaam controlled Iraq. Second, he never said Iran or he would wipe Israel off the map. That’s a bad translation. What he said is that Israel would be erased from the pages of history. This is just simply stating the view of most Middle Easterners that Israel is an illegitimate state that was imposed on them by Europe and the US that ultimately will not survive, in the same way that the Christians ultimately lost the Crusades.

    JayHub (0a6237)

  37. JayHub – Your “translation” does not mesh with the one given to me by my Persian family members and friends. Fatima, Leila, Eti Jun,and Abbas who were born in Tehran, think that statement lends itself more to the wiped off the map interpretation than the wiped from the pages of history interpretation.

    That you choose to attempt to educate me/us about Imanutjob’s role is funny, given your apparent lack of knowledge of the historic conflicts betwixt the Persians and their Arab neighbors.

    JD (2c9284)

  38. JD – I’ll give you the point that there are different interpretations of the phrase since I don’t speak Farsi.

    I do understand that Persians are not Arabs, don’t like them, and in particular don’t like Sunnis, but that’s a long way from saying that they’d be willing to slaughter them at great risk to themselves to accomplish what, if all the Palestinians are dead?

    If your point, and others, are that the Iranian leadership is crazy and their actions can’t be analyzed under any normal human parameters, well, that’s a position, I guess, but it doesn’t make much sense to me.

    JayHub (0a6237)

  39. So, an irrational hatred of the Joooooooooos is not crazy, JayHub?

    The Iranians have no qualms helping the “freedom fighters” kill fellow Muslims in Iraq right now. Why would a few thousand more Gulf Arabs living in that imaginary Zionist state be any different?

    JD (2c9284)

  40. JayHub – Even if every single one of your points was 110% correct, our government, and the government of Israel, would be absolutely negligent in ignoring the public statements and positions taken by the Iranian government as to their intentions towards Israel, and their intentions towards their nuclear program.

    JD (2c9284)

  41. JD – there’s a lot of irrational hatred around the world, but it does not follow that people will pursue their irrational hatred when it is not in their own interest to do so. Also, Iran’s stated public positions are that it is not building a bomb and that there should be a one state peaceful solution to the Israel Palestinian problem. The positions you state are what some surmise about their intentions.

    It’s why I started this discussion. It seems to be a given to many that if Iran acquires nuclear weapons they will use them to attack Israel. I don’t see the rational basis for that conclusion. It does not seem practical or in Iran’s best interests to do so.

    Nothing you’ve said has changed my mind, and I’m sure nothing I’ve said has changed yours. Thanks for the spirited discussion, however. It’s always fun. I think we should call it a night.

    JayHub (0a6237)

  42. It may not seem practical, or even rational, but that is their expressed desire. Are you willing to just ignore that? Would you be willing to gamble with those lives if their target was LA instead of Tel Aviv ?

    I agree about the spirited discussion part, and pray that people elected to office to secure our national security do not follow your train of thought.

    JD (2c9284)

  43. Israel is the bomb and has said it is willing to use it.
    How do you want its neighbors to respond?
    You give Israel some great position of moral superiority, but you ignore israeli terror and ethnic cleansing. You ignore Stern and Irgun. Or maybe you don’t know what the words mean?
    You ignore the toppling of an elected Iranian government, that was done with US support. You forget history.
    Or choose not to learn it.

    JayHub’s done a pretty good job here.

    blah (fb88b3)

  44. “HAS the bomb”

    Is the bomb?
    maybe that too.
    tick tock

    blah (fb88b3)

  45. So we have a National Intelligence Estimate. Humph. Is this not the crowd that was totally surprised when the Berlin Wall came down? The same crowd that was amazed when Gorby’s Soviet Union collapsed? The same crowd that said that stockpiles of WMD in Iraq were a slam dunk? That crowd?
    The Intelligence Agencies. I had some dealings with them back in the ’60s in a country that was a lot hotter and more humid than I was used to. It didn’t take very long for those of us in uniform learned the motto of the Intelligence Agencies: “We bet your life.” Damned few of them cared when they lost that bet.
    It was one thing for them to bet my life when I was a 19 year old Lance Corporal and then a twenty year old Sergeant, I will be damned if these clowns bet my grandchildren’s lives.

    Peter (d671ab)

  46. How do you want its neighbors to respond?

    Perhaps by recognizing that Jews have the same right to national self-determination that they say the Palestinians do.

    You give Israel some great position of moral superiority, but you ignore israeli terror and ethnic cleansing. You ignore Stern and Irgun.

    Because the Stern and Irgun are morally equivalent to Hamas or Hezbollah or Arab culture being rancid with anti-semitism.

    You ignore the toppling of an elected Iranian government, that was done with US support.

    Sort of the way Iran and Syria have trampled Lebanon’s sovereignty for 30 years? And most of it just because Lebanon is in the right spot to be the base of proxy wars against Israel?

    I wonder how many Lebanese and Israelis have been killed thanks to the existence of Hezbollah and how many Palestinian refugees have been forced to rot in Lebanese refugee camps like Nahr al-Bared because of the intentional policy of Iran to use Arab bloodlust against Israel in order to gain influence over the Middle East.

    It’s a completely rational policy for Iran considering the circumstances. Advocating genocide and arming guerrillas engaged in a hoped-for genocidal war is something that should be opposed in and of itself. Iran’s government doesn’t have to be irrational to be dangerous; it’s very rational and all the more dangerous for that. For example, Iran was started to see its agents and allies in Iraq get walloped so it has eased off on the meddling for a little while. Iran can wait a year or five years or ten years to start really trying to subvert Iraq. The US can’t wait Iran out.

    Any retreat on any confrontation with Iran would be a disaster. It would confirm to Tehran that all it has to do is be bellicose and make everyone afraid of a war and eventually Iran will get what it wants.

    Any increase in Iranian power anywhere = more innocent people dead in Lebanon, or Israel, or the West Bank or Gaza, or Iraq, or somewhere, more Muslims being raised to violently hate Jews, more all of that. That’s all there is to it.

    chaos (9c54c6)

  47. Well said, chaos.

    JD (2c9284)

  48. Cool, Blah gives us the Hamas/Hezbollah version. And I thought Helen Thomas didn’t know how to use a computer.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  49. JayHub, how was bombing a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires part of Iran’s rational self interest? I’m just curious.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  50. Hmmm, I don’t think its a good sign that the IAEA is skeptical of the NIE’s conclusions.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  51. blah always conveniently forgets about the Arab ethnic cleansing of Jews at the time of the formation of Israel, but I’ve conditioned my expectations to remain low with respect to blah. Somehow blah also imagines Israel should also be treated differently than any other treaty arrangement at the end conflict – unlike redividing eastern europe or something – because somehow the agreement is not valid.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  52. World War III was fought back in 1962, Scott.

    It was called “The Cuban Missile Crisis.”

    We “won.”

    David Ehrenstein (4f5f08)

  53. “Perhaps by recognizing that Jews have the same right to national self-determination that they say the Palestinians do”

    After throwing three quarters of a million people off their land. With refugee camps in neighboring countries over flowing.
    You think all arabs are the same? Imagine 3 million Chileans in Paraguay. Or are all they the same to you to?
    Read up on Gaza under 40 years of military occupation. Under those circumstances the people of the US would be producing suicide bombers by the score.

    Here’s something you should read
    And this is Uri Avnery.

    As always LEARN.

    blah (fb88b3)

  54. The pali refugees exist because they
    a) chose to flee Israel after they and their fellow Arabs chose to attack the Jews. They figured that the Jews would be as barbaric as they themselves would be, so they ran.
    b) The Arab leaders TOLD them to flee Israel.

    c) The UN and the west has enabled them to breed like rats, and to teach those rats to be sociopaths.

    d) Arab and Muslim leaders USE them as a distraction.

    We all know (or else should keep our mouths shut) that part of the right of return is the right to vote in Israeli elections. Thus the right of return would result in jews being the minority in Israel, and the majority would make 1939 Berlin look like a Hanuka celebration. The New majority would vote in all muslims, would replace the police and army with muslims, would dhimmify all non-muslims, and then show us the 1,000’s of ways in which jews can be tortured and killed. Sooner or later, they would realize the Muslims mobs raised in ignorance and hate cannot keep an economy going, so they would spare some dhimmi’s to “keep the trains on time”, but their lives would be barely better than the sonnerkommandos.

    SO those of you advocating a “right of return” are advocating genocide against Jews. Period. And yes, that includes the “Jewicidal” types that post here and elsewhere.

    Imagine an Israel where sharia law is required to convict a Muslim of raping a Jewish girl.

    Mr.Obvious (d3fe32)

  55. I disagree, Mr. Obvious.

    Generally they don’t realize that muslim mobs can’t keep an economy going and they don’t keep any dhimmi’s around to run the trains on time. Without oil money, Israel will kind of be a non-profitable province of something and then the arabs can get back to fighting each other.

    luagha (e223d6)

  56. blah – Do you support reparations for former slaves in the U.S.?

    daleyrocks (906622)

  57. I’ve posted it before, and I’ll do it again, and again. Facts are important.
    Ari Shavit-Interview with Benny Morris

    What you are telling me here, as though by the way, is that in Operation Hiram there was a comprehensive and explicit expulsion order. Is that right?
    Yes. One of the revelations in the book is that on October 31, 1948, the commander of the Northern Front, Moshe Carmel, issued an order in writing to his units to expedite the removal of the Arab population. Carmel took this action immediately after a visit by Ben-Gurion to the Northern Command in Nazareth. There is no doubt in my mind that this order originated with Ben-Gurion. Just as the expulsion order for the city of Lod, which was signed by Yitzhak Rabin, was issued immediately after Ben-Gurion visited the headquarters of Operation Dani [July 1948].
    Are you saying that Ben-Gurion was personally responsible for a deliberate and systematic policy of mass expulsion?
    From April 1948, Ben-Gurion is projecting a message of transfer. There is no explicit order of his in writing, there is no orderly comprehensive policy, but there is an atmosphere of [population] transfer. The transfer idea is in the air. The entire leadership understands that this is the idea. The officer corps understands what is required of them. Under Ben-Gurion, a consensus of transfer is created.
    Ben-Gurion was a “transferist”?
    Of course. Ben-Gurion was a transferist. He understood that there could be no Jewish state with a large and hostile Arab minority in its midst. There would be no such state. It would not be able to exist.
    I don’t hear you condemning him.
    Ben-Gurion was right. If he had not done what he did, a state would not have come into being. That has to be clear. It is impossible to evade it. Without the uprooting of the Palestinians, a Jewish state would not have arisen here.

    blah (fb88b3)

  58. If that is true, then f* em anyway. Their people waged war and lost. They lose. But their plight today is because of how they are used by nearby muslim nations. If they weren’t such pawns, and such a pain in the ass, Egypt would still run Gaza, and Jordan would still run the West Bank.

    But I am not willing to buy unproven allegations.

    Mr.Obvious (d3fe32)

  59. After throwing three quarters of a million people off their land. With refugee camps in neighboring countries over flowing.
    You think all arabs are the same? Imagine 3 million Chileans in Paraguay. Or are all they the same to you to?
    Read up on Gaza under 40 years of military occupation. Under those circumstances the people of the US would be producing suicide bombers by the score.

    Here’s something you should read
    And this is Uri Avnery.

    As always LEARN.

    The right to national self-determination is something that cannot be taken away period. Every people possess the right to rule themselves. Regardless of anything else.

    You deny this right to the Jews based upon the flimsiest of reasoning – and you ignore the expulsion and flight of Jews from Arab countries after 1948. By your own reasoning the Arabs have no right to national self-determination in the Levant either, but you don’t let that stop you.

    blah is an anti-semite. There’s no other conclusion to be drawn from his arguments. One standard for Jews, one standard for Arabs. Arabs are allowed to ethnically cleanse Jews from their countries and still retain the right to national self-determination, but the Jews lose their right to national self-determination because in the middle of a war some Jews kicked some Arabs out of their homes. Just what it is about Jews that makes you think they shouldn’t enjoy the same rights as everyone else blah?

    chaos (9c54c6)

  60. Let us forget that the Arab nations are inventions of the British. And there never was a Palestine.

    When it comes down to it, there are very few Jews who even have the desire to survive as a culture/religion/whatever. From electing Barak, Sharon, Olmert, to the vast armies of liberal jews in the west who side with the muslims, the communists, or whomever they think will ensure their destruction first. The one true defender of Israel, the US Christian, is constantly under attack by secular Jews masquarading as “rights” organizations, “Anti- Discrimination” organizations, and “peace” organizations.

    When the Christian is tired of defending Israel, it will fall. The old guard, the guys with the numbers tatoo’d on their arms are no longer in control. The socialist, liberal, secular fools are running the show.

    Mr.Obvious (d3fe32)

  61. Israel was founded by secular socialists.
    Another racist anti-semitic “philo-semite.”

    until next time.

    blah (fb88b3)

  62. blah will drop no grievance before its time.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  63. It is pretty clear that the CIA has been for some time and is now in the business of thwarting any American President who seeks to assert US power against our enemies.

    GWB’s corrective action should be:
    1. Lockdown CIA HQ with Special Forces.
    2. Submit all inside to waterboarding.
    3. This who fail – Gitmo, for more of same.
    4. Those who pass – Git to work and rebuild the wreckage.

    sherlock (b4bbcc)

  64. Two quick comments before I get back to Christmas decorating:

    1)There is no such thing as a “consensus view” in the NIE. It is raw data submitted by the 16 disparate intelligence agencies to the powers that be (Congress and the President) for their own final determination.

    2)It’s a classified document. Who the hell gave it up? The president and VP were roundly criticized by the NYT and others for “treason” when they made NIE information public, despite the fact that the president has the specific authority to declassify such things. Remember? I hate the mainstream media more than I can say.

    driver (faae10)

  65. “When the Christian is tired of defending Israel, it will fall.”

    – Mr. Obvious

    One would think that a true Christian wouldn’t be so arrogant as to claim that it was anything but the grace of God that kept Israel safe…

    But I guess God needs your help on this one, “Mr. Obvious”. Keep fighting the good fight.

    Leviticus (e87aad)

  66. No, Leviticus, it is just that if you actually read my post and comprehended it, it isn’t about arrogance, it is about my growing concern, based on the facts on the ground, that Israeli’s and the misc. western Jew not longer really want Israel to survive. They are suiciding in many ways.

    If not for our support, they would schlepp their way into the sea, with only a few brave souls fighting to the end.

    Mr.Obvious (d3fe32)

  67. Bullshit. There’s no misunderstanding what you said: “When the Christian is tired of defending Israel, it will fall”.

    That’s a pretty self-explanatory statement, and no attack leveled at my reading comprehension (which is, by all official counts, close to perfect) is going to change that.

    Any real Christian would admit that it’s God that protects Israel, not the 700 Club. Samson didn’t need an American-made M-60 to kill a thousand men, if you get my drift.

    Leviticus (3092a1)

  68. And if God alone protects Israel, then why the hell are Kassam rockets falling where they may? Why are muslims with bomb vest blowing people up?

    Mr Obvious (7a2278)

  69. So Israel “falls” every time Hezbollah gets pissy and shoots a rocket into Tel Aviv? Gimme a break.

    Leviticus (ac4602)

  70. I would like to see one of these three authors of this atrocity bet that the Iranian government isn’t developing a nuclear weapon. The entire report is a bad joke and an insult to commonsense. Worse is its impact on foreign policy options.

    I hope Bush has the guts to purge the intelligence community and these blindly partisan idiots. The WSJ sums up this atrocity quite nicely.

    Thomas Jackson (bf83e0)

  71. TJ – I hope he doesn’t forget the State Department as well.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  72. The enemies within…

    Bush tried to get control of this situation with Porter Goss, and putting Condi at State. Neither was able to get control of their respective agencies. Porter left; Condi went native. Bush has given up and will just take the flak that will come regardless of his course of action.

    The big question is: What will the next President do?
    If it’s a Dem, will they cede foreign policy to the insurgents within State and CIA?
    And, if it’s a Rep, will “open warfare” erupt?

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  73. A Short-Short Story –

    All US military personnel were permanently home from the Middle East and his troubled presidency was drawing to a close.

    On this evening of December 24, 2008, concluding his final televised speech to the American people, and as multi-megatons of mushroom clouds suddenly billowed over Iraq, Iran, Syria, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia, a satisfied George Bush announced in those immortal words of Michael Corleone:

    “Today, I settle all ‘family’ business…”

    Big Don (2ca45a)


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