Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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December 3, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

IRAN....From the New York Times:

BREAKING NEWS: U.S. Report Says Iran Halted Nuclear Weapons Program in 2003


UPDATE: From CNN: The intelligence community is sending a classified assessment to Congress today saying that "Iran largely halted its nuclear development program back in the fall of 2003." Turns out that Iran was more susceptible to international pressure than anyone believed. Also: Iran is having lots of centrifuge problems and isn't even close to producing enriched uranium. "The key effort has pretty much been stopped." No wonder Dick Cheney didn't want this report released.

Barbara Starr comments that this is "Very much against the grain of what the Bush administration has been saying." Ya think?

Kevin Drum 12:06 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (35)

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clearly, they're lying. we must invade, post haste.

i would feel safer if the staff of The Corner physically led the charge.

Posted by: cleek on December 3, 2007 at 12:13 PM | PERMALINK

Link please?

Posted by: eCAGNomics on December 3, 2007 at 12:16 PM | PERMALINK

No, no, no, no, no

The White House has made it clear.
Iran is a nukoolear threat
WWIII is on the horizon

Let fly the Dogs of War

Posted by: Mr DeBakey on December 3, 2007 at 12:17 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, but I bet nuclear weapons program related activities continue unabated.

The only way to find out for sure is to invade.

Posted by: Cheney's Third Nipple on December 3, 2007 at 12:18 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry Dick. The GOP, frankly, has other priorities.

Posted by: HeavyJ on December 3, 2007 at 12:19 PM | PERMALINK

Dammit, now war with Iran is essentially guaranteed. Because BushCo only instigates war on Axis of Evil (tm) countries *without* weapons of mass destruction.

Posted by: IdahoEv on December 3, 2007 at 12:24 PM | PERMALINK

Here's one link.

Posted by: PaulB on December 3, 2007 at 12:29 PM | PERMALINK

And another. Note the update there, reporting the response from the Bush administration:

It confirms that we were right to be worried about Iran seeking to develop nuclear weapons. It tells us that we have made progress in trying to ensure that this does not happen.

I wonder if they believe their own bullshit?

Posted by: PaulB on December 3, 2007 at 12:31 PM | PERMALINK

Iran may have trouble enriching uranium, but we have been "enriching" the desert sands of the Mid-East with our own depleted uranium armour-piercing shells.

I'd bet that geiger counters are banned in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Otherwise, the click clicks would actually warn folks of the vast radioactive contamination that the US military has spread all over. Al beit "low levels."

DU is no joke and it can't be wished away.

Posted by: Tom Nicholson on December 3, 2007 at 12:34 PM | PERMALINK

Clearly the only lie that matters in American politics is about having "sex with that woman."

Posted by: Keith G on December 3, 2007 at 12:36 PM | PERMALINK

Total self-serving BS. Is this NIE the same report that was released a few weeks ago but was not to be made public?

Posted by: nepeta on December 3, 2007 at 12:39 PM | PERMALINK

It's pretty inconceivable of course that Israel and the Israel lobby has not been fully aware of this for at least as long as the CIA.

All of which makes their agitation for launching an attack on Iran now only more despicable.

Posted by: frankly0 on December 3, 2007 at 12:41 PM | PERMALINK

Of course the Iranians are hiding their nuclear bombs very well.

Oh they are there, somewhere between Tehran and Bandar 'Abbas.

Why are we having second thoughts of this menace to humanity, especially when the cost of doing so would be so small? The oil revenues will pay for the invasion, which will be a cake walk. We may not be done in a week, but definitely two to four weeks, surely not six months.

Posted by: gregor on December 3, 2007 at 12:42 PM | PERMALINK

You go to war with the bullshit rationalizations you've got, not the bullshit rationalizations you wish you had.

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on December 3, 2007 at 12:46 PM | PERMALINK

This report further echoes the disconnect from reality the neo-conservatives have in examining the Middle East. Michael Rubin wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post attacking the efforts of the National Iranian American Council and its allies in stopping the drumbeat of war and building bridges between American and Iranian NGOs. Dr. Trita Parsi, executive director of NIAC, responds in an article featured in the Huffington Post.

Posted by: D Robinson on December 3, 2007 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

PaulB: I wonder if they believe their own bullshit?

That's the point of bullshitting, that "truth" is irrelevant.

In this sense, Bush's bullshit and Colbert's truthiness are descendants of classical James-Dewey-Pierce pragmatism. Things are true or false according to whether believing them has good or bad effects.

Posted by: anandine on December 3, 2007 at 12:50 PM | PERMALINK

me like links. link please?

Posted by: kevin m on December 3, 2007 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

It appears that this NIE is one and the same with the NIE discussed in the press a few weeks ago in which differences of opinion about Iran's nuclear program were allowed to remain, despite Cheney's protests that the intelligence agencies speak with one voice. We're seeing here a part of the US intelligence establishment trying to rein in Cheney and Bush with this report, but at the same time not call them liars.

Posted by: nepeta on December 3, 2007 at 1:00 PM | PERMALINK

But, but all the reports from our Special Ally prove the opposite. And we know the Kagans and Abe Foxman would never lie to us.

Posted by: ATS on December 3, 2007 at 1:10 PM | PERMALINK

How about a link?

Posted by: Kevin Sullivan on December 3, 2007 at 1:21 PM | PERMALINK

Evidence doesn’t drive the policy of this crowd. It is not used to set policy goals on global warming or on Iran. The goals are already understood. Evidence- thin, exaggerated, or fake evidence- only functions to provide excuses. For these men facts and outright falsehoods are tools of equal value.

Posted by: bellumregio on December 3, 2007 at 1:25 PM | PERMALINK

I hate to say I told you so, Kevin - but there's at least one email convo where I told you so :-)

Mr. Sullivan - links galore here. (BBC, AP/CNN, NYT and the PDF of the Key Judgements).

Regards, C

Posted by: Cernig on December 3, 2007 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK

If you've been listening carefully you know that the Buscists have been saying lately that their goal is to stop Iran from acquiring the "knowledge" needed to produce nuxe -- meaning they know full well that there is no on-going program but need an excuse to saber-rattle anyway.

Posted by: Egypt Steve on December 3, 2007 at 1:37 PM | PERMALINK
....pragmatism. Things are true or false according to whether believing them has good or bad effects. anandine at 12:50 PM
You need to read more works from the classical American pragmatists

...For James, beliefs are not true until they have been made true by verification. James believed propositions become true over the long term through proving their utility in a person's specific situation. The opposite of this process is not falsification, but rather a belief ceasing to be a "live option."....
Peirce avoided this position because he took the pragmatic theory to imply that theoretical claims should be tied to verification practices (i.e. they should be subject to test), not that they should be tied to our specific problems or life needs. Truth is defined, for Peirce, as what would be the ultimate outcome (not any outcome in real time) of inquiry by a (usually scientific) community of investigators. John Dewey, while agreeing broadly with this definition, also characterized truthfulness as a species of the good: to state that something is true means stating that it is trustworthy or reliable and will remain so in every conceivable situation.....

Posted by: Mike on December 3, 2007 at 1:46 PM | PERMALINK

Didn't Saddam say he kept up the pretense of Iraqi WMDs to deter invasion of Iraq by Iran, or something similar? If fear of Saddam was the main reason for Iran's program, they didn't need to worry about Iraq by fall of 2003.

When we backed Saddam against Iran, we were just providing Iranians with reasons to want nuclear weapons.

Posted by: cowalker on December 3, 2007 at 1:58 PM | PERMALINK

Why is this coming out now? Who in the administration is so clearly off the reservation on WWIII? Looks like more rats deserting the sinking S.S. Shrub-Cheney.

Posted by: CParis on December 3, 2007 at 3:11 PM | PERMALINK

Well, if the Iranians gave up their nuke program in 2003, it must have been because we invaded Iraq!!

See? The plan worked!!

Posted by: Quaker in a Basement on December 3, 2007 at 3:21 PM | PERMALINK

Awww, looks like "ex-liberal" and the neocons won't get their war. What a pity.

Posted by: Gregory on December 3, 2007 at 3:33 PM | PERMALINK

What's really amusing is the argument (in the NIE and the mouths of rightwingers) that sanctions and threats of airstrikes did their job. The Iranians made their decision back in 2003, when Dubya and Dick were still plotting their Iraqi adventure and there were no such sanctions or strikes on iran being even talked about.

Cheney is obviously Master of Time and Space and reversed the direction of causality itself so that White House policy could affect a decision already made! (cue Dr. Who theme tune)

Regards, C

Posted by: Cernig on December 3, 2007 at 3:37 PM | PERMALINK

It must be time to invade Angola, then.


Posted by: Hank Essay on December 3, 2007 at 3:38 PM | PERMALINK

It must be time to invade Angola, then.

The Angolians tried to kill my daddy!

Posted by: George W. Bush on December 3, 2007 at 3:59 PM | PERMALINK

BREAKING NEWS: Bush/Cheney caught lying about...well, just about anything/everything

Posted by: T Paine on December 3, 2007 at 6:42 PM | PERMALINK

Oww come on, what is it with people utterly refusing to look at the WMD threat track record of the neocons:

  • The Iraqi chemical, biological, nuclear weapons/programs + terrorist ties bonus
  • The North Korean parallel Uranium program accusations that came just in time to scuttle a deal. And then (after a test) the US toke a worse deal. No "disablement" of a Uranium program though, turned out that was all just an "inteligence failure"... oops!
  • The Cuban biological program, or do you really believe communist would spend money on medical labs???
  • Syria bombing raid on a “uranium from phosphor facility”.. strike that... light water (moderated) reactor... of the north Norean design known for being graphite moderated and conceived in Britain.

Thats four, I repeat four times in what, six years? So why would they be nuanced about threat number five? Whenever some diplomatic agreement looms nameless “senior officials” or John Bolton starts warning everyone about the threat of unconventional weapons. And then they end up not existing. Or in case of Cuba they may be the huge threat Bolton said they were but he just forgot to mention the huge WMD threat so close to US shores recently. (It isn`t in his memoir is it?)

Wolf!! wolf Wolf Woooolf!!!! Whoops sorry. Well surely they will have better luck next time...?

And then the is the cold war missile hyping record of these same guys.

Meanwhile the US is building a new nuke named the “reliable replacement warhead” that doesn`t replace anything. The current nukes are tested and very reliable. But since Bush refuses to ratify the nuclear test ban treaty new nukes could be tested. The US is Selling nuclear technology to NPT black sheep India. Its doing huge conventional explosives tests to learn nuclear related stuff, its (thinking about) doing anti-satellite weapon experiments. The US is loosing track of its nukes. Intelligence operations to send bad nuclear designs to Iran get bungled...this is what I can come up with of the top of my head.

All of this isn`t without repercussions. The conventional forces in Europe treaty being abandoned by Russia, oil isn`t gonna get cheaper...

Ah, but I bet nuclear weapons program related activities continue unabated.
its Weapons of mass destruction related program activities... Just remember the lyrics to Bill Mahers song. Someone should kick his writers to get back to work.

Posted by: asdf on December 3, 2007 at 7:07 PM | PERMALINK

The US is loosing track of its nukes.

Like the Barksdale B-52? All dressed up and no where to go? Or was the dance in Iran?

Over 50 people would have had to sign off if it was an "error." Unless, of course, it was no error and just waiting for the go order.

Posted by: MLuther on December 3, 2007 at 11:19 PM | PERMALINK

I know a little something about Air Force protocols where nukes are concerned, and the story they peddled is flat-out impossible, and everyone who knows anything about it, knows that it is impossible for it to have happened that way.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on December 3, 2007 at 11:32 PM | PERMALINK
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