Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
December 04, 2007

The Iran NIE - Reactions

As one who has feared a U.S. attack on Iran, I am personally relieved that the relase of the new National Intelligence Estimate makes such prospects unlikely:

Political sources in Israel said Monday night that it appears that the Bush administration has lost the sense of urgency and determination to carry out a military strike against Iran in 2008. The same sources said that the United States is unlikely to strike Iran in 2008, and will make do with more severe sanctions against Tehran.

I'll sleep better now. Even Bush's latest red line has been crossed without consequences. Six weeks ago he said:

I've told people that if you're interested in avoiding World War III, it seems like you ought to be interested in preventing them from have the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon.

Now the NIE asserts (pdf):

We assess with high confidence that Iran has the scientific, technical and industrial capacity eventually to produce nuclear weapons if it decides to do so.

Let's review the press reactions today which answer some questions about the NIE release I asked yesterday:

The new NIE claims that Iran has stopped its "nuclear weapon program" in 2003. Every press report repeats that line. Only the New York Times quotes the IAEA which has never found any hint for such a program in the first place:

“Despite repeated smear campaigns, the I.A.E.A. has stood its ground and concluded time and again that since 2002 there was no evidence of an undeclared nuclear weapons program in Iran,” a senior agency official said. “It also validates the assessment of the director general that what the I.A.E.A. inspectors have seen in Iran represented no imminent danger.”
Another official close to the agency said it was striking that the American assessment stated with certainty that Iran had a nuclear weapons program in the past, a conclusion the agency has never formally reached.

Cyrus Safdari at Iran Affairs puts it a bit harsher:

[T]he NIEs are hogwash. There is still no evidence of any nuclear weapons program in Iran; not today, not in 2003, not ever.

The wrong assertion of a Iranian nuclear weapon program up to 2003 may be some cover-your-ass tactic by the Intelligence Community, or it may be a preparation to reintroduce the "threat" when it is convinient.

In general all reports seem to accept the NIE's general finding that there currently is no nuke program in Iran. Even Jonah Goldberg at the National Review Online concedes:

It seems to me one can have all of the usual caveats that come with both our intelligence agencies and The New York Times, and still agree that the bar for bombing Iran has not only not been met yet, but that it's arguably moving farther away.

Quoted in the LA Times ultra hawk John Bolton seems to have given up:

Asked what effect the document might have on the debate within the Bush administration, Bolton said: "There really isn't any debate. Secretary Rice and Secretary Gates have fundamentally won. This is an NIE very conveniently teed up for what the administration has been doing."

There are a few holdouts though. A Weakly Standard blog entry has: Five Questions Concerning the Latest NIE and in a Guardian comment neocon Oliver Kamm has a hilarious argument on why all thought of a peaceful Iran is A dangerous fantasy.

So the neocons ain't dead. The NIE finding may be the very reason why Wolfowitz is put into position as chairman of the International Security Advisory Board:

The 18-member panel, which has access to highly classified intelligence, advises Rice on disarmament, nuclear proliferation, WMD issues and other matters. "We think he is well suited and will do an excellent job," said one senior official.

A second chance for Team B?

The Israelis are miffed and try to keep up their war mongering. The Jerusalem Post relays Ehud Barak:

Iran is continuing in its efforts to produce a nuclear bomb, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said on Tuesday morning, ..
According to the defense minister, Iran had indeed stopped its program four years ago but has since renewed it.

Barak's evidence? Nothing!

There are several theories why the new NIE has 180 degree different finding from the 2005 NIE.

The Washington Post writes:

Senior officials said the latest conclusions grew out of a stream of information, beginning with a set of Iranian drawings obtained in 2004 and ending with the intercepted calls between Iranian military commanders, that steadily chipped away at the earlier assessment.

In one intercept, a senior Iranian military official was specifically overheard complaining that the nuclear program had been shuttered years earlier, according to a source familiar with the intelligence. The intercept was one of more than 1,000 pieces of information cited in footnotes to the 150-page classified version of the document, an official said.

That reminds a bit of the intercepts Colin Powell quoted and played in front of the UN, 'proving' that Iraq had WMDs. The New York Times has a different angle:

In the summer of 2005, senior American intelligence officials began traveling the world with a secret slide show drawn from thousands of pages that they said were downloaded from a stolen Iranian laptop computer, trying to prove that Iran was lying when it said it had no interest in building a nuclear weapon.
Now, that assertion has been thrown into doubt by a surprising reversal: the conclusion, contained in the declassified summary of a new National Intelligence Estimate on Iran’s nuclear programs, that Iran’s effort to master the technology of building a nuclear weapon had halted two years before those briefings.

At the time of the laptop slide show, some European and United Nations officials questioned what they were being shown. “I can fabricate that data,” one said at the time. “It looks beautiful, but it is open to doubt.”

When this mysterious all-telling laptop was first revealed in early 2006, I immediately mocked its alleged importance. The Laptop came to the CIA via the MEK, the Iran opposing terror-cult that is under the protection of the neocons. The CIA never revealed The Laptop's content to the IAEA. I believe that The Laptop was the base for the earlier findings. Maybe the Intelligence Community now finally agreed with me that its value and provinence is the same as the forged Nigeran letters 'proving' Iraqi yellowcake purchase.

McClatchy explains why the NIE was published at all.

The Democratic-controlled Congress ordered the production of the NIE amid concerns that the Bush administration was hyping the threat as it had in Iraq.
In the end, said the [State Department] official, it was decided that if the unclassified summary wasn't made public, that would increase the chances that classified parts of the document might leak. If that were to happen, the administration would be accused of suppressing intelligence that found that Iran's nuclear program wasn't as immediate a threat as the White House had suggested.

Timing: Best expressed by Peter Baker and Robin Wright in WaPo. Short version: "Bush lied":

President Bush got the world's attention this fall when he warned that a nuclear-armed Iran might lead to World War III. But his stark warning came at least a month or two after he had first been told about fresh indications that Iran had actually halted its nuclear weapons program.
Hadley said Bush was first told in August or September about intelligence indicating Iran had halted its weapons program, but was advised it would take time to evaluate. Vice President Cheney, Hadley and other top officials were briefed the week before last. Intelligence officials formalized their conclusions on Tuesday and briefed Bush the next day.

The U.S. congress should be concerned. Why was Israel informed of the new NIE before the Senators and Representatives found out about it? Haaretz:

The report, which discounted the likelihood that Iran is on a path to develop nuclear weapons soon, did not catch the Israeli leadership by surprise. During their visit to Washington last week, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Defense Minister Ehud Barak were briefed on the report.

If I were a Chinese or European diplomat I would be pissed. There were negotiations over new sanctions on Sunday, without the NIE findings revealed to them:

A senior US official said on Monday that Russia and China were "constructive" when they were discussing at the weekend with the United States, Britain, France and Germany to impose new sanctions against Iran over its disputed nuclear program.

A few hours later Burn's success in working for new sanctions is down the gully: Now China opposes more Iran sanctions and European officials are embarrassed:

[They] added that they were struggling to understand why the United States chose to issue the report just two days after the six powers involved in negotiating with Iran — the United States, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany — had decided to press ahead with a new Security Council resolution.

“Officially, we will study the document carefully; unofficially, our efforts to build up momentum for another resolution are gone,” said one European official involved in the diplomacy.

Another senior European official called the conclusions of the assessment “unfathomable.”

As McClachy correctly states:

[The declassified key judgments] deal another blow to the administration's credibility and influence, already battered by its use of bogus and exaggerated intelligence to justify its 2003 invasion of Iraq.

No wonder then that Iran welcomes [the] US atomic report.

There is currently a Gulf Cooperation Council meeting (the six Arab Gulf states) to which, for the first time ever, Iran was invited. GCC leaders host Ahmadinejad at summit

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Monday offered to sign a security pact with Gulf Arab leaders as he became the first president from the Islamic republic to be invited to their annual summit.

The pact Ahmedinejad propsed would include civil nuclear cooperation (btw: Bush will love this picture) Earlier the Crown Prince of Bahrein, Sheik Salman bin Isa al-Khalifa, had accused Iran to deceive about a nuclear weapons program. With the new NIE, Bahrain, where the GCC meets, is embarressed and the issue will be off the table. One now can expect that there will further talks on integrating Iran into the GCC.

Additionally the GCC countries agreed to implement a common market and a common currency by 2010. This is another severe blow to the US Dollar. As the most ugly issue now has vanished, maybe Iran could join that currency union too?

That would be the most positive and consequential issue the NIE release probably achieved.

Posted by b on December 4, 2007 at 13:54 UTC | Permalink


Laura Rozen:

The Democratic Hill staffer who follows Iran policy closely offered a note of caution to anyone convinced the NIE would stymie the hardliners. It could also set back efforts to get a third round of economic sanctions through the UN Security Council, he warned, and thereby, weaken the effectiveness of those pushing for a non-military approach. "Failure of the sanction drive at the UN may give Cheney et al the opportunity to convince the president that the diplomatic route is now closed and the United States must move to more direct military pressure."

Neocon Podhertz has Dark Suspicions about the NIE

Posted by: b | Dec 4 2007 15:15 utc | 1

The funniest version of "the inside story" has to be this one reported by Scott Horton at

The White House, and particularly Vice President Cheney, used every trick in the book to stop it from being finalized and issued. There was no last minute breakthrough that caused the issuance of the assessment.” So what, I asked, if not an intelligence breakthrough, what caused the last-minute change and the sudden issuance of the summary of the NIE? My source had no idea. He speculated, however, that a hardening of attitudes within the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the intelligence community, and in Israel against the plans for an air war in Iran had caused Cheney and his team to fold their cards. “But I’d leave that with a final note of caution,” the source added, “Cheney sometimes appears to give up, but he’s a tenacious son-of-a-bitch. He may very well be back at it tomorrow.”

(emphasis added). So, from this perspective it was the Israelis who "saved" the U.S. from making the horrible mistake of going to war needlessly with Iran.

Posted by: Hannah K. O'Luthon | Dec 4 2007 16:46 utc | 2

Thanks for pulling all of this together b. I've been waiting for your comments.

One thing: think "bare assed" when you write em-bar-rassed
(how to type a bullet?)

Posted by: beq | Dec 4 2007 18:18 utc | 3

"Weakly Standard" I like.

Posted by: beq | Dec 4 2007 18:22 utc | 4

Interesting point brought up on another blog:

For the last two years, we have justified putting a missile defense system in Eastern Europe explicitly around the threat of Iranian ballistic missiles. In addition to the extraordinary financial costs, this project has resulted in increased Russian hostility to the United States and to Russia's neighbors. And are we now to believe that this expensive and unpopular system is justified by the need to protect Poland from Iranian ballistic missiles armed with conventional warheads?


Posted by: Ensley | Dec 4 2007 19:23 utc | 5

Sorry to disillusion you, but neither Bush nor Cheney listens to anything that contradicts what they want. Bush is still beating the drums today -- he is determined to convince people that he is justified in attacking another country.

I wonder how many of my spineless fellow denizens would give him a pass for it? Makes me sick. Since he things it is OK to kidnap folks who violate our laws, he's putting himself in an interesting position ....

Posted by: Scorpio | Dec 4 2007 19:30 utc | 6

@beq - after you embarrassed me, I corrected that one.

The Weakly Standard is intentional ...
Well - according to Bush and the neocons

- the CIA did this to help Iran
- the NIE confirms that Bush's policies are right
- nobody ever said Iran has a nuclear weopons program
- the CIA got duped

Posted by: b | Dec 4 2007 19:39 utc | 7

And as predicted, here is the spin from the AIPAC Likud lobby. I expect it will get more fine-tuned and elaborate over the coming days.

Posted by: Ensley | Dec 4 2007 19:44 utc | 8

@Ensley - yes, an important point I missed
@Scorpio - even Bush needs some justification. He can order an attack, but if he does without any plausible reason, the military is likely to just say "fuck you". Their comerades in Iraq are sitting ducks.

Posted by: b | Dec 4 2007 19:45 utc | 9

the toupéed nietzschean bolton must be furious

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Dec 4 2007 20:01 utc | 10

Re "from Israel"

So it was the Israelis that stood up to the big, bad Administration on Iran. Lol!

Well, given this Reuters story,

Israel believes Iran restarted nuclear arms work

The Israelis must be confused. Not only that, someone forgot to tell their US neocon cousins.

Posted by: Thrasyboulos | Dec 4 2007 21:02 utc | 11

nothing i enjoy more in these dark times - than a little bit of inter or intra elite combat or chaos. or both. better

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Dec 4 2007 21:12 utc | 12

As B said, I don't see how Bush can go to war, because the Congress isn't insane enough, at least a majority of it, to go to war on dubious fears, more to the point, the generals may well oppose this and go into open revolt - in such a situation, this would be a war that the US would lose, be it a local one or WWIII.
And last but not least, if the USA decided to attack Iran, basically every single country on this planet would be legitimised to declare war on the USA, and act accordingly against US interests because of this illegal and criminal war of aggression. Think Iraq in late 1990. Not that I expect many countries to act decisively, but some major ones like Russia and China will. And this time it will be brought before the International criminal court.

Posted by: CluelessJoe | Dec 4 2007 22:23 utc | 13

I remember Billmon musing about it being strange to see the intelligence community as "on our side". I don't remember if he was among those wondering what it would take for a coup... well, what is a coup? When the intelligence and/or military apparatus seize the executive powers. That is not feasible in the US now. What the intelligence apparatus has done is to make public a statement that constrains the executive. This NIE has made war on Iran politically indefensible. This is not a seizure of power, but it is a close to one as we can get, it is the creation of a constraint on power. It seems clear from Bush's reaction that he has been blindsided.

For all the badmouthing of the US electoral system, and, yes, it sucks in many ways, at the very least it gives a mechanism for the intelligence/military apparatus to constrain the executive without acts or threats of violence. How's that for cold comfort. Man, my standards have gotten pretty low.

Posted by: boxcar mike | Dec 5 2007 0:36 utc | 14

yes, there really seemed an element of being blindsided. bush is a very very stupid man. the world since its creation has not borne a cretin such as he - but today in that press conference offering his english lesson - iran was, iran is, iran will etc - took stupidity to somewhere it has never been before

moronic as the media is - they must need medication after pressconferences like that

it is as close as one sees to someone being hit over the head repeatedly with a blunt instrument in the form of words, if we can call them that - & i am not so sure i can

but it was really something - perhaps rove can give him some of his ritalin or even some of cheney's heart medicine - hell it's not going to do that fat fuck much good - it would be a sacred thing if that demonic piece of shit passed on in the white house midmeeting(though i am sure it will happen while he is salivating over his halliburton spreadsheets of profits he cannot spend) & troubled the next world with his presence

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Dec 5 2007 1:12 utc | 15

I might have missed something, but when did the CIA become an honest broker in all this?

More to the point I don't think it matters what the Intelligence community comes up with. The policy doesn't depend on "getting the intelligence right".

Arthur Silber says it much better than I can:

Posted by: Bruce F | Dec 5 2007 2:15 utc | 16

boxcar mike, I also remember Billmon saying years ago that things have to be really bad if you are looking at the CIA to save our country.

Posted by: Ensley | Dec 5 2007 3:08 utc | 17

Is anyone of the opinion that a deal has been made between th U.S. and Iran? Its just that I noticed a large spike in U.S. casualties in the beginning of the year, Followed by an even bigger spike over the summer. Subsequently, they diminished substantially. Concurrently the U.S. makes multiple accusations that Iran is arming Iraqi rebels. Then the accusations die off and Iran is now supposedly preventing the arming of insurgents.

Then all of a sudden a deal in Lebanon that's not at all unfavorable to Syria/Iran/Hizbullah is struck. Iran's new nuclear negotiator arrives in Europe and basically gives Javier Solana the middle finger. What made him so confident? At the same time Ahmadinejad is invited to the GCC summit for the first time ever.

Then we learn of the NIE. That means the U.S. is giving up on sanctions. It is also, as several astute bloggers have pointed out, putting itself in an awkward position WRT its Polish-Check missile shield that was to stop the nuclear missiles Iran isn't even trying to build.

So, did the U.S. give up all this just to catch a break in Iraq for a few months?

Posted by: Lysander | Dec 5 2007 3:28 utc | 18

Arthur Silber argues that your better sleeping isn't really justified B.

Posted by: ran | Dec 5 2007 3:31 utc | 19

ah, BruceF beat me to the Silber link. sorry for the redundancy.

Posted by: ran | Dec 5 2007 3:34 utc | 20

Two possibilities (among many others):

1) A 'big' someone with strong ties to the CIA stands to loose his/her shirt if an attack happens

2) Iran has been finally convinced to give up the idea of an oil bourse (haven't heard anything about this since early this year, BTW)

Posted by: Dr. Wellington Yueh | Dec 5 2007 3:55 utc | 21

To-day I saw the most beautiful rainbow I have ever seen.

...and I felt good.

Posted by: pb | Dec 5 2007 5:12 utc | 22

Gates had his friends prepare this for the right moment. Recently, ~2 wks. ago the Japanese Emperor summoned the Am. Emperor, David Rockefeller, for talks - see currency. Gates & Fallon were ready, the ammo. was prepared. I suspect that our Emperor, after conferring w/those who matter on the dollar & world economy, gave the Final No.

They couldn't attack - see dollar/World Economy (on brink of collapse) & state of xUS military (badly broken). The downside risk is Catastrophic. Neonuts know how to play the propaganda game, but reality is entirely stacked against them this time around.

Anyway, it's time for V-I day. (Grabbed the oil; signed agreement for preferential investment; Iraqi govt. okayed long term bases. War Won.) Enough already. The world hates America too much already. Time to appear reasonable. Adults had to step in, neonut propaganda notwithstanding.

Posted by: jj | Dec 5 2007 5:33 utc | 23

Meanwhile, Darth Cheney hunts for another SAC B-52 attack bomber, another covertly
loaded pod of six LIVE NUCLEAR cruise missiles to divert to PNAC, a 'long tail'
play more potentially devastating than 9/11 and Hiroshima combined, but apparently
just as easily narrated away into the way-back machine of "some time last August".

"Start a small economic crisis," Cheney advises. The next day, media reports
the "housing crisis." It worked! Already, credit-con has morphed into the housing
crisis, and an almost Dr. Strangelove become a happy-camper 8mm movie. This gross,
egregious, impeachable breach of US nuclear arms protocol is _______ ... I forgot.

Google "Wilmot ND nuclear accident". IT DOESN'T EVEN EXIST ANYMORE! Whaa?!!
Nothing to see here, citizen. Move along. Have a NIE Day! Juno Hilo Charlie!!!!!

That rainbow you're seeing is an oily sheen on deep water.

Posted by: Ten Dirhams | Dec 5 2007 5:43 utc | 24

Pat Lang's take on the background to the NIE is worth reading, as are the comments to it. Lang is, of course, no bleeding-heart lefty, but it's interesting to see the virulent anti-AIPAC view he presents. The interplay between dim-witted U.S. elites pursuing their own imperial agenda, and the the AIPAC crowd's ability to use electoral extortion to play the former like a sinister violin will remain a fascinating and current topic for insightful bloggers. I stand with those pessimists who think that the
conflict between the neo-con provocateurs and the "responsible imperialists" is far from over, and that a manufactured casus belli is never beyond the reach of those who need flagrant justification for their unspeakable agenda.

Posted by: Hannah K. O'Luthon | Dec 5 2007 6:12 utc | 25

hahaha...Ten Dirhams, jeez. but your right, "Wilmot ND nuclear accident" has been scrubbed it looks like.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Dec 5 2007 6:29 utc | 26

Confirmation for my assessment of The Laptop being the critical piece in the CIA analysis by ARNAUD DE BORCHGRAVE

The coming war on Iran even had its own "Curveball," the codename for the phony Iraqi defector to Germany who invented nuclear secrets in exchange for permanent residence. Curveball's fabrications provided the nub of Secretary of State Colin Powell's "proof positive" speech to the U.N. Security Council on Feb. 5, 2003, a month before the invasion of Iraq. The U.S. intelligence community was never given access to Curveball, the impostor who triggered a half-trillion-dollar war and the loss of almost 4,000 U.S. soldiers and Marines. This time, it was Iranian nuclear secrets on a laptop's hard drive shoplifted by a defector.

Posted by: b | Dec 5 2007 6:54 utc | 27

Try Minot, N.D., not Wilmot & ye shall find :)

Posted by: jj | Dec 5 2007 7:11 utc | 28

jj, thanks, but I was playing along... of course, I do forgot Irony and humor often gets lost in text.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Dec 5 2007 8:08 utc | 29

Sorry, Uncle, I figured you'd know better, but yes, humor & irony do get lost & I just wanted to be sure you weren't getting suckered. Trying to protect our own, I guess.

(Uncle, Did you see Amy G. & Juan make asses of themselves w/Lou Dobbs today? I wish someone would put out a competing newscast. Someone w/more overview, who doesn't come off as an updated Stalinist. They were sooo ridiculous. They had so much to make common cause w/the one mainstream guy who opposes NAFTA & the Predators takeover of Washington. Who states in so many words that Wash only represents the Mega Corps, and they fritter away an hour fixating on the minutae of immigration. If they worked tog. to mobilize forces to shut down NAFTA Mexicans wouldn't be driven from their homes in the first place. Hey, Amy, do you want to be driven out of your home country??? No? Well, maybe Latins don't either...)

Posted by: jj | Dec 5 2007 9:09 utc | 30

Hate to resort to the administrations vernacular but, it seems we've reached a "tipping point" with regards to Iran (at least), if not the entire foreign policy establishment. In that this represents a frontal defeat of the cheneyites if not their abilities of declaring executive privilege type repression of information (as boxcar mike indicated)and has left them stranded midstream without a life vest. I would expect this to reverberate throughout the political spectrum including the bomb bomb, Iran republicans running for president.

Man, the military and defense industry must just be furious about all this penny ante warmongering and be desperate to get back to their big margin and ultimately useless payola projects.

Posted by: anna missed | Dec 5 2007 9:17 utc | 31

Pincus in Wapo:

Communications intercepts of Iranian nuclear officials and a stolen Iranian laptop containing diagrams related to the development of a nuclear warhead for missiles both yielded valuable evidence about Iran's nuclear past as well as its decision in 2003 to suspend the weapons side of its program.
That says - the NIE assessment of a Iranian nuclear program up to 2003 is based on The Laptop which I am certain is a forgery.

Iran never had a nuclear weapon program.

Posted by: b | Dec 5 2007 9:28 utc | 32

Also The Laptop - Ignatius

A senior official describes the summer's windfall as "a variety of reporting that unlocked stuff we had, which we didn't understand fully before." That earlier information included technical drawings from an Iranian laptop computer purloined in 2004 that showed Iranian scientists had been designing an efficient nuclear bomb that could be delivered by a missile. Though some U.S. analysts had doubted the validity of the laptop evidence, they now believe it was part of the covert "weaponization" program that was shelved in the fall of 2003.

Posted by: b | Dec 5 2007 10:23 utc | 33

(Grabbed the oil; signed agreement for preferential investment; Iraqi govt. okayed long term bases. War Won.)

Very interesting observation about the timing of this vis a vis the agreement that Bush and Maliki recently signed.

Posted by: Bea | Dec 5 2007 13:08 utc | 34

now that the focus is off iran, let's see if we can direct it towards u.s. violations of the nuclear NPT, size of their arsenal & the very real threats it presents to life on the planet, etc...

probably needs to start in the international media

Posted by: b real | Dec 5 2007 16:09 utc | 35

Shit. I sense something approaching disappointment from some of the 'end of the world/ww3 is coming' lefties who can't accept what has been apparent to to any realist of whatever political persuasion since the notion of an attack on Iran was first mooted. That an attack on Iran would be suicidal and doomed to failure. No one, not even amerika's new best friends the former 'Iron Curtain' countries of eastern Europe were prepared to sign up for the madness. Israel would have contributed some airplanes but not much else because they would find their stretched resources flat out defending the territory they have already stolen.

Once the disaster that Iraq is began to effect BushCo politically, they lost all chance of rule by imperial edict from the throne room on an issue which is so uncertain. The Joint Chiefs have been almost unanimously opposed to this madness from the start. Like Israel the Air Force see only upside from dropping bombs, killing and terrorizing innocent civilians. The Air Force because that is what they do and Israel because any non-jew in the ME must die, but neither Israel nor the Air force believed they would suffer many casualties (I reckon they'd be wrong but still), however the army and marines, even the navy, knew that they were gonna get the shit kicked out of already depleted and over stretched forces and for what? To have another more homogeneous and larger population to oppress and police than that which they had failed to oppress and police in Iraq?

No way that the armed forces were prepared to go along with this, the football played with the NIE for 9 months which the White House lost is one of many ankle taps the 'realists' plan to stymie the Iran attack.

True the realists are about as real as Ghost Whisperer or any other Hollywood fantasy, but that's still realer than the Rovian reality which Cheney/Bush actually started to believe themselves, and the realists will have come out of the NIE tug of war strengthened, while BushCo will be weakened.

Because those on the sidelines, the fencesitters, the opportunists who make up the bulk of those stalking the corridors of power will recognise that the anti-attack Iran faction holds sway, so they would be wise to jump aboard that ship. How so?

Well as the Iraq bulldust of an NIE revealed, the NIE has never really, 'for those in the know' been about the truth, as in the facts what is actually happening. The NIE is about the truth, as in the prevailing shared realities of the powerful in Washington.

I agree that the NIE isn't the be all and end all of amerikan policy. An invasion of Iran could have been stymied even with an NIE which said Iran had a nuclear program. The tissue of lies, deceits and deceptions pulled together when constructing the Iraq NIE meant that an assessment in favour of invasion could be undermined.

However the reverse is not true, a finding of no program can not be turned into a platform for an invasion. The NIE credibility was shot but it was shot because of those who wanted to invade Iraq perverted an already corrupt process. Their only cover right now for the Iraq WMD mess is the NIE which said the WMDs existed, if they call this assessment of the Iran nuclear program into question and invade anyway, they are destroying the only bulwark protecting them from prosecution or worse over the invasion of Iraq, by saying one isn't obliged to take the sum total of amerikan intelligence assessment seriously.

BushCo have a choice to make. They can either go along with the 'new-wave' who will then help them murder many more Iraqis out of gratitude, aid to obstruct the de-institutionalisation of Gitmo and destroy the Pashtun people, things the asshole realists did sign up for, or BushCo can resist and go head hunting the 'obstructionists' who stymied their 'next big thing'.

In that case the realists will unpick the seams of the cloak of death and deception which has been constructed over the last 7 years. Not in a good way that will save lives, in a vengeful way that will cause chaos and more misery.

This is what happens when the powerful fall out in the midst of murdering. Neither group give a fuck about living breathing humans, especially not ragheads, and they will reduce every possible issue to political point scoring against each other, totally oblivious to the effect their selfish stupidity is having upon others.

Now it is easy to believe that the second option will prevail, but the fact that the NIE came out at all, that it contained so many sops - eg that Iran had a nuclear weapons program once, and that it contains scenarios for how long it would take to 'restart' this non-existent program, is an indication that these over grown schoolyard boofheads are trying to play nice.

Sure, the AIPAC mob are pretty pissed, but in case you hadn't noticed ordinary people are a lot more aware of the Israel lobby than they were when Iraq was invaded. The notion that Israel's interests don't always align with amerika's is actually spoken in polite company, discussed in the mainstream media. Softly softly, and often causing the usual screams of 'anti-semitism' etc, but anti-semitism has become 'old' too. The word has been flung at too many people too often to hold the power it once had. The media may not be ready to acknowledge all of this yet, so the easiest way to judge the success of efforts to bring attention to AIPAC is by looking at the NIE itself. The decision that Iran is no longer constructing a nuclear weapons program is a major defeat for the lobby. That defeat couldn't have occurred without the groundswell of opinion that the Israel lobby holds too much sway in amerikan foreign policy.

Sure the lobby will fight back, but having lost the decisive battle, things will get worse as the waverers decide that the wind blows against proponents of Israel.

Now AIPAC may want to get nasty and I'm sure that the asshole slanderers like Dershowitz will, but the Washington lobbyists know that some sort of scorched earth policy against the supporters of this NIE will be counterproductive. So instead they will counsel caution and patience. I mean to say it's not as if Washington is riddled top to bottom with Palestine supporters is it? They have all been long got rid of, so any attempt by AIPAC to take out the opponents of an Iran attack will be taking out a 'loyal supporter' of Israel; and that has a distinct propensity to backfire, such disloyalty may stampede the sheep in Congress.

Despite all the public statements of solidarity for BushCo policy in the ME coming from the rethug establishment there seems little doubt that the old guard report of the Iraq Study Group of slug James Baker has been implemented almost in total. Hell what was Annapolis about if it wasn't a piss weak attempt by Bush junior to appease the establishment of his own party?

Iran has been off the agenda for the old school rethugs for longer than it has been for the dems, although many dems will be heaving a sigh of relief at the life rope the NIE has given them, the Clintonistas won't, even so, I doubt even they will be too outspoken in support of an attack on Iran this side of the 08 election.

Aha the election, the other obstacle to a successful murder rape and pillage of Persia. amerikans have lost a bit of faith in their ability to make the ragheads shout uncle since Iraq turned to shit, and the NIE now gives ordinary amerikan rednecks an 'out', a way to say 'Hey we don't need to fuck the Iranians' while thinking "thank christ I'm running outta inbred imbecile relatives to send".

The next year is going to be spent bribing all sides in Iraq into a sort of silence and calling that victory, while fingers crossed praying it doesn't fuck up. Cheney can do what he likes - he's a spent force, dead duck, last month's flavour, the old black, pick yer cliche.

Iran isn't going to happen, yet instead of being happy that less people quietly going about their business of living are going to die next year than predicted I sense an attitude close to disappointment from some people.

Some really don't want to believe that this madness has no chance of getting up, never did. Is it because the existing death and destruction in Iraq and Afghanistan has become old news, boring? They don't want to think about something so last year as the misery of Baghdad? Gitmo is old, man. Or don't they like good news?

I don't fucking know. I'm happy that Iranians aren't going to suffer like the Iraqis are having to, that's what I know. I had my doubts a while ago I couldn't see how anyone could think that attacking Iran could even be as unsuccessful as the invasion of Iraq has been, let alone winnable, yet the bullshit was flowing out of all Washington orifices all year. Now we know why. The NIE was bouncing back and forwards between the ayes and noes all year while ayes pulled out all stops in public to discredit the naysayers and failed. So let's be happy for the Iranians that won't die.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Dec 5 2007 20:26 utc | 36

So let's be happy for the Iranians that won't die

indeed, whether it was done for short term political gain or because cooler heads are prevailing or maybe even a strategic withdrawal the bottom line is that large scale bombing and killing is likely not to occur in the near future. Maybe there is a Santa Claus after all.

Posted by: dan of steele | Dec 5 2007 21:31 utc | 37

public drunk & bush brownnoser christopher hitchens in this instance suggest we don't put our trust in the intelligence estimates

funny, this stupid fuck of a man, who creates cretinous commentary - usually guards intelligence estimates next to his whisky bottle

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Dec 5 2007 22:59 utc | 38

Debs, in case you hadn't noticed ordinary people are a lot more aware of the Israel lobby than they were when Iraq was invaded.

did you checked out hannah's pat lang NIE link? the comments? i'd say there are serious indications the times they are a changin'.

Hertzberg @ the new yorker weighs in.. maybe the world just doesn't like us anymore.

And regime change, it turns out, is infectious—a militarily transmittable disease, almost invariably fatal, so far, to any political party or head of government so careless of hygiene as to have had intimate relations with the Bush Administration’s Mesopotamian misadventure. The contagion set in less than a year into the war, when, three days after the Madrid terrorist bombings of March 11, 2004, Spain’s conservative government, which had sent thirteen hundred soldiers to Iraq, was defeated at the polls. The soldiers were out within three months. In May of 2005, it was the turn of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, of Italy, President Bush’s loudest West European supporter, who had sent three thousand troops; his successor, Romano Prodi, brought them home. In June of this year, Tony Blair was finally obliged to relinquish his grip on Britain’s Labour government, largely because of Iraq; the new Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, has signalled that he intends to withdraw Britain’s troops—some five thousand of the original commitment of forty-five thousand remain—by the end of 2008. Six weeks ago, Poland’s premier, the twin brother of the country’s President, lost to an opponent whose platform included bringing back the nine hundred Polish troops that are still in Iraq. Other countries whose voters have dispensed with the services of leaders who enrolled them in Bush’s “coalition of the willing” include Hungary, Ukraine, Norway, and Slovakia.

A week ago last Saturday, John Howard, the second-longest-serving Prime Minister of Australia, became the newest casualty of this political epidemic. Howard’s case is unusual, both for the slavishness with which he has followed Bush’s lead and for the comprehensiveness of his defeat.

[clip w/some excellent funny stuff about howard's downfall and then all the poll numbers reminding us nobody likes us anymore (noooo mr bill)]

Last week’s gathering of Israeli and (Sunni) Arab leaders at Annapolis was a sign that it has finally dawned on the Bush Administration that its six-year policy of ignoring the Israeli-Palestinian morass has aggravated America’s troubles in the Middle East. The President may at last have realized that while the issue is not the sole cause of Islamist extremism, it cannot continue to fester––for the sake not only of Israeli survival and justice for the Palestinians but also of beginning to restore some of the global influence and esteem this Administration has squandered. But in suddenly capping six years of obtuse neglect with a one-year timeline, President Bush has probably dithered too long to have any hope of solving the world’s most complicated and persistent rebus. His late awakening is yet another cost of the Iraq war. Those costs keep mounting, and they’re not likely to abate until there’s regime change a little closer to home.

Posted by: annie | Dec 6 2007 1:08 utc | 39

oops, here's the new yorker link

Posted by: annie | Dec 6 2007 1:11 utc | 40


the deal looks like its been done. And one thing you can take to the bazaar is that the po' Democrats are still clueless and will be pissing their pants when the Repugs inevitably accuse them of being "soft on Iran"

Posted by: jony_b_cool | Dec 6 2007 1:33 utc | 41

Thanks, U$, yup, it was a red herring to get MoA's to look it up and remember!

Never forget just how close WW3 was, all because Wall Street and Casa Blanca
saw another US$ trainwreck coming, so the Branch Cheneyite Hallibs cooked up
another "little war", nuclear this time, and when that didn't work, got ol'
Hank to stump for a "Hope Now Alliance" public-to-private taxpayer grifting.

Never forget, the Neo-Zi's almost started EOTW on a black ops executive order.
You think they have the slightest compunction against looting our US Treasury?

The Raw Story | Navy veteran questions why six nuclear missiles ...
Stormer doesn't buy reports that the missiles were simply lost. ... "This is about how six nuclear advanced cruise missiles got out of their bunkers and ...

"Lost" B-52 nuke cruise missiles were on way to Middle East for attack on Iran ... SPEAR involving the B-52 that flew the six nuclear-armed cruise missiles ...

[CTRL] Fwd: "Lost" B-52 nuke cruise missiles were on way to Middle ...
24, 2007 -- SPECIAL REPORT -- " Lost" B-52 nuke cruise missiles were on way to ... SPEAR involving the B-52 that flew the six nuclear-armed cruise missiles ...

Missing Nukes: Treason of the Highest Order
[1] Reportedly, in total there were six W80-1 nuclear warheads armed on AGM-129 Advanced Cruise Missiles (ACMs) that were "lost. ...

portland imc - 2007.09.05 - B-52 carried nuclear armed cruise ...
B-52 carried nuclear armed cruise missiles by mistake ... damning quote — "the Air Force has lost all confidence in his ability to handle nuclear weapons" ...

More on the Lost Nuclear Cruise Missiles -- Here's the USA Today report on the lost nuclear bombs. Here's an article by Wayne Madsen. ...

Report: Air Force lost track of five nuclear missiles - On ...
Report: Air Force lost track of five nuclear missiles ... cites anonymous sources who say that five Advanced Cruise Missiles were mistakenly loaded on a ...

Six "lost" nukes sent to the Middle East | The News is
editorial Sunday why six active nuclear armed cruise missiles were ... Stormer doesn't buy reports that the missiles were simply lost. ... lost-nukes-sent-middle-east-0

2007 United States Air Force nuclear weapons incident - Wikipedia ...
Six AGM-129 ACM cruise missiles , each armed with a W80-1 variable yield nuclear warhead, were mistakenly loaded on a United States Air Force (USAF) B-52H ...

Posted by: Ten Dirhams | Dec 6 2007 1:58 utc | 42

mullah cimoc say ameriki intel agencies the mass insubordiantion against him president bush for to stop the WWIII.

israeli spy neocons and israel intel agent him try to start WWIII base on one more big lying but usa bureaucracy not accept. now pres. bush not have the power because leave office soon. bureaucrat not the fear of president bush regime.

this example of israeli spy in whitehouse and pentagon control usa but instead silent revolution?. this the very import develop for usa people the live free of control by master in tel aviv.

google: mighty wurlitzer +cia

is true: usa media most biggest enemy of ameriki people.

Posted by: mullah cimoc | Dec 6 2007 3:41 utc | 43

@36 - Debs - thanks for that one - saw it too late to frontpage it, but there are some points I will steal later on.

Posted by: b | Dec 6 2007 18:14 utc | 44

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