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Suicide attack on army bus in Kabul kills 16
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Page 4: Opinion
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-Signs, Portents, and the Weather-
Skeptics, Heretics Banned From UN MMGW Conclave
A group of reporters representing the conservative newspaper Environment & Climate News were refused press credentials to attend the U.N.'s climate change meeting in Bali this week.

I kid you not.

The paper's publisher, the Heartland Institute, released the following statement Monday:

As the first goals of the Kyoto Protocol are about to expire, the United Nations is preparing a "Conference of the Parties," the highest decision-making authority. The meeting will take place in Bali, Indonesia from December 3 to December 5.

But the event lost any claim of impartiality when organizers rejected attempts by representatives of Environment & Climate News to receive press accreditation for the conference.

UN press office coordinator Carrie Assheuer said the newspaper's representatives "do not meet the criteria for press accreditation." Environment & Climate News has been in continual publication for 10 years; is sent to more than 75,000 elected officials, opinion leaders, and environmental professionals in the United States; and is one of five newspapers published the by 23-year-old Heartland Institute.

I guess only reporters that buy into the global warming myth are considered accredited.

Color my lack of surprise green.
Posted by: Anonymoose || 12/06/2007 13:18 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [284 views] Top|| File under:

Why We Should Oppose an Independent Kosovo
President Bush declared a “war on terror” after the Jihadist attacks on the United States in 2001. Six years later, all he has achieved is bleeding American tax payers financially and American soldiers literally while overseeing the eradication of non-Muslim communities in Iraq. Now his administration supports independence for terrorist-sponsoring Muslims in the Balkans and in the Palestinian territories. Unless he does something very substantial in 2008, George W. Bush risks being remembered as one of the worst presidents in American history.

Supporting independence for Muslim Albanians in Kosovo will not lead to stabilization of the Balkans; it will rather lead to the Balkanization of the West. The new thug state will serve as a launching pad for Jihad activities against non-Muslims, just like an independent Palestinian state would do in the Middle East. In the case of Kosovo, the Russians are right and Western leaders, both in the European Union and the United States, are wrong. The Serbs have suffered enough. Give them a break!

In a conflict between Muslims and non-Muslims, other infidels should always support the non-Muslim side. That goes for Kosovo as much as it goes for Kashmir or southern Thailand. It’s time to end the demonization of the Serb people and support their struggle against the global Jihad. We are all next in line.
Posted by: Omolugum Omavimble4053 || 12/06/2007 07:11 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [569 views] Top|| File under: Global Jihad

#1  As always, Fjordman gets it.
Posted by: g(r)omgoru || 12/06/2007 8:09 Comments || Top||

#2  The Serbs understood the problem first. If a firm line had been taken early and the Saudis prevented from instigating war hundreds of thousands might have been spared.
Posted by: Excalibur || 12/06/2007 9:31 Comments || Top||

#3  Ahem. The way the Serbs 'got it' was to murder tens of thousands of civilians.

The word for that is 'genocide'.

The Bosnians and Kosovars are not blameless in this mess. However, I still believe that the Serbs deserved every bit of the thumping they got, and more.

It would be far better to let the southeast European muslims in Albania, Kosovo and Bosnia form a state, and then tie that state firmly to Europe, western tradition and personal liberty. That's how you keep the Saoodis and the extremists out.

I have no sympathy whatsoever for the Serbs after Srebrenica.
Posted by: Steve White || 12/06/2007 12:26 Comments || Top||

#4  I agree, lets not put the Serbs up on a pedestal. They are/were thugs whose brutality more or less helped the Kosovars get this far.

Having said that Kosovars can just wait. I still think Russian peacekeepers would be a good idea. Slavs trust them, they want to be a Great Power, and it'll show the Kosovars that just because we stopped them from being slaughtered doesn't mean we accept their hiding behind us and shooting at their enemies.
Posted by: rjschwarz || 12/06/2007 13:38 Comments || Top||

#5  As always, Fjordman gets it.
Posted by g(r)omgoru

Fjordman gets nothing. I've actually been to the area in question. Overwhelmingly, in Albania as well, you will not find a more pro-American area of Europe. Jihadist ideology was imported, and is very, very rare today. It ain't Yemen. If you go to Kosovo, you will find that a lot of "Muslims" will buy you a beer.
Now, whether Kosovo should be independent is a different deal, but it's from lack of any kind of resources or an industrial base. I would like to see Kosovo as a province of an expanded Albania. That would make more sense.
But to say that the Allan Akbars is the problem that should lead us to oppose -- that's just ignorance.
Posted by: Mizzou Mafia || 12/06/2007 13:58 Comments || Top||

#6  Muslims cannot embrace Western liberty; they are slaves to allah. When they have the arms and numbers, they attack their mortal enemies: us.
Posted by: Titus Glomolet2781 || 12/06/2007 16:23 Comments || Top||

#7  Kosovo been a part of Serbia 10 times as long as there been USA, Mizzou Mafia. Meditate on this!
Posted by: g(r)omgoru || 12/06/2007 17:15 Comments || Top||

#8  Our government's role in enabling the Kosevars is shameful. Srebrenica was a horrible event, but does anyone remember 700 years of Ottoman atrocities? I didn't think so.
Posted by: SR-71 || 12/06/2007 18:08 Comments || Top||

#9  Kosovo been a part of Serbia 10 times as long as there been USA

So what? Just because Kosovo has been a part of Serbia for a long time doesn't mean it has to be that way in the future.

In an ideal world Kosovo and Serbia would resolve their differences the same way the Czechs and Slovaks did. This isn't ideal. Either the Serbs have to accept the loss of all/most of 'sacred Kosovo', or the Kosovars have to accept being part of a country in which the Serb majority spits on them. Or else we'll eventually have another Balkans war.

Titus: please re-read what Mizzou wrote.
Posted by: Steve White || 12/06/2007 18:10 Comments || Top||

#10  The Serbs have been with us in 2 World Wars. And they more or less sided with us against the Soviet Union. I can't believe we're siding with Muslims against them.

Fredo, you're my older brother, and I love you, but don't ever side with anyone against the Family again.
Posted by: Zhang Fei || 12/06/2007 18:11 Comments || Top||

#11  I guess we should let California become part of Mexico then? This is stupid and Clintion and Albright got us into this mess. I oppose a independent Kosovo, muslims need to learn to get along with others something they will not do when the reach sufficient numbers. We are pushing Serbia into Russia sphere with this stupidity.
Posted by: Sock Puppet of Doom || 12/06/2007 18:56 Comments || Top||

#12  This love for the Albanians comes from viewing them through the lense of our own liberal, post-modern, Western sensibilities. The Albanians love us now because we support them against their enemies. After they win, they will come for us. It's the Muslim way. At some point we will discard our liberalism, or we will all die.
Posted by: SR-71 || 12/06/2007 20:11 Comments || Top||

#13  Muslims cannot embrace Western liberty; they are slaves to allah. When they have the arms and numbers, they attack their mortal enemies: us.

Listen here shit-fer-brains, I was in the Balkans, I've been there and seen what went on, both side. Those particular Muslims there are not at all like the ones in Trashcanistan (who are tribal more than Muslim), nor are they like the Fascist-Shia in Iran or the Saudi-backed Wahhabist Nazis (world-wide).

You are an IDIOT if you truly beleive what you wrote. The bloodshed there has more to do with ethnicity than does religion - all religion does is provide them a fig-leaf excuse for genocide and bigotry. The Muslims terroists are as Muslim as the Christian mass-murderers are Christian; which is to say Not At All.

What was going on there was wrong on ALL sides except when we stepped in to stop the stupidity. The problem is we handed it over to the UN, which means the ethnicity issues and tribalism were reinforced instead of defused, and the economy was hobbled and ultimately trashed with central planning by UN people. Those UN morons cant even get the roads paved or power on in some places even after a decade+.

The solution is to get them out from under UN supervision and into SELF GOVERNMENT. Seperate states, firmly tied into western secular government, and open free practice of religion and respect for individual liberty is THE answer to the region. And it also prys them loose from the radicals, like we are seeing in Iraq with the "Awakenings" there. A job and feeding the family mean a lot more than self-detonation to the average Iraqi Muslim - and that includes welcomiogn home theri Christian neghbors who were ethe doctors and so on in their areas.

Idealogically it gives us a hell of a good wedge against the Islamo-fascists fundamentalists. A democracy in Iraq that isnt a fundamentalist state, is a threat to those totalitarians nearby - likewise goes for the Balkans and those who would incite radicalism there.

So unless you've been there like some of us have, kindly shut the fuck up when you don't know what you are talking about

Posted by: OldSpook || 12/06/2007 20:46 Comments || Top||

#14  The Balkan area has been at war ever since the end of Roman occupation in the early 300s AD. The problems that create the environment for warfare go back farther than that - even before the rise of Phillip of Macedon. The Balkans have been conquered and occupied by a dozen different empires, and nothing has changed. There are still blood feuds that go back a thousand years, there are still groups that cannot accept something that happened to their ancestors so far back in history the names of those ancient ancestors are lost - but the fighting goes on. Most Americans cannot understand that kind of behavior, or that degree of grudge, but it exists throughout the Balkans, from Turkey to Romania, and from the Black Sea to the Adriatic. Making another little patch "independent" isn't going to change anything as long as the ingrained hatred for "certain others" continues.
Posted by: Old Patriot || 12/06/2007 21:02 Comments || Top||

Home Front: Politix
The Flaws In the Iran Report
By John R. Bolton
Posted by: ryuge || 12/06/2007 07:23 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [247 views] Top|| File under: Govt of Iran

#1  Too bad Bolton isn't willing to name names. Not enough Bolton spice to change the flavor of this State Dept crap soup now being pushed by the WaPo, NYT, CNN et al until election day.
Posted by: ed || 12/06/2007 9:11 Comments || Top||

#2  Rush Limbaugh had a caller from the intelligence community call in and made some excellent points:

Apparently it's in the assumptions - They stated some very bogus assumptions and then everything flows from that. The caller said the assumptions are very misleading and very easy to miss. She also said if any regular analyst had stated their assumptions in this way, they would have been raked over the coals.

Basically this whole thing stinks.

Posted by: Frozen Al || 12/06/2007 12:12 Comments || Top||

#3  I heard on NPR the new NIE is based on a single intercepted phone call in Iran. Not much to base a volte face on.
Posted by: trailing wife || 12/06/2007 14:10 Comments || Top||

#4  many involved in drafting and approving the NIE were not intelligence professionals but refugees from the State Department

Ahh, the State Department. *That* interesting tidbit explains quite a bit about the overall lameness and deception involved in this NIE. Now that he is no longer at the UN, maybe Mr. Bolton could serve as our ambassador to State?
Posted by: SteveS || 12/06/2007 16:22 Comments || Top||

WSJ: CIA flip-flop on Iran hardly reassuring
In his press conference yesterday, President Bush went out of his way to praise the "good work" of the intelligence community, whose latest National Intelligence Estimate claims the mullahs of Iran abandoned their nuclear weapons program in 2003. "This is heartening news," Mr. Bush said. "To me, it's a way for us to rally our partners."

We wish we could be as sanguine, both about the quality of U.S. intelligence and its implications for U.S. diplomacy. For years, senior Administration officials, including Condoleezza Rice, have stressed to us how little the government knows about what goes on inside Iran. In 2005, the bipartisan Robb-Silberman report underscored that "Across the board, the Intelligence Community knows disturbingly little about the nuclear programs of many of the world's most dangerous actors." And as our liberal friends used to remind us, you can never trust the CIA. (Only later did they figure out the agency was usually on their side.)

As recently as 2005, the consensus estimate of our spooks was that "Iran currently is determined to develop nuclear weapons" and do so "despite its international obligations and international pressure." This was a "high confidence" judgment. The new NIE says Iran abandoned its nuclear program in 2003 "in response to increasing international scrutiny." This too is a "high confidence" conclusion. One of the two conclusions is wrong, and casts considerable doubt on the entire process by which these "estimates"--the consensus of 16 intelligence bureaucracies--are conducted and accorded gospel status.
Continued on Page 49
Posted by: Pappy || 12/06/2007 00:07 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [266 views] Top|| File under: Govt of Iran

#1  The NIE is getting debunked at a furious pace: "They were trying to build a bomb before they weren't trying..."

Posted by: M. Murcek || 12/06/2007 0:57 Comments || Top||

Posted by: JosephMendiola || 12/06/2007 3:36 Comments || Top||

#3  "This is heartening news," Mr. Bush said. "To me, it's a way for us to rally our partners."

This reads like Scrappleface.
Posted by: Excalibur || 12/06/2007 9:24 Comments || Top||

#4  What I'm reading into the WSJ's conclusion is a donk plot to discredit Bush and the Republicans so they can score with their calls to negotiate with Iran...sort of like the Wilson/Plame affair. This would be irresponsible at the least and treasonous at the worst. The question is: Do voters believe that the likes of Hildebeast or Osama Barak could successfully negotiate with the Mad Mullahs? I sure don't.
Posted by: treo || 12/06/2007 10:26 Comments || Top||

#5  Who the hell knows what's going on in the puzzle palace called Washington, DC? I don't think they even know in Washington.
Posted by: JohnQC || 12/06/2007 15:51 Comments || Top||

#6  If they can outlaw the internet again (see other post) they can do anything in Washington for whatever "Alice in Wonderland" reason pops into their twisted minds.
Posted by: 3dc || 12/06/2007 16:43 Comments || Top||

NIE: An Abrupt About-Face
Michael Goldfarb and Thomas Joscelyn point out a major problem with the NIE estimate on Iran, to wit --
As many recognize, the latest NIE on Iran’s nuclear weapons program directly contradicts what the U.S. Intelligence Community was saying just two years previously. And it appears that this about-face was very recent. How recent?

Consider that on July 11, 2007, roughly four or so months prior to the most recent NIE’s publication, Deputy Director of Analysis Thomas Fingar gave the following testimony before the House Armed Services Committee:

Iran and North Korea are the states of most concern to us. The United States’ concerns about Iran are shared by many nations, including many of Iran’s neighbors. Iran is continuing to pursue uranium enrichment and has shown more interest in protracting negotiations and working to delay and diminish the impact of UNSC sanctions than in reaching an acceptable diplomatic solution. We assess that Tehran is determined to develop nuclear weapons--despite its international obligations and international pressure. This is a grave concern to the other countries in the region whose security would be threatened should Iran acquire nuclear weapons.

This paragraph appeared under the subheading: "Iran Assessed As Determined to Develop Nuclear Weapons." And the entirety of Fingar’s 22-page testimony was labeled "Information as of July 11, 2007." No part of it is consistent with the latest NIE, in which our spooks tell us Iran suspended its covert nuclear weapons program in 2003 "primarily in response to international pressure" and they "do not know whether (Iran) currently intends to develop nuclear weapons."

The inconsistencies are more troubling when we realize that, according to the Wall Street Journal, Thomas Fingar is one of the three officials who were responsible for crafting the latest NIE. The Journal cites "an intelligence source" as describing Fingar and his two colleagues as "hyper-partisan anti-Bush officials." (The New York Sun drew attention to one of Fingar’s colleagues yesterday.)

So, if it is true that Dr. Fingar played a leading role in crafting this latest NIE, then we are left with serious questions:

Why did your opinion change so drastically in just four months time?

Is the new intelligence or analysis really that good? Is it good enough to overturn your previous assessments? Or, has it never really been good enough to make a definitive assessment at all?

Did your political or ideological leanings, or your policy preferences, or those of your colleagues, influence your opinion in any way?

Many in the mainstream press have been willing to cite this latest NIE unquestioningly. Perhaps they should start asking some pointed questions. (Don’t hold your breath.)
Assume for a moment that the current NIE is an honest effort by honest people. Okay, I said assume, so assume already. If Iran decided to stop nuclear weapons development in 2003, that means they looked at Saddam's removal and got very worried. They figured out that the Dhimmicrats, Germany, France, Russia and China combined couldn't restrain George Bush, and decided that perhaps weapons development was pushing things a little too far. So put the program on ice til, say, 2009, all the while waving a big stick and acting like big heat knowing that they can still buffalo and cow the Euros (that's certainly been the case).

Now, assume for the moment that Fingar and his fellow-travellers are the worst sort of scum who are using their positions to sabotage a President whom they openly admit they hate. If the current NIE has been tailored as an attack weapon against Dubya, the real meaning is that CIA is no longer an honest broker (to the extent that it has been one the last thirty years) of intelligence. Is that really something the Dhimmicrats want tied to them if Hildebeast or Obama win in 2008? No amount of lipstick -- claiming that they've now 'reformed' the intelligence community -- will dress up the pig that will be intelligence estimates if they're seen as just one more tool to be used as an axe against one's domestic political enemies.

So the Dhimmicrats have, without realizing it, painted themselves into a corner. Either the current NIE is honest, which means Iran can be moved not by negotiation but by strategic power applied in a blunt way, or the current NIE is dishonest, which means that future NIEs, and future intelligence in general, is pretty much useless for planning our foreign affairs.

Not a position I'd want to be in if I were a Dhimmicratic candidate for president.
Posted by: Steve White || 12/06/2007 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [326 views] Top|| File under: Govt of Iran

#1  Seems to me that the leadership of the American intelligence community has overtly become a political tool. Time to plow it under and start from scratch. There may be an honest one here and there, but it will be too difficult to sort them out.
Posted by: gorb || 12/06/2007 2:10 Comments || Top||

#2  Never attribute to malice what can be explained by simple incompetence, gorb.
Posted by: g(r)omgoru || 12/06/2007 8:12 Comments || Top||

#3  Another double-bind: If the NIE had continued to claim Iran was developing nuclear weapons the left would have denounced its findings - based on press clippings, from what I can make out - only to embrace them if the findings support their only war aim, i.e. to discredit President Bush.

Frankly, with this latest farcical conference for peace in the middle east the President needs no help in discrediting himself.

But by all means, fire everyone at CIA. Start again.
Posted by: Excalibur || 12/06/2007 9:35 Comments || Top||

#4  While I am ranting: Closing shop at CIA is not enough. Until the traitors with tenure at our "elite" universities are all fired, we will get nothing but generation after generation of indoctrinated self-hating Americans from which to recruit staff for CIA, the State Department, etc. etc. The rot runs deep.
Posted by: Excalibur || 12/06/2007 9:36 Comments || Top||

#5  the "peace conference" was never about peace. It was about isolating the Iranians, the price of oil, and separating Syria. Israel gave away nothing, but they did get to gloat about blowing away the Syrian Nuke plant.
Posted by: bman || 12/06/2007 10:05 Comments || Top||

#6  The CIA still sucks but before we get to far ahead of ourselves lets figure out where these 3 stooges (Fingar, Brill, and Vann van Diepen) really are.

I've read in other articles that these guys are with Negroponte in the DNI office.

And all you really need to know that somethings not right is say Vann van Diepen. What the hell sort of name is that besides elitest snob?
Posted by: danking70 || 12/06/2007 11:31 Comments || Top||

#7  bman and your problem with that is?

Bolton had some interesting things to say about the NIE. Moreover common sense falls into place exposing the NIE report as fairly land tales. Iran is seeking 50,000 centrifuges for,,, making icecream?
Posted by: Icerigger || 12/06/2007 12:56 Comments || Top||

#8  Vann van Diepan is a long time Dept of State bureaucrat who, according to this Sun article, has been trying for 5 years to get the US to accept Iran's right to enrich uranium.

Fingar until recently as the Asst. Secy of State for Intelligence & Research. His languages include Chinese and German - he has no expertise in the middle east.

Brill used to serve as US ambassador to the IAEA, where he singularly failed to object strenuously to much of anything.
Posted by: lotp || 12/06/2007 13:16 Comments || Top||

#9  I have no problem with that, and love the smell of deception because it smells like Victory.
Posted by: bman || 12/06/2007 14:43 Comments || Top||

#10  Never attribute to malice what can be explained by simple incompetence, gorb.

One and the same here, now that I think about it.

Anything that incompetent is bound to end up being used (and used maliciously, as this NIE has been), and anything that is such a tool must be incompetant.

In any case, they're doomed. There is no hope for the current American intelligence community in my eyes. It's going to be impossible to flush out the players, so we may as well flush the whole thing and start again. It needs a structure that can't be hijacked with honest folks running things and policing the products the service provides at all levels.
Posted by: gorb || 12/06/2007 23:37 Comments || Top||

Television Networks Fade To Black As The U.S. Surge Succeeds In Iraq
Eleven months ago, when President Bush decided to send an additional 30,000 U.S. troops to Iraq in an effort to win the war, correspondents for the big broadcast networks were openly hostile. On NBC, anchor emeritus Tom Brokaw scoffed that sending more troops would "seem to most people . . . like a folly," while White House reporter David Gregory touted the charge of unnamed critics that "the President's resolve has become stubbornness."

Over on CBS, Baghdad correspondent Lara Logan chastised that the last time troop levels were increased "it made absolutely no difference. In fact, security here in Baghdad got even worse." The day after Mr. Bush unveiled his "surge" strategy, Katie Couric argued that "selling the American public on it could be a mission impossible." Her Evening News highlighted the reaction of GOP Senator Chuck Hagel, a media favorite: "I think this speech, given last night by this President, represents the most dangerous foreign policy blunder in this country since Vietnam."

So now that the president's surge strategy has demonstrably paid off in lower casualty rates for our troops and improved security for Iraq citizens, where are the network stories documenting this achievement?
Continued on Page 49
Posted by: Angique Gonque2974 || 12/06/2007 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [276 views] Top|| File under: Iraqi Insurgency

#1  Hey! Biggest story of the year? Maybe Petreaus will be Time's 'Man of the Year'!

There's still ... time. (sorry)
Posted by: Bobby || 12/06/2007 6:46 Comments || Top||

#2  Ummmmmmmm...the writer's strike! That's the ticket!!
Posted by: tu3031 || 12/06/2007 9:58 Comments || Top||

#3  But Harry Reid says the surge is NOT working. I'm so confused!
Posted by: Deacon Blues || 12/06/2007 10:52 Comments || Top||

#4  Deacon, it's not confusing. The SURGE wasn't working for Democrats.
Posted by: Helmuth, Speaking for Cromong3228 || 12/06/2007 13:30 Comments || Top||

The Fiction of Abu Omar al-Baghdadi
Posted by: Fred || 12/06/2007 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [258 views] Top|| File under: Islamic State of Iraq

#1  Who's your Baghdadi, indeed.
Posted by: Grunter || 12/06/2007 8:52 Comments || Top||

Olde Tyme Religion
Islam and the Truth
StrategyPage preaching to the choir, but needs repeating.
December 6, 2007: Many Moslem leaders simply dismiss reports of the Islamic violence. Despite statistics showing Islamic militants instigating most of the religion based violence in the world, many prominent Moslem religious and secular leaders dismiss the idea that Islamic militants could be responsible. Even Moslem leaders who admit to the facts in English, change their outlook when speaking to their constituencies. The basic line is that Islam is under attack, and any violence by Moslems is defensive, in order to protect their religion and way of life. Islamic terrorism is dismissed as exaggerated and, where it does exist, simply the result of Moslems responding to oppression. This belief in victimization by the infidel (non-Moslem) world is a major factor in the continued popular support of Islamic terrorism. That support only falters among Moslems who have themselves been victims of that violence. And even that tends to be temporary. Take away the Islamic terrorists, and people tend to forget reality real quick.
Posted by: ed || 12/06/2007 08:58 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [245 views] Top|| File under:

In Iran We Trust?
Granted, a Times Op/Ed, but they actually printed it...
ON Monday the United States intelligence community issued what everyone agrees was blockbuster news: a report stating that in the autumn of 2003, Iran halted its nuclear weapons program. The National Intelligence Estimate has been heralded as a courageous act of independence by the intelligence agencies, and praised by both parties for showing a higher quality of spy work than earlier assessments.

In fact, the report contains the same sorts of flaws that we have learned to expect from our intelligence agency offerings. It, like the report in 2002 that set up the invasion of Iraq, is both misleading and dangerous.

During the past year, a period when Iran’s weapons program was supposedly halted, the government has been busy installing some 3,000 gas centrifuges at its plant at Natanz. These machines could, if operated continuously for about a year, create enough enriched uranium to provide fuel for a bomb. In addition, they have no plausible purpose in Iran’s civilian nuclear effort. All of Iran’s needs for enriched uranium for its energy programs are covered by a contract with Russia.

Iran is also building a heavy water reactor at its research center at Arak. This reactor is ideal for producing plutonium for nuclear bombs, but is of little use in an energy program like Iran’s, which does not use plutonium for reactor fuel. India, Israel and Pakistan have all built similar reactors — all with the purpose of fueling nuclear weapons. And why, by the way, does Iran even want a nuclear energy program, when it is sitting on an enormous pool of oil that is now skyrocketing in value? And why is Iran developing long-range Shahab missiles, which make no military sense without nuclear warheads to put on them?

For years these expensive projects have been viewed as evidence of Iran’s commitment to nuclear weapons. Why aren’t they still? The answer is that the new report defines “nuclear weapons program” in a ludicrously narrow way: it confines it to to enriching uranium at secret sites or working on a nuclear weapon design. But the halting of its secret enrichment and weapon design efforts in 2003 proves only that Iran made a tactical move. It suspended work that, if discovered, would unambiguously reveal intent to build a weapon. It has continued other work, crucial to the ability to make a bomb, that it can pass off as having civilian applications.

That work includes the centrifuges at Natanz, which bring Iran closer to a nuclear weapon every day — two to seven years away. To assert, as the report does, that these centrifuges are “civilian,” and not part of Iran’s weapons threat, is grossly misleading.

The new report has also upended our sanctions policy, which was just beginning to produce results. Banks and energy companies were pulling back from Iran. The United Nations Security Council had frozen the assets of dozens of Iranian companies. That policy now seems dead. If Iran is not going for the bomb, why punish it?

No company or bank will agree to lose money unless a nuclear threat is clear. Likewise, is it fair for the United Nations to continue to freeze the assets of people like Seyed Jaber Safdari, the manager of the Natanz plant, or companies like Mesbah Energy, the supplier of the reactor at Arak, because of links to a program that American intelligence believes is benign? One European official admitted to us that he and his colleagues were flummoxed. “We have to have a new policy now for going forward,” he said, “but we haven’t been able to figure out what it is.”

This situation is made all the more absurd by the report’s suggestion that international pressure offers the only hope of containing Iran. The report has now made such pressure nearly impossible to obtain. It is hardly surprising that China, which last week seemed ready to approve the next round of economic sanctions against Tehran, has now had a change of heart: its ambassador to the United Nations said yesterday that “we all start from the presumption that now things have changed.”

We should be suspicious of any document that suddenly gives the Bush administration a pass on a big national security problem it won’t solve during its remaining year in office. Is the administration just washing its hands of the intractable Iranian nuclear issue by saying, “If we can’t fix it, it ain’t broke”?

In any case, the report is an undoubted victory for Iran. Even if it opens the way for direct talks, which would be a benefit, it validates Iran’s claim that efforts to shut down Natanz are illegitimate. Thus Iran will be free to operate and add to its centrifuges at Natanz, accumulate a stockpile of low-enriched uranium customary for civilian use, and then have the ability to convert that uranium in a matter of months to weapons grade. This “breakout potential” would create a nuclear threat that we and Iran’s neighbors will have to live with for years to come.

Valerie Lincy is the editor of Iranwatch.org. Gary Milhollin is the director of the Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control.
Posted by: tu3031 || 12/06/2007 14:47 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [318 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Better count your fingers after shaking hands with the Iranians. The only thing that had better be believed is their stated desire to destroy the USA and Israel.
Posted by: JohnQC || 12/06/2007 15:38 Comments || Top||

#2  NPR had a pair of writers who just published a book about this on for discussion this morning. The gentleman said that building a nuclear bomb is easy. It's getting the purified uranium that's difficult. So it doesn't matter if the Iranians stop working on a bomb, or even if they stopped working on the weapons side in 2003. According to the gentleman, once they have enough bomb-grade material, a competent machine shop can make the thing, and it should explode nicely (at which point I pondered the fact that the North Koreans cannot make even bicycles for the home market), just as we only did one test explosion in the desert before sending the bombs off to Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Posted by: trailing wife || 12/06/2007 20:42 Comments || Top||

#3  I trust them about as far as I can throw my thumb.
Posted by: Deacon Blues || 12/06/2007 21:46 Comments || Top||

Home Front: Culture Wars
Andrew Bolt: Welcome to my nightmare
Posted by: Fred || 12/06/2007 12:21 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [248 views] Top|| File under:

Why we stay mute on Islamic sex apartheid
Posted by: Fred || 12/06/2007 12:08 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [243 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Its was never about equality, it was about POWER. That is why the absence of classical liberalism in the women's movement and the dedication to classical liberalism's principles and for the absence of the criticism by the 'faces and voices' of the western women's movement against Islamic misogyny.
Posted by: Procopius2k || 12/06/2007 12:21 Comments || Top||

#2  We only hear about the public raping cases and attrocities but I bet the real stats are incredibly high.
Posted by: Helmuth, Speaking for Cromong3228 || 12/06/2007 13:27 Comments || Top||

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