Bush & Iran: Ignoring the Intelligence, Again

by Laura Snedeker

The latest National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) appeared to dash the Bush administration’s hopes for war with Iran and introduced a measure of sanity to American foreign policy, asserting that the Islamic Republic had halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003.

This new report reverses the findings of the last NIE in 2005 and essentially agrees with the assessment of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which recently stated it could find no evidence of a current weapons program. It follows the intelligence community’s increased efforts to penetrate the Iranian nuclear program and provide reliable information to protect itself from blame should the administration pursue another foreign adventure in the Middle East.

But the Bush administration, never willing to let the facts stand in the way of policy, is pushing forward on its crusade against Iran out of an almost religious belief; refusing to acknowledge the existence of any truth that contradicts its vision.

The NIE “confirms that we were right to be worried about Iran seeking to develop nuclear weapons,” National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley said this week. “It tells us that we have made progress in trying to ensure that this does not happen. But the intelligence also tells us that the risk of Iran acquiring a nuclear weapon remains a very serious problem."

Never mind that the NIE actually reports that Iran is enriching uranium suitable for use in a nuclear reactor to generate electricity. Ignore the fact that the Islamic Republic has openly acknowledged that it intends to produce power this way. Forget that the Non-Proliferation Treaty – to which Iran is a signatory, unlike Pakistan, India, and Israel – does not prohibit the use of nuclear power for peaceful purposes.

Faith needs no reason. President Bush may have been referring to his Christian beliefs when he acknowledged that faith “informs his decisions,” but above all it is faith in the grand neoconservative vision and in his ability to create reality that drives his policies.

Bush, determined to find his Holy Grail of weapons programs, demanded last week that the Iranian government “come clean” about its nuclear activities, indicating that Washington has no intention of softening its stance to fit anyone else’s reality.

The administration has clamored about imposing tougher sanctions on Iran, trying to line up the international community and secure the support of the United Nations' Security Council. Europe is naturally wary of endorsing another resolution that might allow the United States to invade Iran at the drop of an aluminum tube.

Why all this saber-rattling against Iran, when the United States is embroiled in a civil war in Iraq from which it refuses to extricate itself? The neocons’ inability to properly transform Iraq quashed the glee of getting rid of Saddam Hussein; they are deliberately repeating history in order to atone for the sin of failure in Iraq and to leave a lasting imprint upon the Middle East. The neoconservative dream, killed in Iraq, now looks to Iran for its resurrection.

“The choice is up to the Iranian regime,” Bush said, asking Iran to choose between admitting its intentions to the international community and continuing “on a path of destruction.”

What a choice. Admit what you have already admitted and what our analysts have confirmed, or we will destroy you. The neoconservatives, in asserting that the burden of proof lies with the defendant, ask what religious zealots ask of non-believers. Iran is guilty by virtue of being unable to prove that it is not developing weapons of mass destruction, guilty of being a non-believer in America’s right to rule the Middle East.

Are these real threats or the empty threats of madmen in their decline? The neoconservatives do not have the manpower or the political support domestically or internationally to invade Iran; a limited war in the form of a large-scale bombing campaign would only further destabilize the region. But zealots are not rational. They do not ask if their plans are feasible. They are unconcerned with negative consequences. All that matters is the moral righteousness of the mission.

(Editorial graphic © copyright DarkBlack and used with permission. For more material like this, please see DarkBlack's blog. To link to a commentary from Keith Olbermann on MSNBC's Countdown about Iran and the NIE, please check below.)

Deceiving the U.S. on Iran
Deceiving the U.S. on Iran

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Alex said...

And what do you think of Obadiah Shoher's arguments against the peace process ( samsonblinded.org/blog/we-need-a-respite-from-peace.htm )?

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