In Iran we trust?
We've all hear d the good news from the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) report that Iran isn't working on a nuke - as quoted in Time magazine, the NIE's landmark report suggests Iran "is less determined to build nuclear weapons than we have been judging since 2005."
However, just as the easy buzzwords quoted by the media don't always match the substance of the IPCC's science (see for example this note on Joel Schwartz's critique of the latest IPCC airbrushing), so too the easy soundbites of the NIE report don't match watch what the report's actual research is saying. Notes Robert Tracinski:
The NIE declares, first, that "We judge with high confidence that in fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program...primarily in response to increasing international scrutiny and pressure." Second, it concludes that "Tehran's decisions are guided by a cost-benefit approach rather than a rush to a weapon irrespective of the political, economic, and military costs." The conclusion drawn from these two statements by most commentators is simple: all this war-mongering talk from the administration about the Iranian threat has been totally overblown. The Iranians are reasonable fellows after all, and all we need to do is just to sit down and talk with them.
The report, argues Tracinski, is not as benign as reports would have you believe. It is instead "a stunning propaganda victory for the enemy, delivered by [America's] own national intelligence establishment. But it is just propaganda, not backed by any actual, substantial new intelligence. It is an exercise in writing pro-Iran headlines over text that doesn't support it. . . ."
[T]he authors certainly knew that their lines about Iran allegedly suspending its weapons program and not "rushing" to produce a weapon would be picked up by the media. And they must have realized that this would eclipse the rest of the substance of the report.
And the rest of that substance undercuts the story now being trumpeted by the mainstream media. The NIE acknowledges, for example, that it has no evidence that Iran has actually halted its entire nuclear weapons program: "Because of intelligence gaps..., DOE and the NIC assess with only moderate confidence that the halt to those activities represents a halt to Iran's entire nuclear weapons program." It acknowledged that "Iranian entities are continuing to develop a range of technical capabilities that could be applied to producing nuclear weapons, if a decision is made to do so." And: "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."
But here is the real blockbuster concession in the report:
"We assess with moderate confidence that convincing the Iranian leadership to forgo the eventual development of nuclear weapons will be difficult given the linkage many within the leadership probably see between nuclear weapons development and Iran's key national security and foreign policy objectives, and given Iran's considerable effort from at least the late 1980s to 2003 to develop such weapons."
. . .The full picture of Iran's activity over the past four years is that of a dangerous power seeking to assert regional dominance and to spread its ideology of radical Islam by encouraging the aggression of an "Islamist Axis" of terrorist militias across the greater Middle East. Yet all of this is completely evaded in the NIE's benevolent assessment of Iran's intentions.
And that, ultimately, is what makes this report an exercise in propaganda -- propaganda for a brutal Islamist dictatorship, composed and broadcast by the supposed guardians of the leading power of the free world.
You need to read the whole piece: NIE Report is a propaganda victory for Iran - Robert Tracinski.
Hat tip here to Robert Bidinotto, who points out that former US ambassador to the UN John Bolton also disputtes the NIE's conclusions, as do the Israelis (who have most to fear), the French, the British, the Germans, and even -- Galt help us -- the New York Times.