Saturday, May 20, 2006

Democrats Ask For Updated NIE On Iran

The current National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iran, which was ordered in January 2005, showed that Iran was ten years or so away from being able to produce enough highly enriched uranium to build a nuclear bomb.

And more importantly stated that, while Iran is conducting clandestine research, that there is no direct evidence of a nuclear weapons program. It did, however, say that the community consensus is that Iran is determined to build nukes.

Vice President Cheney and other prominent neo-cons such as John Bolton have been far more certain about the imminence of the danger posed by Iran.

Now, a little more than a year since the delivery of the last NIE , Democrats in Congress are asking that the intelligence community draft a new estimate on Iran.

Senate Democrats, saying they want to "avoid repeating mistakes made in the run-up to the conflict in Iraq," wrote President Bush yesterday urging him to direct U.S. agencies to prepare an updated National Intelligence Estimate on Iran.

"We must have objective intelligence untainted by political considerations or policy preferences and a comprehensive debate in the Congress about the best short and long-term approaches to resolving the international community's differences with Iran," the letter said...


"An Iranian nuclear weapons program would be a significant threat to international peace and security," they wrote. "Iran's refusal to conclusively explain or halt its uranium enrichment and other nuclear activities and its acquisition of ballistic missiles, coupled with the troubling rhetoric of its president, presents serious challenges to security in the Middle East and requires the United States to energetically pursue a diplomatic solution.

"The international community must not allow Iran to acquire nuclear weapons, and Iran must know that it ultimately will not succeed in undermining international peace and stability," the letter said.
It was signed by Harry M. Reid (Nev.), the Senate minority leader; Richard J. Durbin (Ill.), assistant minority leader; John D. Rockefeller IV (W.Va.), vice chairman of the intelligence committee; Carl M. Levin (Mich.), senior Democrat on the Armed Services Committee; and Joseph R. Biden Jr. (Del.), senior Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee.

It sounds like the Democratic leaders suspect that the administration is trying again to pull a fast one on the nation on a critical matter of national security.

Whether the Democrats will have the nerve to do anything about it will likely depend upon the results of the midterm elections.

Unless the attack on Iran comes first.

25 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Democratic leaders? That's a bit of an oxymoron isn't it?

Much as I admired the way that Harry Reid spoke up some time ago... Isn't this like putting a band-aid on a cancerous tumor?

I continue to be amazed, shocked and awed -- words fail me -- at the hypocrisy of the neo-cons and how they want the whole world de-clawed -- and in a willing, contrite and repentant manner -- and only they are allowed to have WMD or to let whomever they deem as "responsible" enough to have them, have them...

As I think Emerson, one of the U.S.'s finer minds said:

"What you are thunders so loudly, I can't hear what you say..."

Dena

5/20/2006 10:12 AM  
Blogger Effwit said...

Dena:

I am usually disgusted with the "opposition" party, who haven't adequately opposed the destruction of the U.S. over the past five years.

In the case of asking for a new intelligence analysis, the Democrats are looking for ammunition of a factual basis to throw at the warmongering neo-cons.

This approach is most likely futile. The Democrats think that they are dealing with reasonable men in the Bush administration. They are not. Even if a NIE is produced that says in black and white that Iran cannot build a nuke for many years, the neo-cons will simply change the subject to some other (probably fictional, but definitely scary) outrage that is being perpetrated by the evil Iranians.

The neo-cons act as proxies for Israel, and regime change in Iran is on the menu.

5/20/2006 12:06 PM  
Blogger DrewL said...

And don't forget that a new NIE may not necessarily reflect a truly objective, unbiased review of the situation at hand. With the likes of Negroponte, Rumsfeld and (most likely) Hayden running the intel infrastructure, just about anything that comes out of it should be viewed somewhat skeptically.

And what if the new NIE comes back saying that Iran will have a functional nuke in less than 18 months (whether true or not)? Have the Democrats then effectively assured that unilateral military action against Iran will proceed?

If I felt that our intel ops continued to have a shred of unpolluted integrity, I would be in favor of a new NIE. But even if the rank and file continue to do their jobs in objective fashion, I have little doubt that what gets packaged and sent out to the White House and Congress will bear little resemblance to what the rank and file believe.

The fox has taken up residence in the proverbial henhouse. And he feasts at his leisure.

5/20/2006 3:28 PM  
Blogger DrewL said...

Dena makes a good point about the hypocrisy of our position against other nations' pursuit of weaponry. Especially so when one considers that we think it's okay for US to possess WMDs, yet we're the only nation ever to have used them, and we did so twice.

Certainly, stemming the spread of such weapons is an appropriate objective, but it strains credulity when we are in support of some nations' having them and against others' having them. And it also bothers me that we are trying to dictate who may or may not pursue perfectly harmless nuclear energy programs to supply their nations with electricity.

5/20/2006 3:45 PM  
Blogger Effwit said...

DrewL:

There is a good chance that the new NIE will read more ominious than the last. This is because the last one in early 2005 was completed before our new bogeyman Ahmadinejad came to power and began making his reported threats about Israel. Even though some experts (like Juan Cole) are saying that the "wipe Israel off the map" quote was mistranslated and disseminated to the press to intentionally discredit Ahmadinejad.

Also, their "164 centrifuge cascade" has reportedly been tested since then. Although, this size centrifuge would never be able to enrich enough uranium to enable the Iranians to build a bomb in any reasonable amount of time. According to our own government, a 3000 centrifuge cascade would take 271 days to enrich enough U for one bomb. Thing is, Iran may never develop the technology to build a 3000 centrifuge cascade.

You are very right that if , by hook or by crook, a new NIE is scary enough--then war with Iran is guaranteed. The Dems in that case will have played a key role in bringing about that course of action. Maybe that is the whole motivation behind their request for the updated NIE. I hope not.

Negroponte as DNI (having assumed the coordination role for the intelligence community previously held by the now defunct office of DCI), is said to be actually less manipulated than Tenet or Goss when overseeing the end product (NIE and other estimates). This assertion, typically however, may be self serving community spin.

5/20/2006 4:04 PM  
Blogger Effwit said...

DrewL:

Dena's point is very cogent. But I tend to believe that the WMD issue is entirely pretextual.

If not, why didn't we try to stop Pakistan in the late 1990's?

The CIA and defense intelligence agencies knew full well about the program.

If not WMDs we will find something else to attack Iran about. Maybe the yellow patches that they are now reported to be forcing their Jews to wear. Another bit of the anti-Iran psy-op.

5/20/2006 4:32 PM  
Blogger DrewL said...

Yes, that Jews and Christians having to wear identifying patches meme seems like something concocted by the Israelis. Anything to liken Iran to Nazi Germany.

5/20/2006 5:10 PM  
Blogger Effwit said...

DrewL:

The "yellow patch" meme first surfaced in a story in Canada's National Post, a right wing paper owned by Conrad Black.

Black employed PNACer Richard Perle, and is under investigation (or indictment--I don't recall) by "Plamegate" special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald in Chicago.

Small world.

;-)

5/20/2006 5:17 PM  
Blogger Meatball One said...

Patching folks with badges is 1930's Kraut technology.

The Israeliis have improved matters much from where the Nazis left off. You should see the methods they use to control every movement the Palestinians take in the territories Israel still illegaly occupies and when and how a Palestinian gets to move among the superior race inside of Israel proper to wash their windows.

From snipers to databases to retinal scans to artillery showers into residential areas days on end. Israel is great at jewifying their racially inferior enemies like few others today. They represent the gold standard in fact. Of these talents one never gets to hear the full extent in the US where Israel's image is groomed to a T.

Luckily Israel is eager to sell us their consultancy services in ghetto management logistics. I wouldn't be surprised if som Israeli military subcontractor of Apartheid technologies makes Iran an offer to bring Iran's purported badge drive into the new millennium.

But like the Kuwaiti incubator baby story before it- this one stinks psy op. And so it must be just that.

5/20/2006 6:41 PM  
Blogger Effwit said...

M1:

Oh great.

Israeli consultants are currently teaching us how to deal with our Muslims.

And they will likely end up teaching the Iranians how to deal with their Jews.

Egads.

5/20/2006 6:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. F,

Thanks for your comments, and I hope the Dems find the ammunition they are looking for and use it...

It's such a bad idea for one country to act as proxy for another... Is Israel going to thank the U.S. after the U.S. guts its own economy and its moral position in the world so that Israel can feel safe? ...It seems that the paranoias of the Arabs and the Jews feed off each other spiraling to include the whole world... and instead of containing the situation and de-escalating it-- the U.S. might just be remembered for making it worse...

--- That's interesting about the National Post - I don't buy/read it... they certainly have an agenda -- and I can do without their fear/warmongering... Incidentally, the Post, which was a pretty good paper when Conrad Black ran it, has gone downhill since he sold it to CanWest....

CanWest is owned by the Asper family... Israel "Izzy" Asper died in 2005 leaving control of it to his sons... One of Izzy's proud contributions to his hometown of Winnepeg was his Canadian Human Rights Museum... How very sad that a man who wanted to be remembered for human rights also leaves a legacy of supporting the neo-cons and their non-human rights positions around the world....

Lucky I installed that do-not-compute program into my head or it would have exploded by now. :-)

Dena

5/20/2006 7:01 PM  
Blogger Effwit said...

Dena:

It's always a pleasure. And thanks for your comments.

Is Israel going to thank the U.S...?

They haven't shot up one of our Navy ships since 1967. I guess that can be considered thanks of a sort.

I didn't know that Black had sold the National Post. Sounds to me like the sons of the late human rights supporter may have unsavory connections of the neo-con variety.

Nice.

5/20/2006 7:35 PM  
Blogger Meatball One said...

Anyways, what I meant to say is - darn good and interesting post per way of flagging this request. I thinky this is an indicator of other battles being waged. There appears to be a good deal of subtextual current in this request for an updated NIE. It's quite funny - me thinks

5/20/2006 9:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds to me like the sons of the late human rights supporter may have unsavory connections of the neo-con variety.

Oh they do... like father ...like son...

Dena

5/20/2006 9:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

PS ..well maybe that's too pat... some sons are quite different from their fathers...

D

5/20/2006 9:39 PM  
Blogger Effwit said...

M1:

Thank you.

You are doubtlessly right about this being some kind of clue to the subterranean battles being fought.

I think it is funny too. Just not the ha-ha kind. More like the peculiar kind.

5/21/2006 9:33 AM  
Blogger Effwit said...

Dena:

Gotcha.

I always like adding suspects to the malefactor file. I had never before heard of the Asper family. Often the most important players insist on anonimity.

Re: fathers and sons. I'm sure books have been written about the subject. ;-)

5/21/2006 9:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmm... I'd say put them in your Dinosaur file -- people who think aggressive, pre-emptive military action still has a place on our little planet...

(What I don't understand is that although the lifestyle + values of someone in Crawford, Texas might be completely different from someone in, say, Boston... they wouldn't think of doing a "surgical" strike on each other -- even if one was rich and the other poor, even if one had oil and the other didn't, etc. -- so anyway, I'm waiting for these Dinosaurs to see that idea applied to the world.)

Dena

5/21/2006 2:46 PM  
Blogger Effwit said...

Dena:

Most of the odious types who have found themselves in the malefactor file fit the "dinosaur" category. So I have added another label to the database so that they can now be cross-referenced as you suggested. ;-)

Your comment about people from Crawford not thinking of doing surgical strikes on folks from Boston reminded me of a 1970's book (non-fiction) called The Yankee and the Cowboy War.

According to this book, the history of post WWII USA has resulted from a secret war going on between the old money establishment of the East (the Yankees) versus the new money powers of the sun belt and the West (the Cowboys).

According to this theory, all the big U.S. national events including the JFK assassination and Watergate were due to the ruthless jockeying for power between these two groups.

The theory still comprises an interesting paradigm to explain events since the book came out. Reagan was a Cowboy. Bush Sr. was a Yankee. There is some debate about Bush Jr. (an understatement to say the least), but the consensus is that he is a Yankee trying to masquerade as a Cowboy.

Such plotting does not usually result in direct large-scale murder of other Americans--unless they get in the way of the agenda or interests of one of the plotters.

But of course, according to believers in this theory, Vietnam and all the subsequent undeclared foreign wars derive from this internacine conflict.

5/21/2006 3:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Vietnam and all the subsequent undeclared foreign wars derive from this internacine conflict.

? Jeez. I guess the rest of the world has to look out when the titans fight amongst themselves!
Dena

5/21/2006 9:51 PM  
Blogger Effwit said...

Dena:

Sometimes there is a method to their madness.

That doesn't mean that it is good, or right.

They are a value-free bunch.

5/21/2006 10:02 PM  
Blogger DrewL said...

Perhaps the Bushes were the designated interlopers, if you will. Yankees by birth but determined to infiltrate the Cowboys in order to undermine the other side from within.

You just can't make this stuff up!

5/22/2006 11:15 PM  
Blogger Effwit said...

DrewL:

That is an entirely plausible scenario. Seeing that Bush has undermined the entire country. Why not the Cowboys, too?

That would certainly answer the questions about his fake accent. ;-)

5/23/2006 7:33 AM  
Blogger DrewL said...

I think the word for George W. Bush is, "Carpetbagger": (from dictionary.com)

#1: A Northerner who went to the South after the Civil War for political or financial advantage.
#2: An outsider, especially a politician, who presumptuously seeks a position or success in a new locality

5/23/2006 11:03 PM  
Blogger Effwit said...

DrewL:

That is one of the nicer things he could be called.

5/24/2006 2:52 PM  

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