Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Stopping the Next War Before It Starts: The Latest NIE

from Aileen at People First Politics

16 US Intelligence Agencies agree, for a change...

With Bush and his cadre's recent hyperbolic rhetoric introducing "World War III" in the same sentence with Iran, it looks to me like the various US intelligence agencies don't plan to be made scapegoat once again for Bush/Cheney's delusions of Hitlerian grandeur. They all got together this time and reported in the most recent National Intelligence Estimate that Iran does not have nuclear weapons and is years away from having nuclear weapons even if it tries really hard. CNN reported that...

A declassified summary of the latest National Intelligence Estimate found with "high confidence" that the Islamic republic halted an effort to develop nuclear weapons in the fall of 2003.

Worse, this report was prepared in December of 2006. Which explains why Cheney and the boyz were so anxious to keep a lid on it while they beat the drums toward a opening a new front in their forever-war. Ex-CIA counter-terrorism expert Larry Johnson offered this observation:

There are some unsung heroes in the National Intelligence Council who insisted on the integrity of the product. In the face of enormous political pressure to tailor information and pull punches that undermine Bush Administration talking points, the intelligence professionals did their job. They told the truth based on the facts in hand.

If Johnson is right - and he probably is - we should consider that the recent incident of six nuclear-tipped ACMs being wrongly loaded onto the pilings of a B-52 headed to Barksdale may have motivated some end-runs around the stone walls the Bush Administration had erected against releasing any portion of this NIE.

The incident, combined with the infiltration of the USAF Academy by hard-right wing fundamentalist evangelicals and their placement of hand-picked junior and senior officers in sensitive positions, is indeed a serious concern. Particularly if any of those people were involved in this gross breach of fail safes for our nuclear weapons stockpile.

Despite Bush's insistence that the NIE won't change a thing about his policy toward Iran, Democratic contender John Edwards scored some points against Hillary Clinton on the subject during the Tuesday NPR debate. Edwards castigated Clinton for her support of the Kyl-Lieberman amendment that designated Iran's Revolutionary Guard a "terrorist organization," thereby justifying war whenever the shrub cares to launch one.

I do expect that seasoned pros at the State Department (in trouble of late for its use of mercenary guards in Iraq), the intelligence services and the military are all wondering where Bush and Cheney think they're going to get the manpower to launch another front in their war. Our troops are stretched too thin, and the nation simply doesn't have enough money to fight a proxy war with hundreds of thousands more paid mercs. If they launched a draft they'd be courting some serious civil disobedience and the homeland's not all that secure these days due to drastic cuts (and more on the way) for first responders, Guard and police. Heck, they've hired mercenaries to patrol the Mexican border!

The economy is tanking. Millions of Americans are going to lose their homes, their jobs, and now Bush is cutting payments to teaching hospitals so the indigent won't even have the ER when they're sick or injured. The rich don't like taxes, and Bush has arranged things to their liking. Where is he planning to get the money for further adventures? China? They're starting to balk at the costs so far. India's got its own problems we're not helping with, since we're officially on Pakistan's 'side'.

If we had a Congress full of actual public servants Bush and Cheney could be bridled by impeachment hearings. That would at least keep them from screwing things up worse before January of '09. Unfortunately, we don't have a Congress full of actual public servants, so we're on our own. We'll need more than luck to make it through the next year.


U.S. report: Iran stopped nuclear weapons work in 2003

NPR's Iowa Debate

Right Wing Claims Iran NIE a CIA Plot Against Bush

John Edwards Wins NPR Debate

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10:23 PM, December 05, 2007  

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