The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007


It seems interesting to me that virtually every MSM source and all politicians who were, with hindsight, appalled by intelligence failures before the Iraq war, now appear to embrace the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) “high confidence” estimate that Iran has terminated its nuclear weapons program. It appears that like Bush and Chaney, who used earlier estimates to fit their own political agenda, the MSM and the Left appear now to embrace this NIE because it fits their political agenda. Two wrongs, don’t make it right.

Wretchard of the Belmont Club comments:
There are many reasons to be concerned about recent changes in the NIE estimate, though sadly, few of them have been raised by the politcians. The first is: how could the intelligence community have been so wrong? A revision of this magnitude indicates a blind spot or inadequacy which needs to be addressed. Any manager faced with the prospect of having to revise his balance sheet 180 degrees around would probably ask his accounting department how such a thing could happen. The second question is if the same standards of reliability failed so miserably in detecting what is now regarded as wrong information in the past, then how can we be so sure of it's ability to judge new information now? Think of it: politicians are quite ready to believe as gospel truth statements the diametrical opposite of statements made by the same intelligence agencies. Would they be ready to believe a new estimate that flipped 180 degrees again if newer information became available in a few weeks time? I would, if I had confidence in the process. If not, I'd be looking to fix the process. These are the questions I'm interested in, though like the rest of the public, I'll have to live another 10 years before I read about the explanation in one of Bob Woodward's books. That's where the truth eventually winds up doesn't it? Doesn't it?

The current NIE estimate may be correct (and I hope it is), but given past inaccuracies, an objective observer should recognize that it could also be incorrect.

There is no question or debate that Iran continues to enrich Uranium—3,000 centrifuges don’t lie. When considering a nation’s ability to develop nuclear weapons, it’s the enriched uranium that counts—not a "weapons program" per se. Nuclear weapons can be manufactured relatively quickly once enriched uranium is available (and the enrichment program will provide such material over the mid-term). Weapons manufacture is relatively straightforward. Best estimates indicate that any nation with a reasonable technology base could build an operable weapon within 6 to 12 months, once enough enriched Uranium is available.

But no matter. The NIE provides our leaders with cover. Like most other things in modern American politics, it looks like they’ll just kick the can down the road.

The next President will have to deal with Iran, and all of the negotation in the world will not dissipate the storm that continues to gather in Persia.