Monday, April 10, 2006


A criminal policy based on criminally deficient reasoning and intelligence

Seymour Hersh has given the basic parameters of the Bush Administration's plan to attack nuclear facilities in Iran, very likely with nuclear weapons. No better summary can be given than this, by a former high Defense official: “Nuclear planners go through extensive training and learn the technical details of damage and fallout—we’re talking about mushroom clouds, radiation, mass casualties, and contamination over years. This is not an underground nuclear test, where all you see is the earth raised a little bit. These politicians don’t have a clue..." But let us leave the criminal nature of the Bush policy toward Iran and examine the basis of their policy. The question that any American policymaker should ask is, Under what conditions could Iran significantly menace the United States? The answer is not the minute they can produce a nuclear weapon, which even the most hysterical estimates do not place at earlier than two years-- and most place at 5-10 years. They would have to be able to deliver it. Even halfway accurate ICBMs take very high technology to produce. Add probably another 5 years. And, of course, the United States has thousands of nuclear weapons by which it could retaliate for any nuclear strike. So, one nuclear weapon is not much use even with a delivery system. Unless the delivery system is covert, right? A guy sneaking across the border with 13 pounds of refined uranium strapped to his legs. Except... the guy would be dead within minutes of coming into contact with refined uranium. It would have to be shielded, even if 100 guys took a few ounces of the stuff in little batches (making discovery extremely likely). And shielding requires weight, lots of weight. And shielding is itself very detectable.... assuming you control the entry points at your borders. So, any well-run country, with control of its borders, would be able to detect nuclear smuggling. But there's one more fact, not widely known. Nuclear manufacturing processes carry signatures. The exact mix of isotopes in a weapon all but acts as a return address label. So, if a weapon is used against Americans, or if nuclear material is intercepted en route, there will be very little doubt where it came from. Yes, there are ways to attempt to deceive. But would you bet your country on succeeding? Americans have fed this manure about mad mullahs for so long that they forget the guy they put in the White House has delusions of grandeur and pretensions to knowing God. So any nation wanting to strike covertly would use material stolen from the poorly-guarded facilities of the old Soviet Union. It could even scrape up enough for a dirty bomb from poorly-guarded US facilities. It doesn't need to make any new material. And who is responsible for material being stored in poorly-guarded ex-Soviet facilities? Why, George Bush. Who basically cancelled Bill Clinton's policy of buying it up. Just the way Bush screwed up guarding the captured Iraqi facilities where all those IEDs are coming from, he screwed up his time on watch over nuclear materials. The worst part is that all of the intelligence the US is relying on is, as far as anyone can tell, garbage. Read this line from Hersh and see if you don't get cold chills: In recent months, the Pakistani government has given the U.S. new access to A. Q. Khan, the so-called father of the Pakistani atomic bomb. Khan, who is now living under house arrest in Islamabad, is accused of setting up a black market in nuclear materials; he made at least one clandestine visit to Tehran in the late nineteen-eighties. In the most recent interrogations, Khan has provided information on Iran’s weapons design and its time line for building a bomb. “The picture is of ‘unquestionable danger,’ ” the former senior intelligence official said. (The Pentagon adviser also confirmed that Khan has been “singing like a canary.”) The concern, the former senior official said, is that “Khan has credibility problems. He is suggestible, and he’s telling the neoconservatives what they want to hear... Curveball. Again. It makes me want to swear. Or take this line: Last year, the Bush Administration briefed I.A.E.A. officials on what it said was new and alarming information about Iran’s weapons program which had been retrieved from an Iranian’s laptop. The new data included more than a thousand pages of technical drawings of weapons systems....The drawings were not meticulous, as newspaper accounts suggested, “but had the character of sketches,” the European official said. It's the same scam they pulled with the Iraqi Crop Dusters of Death. They aren't even smart enough to think up something new. Your move, reader. What are you going to do so that the blood is not on your hands, too?
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