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It's deja vu all over again

Dafydd ab Hugh has been thinking about the concern over Iran's WMD program, and has a rather interesting thought: could Iran be following the same path as Iraq did? Could their progress be fabricated, to the point where the guys running the country don't even realize that they're being taken for a ride?

It's an interesting theory, and I think there's a fair chance it could be accurate. I think it's entirely possible that the whole world -- including Iran -- could be falling for a huge deception. After all, the easiest lies to accept are those that tell you what you want to hear, and the mullahs that run Iran want to be told that they are close -- oh so close -- to possessing the holy grail of power-mad tyrants everywhere, Da Bomb. And since Iran is a tough nation to get good intelligence out of, simply knowing what the mullahs know doesn't help when what they "know" is wrong.

It's distinctly POSSIBLE that Iran's nuclear program -- despite the assistance from Pakistan, which is a proven nuclear power -- is a Potemkin version of Los Alamos. The question is, how much weight do we give this possibility?

When it comes to Iran's government, I think we are unsafe in giving them any leeway, any benefit of the doubt. We need to look at their words and deeds, and act accordingly.

Fact: highly-enriched uranium -- either weapons grade, or very near it -- has been found at two different sites in Iran.

Fact: Iran has said that it has absolutely no interest in being "carroted" away from developing nuclear weapons.

Fact: Iran has announced that it is, in fact, taking Israel "hostage" and if Iran is attacked, by anyone in any way, the first shot they fire back will be at Israel.

Israel has never officially admitted to possessing nuclear weapons, but is pretty much accepted to have a fairly sizable nuclear arsenal, as well as plans to use them to retaliate if its existence is threatened -- Google up the "Samson Option," named after the Biblican strongman who, when imprisoned and about to be executed by his enemies, pulled down the entire building on himself and them.

Dafydd very well could be right. The entire Iranian nuclear program could be one entire scam, a bluff run by some scientists terrified of telling their bosses the unpleasant truth that's managing to fool not only those bosses, but their bosses and the best intelligence agencies in the world. Things might not be anywhere near as perilous as we fear.

The question is, do we hope for the best or plan for the worst?

I have to stand with the wisdom of "honor the threat." The worst-case scenario ends in a nuclear exchange between at least Iran and Israel, with millions dead and the world thrown into an economic depression the likes of which not seen in 70 years.

There is a very simple resolution to this problem. All that has to happen is Iran has to agree to comply with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which it signed ages ago. But that ain't likely to happen, no more than Saddam would suddenly comply with the terms of his 1991 surrender after years of cheat and retreat.

Yeah, it's ugly. The real world too often is.

Comments (6)

The question is, do we hope... (Below threshold)

The question is, do we hope for the best or plan for the worst?

I don't know that we can do one or the other, I think that we have to do both.

I must agree with Laura. </... (Below threshold)

I must agree with Laura.

In this case, the consequences of being wrong would be devestating. And, truth to tell, in my life, planning for the worst, while hoping for the best has always been the most practical and effective way to go.

Plus, although I really respect Dafydd - he's a brilliant and eloquent guy - in this case I think he's being a bit too speculative. I'm not certain - I need to pop over and read this to assess. It is, certainly, an intriguing thought though...

Thanks for pointing this out, Jay - and for your analysis. It's always edifying to read what you have to say, too!!

-- R'cat

As documents are finally be... (Below threshold)

As documents are finally being translated from the Arabic, it is quickly turning out that Saddam's whole leadership was operating under the assumption they had WMD capabilities and things they needed to keep hidden from UN inspections.

Remember that IF Saddam's regime had been innocent of violating the UNSCRs, all he had to do was prove it to UNSCOM/UNMOVIC, and the invasion would have been called off. Instead, he choose to continue in defiance, and thereby chose his own demise.

Since one of the two known samples of highly-enriched uranium was found at a military base, and Iran has insisted that its program has no military application or involvement, I think the theory Dafyyd puts forth is of no practical value. The risk is too great.

If Iran has no nuclear weapons program or highly enriched uranium, they shouldn't be acting like they do have both, for the same reason you don't buy your nine-year-old a realistic-looking toy pistol and send him out to play on the mean streets: if he points it at a cop, he's coming home in a box.

Iran has announced... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:
Iran has announced that it is, in fact, taking Israel "hostage" and if Iran is attacked, by anyone in any way, the first shot they fire back will be at Israel.

This would be like some guy climbing into a grizzly bear cage with a baseball bat and saying that unless his demands are met he's going to hit the bear with that bat. Obviously, the guy is nuts as is Iran. Nevertheless, the U.S. should follow Iran's lead and declare that it will hold Iran responsible for any nuclear attack against the U.S. or it's allies from an unknown source. That's the price Iran pays for developing or attempting to develop an A bomb and threatening the U.S. and Israel.

Of course I ran has agreed ... (Below threshold)

Of course I ran has agreed to abide by the NPT! That's the only way it can continue to proclaim that it's research is for peaceful purposes. It will up until the moment of their first nuclear test. Hitler did the exact same thing declaring that he wouldn't invade.

We should nuke the Iranian'... (Below threshold)

We should nuke the Iranian's from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.
Seriously when the lunatics mutter the crap their spewing one ignores them. But once they have a loaded gun all bets are off and it's time to take them out before they kill an innocent person.






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