Saturday, January 2, 2010

Iran and Nukes - How Can We Trust the Intelligence?

HotAir tipped me to a New York Times piece about Iran's nuclear program and the fact that "Mr. Obama’s top advisers say they no longer believe the key finding of a much disputed National Intelligence Estimate about Iran." This much ballyhooed estimate said that Iran had stopped work on their nuke program in 2003. The information was certainly not credible at the time and has since been debunked.
After reviewing new documents that have leaked out of Iran and debriefing defectors lured to the West, Mr. Obama’s advisers say they believe the work on weapons design is continuing on a smaller scale — the same assessment reached by Britain, France, Germany and Israel.
However, now the article intimates that the Iranians are farther away from producing a nuclear warhead than previously thought. Huh??? Let me get this straight, the previous official report said that Iranians were not even working on nukes, now the intelligence sources are saying, don't worry, give sanctions a chance, they aren't as close as we thought.

Unfortunately, I don't think any of this really matters. The real race is whether the current regime will fall because of its despotism vs. whatever the real time line is to get the nuclear bombs made. If Western intelligence agencies are really having success sabotaging the Iranian effort, great, but I just can't trust their public pronouncements.

The best course of action would be to take steps to encourage regime change in Iran, which Obama has shown little willingness to do. Until recently, he has done little to encourage the protesters and botched opportunities to showcase the last Iranian Presidential election for the sham it was. We should now view sanctions not in the light of whether they will influence the mullahs to give up on their nuke program, they will not; but in the light of whether the economic impact will destabilize the regime, which I do not know. Certainly any sanctions will be used by the despots to convince the public that "The Great Satan" is behind their woes, but they have played that card so many times, it may lack effectiveness.

More realistically, we should plan for a more pessimistic but likely outcome. The Iranians produce a bomb, because we can't really stop them. The Israelis retaliate or the Iranians use the first bomb they produce. Either way, we need to get allies lined up and our own propaganda readied, because there will be hell to pay in the Middle East. Tragic as that would be, I don't see the Iranian regime surviving making first use of a nuke and we need to keep the long run in mind. I am not being cavalier at the prospect of tens of thousands of deaths, just realistic. Unfortunately, the administration has shown itself to be incredibly naive to date, and I doubt they are prepared.


  1. Unreliable intelligence + shaky allies + incompetent administration = near-certain disaster.

  2. Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!

  3. Anonymous,
    Thank you, that is very encouraging. I will endeavor to keep my work thought provoking and original.

    How true, but it doesn't have to be this way. I think our best hope is regime change without war, a very tricky proposition.