December 6, 2007

"Is the administration just washing its hands of the intractable Iranian nuclear issue by saying, 'If we can’t fix it, it ain’t broke'?"

I'm terribly busy now on the last day of the semester, but I still feel remiss at not linking to this NYT op-ed by my old colleague Gary Milhollin (with Valerie Lincy).

48 comments:

EnigmatiCore said...

So, wait.

Is the story that Bush lied saying Iran was working on nukes (even though that is what the NIE used to say)?

Or is the story that he is lying now in saying that Iran quit working on nukes in 2003 (because that means he can wash his hands of it)?

I know! The answer is both!

jeff said...

And neither! At the same time!

EnigmatiCore said...

It's a paradox, I tell you, Jeff. A paradox.

Although, the lying neither time is defensible by saying he was going with what his intelligence community was telling him was their best estimation (you know, a NIE).

It had been saying that based on all they had, they believed Iran was pursuing nukes. Now it says that they stopped.

Maybe, just maybe, the people in government by and large are doing the best the can to figure things out the best they can using imperfect means and contradictory indications and inconclusive evidence...

Nah. Bush lied. It's easy to claim, it's fun, it's educational!

Henry said...

Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Songbird

I

Do not believe the songbird; it has been wrong before.


II

Do not believe those who don’t believe the songbird; they believed the songbird last time.

III

Bush lied saying Iran was working on nukes (even though that is what the songbird used to say).

IV

Bush is lying now in saying that Iran quit working on nukes.

V

And both!

VI

And neither!

....

7 more to go.

EnigmatiCore said...

Brilliant. Purely brilliant.

Revenant said...

Well, the Israelis seem to think the Iranians restarted their nuke program a few years ago (after, like the NIE says, stopping in 2003).

Personally I don't know what to believe. It makes sense to me that Iran would stop researching in 2003 (when the US descended on their neighbor like the wrath of an Old Testament God), but it also makes sense to me that they would have re-started research once it became obvious that the Bush Administration would have NO chance of getting authorization for a war with Iran. Add in the fact that the CIA has been wrong about basically everything ever and my gut tells me Israel's right.

But who knows? Either way, the idea that Bush is peddling the "Iran isn't building nukes" anymore line to make himself look BETTER doesn't seem credible.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

"Old colleague" meaning former, long-time or elderly? I recall Professor Milhollin as being quite handsome and youthful.

reader_iam said...

Be shocked, if you must: But I miss Maxine!

In her honor, I share the following.

We have, count 'em, 15 different versions of Feliz Navidad. ( I kid you not. Those who doubt, and also have access to my personal e-mail address, or--hell--even the reader_iam one, are free to write for specification.)

I am listening to them in order tonight, in honor of the symphony of the season.

Of course, (just) one of them is, it is absolutely true, labeled "explicit," and for good reason. That one, I have out of principle--and listen to, as a reminder of competing principles. And hypocrisies.

'Tis the season!

(And thank goodness for the snow. I will now be able to take pictures of our new--environmentally mindful lights--against the proper environment. So far I am totally pleased with our migration--except that the white lights really are not so great, at all. The ones in all the pretty colors are just great, however.

But the testing continues.)

EnigmatiCore said...

"I am listening to them in order tonight, in honor of the symphony of the season."

The symphony of the season of our faith?

Feh. To me, it is the time of the season for loving.

Clang!Honk!Tweet! said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
reader_iam said...

I left that open. Specifically as a screen for projection. I appreciate that you got that part, right away.

Cheers!

EnigmatiCore said...

"What would Bush say when he isn't lying?"

He'd say "I'm lying."

Just to fuck with Christoph.

Clang!Honk!Tweet! said...

A little Zen koan:
What would Bush say when he isn't lying?

Now to get as far away from enlightenment as possible: This was intended by the permanent bureaucracy to embarrass Bush. Instead, they gave him a perfect Chirstmas gift: The ability to shrug his shoulders, say "What, me worry?" and pass it on to Hillary.

He does look like Alfred E. Neuman, doesn't he?

The bureaucracy has not done Hillary any favors, either, but they don't care. Presidents come. Presidents go. They'll still be there, with nice pensions at the end.

What, we worry?

Clang!Honk!Tweet! said...

Sorry for messing with the timing of EnigmatiCore's comment. I had to fix a missing question mark.

Having an answer before the question does kinda fit here, doesn't it?

Ruth Anne Adams said...

I took the nuclear arms proliferation seminar from Prof. Milhollin 20 years ago [the height of the cold war.] Even back then, he saw the stateless terrorists as a huge threat. He lives and breathes this nuclear arms stuff. One dismisses him at one's peril.

That said: Iran may have slowed its weapons program, but it still has fervent nuclear aspirations. And, with long-range capabilities, not only is Israel in peril, so is NYC.

reader_iam said...

I do actually appreciate that enigmaticore responded, as well as his/her response.

***

Current version playing: The one from "Rugrats Holiday Classics!"

EnigmatiCore said...

"I do actually appreciate that enigmaticore responded, as well as his/her response."

I aim to please.

But as I said earlier, it is a bittersweet symphony, this life.

reader_iam said...

Oh, Lord. Now we have that Oscar James version of Feliz Navidad. That ponderous beat. Just whip me into a bloody heap now and get it over with. Jeez!

(OK, Trooper, I will once in a very, very, very blue moon--of which, by the way, there is not is one now, technically, speaking; but still!--do music reviews/criticism, but it is a brief, shallow, without X, X, and/or X thing. Onlookers, fill in your own X's.)

reader_iam said...

Enigmaticore gets yet another aspect of the point. The rest of you are well behind--can I just point that out?

reader_iam said...

OK. Now we're listening to a so-labeled "reggae" version.

Well, if that's reggae, then my ass is smaller than Paris Hilton's tits.

Happy now, Trooper York? This is my Christmas gift to you.

; )

***

The rest of you: Get a sense of, if not perspective, then humor.

reader_iam said...

Now, having moved on, we are listening to the collection of our various versions (and very fine ones they are ... as, dontcha know, against) of "Ain't Misbehavin'".

Btw, "a" one thing you all can count on with me, is that when I'm saying I'm listening to something, I am--and that when I say I'm listening to multiple versions, I mean that.

FWIW.

(Yeah, I know.)

reader_iam said...

Sorry to have killed the thread. That wasn't the intention. But intentions, like tokens, are cheap versions of money. I know.

Sigh.

Joan said...

Reader, if it's any consolation to you, I appreciated your efforts here tonight. I was sorely in need of a smile, and found one. Thank you.

John Z. said...

Bush lied -- people sighed.

bill said...

The rest of you are well behind--can I just point that out?

You're not just missing Maxine, you're channeling her.

hdhouse said...

You are all being way to kind. This lying nitwit is just hoping the next train wreck takes place after he gets out of office.

He offers nothing. He leads this country nowhere. He has zero standing. I don't believe one thing he says.

That said, this administration has "just washed its hands" about any number of things so why should this be different.

rhhardin said...

Will Cuppy wrote of the hog-nosed snake, that it's harmless but defends itself by puffing itself up to look like a deadly pit viper, and then wonders why people kill it.

As to the NIE, it's a leak to make Bush politically unable to attack Iran, courtesy of our foreign policy professional workers.

It might just serve to make Iran more surprised, of course.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Hdhouse said: You are all being way to kind. This lying nitwit is just hoping the next train wreck takes place after he gets out of office.

Since Trooper is awol at the moment, looks like I’ll step in.

Lt. Lockhart: hdhouse... I want you to get straight up to Phu Bai. Captain January will need all his people. You still here? Vanish, hdhouse, most ricky-tick, and take christopher with you. You're responsible for him.
(Full Metal Jacket, 1987)

Hoosier Daddy said...

Will Cuppy wrote of the hog-nosed snake, that it's harmless but defends itself by puffing itself up to look like a deadly pit viper, and then wonders why people kill it.

When that doesn't work they'll play dead too.

One of the ugliest snakes out there too.

Richard Fagin said...

In an op-ed piece on this same subject today, Con Coughlin (Daily Telegraph) referred to Bush as "the most bellicose President in modern history." That is an example of what passes for analysis and thoughtful comment in the face of the 1/4 million dead in WWII and the 50,000 plus dead in each of Korea and Viet Nam. Now merely sending an ultimatum to a government whose leader declares that a country should be "wiped off the map" is considered bellicose.

If the Iranian nuke issue is "intractable", it is only because the American people just plain lack the political will to deal with it, and the President knows it. I doubt, if we really wanted to, it would be very much trouble dealing with tyhat (thanks, President Johnson) "damned little pissant country." Iran has been testing us every day since Nov. 4, 1979 and it's about time we stopped failing the tests.

MadisonMan said...

Must the last year of a Lame duck Presidency be agony for all involved?

Hoosier Daddy said...

That is an example of what passes for analysis and thoughtful comment

Well considering that Harry Reid is on record stating that the Iraq war is worse than Vietnam, thoughtful comment was gone long ago.

Personally I think Bush has been a horrible president but for reasons other than what the left believes. From a conservative standpoint, he's spent money like a drunken sailor in Manila, refuses to enforce our border security and created the biggest entitlement program since Medicare. To me his only saving grace is that he recognizes Islamic terrorism as a danger whereas the Democrats (save Lieberman and a few others) see it as a overblown nuisance or no threat at all.

MadisonMan said...

By the way Professor, other Madison bloggers are trying to create vortices.

MadisonMan said...

A paradox.

And when Ben Casey meets Kildare
That's a paradox


Okay I'll stop channelling reader_iam and get back to work :)

Roger said...

HD: anything substantive about Iranian nuclear capabilities? If a democrat is elected next cycle he or she will have to deal with Iran and the NIE--Bush will be long gone, and you will be like some of the Clinton obcessed folks on this thread except that you will be substituting Bush for Clinton. Why did you come back BTW? Didnt have the ability to stick by your decision? Lacked the courage of your convictions? Trying to play the sympathy card? Tell us, HD--inquiring minds want to know.

Bob said...

There is a saying in the military about Armies tending to fight the last war. I wonder if there isn't something similiar for the intelligence community. What's scary is this flip-flop seems to be based upon the transcripts of a single meeting of Iranian military & scientists complaining how their funding got cut. And lost in those MSM celebration is that several intel agencies did not agree with the findings. The dog now chases its tail...

dax said...

Roger - I'm not concerned about the next President, after all I'm sure it will be Hillary, and she has already stated that diplomacy is the way to go. Game, set, and match!
What's there to worry about?

Sloanasaurus said...

The most likely story for this is that Iran is behind all of it. It's very probable that Iran "made it known" all of a sudden to intelligence agencies that the Nuclear Program was shut down. Iran knows that many people in the government hate Bush and work against him and our national interest. Our NIE people ran with this new intelligence and published the report mostly to undermine Bush's current policy against Iran. The result of this published report is to take the pressure off Russia, China, etc.. in imposing sanctions. Now they can point to the report ...."see even your own intelligence agencies say Iran does not have a program, therefore sanctions are not necessary..." This relief of pressure is the big victory for Iran.

Meanwhile, Iran continues their nuclear weapons program which is disguised as the "peaceful" enrichment of uranium. Once they are done with that they restart the program and build a weapon.

It's all so simple. We are easy pawns to the games of international diplomacy because we are so divided against ourselves. It's ridiculous that we have parts of the government working to undermine other parts. That is a true gift to our enemies.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Is there any reason we put so much stock in what the intel agencies say? Granted there are probably numerous instances of them getting things right we don't know about but historically there have been some horrid miscalculations. Just look at WW2 for some examples: Normandy was supposedly defended by stomach and ear battalions; what hedgerows? Hey where did all those armored divisions come from and how did they get through the forest (Battle of the Bulge)? And these were collosal failures when our spy agencies didn't suffer from the kind of constrainment we insist on today.

Perhaps the Iranians are only working on peaceful uses. Then again, when a nation holds a Death to America and Israel parade day, repeatedly states that Israel should be removed from the map and is doing its darndest to export its murderous religious ideology, I think it's prudent to expect the worst.

dbp said...

I think it is well accepted that Iran is enriching Uranium. Given that Russia has offered to supply all the nuclear fuel Iran wants--as long as Iran returns used fuel rods--there is only one reason for Iran to enrich: They plan on making a bomb.

Once Iran has a bomb, they will make life for us very unpleasant. We ought to do something about it, but we won't. Once it is too late there will be plenty of regrets and recriminations.

Tim said...

From an Instapundit post:

The leaders of France and Germany said Thursday that Iran remained a danger and that other nations needed to keep up the pressure over its nuclear program despite a United States intelligence report’s conclusion that Tehran was no longer building a bomb.

Speaking at a joint news conference at the Élysée Palace, President Nicolas Sarkozy and Chancellor Angela Merkel said they had not changed their minds despite the findings of the American intelligence estimate released Monday, which some believed would have eroded support for tougher new sanctions."


The terrible irony of the latest NIE is that while it provides tremendous political comfort to Democrats, it green-lights the Mullahs to proceed with their weapons program. And because the French and Germans have been effectively isolated by the Mullahs, Russians, Chinese, the NIE authors and the Democrats, we are much more likely to end up in a war than we were before. If we're lucky, it will be before the Mullahs have an operational weapon - but none here should think we'll be lucky. We haven't the political will or self-confidence to take this on before the Mullahs deploy the weapon.

reader_iam said...

MadisonMan: But where are the tpyos?

LOL.

Trooper York said...

Reader_iam, Baby, you're the greatest!

Trooper York said...

Also reader, in view of what you said before, not disregarding any qualifying clause, with respect to the subject there in, let me just state, unequivocally, nice ass.

Trooper York said...

Merry Christmas right back at ya!

Blake said...

A pardox?

A paradox,
A most ingenious paradox!
We’ve quips and quibbles heard in flocks,
But none to beat this paradox!

reader_iam said...

Smart ass.

(Direct enough for you?)

; )

Trooper York said...

Quagmire: Hello, and welcome to another edition of Midnight Q. Tonight we're gonna enjoy some jazz from Charles Mingus. Norman Maylor's here to read an excerpt from his latest work. And we also have a girl from Omaha hiding a banana. We're gonna find out where. Giggity giggity. Giggity goo. Stick around.
(The Family Guy, 2006)