Monday, December 03, 2007

Is 'World War III' Over...

...before it started?

There's only one word for this--

From The New York Times:
WASHINGTON, Dec. 3 — A new assessment by American intelligence agencies concludes that Iran halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003 and that the program remains on hold, contradicting an assessment two years ago that Tehran was working inexorably toward building a bomb.

The conclusions of the new assessment are likely to be major factor in the tense international negotiations aimed at getting Iran to halt its nuclear energy program. Concerns about Iran were raised sharply after President Bush had suggested in October that a nuclear-armed Iran could lead to “World War III,” and Vice President Dick Cheney promised “serious consequences” if the government in Tehran did not abandon its nuclear program.

The finding also come in the middle of a presidential campaign during which a possible military strike against Iran’s nuclear program has been discussed. The assessment, a National Intelligence Estimate that represents the consensus view of all 16 American spy agencies, states that Tehran’s ultimate intentions about gaining a nuclear weapon remain unclear, but that Iran’s “decisions are guided by a cost-benefit approach rather than a rush to a weapon irrespective of the political, economic and military costs.”


For the last two years we had to listen hysterical war mongering from this administration and it's favorite Senator.

Even in the wake of this report, there are still bloggers on the right saying ridiculous things like, "note that although the report says Iran has “shelved” their program, it still estimates that they would be technically capable of producing enough enriched uranium for a nuclear weapon within two years. Don’t you feel reassured now?"

When your argument boils down to small caveats about what our perceived enemies are "technically capable" of doing, you've given in to irrational fear. Russia is technically capable of nuking each and every one of our asses right now. Worry about that if you need manufacture a threat to justify your support for this administration.

The point of the NIE is that Iran hasn't been trying to make nuclear weapons. If the Iranians suddenly decide they did want to make nukes it would take until 2010 at the earliest and 2015 at the latest. But the point is--they're NOT WORKING ON IT.

Thankfully, it finally looks like the threat of war with Iran, which would have broken this country, is over. Joe Biden has made it clear that if Bush attacks Iran he's looking at a serious impeachment problem. I don't think that scares Bush for a second, but I like that someone has said something about it. I think it's pretty clear Biden knew this report was coming too. Good play by Biden.

Even the really weak secondary rationale--that we need to bomb Iran to protect the troops in Iraq--for bombing Iran has been undermined recently by Admiral William Fallon and Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

Still a lot of time for Bush and Cheney to do something very stupid, but there's no doubt this is good news.

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