Tuesday, December 04, 2007

The Intelligence Community and Iran

Christmas preparations are going slow this year. I do have our son's stocking stuffed with good things, though. And Starbuck's is serving my annual seasonal favorite coffee drink - peppermint mocha. So, there's that.

So, I watched the press conference this morning President Bush had with the White House Press vultures. Nothing but negativity from those folks. One guy actually apologized before he asked his question. All the news is bad, they have to have a Dem in the White House again.

Here's a little wrap up of it.

First, the President said he was happy that the Senate was taking up the Peru free trade agreement today.

Second, the President said there are three groups of people that are all waiting for Congress to get off the dime and do their work : the American troops are waiting for their funding, the Intelligence professionals are waiting for Congress to re-up on the legislation set to expire in February, and the taxpayer is waiting for Congress to take care of the AMT so thousands of middle class families won't be stuck with an additional $2,000, at least, tax bill or late refunds.

Today in the Union Leader, Senators McCain and Lieberman wrote an op ed together. The article's title tells you all you need to know: "It's inexcusable for Congress not to fund troops in Iraq." "As every major new outlet now acknowledges, security has improved dramatically across Iraq since Gen. Petraeus took command and began implementing a bold new counterinsurgency strategy - the so-called "surge". Today, rocket and mortar attacks have dropped to their lowest levels in 21 months. Car bombs and suicide attacks in Baghdad have plummeted 70 percent. Iraqi civilian casualties are sharply down throughout Iraq. And the number of U.S. soldiers killed in action has fallen for five straight months and is now at the lowest level in nearly two years." The surge is progressing well. Troops are coming home. Well you wouldn't know that to see the news, but they are. Get the money to them to finish the job and let them all come home.

"Just as we demand Iraqi leaders take advantage of the success of the surge to set aside their sectarian agendas and pursue peace, so too it is time for Congress to stop playing senseless partisan games and instead fund our troops - who have accomplished so much - without delay. They deserve nothing less". Well said, Senators.

Next, the President mentioned that 11 out of 12 annual spending bills are unfinished, not to mention historically late. He said the taxpayers deserve better than the megabill that the Dem leaders think will be a swell solution, putting them all together with lots of additional pork spending. He continues to vow to veto it if that happens.

Then he took questions. Iran was the first thing on their minds, with the NIE report coming out in the press yesterday. The Intelligence Community has come together as a multi-agency entity and declared that Iran stopped their nuclear program in 2003. Though they state there was no program in the first place, but never mind that. According to the President, the intelligence community reforms make this report's findings reliable. Yes, that was a question from the press. The very people so doubtful and critical of the intelligence community after they were shown to be incompetent about Saddam's wmd program now embrace this report as the gospel since they think it'll prove there is no need to be concerned about Iran.

Not so fast. Iran continues to learn about uranium enrichment, necessary for a nuclear weapon program, and the report does warn that the program can be re-started if enough enrichment were to occur. President Bush said it is important for the American people to know the facts. David Gregory asked if the President had this report 3 months ago why did he make the WWIII remark in the press conference last month, you stupid lying neocon? OK, the stupid lying neocon was muttered in his head. It was distinctly implied. Well, the President didn't see or wasn't briefed on the report until a couple of days ago. Butthead. OK, the butthead was muttered in his head. It was distinctly implied.

"Iran was dangerous. Iran is dangerous. Iran will be dangerous," President G.W. Bush.

The President said now is the time to convince the Iranians that there is a better way forward.

Michael Ledeen, an expert in all things Iranian and U.S. intelligence, thinks the report is flawed as the report implies that if there is no active nuclear program then there is no rush to go up against the mullahs. From the report: "Although the officials as a rule, respecting the norms of their craft, declined to offer policy prescriptions based on their findings, the most senior official present did cite the finding that the Iranians are susceptible to international pressure and say that such pressure should "continue" as a way to "allow IAEA to have significant visibility into the program." Ledeen cites this as blatantly unprofessional.

The question is why would the Iranians abandon a program in the first place? The report claims the Iranians are rational and respond to international pressure. The pressure was so great from outside that they just shut down their program, you see.

What planet are these 'intelligence professionals' on anyway? The all male panel, by the way, so much for the progressive intelligentsia, thinks the mullahs are rational human beings? Ledeen thinks the document will be unable to stand up to serious criticism. No real solutions or policy ideas are present in the report. Only the attitude that there is no real need to be concerned with Iran.

Never mind the 'death to America' chants. Never mind the cult within radical Islam that believes in the 12th Imam, though Iran bases its domestic and foreign policy on that belief, according to Ledeen. And, as Ledeen points out, if the uranium enrichment program has nothing to do with nuclear weapons, why do they continue to hide such activity? And deny it outright, too.

Serious times call for serious people. It's distinctly implied.


Right Truth said...

"What planet are these 'intelligence professionals' on anyway?"

I'm still trying to figure this thing out. Something stinks.

I love your take on the press conference. It's like entering the lion's den.

Right Truth

Anonymous said...

How terribly sad for our "War Hero" President, his "Five Deferment" VP and the Republicans this holiday season... for you, no WAR for oil this year!

This was from JUST before our invasion into Iraq, 3/17/2003:

Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency said,

"I should note that in recent weeks, possibly as a result of increasing pressure by the international community, Iraq has been more forthcoming in its cooperation with the IAEA," he said, adding that inspectors still have found no evidence that Saddam Hussein has revived his nuclear program."


The WordSmith from Nantucket said...


Thanks for the picked cherry.

There were many things "said" by many individuals of varying levels of credibility, prior to the war. Even worse, are those armchair commander-in-chiefs with their 20/20 hindsight rose-colored lenses on who can't see past the end of their partisanship bush derangement syndrome noses.

Within 12 years of constant violations, Saddam had 16 UN Security Council Resolutions which he snubbed his nose at.

The Duelfer Report reveals how informants working within UNSCOM and UNMOVIC kept Iraqi Intell informed on which sites would be inspected. In some of the translated Saddam documents, they discuss how to go about hiding their weapons from UN inspectors.

The Duelfer Report also reveals that there were multiple counts of bribery involving officials of various countries.

Saddam was a danger, and now he's bitten the dust, and the world is much better off for it.

Ron Simpson said...

Anonymous = Coward
If you want to state an opinion, try being tough enough to put a name to it.
Saddam had WMD. We know this becuase he USED THEM! Morons who argue that because we have not found them relegates Saddam to the "innocent victim" column need to get in touch with reality.
Bush Derangement Syndrome is no excuse for wholesale stupidity.

Enriched uranium can be used for more than nuclear explosive devices. Imagine if it was introduced to our food or water supplies. Or even worse, if it were introduced into a pharmacuetical manufactuing process. Then there is the whole dirty bomb thing that we KNOW Al Queda wants to make.

Grow up and join the real world.

Anonymous said...

Its amazing isn't it...if an 8 year old yells, I'm Gonna Get You!! on the playground, all hell breaks loose, the parents are called in, the kid is expelled for making "terrorist threats".

YET, when Ahmadinejad states publicly that Israel must be destroyed and denies the Holocaust, who stands in front of a banner that reads "Death to America" and says stuff like

"There is no doubt that the new wave of attacks in Palestine will wipe off this stigma (Israel) from the face of the Islamic world. Anybody who recognizes Israel will burn in the fire of the Islamic nation's fury..."

then HE is to be considered No Threat. What is wrong with this picture?

Incognito said...

Missed the conference.. so thanks for writing about it..

and I agree with Deb.. something is amiss.

BB-Idaho said...

R. Simpson's "We know this becuase he USED THEM!" no doubt refers to 1983, when Iraq had the full support of the Reagan administration in their long conflict with Iran. We all recall Rumsfeld's friendly visit to Saddam at the time. As an ex-Army Chemical officer, I had reason to be very skeptical of US intelligence prior to the 2003 Iraq invasion (the stuff requires
significant infrastructure with a high profile signature: didn't see it) The crude WMD weapons on hand were destroyed after our Desert Storm operation under Schartzkopf.
Whatever the rationale, Saddam's demise was good for Iraq and good for us...and we were finished and should have left.

Ron Simpson said...

It was unfortunate that the only way to block Iran's expansionist goals in the Mid East was to prop up Saddam. But please don't pretend that that was a policy only practiced by republicans. All the presidents since Roosevelt did that. It was a simple way to influence foreign governments without sending our troops. But since the Iranians were the only Mid East country that HAD attacked America at the time (can you say Jimmah Cahtuh and his FAILED foreign policies?) It was probably prudent to support Iran's enemies. Just like it was prudent to suppor the Afghan freedom fighters against the Soviets. You know those same people that turned around and murdered over 3000 Americans on Sept 11? Some times foreign policy is like a demented Rubik's cube. You have to work long and hard, with the occasional failure, before you get it right.
And you must always remember. The other side is working just as hard to keep us from winning as we are to make them lose. So I guess the analogy would be working a Rubik's cube while being shot at.