Thursday, September 17, 2009

Iran nuclear 'threat' hyped

• Iran is unlikely to be able to produce enough highly enriched uranium (HEU) for a nuclear weapon until at least 2013, according to a United States government intelligence estimate made public last Thursday.—Daniel Luban, "New nuke report debunks Iran hawks,", August 11, 2009

• Iran is not going to produce a nuclear weapon any time soon and the threat posed by its atomic program has been exaggerated, the U.N. nuclear watchdog chief said in a published interview.—"Iran nuclear 'threat' hyped: IAEA's ElBaradei," Reuters, September 2, 2009

• This latest U.S. intelligence-community assessment is potentially controversial for several reasons, not the least of which is that it is at odds with more alarming assessments propounded by key U.S. allies, most notably Israel. Officials of Israel's conservative-led government have been delivering increasingly dire assessments of Iran’s nuclear progress and have leaked shrill threats about a possible Israeli military attack on Iranian nuclear facilities.—Mark Hosenball, "Intelligence Agencies Say No New Nukes in Iran: Secret updates to White House challenge European and Israeli assessments," Newsweek, September 16, 2009

• [I]n 1975, presidential chief of staff Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld introduced a group of neoconservatives, led by Harvard professor Richard Pipes, to the CIA in order to make sure that future NIEs would falsely conclude that the Soviet Union rejected nuclear parity, were bent on fighting and winning a nuclear war, and were radically increasing their military spending.

This group of Cold War hardliners and neocons (known as Team B) and the CIA (Team A) then wrongly predicted a series of Soviet weapons developments that never took place, including directed energy weapons, mobile ABM systems and anti-satellite capabilities.

In the 1980s, CIA Deputy Director Gates used this worst-case reasoning in a series of speeches to ingratiate himself with CIA Director Bill Casey and the Reagan administration.

In view of the consistent exaggeration of the Soviet threat throughout the 1980s, when the USSR was on a glide path toward collapse, it is fair to speculate on current geopolitical situations that are far less threatening than our policy and intelligence experts assert.—Melvin A. Goodman, "How the Soviet Menace Was Hyped,", September 15, 2009

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