April 13, 2006

Iran: Beyond The Hype

What's with Bloomberg these days? Yesterday I had to send them a complaint about their misleading coverage of the AWB scandal. Today they come out with this crap:
Iran, which is defying United Nations Security Council demands to cease its nuclear program, may be capable of making a nuclear bomb within 16 days if it goes ahead with plans to install thousands of centrifuges at its Natanz plant, a U.S. State Department official said.
Josh Marshall points out that this "16 Days To Armaggeddon" crap is being pushed by the very same people who were behind the Niger nukes bamboozle in the 2003 State of the Union address.

Juan Cole has a more scientific deconstruction of the latest lies:
Despite all the sloppy and inaccurate headlines about Iran "going nuclear," the fact is that all President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Tuesday was that it had enriched uranium to a measely 3.5 percent, using a bank of 180 centrifuges hooked up so that they "cascade."

The ability to slightly enrich uranium is not the same as the ability to build a bomb. For the latter, you need at least 80% enrichment, which in turn would require about 16,000 small centrifuges hooked up to cascade. Iran does not have 16,000 centrifuges. It seems to have 180. Iran is a good ten years away from having a bomb...
Cole also covers the political agendas on both sides of the war-mongering hype:
What is really going on here is a ratcheting war of rhetoric. The Iranian hard liners are down to a popularity rating in Iran of about 15%. They are using their challenge to the Bush administration over their perfectly legal civilian nuclear energy research program as a way of enhancing their nationalist credentials in Iran.

Likewise, Bush is trying to shore up his base, which is desperately unhappy with the Iraq situation, by rattling sabres at Iran... Iran is a great deus ex machina for Bush. Rally around the flag yet again.
Like Cole says, the only real danger here is that this irresponsible war-mongering hype will lead to further destabilisation of the Middle East.

Meanwhile, Colin Powell finally speaks up about Cheney's nuclear fear-mongering... more than three years too late:
When I pressed further as to why the president played up the Iraq nuclear threat, Powell said it wasn’t the president: “That was all Cheney.” A convenient response for a Bush family loyalist, perhaps, but it begs the question of how the president came to be a captive of his vice president’s fantasies.

More important: Why was this doubt, on the part of the secretary of state and others, about the salient facts justifying the invasion of Iraq kept from the public until we heard the truth from whistle-blower Wilson, whose credibility the president then sought to destroy?

In matters of national security, when a president leaks, he lies.


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