Wednesday, December 05, 2007

When the facts change, sir, I change my thinly veiled rationalisation - what do you do?

Now that the National Intelligence Estimate has told us the good news[1] about Iran, a lot of people have been faced with the need to reconsider their policy recommendations in the light of the information. And, after careful consideration (by which I mean, unseemly haste), they have concluded that despite being rather surprised by the NIE, and despite having been making the point right up until yesterday that Iran had an ongoing nuclear weapons program, in a way that certainly made it look as if they thought it was important, the fact that this point is untrue does not necessitate any changes at all in their world view.

Kamm and Finkelstein unsurprisingly take the Libyan Gambit, taking the Decent TARDIS for a spin and suggesting that this shows that "TOUGHNESS WORKS GODDAMMIT!!!!", with Pollard me-tooing enthusiastically. Harry's Place go for "well, properly interpreted I was never really in favour of all this terrible sabre rattling - hey look! some bus drivers!". Norm, ANTMJ and Denis MacShamehe'sthebesttheycouldcomeupwith are yet to comment, but it can hardly be long, can it?

[1]"News" in the same sense that it was "news" that Iraq didn't have WMD - ie, it's not news, it has been available for years, the international inspectors who know what they're doing and publish their results have been giving exactly this message, but now some sekrit American intelligences have said the same thing, it is no longer possible to pretend otherwise (unless you are Melanie Phillips, in which case you can fall back on supa dupa double sekrit Mossads who apparently know that it's all wrong and have told Melanie Phillips about Iran's nuke program, although not by the usual method of publishing something).

Update: By the way, what the fuck must the Iranians think of this? First we think they've got nukes, so we must threaten them with bombing. Then we say they've got no nukes, so we must threaten them all the more! You can sort of see how, divorced from the calm air of rationality which of course pervades all Decent discourse, this might make us look like madmen who cannot be deterred.

11 Comments:

Blogger ejh said...

Heh, so threatening them with sanctions in 2006-7 caused them to abandon their program in 2003. Is that what Orwell meant by "who controls the presesent, controls the past"?

12/05/2007 11:50:00 AM  
Blogger Matthew said...

As far as I can work out the idea is that the yanks' intelligence is rubbish, and of course Iran is making a Bomb, and if it wasn't, it's because of the 2003 Iraq war scared them. That they are doesn't mean the 2003 war was wrong, for reasons unknown.

Phillips naturally provided the best commentary, although there was a large dollop of amusement to be found from Pollard linking to Kamm's badly-timed piece fawningly even after the NIE report had come out.

Mel however declared that the Israelis have 'flawless' intelligence, whereas her proof, the quote from the Defence Minister, is not quote so certain :

It's apparently true that in 2003 Iran stopped pursuing its military nuclear program for a time. But in our opinion, since then it has apparently continued that program,

12/05/2007 12:20:00 PM  
Blogger Matthew said...

Also, they clearly are now rather a long way to the warmongering side of George Bush.

12/05/2007 12:37:00 PM  
Blogger Andrew Bartlett said...

I expected the comments on the Melanie Phillips article to bring some sense to the dicussion. I was working on the assumption that the readers of the Spectator might be right-wing, but they are also intelligent. But... Jebus! The CIA is committing treason, apparently, as the appointees made by Clinton are a red-front capable of overriding the judgements of the appointees of Bush I and II.

Worst was this piece of racism:

"[I]t's worth pointing out that the feelings that these Muslims (Arabs) have is NOT one of competing with the US for hegemony. They HATE with a depth of hatred that's impossible for Westerners to fathom - & hence 9/11, 7/7 and many other outrages against (usually) non-Muslims around the world. The problem, I reckon stems from the fact that they're a people similar to "the Lost World", back in the Dark Ages and yet they feel that they deserve the top seat, given their great culture (?) and their vast amounts of loot."

12/05/2007 12:41:00 PM  
Blogger Bruschettaboy said...

There are certainly some piss-takers there though, viz:

It's a shame that the left-wing U.S. intelligence community (note the word "community"--it's not just the CIA that produces the NIEs it is 16 agencies including the NSA which has a much larger budget than the liberal-run CIA) didn't listen to Melanie and other experts like Bill Kristol and John Bolton about Iran's nuclear program. After all, they were spot on about Iraq's WMDs. Who cares what new intelligence might have come in that led to the NIE's conclusion. AS for Israel's position on this, Ehud Barak said that Iran did stop its nuclear program 4 years ago (funny how no one mentioned this before) but that it has "probably" restarted it. That's certainly strong enough evidence to go to war on.

12/05/2007 05:31:00 PM  
Anonymous Buck said...

Pssst. The question has always been should we allow a nation that believes in suicide bombings to have the technology to build nukes. Nobody has suggested they are sticking them on missiles as we speak.

12/06/2007 04:07:00 AM  
Anonymous dsquared said...

Nice try.

12/06/2007 08:01:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Should we allow a country that believes in preventive military action to have nuclear weapons? Should we allow a country that thinks that "everything changed on 9/11" to have nuclear weapons?

12/06/2007 08:06:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is Mad Mel getting madder, now that the CIA is on her pinko blacklist?

And did she not see the irony in:

"As the Weekly Standard points out for the umpteenth time, the US intelligence community has a lousy record in that part of the world.

... as if William Kristol ever cared.

12/06/2007 08:16:00 AM  
Blogger Martin Wisse said...

Of course, the NIE also put out the so far unproven assertion that Iran did too have a nuclear programme up until 2003, now firmly part of the common wisdom, so these Iranians are still not to be trusted and since they still have the willingness to acquire a capability to set up a new nuclear programme, the bombing has to start in five minutes.

12/06/2007 10:07:00 AM  
Anonymous johnf said...

I wouldn't get too alarmed at the neo-con comments on the Spectator site.

Neo-con articles by neo-cons in Britain have a lot of posting on far right American sites like Free Republic, Matt Drudge, Little Green Footballs - which then elicit responses like those.

The country from which the individuals were posting was not revealed, but most of them read like Americans. These are certainly views on the NIE which have acheived wide currency on far right American sites in the last few days.

12/06/2007 12:16:00 PM  

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