Little more than a year after U.S. spy agencies concluded that Iran had halted work on a nuclear weapon, the Obama administration has made it clear that it believes there is no question that Tehran is seeking the bomb. In his news conference this week, President Obama went so far as to describe Iran’s “development of a nuclear weapon” before correcting himself to refer to its “pursuit” of weapons capability.
Obama’s nominee to serve as CIA director, Leon E. Panetta, left little doubt about his view last week when he testified on Capitol Hill. “From all the information I’ve seen,” Panetta said, “I think there is no question that they are seeking that capability.” The language reflects the extent to which senior U.S. officials now discount a National Intelligence Estimate issued in November 2007 that was instrumental in derailing U.S. and European efforts to pressure Iran to shut down its nuclear program. As the administration moves toward talks with Iran, Obama appears to be sending a signal that the United States will not be drawn into a debate over Iran’s intent.
I really want to know the names of the politicized State Department washouts who hijacked the summary and committed the quasi-putsch. It’s mostly curiosity: I just want to check the exact number of rungs they’ve been promoted under the new administration.
This is also as good a time as any to review the obnoxious smugness of the self-styled reality-based community. Here’s Juan Cole musing about how Bush rejected the NIE because he snorts coke. Here’s HuffPo tool Michael Roston pitying conservatives who have a “tenuous grasp on reality” because they’re afraid that Iran is nuclearizing. And here’s AMERICABlog railing against warmongering based on “false and misleading information.”
You can play this game on your own. For extra entertainment, try searching for the ones where these erstwhile patriots snickered about the competence of the IAEA as opposed to the mendacity of the President of the United States. Magical.
UPDATE: Stolen from the Hot Air comments section, this is exquisit:
OBAMA: I think Iran continues to be a threat to some of its neighbors in the region, so they’re still funding Hamas, they’re still funding Hezbollah, and those are things we have to be concerned about. But it is absolutely clear that this administration and President Bush continues to not let facts get in the way of his ideology. And that’s been the problem with their foreign policy generally. They should have stopped the saber-rattling, should have never started it, and they need now to aggressively move on the diplomatic front. Dec. 4, 2007.
When Iran ostensibly didn’t have a surreptitious nuclear program, the US needed to diplomatically engage them. Now that the charade is over and even Obama admits that they’re running a massive nuclear program – the US needs to diplomatically engage them. What’s that about not letting facts get in the way of ideology?
* U.S. now sees Iran as pursuing nuclear bomb [LAT]
* WaPo: NIE Conclusions Were Engineered By Easily Identifiable, Hysterically Anti-Bush State Department Washouts [MR]
* Bolton calls report on Iran ‘quasi-putsch’ [Free Republic]
* Obligatory Post About The NIE Report – Anti-War Partisans Switch From Sophisticatedly Undermining War Effort To Being The Bestest And Most Objective Analysts Ever. Except Not.
* No Kidding: Obama To Pressure Israel On Its Nuclear Deterrent
* Iranian Cleric: Put A Bullet In Livni’s Head (Plus: Smug Liberal Sophistication Unperturbed By Spectacularly Wrong Iran Predictions, Failed Anti-Iran Efforts)