08 December 2007

The National Intelligence Estimate on Iran

Just as November's breakthrough in cell reprogramming triggered a fusillade of right-wing declarations that "the stem cell wars are over" because embryonic stem cell research is no longer needed, so the recent release of the NIE alleging that Iran suspended its nuclear-weapons program in 2003 has now prompted a similar barrage of assertions that the option of an airstrike against Iran is off the table. The intent in both cases is the same: to narrow the range of the politically possible by drowning out anyone who tries to remind the world of the reality of the situation.

The best overview of this particular situation that I've seen so far is here; this comment is also worth reading. The Israelis, who for obvious reasons have the best intelligence-gathering capabilities where the Middle East is concerned, aren't buying the new NIE's claims; France and Germany don't seem impressed either. Here's a sober assessment of the implications for US politics; here's an even more sobering assessment of the implications for Iran.

Remember, we can't afford to be wrong about this one. The likely consequences of misjudgment are too horrifying to contemplate.

Update: The US public isn't buying it either.

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