You Can't Get Fooled Again
September 15, 2005 1:12 PM   Subscribe

A History of Concealment and Deception
With an hour-long slide show [PDF, 2.4MB] that blends satellite imagery with disquieting assumptions about Iran's nuclear energy program, Bush administration officials have been trying to convince allies that Tehran is on a fast track toward nuclear weapons.
[more inside]
posted by kirkaracha (88 comments total)
 
The PowerPoint briefing, titled "A History of Concealment and Deception," has been presented to diplomats from more than a dozen countries. Several diplomats said the presentation, intended to win allies for increasing pressure on the Iranian government, dismisses ambiguities in the evidence about Iran's intentions and omits alternative explanations under debate among intelligence analysts.

The presentation has not been vetted through standard U.S. intelligence channels because it does not include secret material. One U.S. official involved in the briefing said the intelligence community had nothing to do with the presentation and "probably would have disavowed some of it because it draws conclusions that aren't strictly supported by the facts."
The December 2004 Atlantic article Will Iran Be Next? [non-subscriber link] discusses the challenges in getting accurate intelligence about Iran:
His commitment to realism extended to presenting all his information in a series of PowerPoint slides, on which U.S. military planners are so dependent that it is hard to imagine how Dwight Eisenhower pulled off D-Day without them. PowerPoint's imperfections as a deliberative tool are well known. Its formulaic outline structure can overemphasize some ideas or options and conceal others, and the amateurish graphic presentation of data often impedes understanding. But any simulation of a modern military exercise would be unconvincing without it.
As President Bush once said> [.mov]:
Fool me once, shame on--shame on you. Fool me--you can't get fooled again.
(Of course, many people weren't fooled the first time.)
posted by kirkaracha at 1:12 PM on September 15, 2005


It sure does reek of the whole Colin Powell UN fiasco. After crying wolf in Iraq I think this is going to be a tough sell. Looks like we're going it alone, again.
posted by caddis at 1:25 PM on September 15, 2005


I've been saying PowerPoint is the AntiChrist for some time now. And nobody listened. Hah!
posted by kozad at 1:29 PM on September 15, 2005


Four more ye wars!

It'll be great when Bush & co. has finished decimating our military and some other up-and-coming superpower steps in and crushes us under its boot. They certainly are doing their part to help ensure that America sucks more every day.
posted by wakko at 1:35 PM on September 15, 2005


People, this is nothing like Iraq. This time around, the smoking gun... could be a mushroom cloud!

Uh, wait.
posted by billysumday at 1:41 PM on September 15, 2005


Uh, Iran does have a nuclear weapons program, and they are ramping it up. This isn't anything like Iraq. I'm totally against the idea of invasion, because that's precisely why Iran wants a nuke - as a deterrent to US invasion, not to attack America. They don't have the ICMB's to do it, and wont for a while.

And lets also not forget that 50% of Iran's population is under the age of 25, and the many of them don't want to be ruled by a theocracy. US invasion will simply turn both the Arabs & the Persians against us.
posted by SweetJesus at 1:41 PM on September 15, 2005


Hmmm... any strange coincidence that Tehran is looking to open up their own commodities exchange, and denominate the sale of barrels of oil in the Euro and not the dollar? (here) Personally I don't think its about the petrodollar issue, I think its just to knock off more competition so the sheiks in SA can charge even more for a barrel of oil. $120/bbl? Sure! Why not! Next up, Venezuela.

That and Haiburton will get even more money. All the stents Dick Cheney can buy!
posted by SirOmega at 1:43 PM on September 15, 2005


US invasion will simply turn both the Arabs & the Persians against us.

SweetJesus, this administration has proved time and time again that it is incapable of considering the long-term consequences.
posted by wakko at 1:44 PM on September 15, 2005


I would not be overly surprised if Iran was the focus all along, Afghanistan and Iraq boarding it as they do. Only Iraq didn't go as swimmingly as expected.
Personally I think the behaviors the US has engaged in only makes it more logical that Iran seek nuclear weapons. i certainly hope it isn't so, but any country that has a hostile force occupy two other neighboring countries would certainly think long and hard about acquiring all the firepower it can. We can not innocently claim "no first use of force" any longer...
What a friggen cock up
posted by edgeways at 1:47 PM on September 15, 2005


Perhaps the shortage of troops and equipment will give the adminsitration the opportunity to exercise its other options?
posted by Verdant at 1:48 PM on September 15, 2005


Personally, I think all this fuss over Iran is very short-sighted. We should all be practicing our Mandarin.
posted by mullingitover at 1:51 PM on September 15, 2005


Who's zoomin' who?

Maybe it's the administration that's engaging in concealment & deception...?
posted by Doohickie at 1:53 PM on September 15, 2005


There's a very strong case for Iran pursuing nuclear weapons--unlike Iraq, where there was never any case at all. In fact, I recall in 2002 and early 2003 commenting that nearly all of Bush's arguments could be applied to Iran--but none of them to Iraq.

Iran's interest in nuclear weapons is largely as a deterrant to the U.S. Iraq's civil war is finally allowing Iran to become the regional power and center of global Islamic revolution that it's dreamed of since 1979. Their offer to share nuclear technology with other Islamic nations is part of that bid. The difficult part about building nuclear weapons is obtaining refined uranium, and I understand one of the best places to get that is out of a nuclear power reactor....

So, will we be invading? I'd say yes, but then, I'm surprised we haven't invaded already. Remember, the neoconservative obsession with invading Iraq was always as a foothold to bring the entire Middle East under U.S. power.
posted by jefgodesky at 1:55 PM on September 15, 2005


We can't afford that shit. It's really that simple.
posted by raysmj at 2:02 PM on September 15, 2005


Is this thread about the danger of nuclear weapons or the threat of powerpoint ?
posted by sgt.serenity at 2:04 PM on September 15, 2005


I think I just threw up in my mouth a little.
posted by agregoli at 2:05 PM on September 15, 2005


what caddis said, in 48-point bold. Yeah, I got suckered into believing Colin Powell...there's nobody left that I'd give as much benefit of doubt to.

I'm skeptical as to any conjectured timetable for US action against Iran; I remember seeing it assert here on the blue by somebody that the invasion would start in July, and we're halfway to October already. Remember back in the spring, when there was talk of how the US Air Force was "templating" their air defenses?

Uh, Iran does have a nuclear weapons program, and they are ramping it up.

SweetJesus, I wouldn't be a bit surprised, considering that they're probably afraid somebody might attack them. Even so...got a cite handy?
posted by alumshubby at 2:07 PM on September 15, 2005


For the last ten years, the PNAC to-be-invaded list has been 1) Iraq, 2) Iran, 3) Syria.

I'm going to regretfully win some bets.
posted by sonofsamiam at 2:07 PM on September 15, 2005


SweetJesus, this administration has proved time and time again that it is incapable of considering the long-term consequences.

SweetJesus, I wouldn't be a bit surprised, considering that they're probably afraid somebody might attack them. Even so...got a cite handy?

Hey, I'm no fan of this group of kakistocrats, but Iran is ramping up their nuclear weapons program. I've got access to Janes, so I just did a little inteligence search..

Here are some exerpts, because it's a subscription-only service:
The Iranian desire for a nuclear capability is twofold:

* Prestige. With the turmoil in Iraq, Iran now sees itself as the natural regional power, and a nuclear capability appears to be prestigious, popular and attractive to nationalist elements in Iranian society. Tehran observes how other key powers in the region, such as Israel, India and Pakistan, have been able to exert more political leverage than otherwise through nuclear ownership.

* Security. Iran acknowledges the deterrent effect of nuclear weapons and believes such a capability would allow it to deter potential military aggression by its neighbours and their supporters. Implacably opposed to the existence of Israel and fearful of US intervention, Iran would find itself in a strong position if it could include the nuclear option in its armoury.
...
Iran did not provide timely information on uranium-enrichment activities at its Natanz pilot-scale gas centrifuge enrichment plant. Environmental samples taken by IAEA at the plant show the presence of Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU), which Iranian officials said came from contaminated equipment purchased from "abroad". Iran subsequently admitted that previous centrifuge rotor tests had been conducted at the Amir Khabir University and at the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran (AEOI).
...
In September 2003, the IAEA found traces of HEU at a second site - a previously undisclosed facility in Tehran called Kalaye Electric. Samples taken from one room at Kalaye showed the presence of uranium enriched to 25 times the level previously acknowledged by Iran.
Etc, etc, etc. I could post more, but I don't want to violate any terms of service with Janes.
posted by SweetJesus at 2:13 PM on September 15, 2005


Unfortunately Iran is very pro-US by many accounts. Our troops will be welcomed, so we have no choice but to nuke them (as per our new policy as Verdant pointed out).
*Steve Forbes-esque stare*
It makes total sense.
posted by Smedleyman at 2:15 PM on September 15, 2005


It'll be great when Bush & co. has finished decimating our military and some other up-and-coming superpower steps in and crushes us under its boot. They certainly are doing their part to help ensure that America sucks more every day. - WAKKO

Not sure why you think our military is decimated... Spread thin maybe, but decimated hardly... Moreover, from my perspective our military appears to be at a more prepared and seasoned state than that since Vietnam. Fighting a war with as few casualties (on our side) as there have been in either / both Iraq wars, keeps our military sharp.

A military without a conflict to fight in, is a military that knows not the art of battle. I'm condoning this war specifically, but nothing we've seen in either of these wars shows me that we're getting beat down, or up, or otherwise thrashed...

I wish I had the resources to find this number, but I'd bet money that the number of military deaths post-vietnam (all inclusive to war and non-wartime start to finish) are less than 1% of the lowest casualty period in said vietnam era. Period originally being defined as a year, but interject your own scale if you want...

Sorry, but I hate people who imply or otherwise state that our military is weak or otherwise defunct. It just really rides my nerves...

-Duff
posted by DuffStone at 2:19 PM on September 15, 2005


"There's an old saying in Tennessee — I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can't get fooled again." Bush

If we go into Iran, America will have Godwinned.
posted by 517 at 2:20 PM on September 15, 2005


A military without a conflict to fight in, is a military that knows not the art of battle. I'm condoning this war specifically, but nothing we've seen in either of these wars shows me that we're getting beat down, or up, or otherwise thrashed... - Duff

LOL Not condeing this war... shesh... great time for a brain fart...

-Duff
posted by DuffStone at 2:21 PM on September 15, 2005


If the language sounds familiar ("A History of Concealment and Deception"), here's why:

Here's the White House "product" of October 2002: Iraq: A Decade of Defiance and Deception

And the background paper:

A Decade of Deception and Defiance
serves as a background paper for President George W. Bush's September 12th speech to the United Nations General Assembly. This document provides specific examples of how Iraqi President Saddam Hussein has systematically and continually violated 16 United Nations Security Council resolutions over the past decade. This document is not designed to catalogue all of the violations of UN resolutions or other abuses of Saddam Hussein's regime over the years.

For more than a decade, Saddam Hussein has deceived and defied the will and resolutions of the United Nations Security Council by, among other things: continuing to seek and develop chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons...
Hmmm.
posted by edverb at 2:25 PM on September 15, 2005


Don't mess with Tejas.

-Duff
posted by basicchannel at 2:26 PM on September 15, 2005


I wish I had the resources to find this number, but I'd bet money that the number of military deaths post-vietnam (all inclusive to war and non-wartime start to finish) are less than 1% of the lowest casualty period in said vietnam era. Period originally being defined as a year, but interject your own scale if you want...

Number of American deaths (in total) in the Vietnam war: 58,202

Lowest number of deaths in a one year period for American soliders during the Vietnam war: 561, in 1972.

Number of American killed in the Iraq war so far: 1,897

You'd be wrong.
posted by SweetJesus at 2:31 PM on September 15, 2005


I've said it before, and I'll say it again: invading Iran would be monumentally awesome. And by awesome I mean totally stupid.

Exocets.

Sunburns.

Complete halt to all shipping traffic from the Persian Gulf.

> $5 per gallon gas prices. Consumer panic. Runaway inflation.

This is, of course, before we even get into the legalities of invading without any real justification. At this point, the administration has blown all credibility with the international community. So we could also see sanctions, perhaps an embargo.

Even a "successful" campaign would leave the US weakened. See previous comment about learning Mandarin.
posted by mullingitover at 2:32 PM on September 15, 2005


I for one welcome out Han overlords!
posted by davy at 2:38 PM on September 15, 2005


Even the timing is eerily similar...

(emphasis mine)

Democrats Question Iraq Timing

By Dana Milbank
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, September 16, 2002; Page A01
... Andrew H. Card Jr., Bush's chief of staff, said last week that the White House held back on promoting the Iraq policy in the summer because, "from a marketing point of view, you don't introduce new products in August."
posted by edverb at 2:39 PM on September 15, 2005


"$5 per gallon gas prices. Consumer panic. Runaway inflation."

Dogs & cats, living together...mass hysteria.


I agree with Duff on the first part. You need conflict to keep your edge sharp.
That is predicated on keeping that edge, however, so retention is of paramount importance. We keep jacking our men around we’re not going to have a salty corps of non-coms. Morale then is another factor. And the ‘rightness’ of the war does come into play there.
And comparing casualty rates like that to Vietnam is apples/oranges. Different wars. Lots more draftees, etc. Guerrilla warfare certainly, but more urbanized areas, lots more bombs (car, et.al.) and a lack of mobility on our part. Overall casualty rates you could make a case for which is more dangerous. I’d argue you’d have to include casuaties inflicted on the enemy. But the chief determiner would be achieving our objectives.
That’s kinda fuzzy in both cases, isn’t it.

What would be the objective in going into Iran?
'Cause that WMD thing is crying wolf now.
posted by Smedleyman at 2:49 PM on September 15, 2005


If you want war, prepare for war...

I think the idea of sending troops into conflicts to keep them sharp is a poor argument for war/defense. I am a big proponent of civilian based defense, the swiss have pulled it off for quite awhile now.
posted by edgeways at 3:03 PM on September 15, 2005


I totally agree that we need a good war every so often to keep the troops sharp. However, why pick on the middle east? We should switch it up a little to keep things from getting too predictable. I think Mexico is getting a little soft. They haven't had a good war in a while, either, so we can even invade under the pretense of *helping them* to keep their troops sharp. Even better, why not have a worldwide war? It's also not a bad idea to consider deploying our tactical nukes to keep them from losing their edge. We could pick a place nobody cares about (or can even locate on a map) like Luxembourg. If anyone complains, we can point out that we have always reserved the right to strike first, and Luxembourg totally had WMDs (unfortunately they were destroyed in our tactical strike).
posted by mullingitover at 3:08 PM on September 15, 2005


"Sending troops into conflicts to keep them sharp" reminds me of an old Doonesbury strip where B.D. is explaining away Vietnam invading Cambodia/China fighting with Vietnam as "they gotta invade one another to stay in shape."
posted by alumshubby at 3:12 PM on September 15, 2005


Better check your scabbard, I can hear your sabre rattling.
posted by furtive at 3:22 PM on September 15, 2005


I totally agree that we need a good war every so often to keep the troops sharp.

I've got a couple responses I can choose from:

1. Jesus Christ, what the fuck is wrong with you?
2. There's no such thing as a "good war."
3. War is, by any sensible definition, a failure. Never forget that.
4. Have you no decency?

I just can't decide which one is best. I think it's a tie.
posted by odinsdream at 3:28 PM on September 15, 2005


I'm pretty sure mullingitover was being facetious, but what do I know? I still love the smell of napalm in the morning...
posted by stenseng at 3:35 PM on September 15, 2005


There is no way in hell that American troops would be welcome in Iran. Iranians may like western culture, but they're not big fans of the US government or it's foreign policy. They're still a little pissed off about that overthrowing-their-democratically-elected-government-for-oil thing.

And it has not been established that they have a nuclear weapons program, it's nuclear energy.
posted by sacrilicious at 3:46 PM on September 15, 2005


And it has not been established that they have a nuclear weapons program, it's nuclear energy.

One needs to read between the lines...
posted by SweetJesus at 3:50 PM on September 15, 2005


I've got a couple responses I can choose from:

1. Jesus Christ, what the fuck is wrong with you?
2. There's no such thing as a "good war."
3. War is, by any sensible definition, a failure. Never forget that.
4. Have you no decency?

I just can't decide which one is best. I think it's a tie.

I think somebody's trying to make us soft on crime terror. If we don't have a good war every so often, who's going to be ready to fight the evildoers? We need to support the president, no matter what. If we don't, we're just giving comfort to the enemy. We've got to keep our troops sharp by going to war. That's just good strategery, right there.
posted by mullingitover at 3:52 PM on September 15, 2005


Um, maybe after Iraq we could read between the lines with the Bush administration policy too.
posted by sacrilicious at 4:04 PM on September 15, 2005


War Without End? from the New Yorker, April 2003:
There is little doubt that some of the most hawkish ideologues in and around the Bush Administration entertain dreams of a kind of endless war. James Woolsey, a former director of Central Intelligence who has been proposed as a Minister of Information in Iraq by Donald Rumsfeld, forecasts a Fourth World War (the third, of course, having been the Cold War), which will last "considerably longer" than either of the first two. One senior British official dryly told Newsweek before the invasion, "Everyone wants to go to Baghdad. Real men want to go to Tehran." And then, presumably, to Damascus, Beirut, Khartoum, Sanaa, Pyongyang. Richard Perle, one of the most influential advisers to the Pentagon, told an audience not long ago that, with a successful invasion of Iraq, "we could deliver a short message, a two-word message: 'You're next.'"
Maybe it's the administration that's engaging in concealment & deception...?

"If anyone knows about deception and concealment, it's us!"

If the language sounds familiar ('A History of Concealment and Deception'), here's why

Find what: Iraq
Replace with: Iran

Find what: Defiance and Deception
Replace with: Deception and Concealment

Done!

I totally agree that we need a good war every so often to keep the troops sharp.

Who are you, Clemenza?
That's alright -- this thing's gotta happen every five years or so -- ten years -- helps to get rid of the bad blood.
I can't get enough of that wonderful

- Duff
posted by kirkaracha at 4:09 PM on September 15, 2005


Um, maybe after Iraq we could read between the lines with the Bush administration policy too.

Right, except Iran a) has the means, b) has the will, c) the US really can't (and hopefully won't try) to do anything about it, and d) is enriching weapons-grade uranium and lying to the IAEA about it. Iraq is 180 degrees from Iran.

My point is not that we should invade Iran because they've got weapons of mass destruction, or some such Iraq argument. My point is that Iran is attempting to develop nuclear weapons, and we need to be aware of this. They don't have the ICMB technology to reach America, and even if they did, they wouldn't attack us, because they're not crazy or stupid. It's a defensive move.

But your assertion that Iran is not developing nuclear weapons is unfounded, and wishful thinking. How silly do you have to be to believe that a country with one of the worlds largest energy reserves is building enrichment plants for "energy"?
posted by SweetJesus at 4:25 PM on September 15, 2005


Sorry mullingitover, no hard feelings. I need to get my sarcasm detector adjusted, but these days it's so hard to find a good sarcasm detector mechanic.

To all the people mullingitover was making fun of: fuck you.
posted by odinsdream at 4:51 PM on September 15, 2005


Wait until Iran does this.
posted by NewBornHippy at 5:05 PM on September 15, 2005


Has America jumped the shark? Find out next time on Metafilter.com!
posted by blue_beetle at 5:06 PM on September 15, 2005


Oh Sweetjesus!

Are those four points you made supposed to be facts?

Yes, Iran may a) have the means but they b) do not necessarily have the will (unlike North Korea they say they don't anyway). Of course c) no country in the region is quite sure the US won't attack on some pretense. And d) how exactly do you know they're lying to the IAEA?

You know for a fact that they are attempting to develop nuclear weapons? Wow, you must be psychic. Were you one of those people who also knew for a fact that Iraq had wmd? Maybe you have access to some of that secret information Cheney said he had about Iraq.

The logic that Iran can't be developing nuclear power because they have oil is ridiculous. Maybe they have something called foresight. Maybe, just maybe, the world's oil reserves are not infinite.

All I'm saying is, if we're going to start wars and invade other nations, perhaps we should do it based on facts and not assumptions.
posted by sacrilicious at 5:07 PM on September 15, 2005


Aaaaaaaand NewBornHippy wins! Thanks for playing, everyone. There are some lovely parting gifts for you on the way out.
posted by mullingitover at 5:09 PM on September 15, 2005


A.
Power corrupts.
Power Point corrupts absolutely.

B.
Is there no one left alive who remembers Vietnam? WTF were we thinking when we went into Iraq?

C.
Does anyone besides me wonder if depleted uranium is the next gen Agent Orange?
posted by unrepentanthippie at 5:13 PM on September 15, 2005


Show us your proof, SweetJesus, or at least actual evidence other than we need to "read between the lines."

Are you privy to CIA, DIA, Mossad, or some other organization's intelligence information? Please disclose some and support your professed belief.

Note that a country with lots of oil might want to switch their internal power to something else, so that they can sell all that oil and make lots and lots of money.

Not saying they're not lying, or even that they're not developing weapons, but you're going to have to actually show us some more compelling evidence besides:

"They're developing nuclear technology, so they must be developing weapons!"
posted by zoogleplex at 5:28 PM on September 15, 2005


Yes, Iran may a) have the means but they b) do not necessarily have the will (unlike North Korea they say they don't anyway). Of course c) no country in the region is quite sure the US won't attack on some pretense. And d) how exactly do you know they're lying to the IAEA?

Well, for two examples take a look at the Janes info I posted above. I'll post them again for you:
Iran did not provide timely information on uranium-enrichment activities at its Natanz pilot-scale gas centrifuge enrichment plant. Environmental samples taken by IAEA at the plant show the presence of Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU), which Iranian officials said came from contaminated equipment purchased from "abroad". Iran subsequently admitted that previous centrifuge rotor tests had been conducted at the Amir Khabir University and at the Atomic Energy organization of Iran (AEOI).
...
In September 2003, the IAEA found traces of HEU at a second site - a previously undisclosed facility in Tehran called Kalaye Electric. Samples taken from one room at Kalaye showed the presence of uranium enriched to 25 times the level previously acknowledged by Iran.
So, those are just two examples, but there are more. I'm not in my office right now, so I don't have access to Janes (by far the best defense information database outside of something like ONI), but I'll make an attempt anyway because I'm bored. So here we go..

Federation of American Scientists: Iranian Nuclear Weapons Programs

National Security to Nationalist Myth: Why Iran Wants Nuclear Weapons
by Charles C. Mayer, Naval Post Graduate School

Global Security's Bigass Page of Iranian Nuclear Weapons Information


Wikipedia's entry on Iranian Nuclear Weapons.


Bulletin of the Atomic Scientist Magazine
: Iran, Countdown to Showdown.

And those are just the lefty sources...
posted by SweetJesus at 5:31 PM on September 15, 2005


Just because Bush says something, doesn't mean it's a lie. In this case, they're right, but for all the wrong reasons.
posted by SweetJesus at 5:35 PM on September 15, 2005


NewBornHippy: got any more links to support that? That article is a bit dated perhaps. Any news on how setting up the trading market is going, if at all?

SweetJesus:
that's better, thanks.

And just because Bush says something, doesn't mean it's the truth, either. Judging by past statements, I'd say quite the opposite.
posted by zoogleplex at 5:40 PM on September 15, 2005


The logic that Iran can't be developing nuclear power because they have oil is ridiculous. Maybe they have something called foresight. Maybe, just maybe, the world's oil reserves are not infinite.

Oh, you poor, naive bastard... Do a Google search on dual use technology.
posted by SweetJesus at 5:45 PM on September 15, 2005


Forget the argument about whether they have nuclear weapons or whether they are trying to get them.

Am I the only person who thinks that the US (ironically, the only country to actually use nuclear weapons on another nation) has absolutely no right to invade another country just because that other country is attempting to obtain weapons that the US already has thousands of? Is it really a justification for invasion now to prevent other countries from being able to defend themselves?
posted by flarbuse at 5:52 PM on September 15, 2005


And just because Bush says something, doesn't mean it's the truth, either. Judging by past statements, I'd say quite the opposite.

Believe it or not, there are people who work in the military who are honest, intelligent and convinced that Iran is developing nuclear weapons.

Not everything is political.
posted by SweetJesus at 5:52 PM on September 15, 2005


Skimming through your links, SweetJesus, I see a whole lot of speculating, plenty of allegations, and no actual evidence introduced.

If hard information exists that the Iranians are in fact developing nuclear weapons - and I grant that the enriched uranium traces that you cited are one piece of hard evidence - then we should show it to the world. Do our intelligence agencies have the info? Do someone else's agencies have the info?

Certainly you're entitled to your belief that Iran is building nukes, and their behavior may indeed be suspicious. But you're not going to convince people without better evidence, no matter how strongly you feel about your hunch (or how many people share that hunch).

Also, ad hominem doesn't help either.

on preview: "Believe it or not, there are people who work in the military who are honest, intelligent and convinced that Iran is developing nuclear weapons."

Sure, I believe that. However, until they have something a bit more concrete than "we believe this, because there's no way they're not doing it, because they're being less than forthcoming to the IAEA, etc. etc.," I'm sure not going to support another war to stop the alleged development process of weapons they don't have yet. Plenty of people believed Saddam actually HAD some weapons, which we know that he did not.

Whatever happened to our vaunted spy network? Show. Us. Some. Better. Evidence.
posted by zoogleplex at 6:00 PM on September 15, 2005


If I were Iran and I was going to start up a new system that would shake the dollar up, I'd take a lesson from Saddam and be sure to have nuclear second-strike capability before I did so.

What would you do if you were about to financially ruin the most powerful nation on the planet?
posted by mullingitover at 6:00 PM on September 15, 2005


Although a war with Iran will probably be more bloody and complicated than the one with Iraq (and this one hasn't exactly been a picnic either), it would still be like an NFL team taking on a college team. If the US military wants to keep its troops truly sharp, they should have a nukeless war with China...you know, just so both countries can keep their armies "sharp".
posted by Devils Slide at 6:03 PM on September 15, 2005


mullingitover: Good point.

Devils Slide: do you know the old saying about fighting a land war in Asia?
posted by zoogleplex at 6:13 PM on September 15, 2005


GO AMERICA GO WAGE ANOTHER WAR

sad so sad pfff

Katrina's victims still warm :( and they talk about war against "terrostuff"

and the war against pollution, pauverety, desparation...???
posted by zouhair at 8:03 PM on September 15, 2005


Zoogleplex: I had a long post, but Metafilter ate it along the way.

Shorter version: The only people who truly believed Saddam had WMD were either stupid or cynical. You seem to look at the US's motives with a critical eye, and as well you should, but seem to trust Iran implicitly at their word. Re-read the links on the Federation of American Scientists website (who I've been told on several occasions by people in the military is actually a Communist organization bent of the destruction the defense industry, but I digress)

If you want a smoking gun, you won't find it. These things aren't that simple. I'll eventually be proved right, and you can buy me a beer when that happens. But if you can't read those links and think critically about them, there's nothing I can do to convince you.
posted by SweetJesus at 8:09 PM on September 15, 2005


You know, our total ignorance of geography in this country seriously handicaps our ability to think about the global situation.

Fire up Google Earth. Look up where Iraq, Iran, and Afghanistan are. I did this myself awhile ago and, being your typical ignorant American, was quite, quite surprised by the results.

If I were Iran, I'd be pretty damn nervous too, and I'd be working real, real hard on a deterrent.
posted by Malor at 8:13 PM on September 15, 2005


Big yawn. The nuclear genie has been out of the bottle for decades. Deterrence is the only strategic value of a nuclear weapon, so even if Iran does build a bunch of nukes, they're just going to stick them in a bunker for a rainy day like everyone else in the nuclear club. This is only a problem for people who think it makes sense to invade foreign countries and seize their assets, and as far as I'm concerned Iran is welcome to defend itself against such predators in any way that makes sense.
posted by Mars Saxman at 8:15 PM on September 15, 2005


And the bad thing about Iran having nukes is? They might threaten to use them, or actually do so? Against a civilian population? Like the US has already done, twice?

Fscking double standards. The US military-industrial junta created the game, and they want to be the only players. They might have a shred of justification if they were beefing up non-proliferation treaties and decommissioning most of their own, but in fact, they are making more nukes and arranging to be more permissive in their use.

Reminds me of a line... 'where are we going, and why are we in this handbasket?'
posted by arjuna at 8:16 PM on September 15, 2005


I read you along and found a lot of what have been sayed condescendant.

First I'm against all kind of Nuclear weapons!

But why America can have them and not Iran ?

Why I don't hear no one of say : we don't have to have nuclear weapons either ?

Israel have them, why not Iran ?

If Saddam had the bomb, would America invaded him ?

What can you do against an UNFAIR and INJUST super power that don't care of it's own sons and daughters?


Right now a lot of despots kings and "presidents" of arab countries are supported by the USA!

I can tell all this is not gonna have a happy ending :(
posted by zouhair at 8:32 PM on September 15, 2005


I still love the smell of napalm in the morning...

I've found that the napalm incence you can get a surplus city is much more Zen.
posted by Balisong at 8:35 PM on September 15, 2005


flarbuse: Am I the only person who thinks that the US has absolutely no right to invade another country just because that other country is attempting to obtain weapons that the US already has thousands of?

Bingo. In 1970 the world came to a consensus that for the survival of humanity, the of nuclear weapons had to be halted. The treaty's first two pillars were that states without nuclear weapons not obtain them, and that states with nuclear weapons work to disarm.

Since taking office, President Bush has withdrawn from the related nuclear inspections treaty, the anti-ballistic missile treaty, and most seriously requested that congress fund the development of new types of nuclear weapons

The US has zero moral authority to pass judgement on Iran's nuclear transgressions. Truth be told, I don't know which country is more dangerous at this point.
posted by Popular Ethics at 8:40 PM on September 15, 2005


...humanity, the spread of nuclear weapons...
posted by Popular Ethics at 8:43 PM on September 15, 2005


And the bad thing about Iran having nukes is? They might threaten to use them, or actually do so? Against a civilian population? Like the US has already done, twice?

Fuck nationalism, lets talk about humanity.

Nuclear weapons are bad for everyone. Oppenheimer knew he let the genie out of bottle, and went to his grave regretting both their creation, and abhorring their use.

Israel have them, why not Iran ?

No one should have them. The fact that we (US) suppled them with the technology to make them is unforgivable.
posted by SweetJesus at 8:46 PM on September 15, 2005



The US has zeromoral authority to pass judgement on Iran's nuclear transgressions.Truth be told, I don't know which country is more dangerous at thispoint."


thank God there's yet people with some common sense!
posted by zouhair at 8:48 PM on September 15, 2005


Devils Slide: do you know the old saying about fighting a land war in Asia?

The words "never do it" spring to mind.
posted by Devils Slide at 9:05 PM on September 15, 2005


is anyone well-informed enough to know what was the "Another State" that was referred to in the last few slides of the PDF?
posted by sergeant sandwich at 9:55 PM on September 15, 2005


There's a joke somewhere in human beings getting vaporized over a fucking PowerPoint™ presentation, but I can't find the punchline yet. Maybe I should ask the smiling paper clip.
posted by Rothko at 10:26 PM on September 15, 2005


Sergeant: They're referring to North Korea. If you look on slide 41 you'll see a No Dong missile, a derivative of the Russian SCUD. Next slide is that coy mention of "another state"...
posted by SweetJesus at 10:28 PM on September 15, 2005


Devils Slide: yep, that's it.

The humor content in the phrase "No Dong missile" is near WMD-level all by itself... :)

Meanwhile, no, I don't really trust Iran at their word - but then, i don't trust the government of any nation-state at its word, unless its actions agree with that word.

OK, so if they're developing a nuclear weapon, what is the assessment of the threat to the US? It seems like the big unstated fear is that somehow it will be used on New York or DC.

The Iranians don't seem so unhinged to me that they would use it as a first strike weapon against us, since if they did, we'd most likely turn much of the country into radioactive glass. While they may be sympathetic to the Al Qaeda jihadists, I really don't see them handing over a nuke to them; IIRC it's not even clear that they've even bought them ammo or rifles, though perhaps they've tolerated them basing in their territory. Using one on Israel would get the same reaction as using it on the US, I should think.

It certainly seems more likely that the assessment by many of the writers of all the various linked articles is correct, that they're using it as a deterrent, same as us. And yes, given that the US military is now on both sides of them, I can see why they'd feel that way. I don't like it much, but I can understand it.

And I agree with everyone who said we really don't have a moral leg to stand on re nukes, and also that nobody should have the damn things in the first place.
posted by zoogleplex at 10:45 PM on September 15, 2005


SweetJesus - i thought it said this was a variant based on the No Dong. it is quoted as having different capabilities, etc. north korea would've been my first guess, but the bit about "another state's variant IRBM based on the DPRK's No Dong" i think implies that it's not NK.
posted by sergeant sandwich at 10:47 PM on September 15, 2005


Meanwhile, no, I don't really trust Iran at their word - but then, i don't trust the government of any nation-state at its word, unless its actions agree with that word.

Ok, now we're on the same page.

OK, so if they're developing a nuclear weapon, what is the assessment of the threat to the US? It seems like the big unstated fear is that somehow it will be used on New York or DC.

In the most powerful sense? No threat, only among those who know nothing :-p Iran could never hit New York, or even London for that matter, with a nuclear weapon. The rockets have a 1300 km max range.

But, from a geopolitical standpoint it could start a new arms race. Iran has a history of sharing information from it's nuclear program with other Islamic nations, which will spur Syria on, and generally make the region even more unstable then it is now. The US is now forced, or more accurately pressured, to do something about the proliferation. I'd really rather it not get to that point, but with this White House developing new nuclear bunker busters, and flushing money down the nu-SDI drain, I'm not holding my breath.

The Iranians don't seem so unhinged to me that they would use it as a first strike weapon against us, since if they did, we'd most likely turn much of the country into radioactive glass. While they may be sympathetic to the Al Qaeda jihadists, I really don't see them handing over a nuke to them

I'm of the opinion that no country should be developing nuclear weapons, so that doesn't really make me sleep any better. The world doesn't need any more loose nukes, especially in a country that borders a soon-to-be civil-war-clusterfuck to it's west, and a country that's been destroyed by decades of fighting to the east.

Ask yourself this question: What possible good can come out of Iran possessing nuclear weapons? I've been thinking on this for a while, and I still have nothing.

It certainly seems more likely that the assessment by many of the writers of all the various linked articles is correct, that they're using it as a deterrent, same as us

Which is exactly what I said in my first post.

i thought it said this was a variant based on the No Dong. it is quoted as having different capabilities, etc. north korea would've been my first guess, but the bit about "another state's variant IRBM based on the DPRK's No Dong" i think implies that it's not NK.

Hmmm... I think you're right, I didn't look carefully enough. I don't think it's Iraq (Oh god, I hope not) because there seems to be a whole bunch of trees in one of the satellite photos. This is just a guess, but they may be satellite photos of other "states" with known nuclear weapons programs, just to show the similarities. But they use the singular form of state throughout the presentation, so I'm not sure. It could potentially be China, as China has sold Iran reactor technology and provided technical support. It could potentially be a CSS-2 missile, but the nose looks different. It could also be an an older version of the CSS-2, the CSS-1 aka DF-2.

That's my best guess, but i'll ask some people I know who would probably be able to identify the missile just by looking at it.
posted by SweetJesus at 11:39 PM on September 15, 2005


There's a joke somewhere in human beings getting vaporized over a fucking PowerPoint™ presentation, but I can't find the punchline yet.

It looks like you want to invade a country! Would you like to:

- Pre-emptively nuke them
- Establish sanctions
- Pre-emptively nuke them
- Posture aggressively
- Pre-emptively nuke them

Two of the five entries are not selectable.
posted by ryoshu at 12:32 AM on September 16, 2005


sergeant sandwich, SweetJesus - From the article:

The presentation, conducted in a conference room at the U.S. mission in Vienna, includes a pictorial comparison of Iranian facilities and missiles with photos of similar-looking items in North Korea and Pakistan, according to a copy of the slides handed out to diplomats. Pakistan largely supplied Iran with its nuclear infrastructure but, as a key U.S. ally, it is identified in the presentation only as "another country." (emph. added)
posted by whatnotever at 8:39 AM on September 16, 2005


My take: First of all, is it not obvious that Iran would develop nuclear weapons if they could get away with it?

For any nation that stands a chance of coming into conflict with another, it is generally in that nation's best interest to have the strongest military (with the strongest weapons) it can. Iran is full of natural resources others would like to control, surrounded by unstable nations, and irrefutably threatened by the United States.

Iran has good reasons to develop nuclear weapons, and absent any deterrents, it would be logical to assume (given simply the facts about its nuclear program/capabilities and the dual-use possibilities thereof) that it was doing so.

(I think that argument would strengthen the US's position against Iran - except it sort of implies the US as a major cause, which is just way too messy.)

The question is, are the deterrents that exist enough to make it not worth it? I can see only a few deterrents. First, it has signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. But so did North Korea. The treaty seems pretty weak by itself. The only real deterrent I can see is the possibility of sanctions. Economic sanctions could just outweigh the incentives for developing nuclear weapons.

But who will join the US in promoting and enforcing sanctions? Are China or Russia threatened by Iran having nukes? Not that I can see. In fact, it might even promote some stability in the region from which they import so much valuable oil. And so it will be extremely difficult to get them (and many other nations) to agree to sanctions without concrete, factual evidence of nuclear weapon development.

So long as there is no concrete evidence of nuclear weapon development, Iran is probably "safe." So it seems pretty clear that Iran will work on nuclear weapons if (or perhaps "as long as") it can do so without detection.

Now, the US is left with the option of forming a wee coalition and invading. That just seems like such a horrendous idea, though... Perhaps just selective bombing/destruction of Iran's nuclear facilities. Well, I really have no idea what the US will do.

But I do think that it is quite reasonable to believe that Iran is trying or will try to develop nuclear weapons (though there is no concrete evidence known publicly as far as I know). Please feel free to point out holes in my reasoning (if anyone is still reading this thread).
posted by whatnotever at 9:31 AM on September 16, 2005


whatnotever: Good find.
posted by SweetJesus at 10:54 AM on September 16, 2005


Yep, absolutely Pakistan. It's a Ghauri missile (here's the same picture they use in the power point slides).

I was close though, the Ghauri is based off the Chinese DF-2A
posted by SweetJesus at 11:07 AM on September 16, 2005


"But I do think that it is quite reasonable to believe that Iran is trying or will try to develop nuclear weapons"

"The US military-industrial junta created the game, and they want to be the only players. "

"The US has zero moral authority to pass judgement on Iran's nuclear transgressions. Truth be told, I don't know which country is more dangerous at this point.
posted by Popular Ethics at 8:40 PM PST on September 15 [!]"

I agree with all of the above. At some point it’s clear Orwell accurately predicted the coming Blocs of power. We’ve already formed much of it (notice England is with the US instead of “Eurasia”?)
I’m not saying the totalitarianism, etc. etc. will follow, or anything else for that matter, but the form of the power Blocs shapes the nature of the struggle.

Hence the “You are with us or against us” statement(s) by G.W. Bush.
We don’t have any moral authority of course. The objective here is to grab energy resources and play keep away from the other two Blocs, those being China - and her buddies, and Eurasia and their buddies.
None of them want the middle east to become a bloc in and of itself. Each wants the middle east to become part of it’s sphere of influence. The U.S. (and her buddies - ‘Oceania’ works) is the most mobile at this point so can make the most direct grab. The other two, I suspect, by witholding resources, want to let us drain ourselves a little.

So, right and wrong aside - do we want someone else sitting at the nuclear table? Or do we want to limit the players to as small a number as possible?

I’d argue we are far more dangerous than Iran, but more stable. Less of a wild card. Not because of any noble motives, but precisely because we are powerful. That bulk limits our options. So, I’d rather we had all the nukes.

I don’t have to like it of course.

I’d be happy to get some ideas on how to break up this state of affairs.

But simply disarming isn’t the answer. Bush’s star wars garbage is just posturing, but it’s designed to make others think it’s pointless to pursue missle tech when we can shoot them down.
(Not that it’s working of course).
What we need is leverage on a very very broad and individual scale, yet not really a weapon. Something on the order of telepathy.
Damned if I can figure out how to cut the knot though.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:31 PM on September 16, 2005


Please, take off your tinfoil hat and join the rest of the critical thinkers here at the table.

Want to visit a real Orwellian state? Try North Korea, where they have speakers installed in every house that spew propaganda non-stop, and everyone wears ones of 46 different pins, each depicting Kim Jong Ill. And no one ever forgets their pins - "That would be like forgetting your heart".

That's Orwellian, not this piecemeal bullshit that we in American deal with. I love when people bring up Orwell in relation to Bush, because it means I don't have to waste anymore time listening to them.
posted by SweetJesus at 4:39 PM on September 16, 2005


SweetJesus: Like Americans don't have speakers installed in every house and their own collection of pins.

Let's not forget the free speech zones, the various Emanuel Goldsteins and exactly who is your enemy/ally again?

Oh I'm sorry let me rephrase that, exactly who is your enemy/ally again?

Oh, and if George W. Bush's vocabulary isn't newspeak, I don't know what is ;-)

North Korea may be the best example of an Orwellian state at the moment, but the USA is doing a fine job catching up, and to pretend it isn't happening is to play the part of a prole to a T.
posted by furtive at 6:42 AM on September 17, 2005


Oh please. Calling America Orwellian simply serves to dilute the meaning of the word, and is an insult to anyone actually living in a totalirian dictatorship. A weekly radio address is not the same as a goverment-installed speaker system in your home, and if you can't understand that you're beyond help. We've got problems in America, but we still have free speech and free expression, regardless of Bush.

And I can name five states off the top of my head that are more "Orwellian" (what an annoying term to keep applying) than the US will ever be. Here they are - The Democratic Republic of Congo, Kazakhistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Saudi Arabia.

Stop trying to be cute, and read some history.
posted by SweetJesus at 10:41 AM on September 17, 2005


Bah.. Totalitarian dictatorship...
posted by SweetJesus at 10:42 AM on September 17, 2005


The "another state" heavy water reactor on page 39 is Khusab in Pakistan. As others have said, the missile is a Pakistani Ghauri. The people who wrote that presentation seem to have got a lot of their satellite and site photos from ISIS
posted by Slogby at 3:16 AM on September 19, 2005


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