U.S. Says Iran Ended Atomic Arms Work (NYT)
Someone has just handed Dick Cheney his big fat head on a platter, at least for this round. It remains to be seen exactly who and exactly why, and how the Cheney goons will respond. But this is good news, in so far as it states the plain truth that has been obvious for a long time to anyone who cared to see: Iran doesn't have an active nuclear weapons program, and even if it did, it is a long, long way from being able to make a bomb; and, what's more, Iran's leaders are very amenable to striking a deal in any serious, genuine negotiations. Again, all of this has been glaringly evident for a long time; but it's remarkable that America's hydra-headed intelligence apparatus has actually acknowledged, in public, a reality at odds with the bloodlusting scenarios of the masters of war in the White House.
Meanwhile, as we wait for the other shoe to drop, cue up the usual neocon condemnations of the "traitorous" and "timorous" intelligence services (who are always "wrong" unless they plump for war), and the calls for a new "Team B" or "Office of Special Plans" to sift through the evidence and come up with the "right" conclusions. (It will also be interesting to see how the top Democrats react to this news. After all, they've been just as heated in their war-thumping rhetoric about Iran and the "grave danger" posed by its non-existent nuclear weapons program. How will the Dems look "tough" now? Oh well, maybe the Kosovo war will start up again, and they can relieve the glory days of bombing Serbian civilians.)
Again, we'll have to see how this plays, for without doubt, some deep game is afoot. But what is perhaps most distasteful in this is how we all must act as Kremlinogists, trying to discern what's really going on behind the scenes with the shadowy figures who hold our lives -- and the destiny of the planet -- in their bloodstained hands.
UPDATE I: As predicted, the warmongering mouthpieces are already on the case. Atrios picks up this panicky outburst from the ever-execrable Howard Kurtz, who performs a remarkable pirouette on the subject. Kurtz, one of the most slatheringly pro-war waterboys of the age, says you can't trust this new report on Iran; after all, the intelligence agencies "were obviously flat wrong about Saddam's WMD."
Actually, as we now know, the intelligence agencies offered many caveats about the "evidence" for Saddam's non-existent WMD before Bush launched the war of aggression against Iraq. Some of us knew about those caveats before the war, because they were sometimes reported by mainstream newspapers -- such as Kurtz's employer, the Washington Post. However, such facts were always buried about 15 or 20 paragraphs into a story, or else the story itself was buried 15 or 20 pages into the paper. So I suppose there's a chance that a semi-literate putz like Kurtz never saw them. (For more on the deliberate subterfuge involved, see "The Deceivers.") In any case, we are obviously going to be treated to the delicious spectacle of ideologues and apparatchiks revising themselves in accordance with latest twist of the Party line. "Comrade Editor! I have just finished the assigned article on the evil of Adolf Hitler!" "What? You swine! Do you not know that Hitler is our honored ally now? Guards! Take this terrorist wrecker to the Lubyanka!"
Meanwhile, the White House has already shown what it will do with the NIE report: lie about it. Bush's national security adviser, the Uriah Heepish Stephen Hadley, was trotted out to say that far from showing that Bush and his minions have been lying through their teeth for years about the non-existent threat of Iran's non-existent nuclear weapons program, the report is actually a vindication of Bush's strategy....because it shows that all of the pressure that Washington has been putting on Tehran for the past four years somehow, er, magically induced the Iranians to go back in time and put the brakes on any arms programs in 2003. The truth, of course, is that nothing the Bush Administration has done in the past four years has made the slightest bit of difference to Iran's non-existent nuclear weapons program -- because the program did not, er, exist during the time of what Hadley's calls Bush's "successful" strategy.
And predictably, Hadley's main reaction to the NIE report was to call for an intensification of the current strategy: more and tighter sanctions, more diplomatic isolation. This, we are told in forceful terms, will, er, keep the Iranians from, uh, continuing their non-existent nuclear weapons program, which poses such an imminent threat to the world -- or would pose such an imminent threat, if the program in fact, er, existed.
But hey, these guys have launched wars on less than this. So while we may be treated to a few weeks of hard-to-decipher rumblings from within the Washington Kremlin -- similar to what we saw in late 2002, when the Bush Senior faction (Brent Scowcroft, etc.) fired off a few public warnings to Junior about the mess he was getting into -- I don't think we should light up the peace pipes just yet. The warmongers' fightback has just started, and heavier guns than poor old Goober Kurtz will be brought into play. But anything that puts a crimp in the White House plans for more mass murder -- even if only for a few weeks -- is a welcome development.
UPDATE II: Ray McGovern has more at Constortiumnews.com.