« Open String on Iraq Strategery | Main | Habakkuk on the neocons' use of intelligence »

13 December 2007

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Clifford Kiracofe

Kissinger? Ah yes, William Yandell Elliott's star pupil, aside from Zbiggy.

Threat inflation? NEI's, Iran??? How about 1957-1958?

From a paper I prepared for a conference in China in 2006:

"The imperial faction strove once more to create an intensified sense of external threat and “emergency.” Not surprisingly, we find Paul Nitze again playing a critical role in the escalation of Cold War fears in 1957. At this time, a study on the US-Soviet military balance was put together by the “Gaither Committee,” a group of outside advisors originally tasked by the White House, as the “Security Resources Panel,” to consider civil defense issues.
Nitze played a central role drafting the committee’s final report, which was a sharp criticism of the Eisenhower Administration’s overall defense policy. The final report, using language similar to Nitze’s NSC-68 document, claimed there was a rapidly growing Soviet intercontinental nuclear missile capability. The report laid the groundwork for the “missile gap” propaganda of the late 1950s and early 1960s. Similar propaganda, in 1955, created a falsified “bomber gap” threat. The Gaither Report called for increased defense spending on the nuclear triad as well as spending to create a capability to fight “limited wars” in peripheral areas around the globe.
In January 1958, a similar report was created for the Rockefeller Brothers Fund under the direction of a young Harvard professor named Henry Kissinger. Kissinger’s report offered a sharp criticism of the Eisenhower defense policy and called for defense budget increases and policies much the same as the Gaither Committee report. The Gaither Committee report was a classified government secret document while the Kissinger report was public and, hence, could be used politically in the fall 1958 Congressional mid-term elections and in the run-up to the 1960 general election. There was an overlap in the teams of consultants for both reports which explains the similarities of criticism and policy recommendations.
The Rockefeller Brothers Fund report drafted by Kissinger was used by Nelson Rockefeller, then Governor of New York, to attack President Eisenhower’s defense policies and thereby force a change in the Republican Party’s foreign policy and defense policy in the direction of the requirements of the Wall Street-based imperial faction and away from the Eisenhower “defense liberalism” perspective.
During the 1960 Republican Convention, held in Chicago, Richard Nixon secretly left the convention and went to New York City to meet with Nelson Rockefeller. Rockefeller demanded that Nixon accept his defense policy views and influence the convention accordingly. Nixon accepted and returned to Chicago to work with the Rockefeller Republican forces to defeat the Eisenhower defense perspective. This meant that, whichever candidate won the coming election (Nixon or Kennedy), the imperial faction’s defense policy and imperial strategy would be implemented as Kennedy had adopted the same policy perspective. Traditional Republicans called the Nixon capitulation to the Rockefeller-Wall Street forces the “Republican Munich.”
History records that there was no “missile gap.” Our intelligence services, and President Eisenhower, knew this from the Central Intelligence Agency’s secret U2 flights, which began in 1956, and other national technical means such as the CORONA satellite launched in August 1960, SIGINT (signals intelligence), and HUMINT (human intelligence) such as the Penkovsky case. The hyperinflated Soviet threat was a calculated deception on the part of Nitze and the Gaither Committee, and the Kissinger Rockefeller Brothers Fund report, for political purposes to support massive increased defense spending and an imperial foreign policy."

David W

Imo, Kissinger is playing the role of the 'cooler' at the casino, brought in to break the table's hot streak. While we here at this table are considering the specifics of what he has just dealt the table, I'd like to suggest that you all step away from the game, and consider the large view; while the specifics of the NIE and the ramifications of the Iranian nuke program rightly need to be sifted through (by much smarter minds than the Usual Suspects of the WaPo, Sunday talkshows, etc), the main question remains the same--given what we know now, what vision do we buy into?

I don't think there is anybody here who thinks Iran is our buddy, however, buying into the neocon view is to subscribe to the view that Iran is an unrational, unthinking entity that is hell bent on nuking Israel and/or the US as soon as possible. Such a view ignores restraints such as IAEA or the NPT, or even MAD as impractical and imprudent, things to be ignored.

Credibility matters; the same people who were so very wrong about Iraq are now selling us the same story about Iran. Andy, you sound like a knowledgeable person, yet I think that your question/plea is more properly addressed to somebody who really knows this subject--why don't you ask Valerie Plame?

Kissinger is a master of droning on until everybody at the table is either asleep or mesmerized--he knows it, and has historically used it to his advantage. However, that sage visage and intellectual mumbling should not overshadow the fact that his tenure in the US govt was wrongheaded and extemely damaging to the country's interests then, just as his unwelcome input is right now.

Will

@Andy

There is Newton's second law F=mxa
What is the range of an artillery shell?
(forget about Saddam's (Bull's) fantasy supergun design?) That's why the Yamamoto and the Prince of Yales were sunk by aircraft during WWII. Carrier based aircraft exceed the range of artillery shells.

Gun type Nukes can be delivered by aircraft b/ they are easily defended. For missles of any range you need plutonium.

I am aware of the heavy water Arak facility the Neokons are all excited about.

Just getting to the chase quickly. the Persicos are not idiots. They know the Ziocons are out to dismantle Iran the same way they dismanteld Irak. Irak was dismantled on the WMD pretense. SH ran a doublebluff and it backfired. He pretended to have WMD to bluff the Iranians, but didn't have WMD so he wouldn't get invaded. Bush invaded anyway.

The Persicos are playing a fine and dangerous game but they are w/i their rights. Hell the Brasilians are enriching through a propitiatory process and even recently resurrected their nuclear submarine program.

What's the difference? Why are they not targeted for dismemberment?

The Brasilians don't in the aggregate give a shxt about the West Bank.

eaken

Andy,

The NIE was a politically correct tool utilized to let Israel know it is on its own on this one.

As for arguing that the EURODIF or Ukrainian alternative would be cheaper, I find it interesting that you are able to reduce this aspect of the nuclear program to coming down to a simple cost benefit analysis but you fail to consider the overall cost benefit analysis which dictates that Iran should maximize its natural resource exports.

Additionally, you have to consider all the agreements which were broken off by other countries and companies over the course of the past 2-3 decades, this transcends just the nuclear industries.

Curious

Fuel enrichment is NOT required for all types of reactors (CANDU for example), but it certainly is for the majority of power reactors. Unmentioned is that Iran does not need a domestic enrichment capability to fuel reactors.

Posted by: Andy | 13 December 2007 at 03:11 PM

yeah but
1. the plutonium out of spent fuel is very complicated to turn into weapon. It's far easier to enrich uranium in the first place. Anybody actually worry Iran making radioactive junk?

2. CANDU type of reactor is huge facility. You can't hide it under the kitchen sink or cave. Where is it?

If you want to make speculation. Then it's going to be the India route. NRX.

Cieran

We're seeing a number of less-than-accurate assertions about nuclear weapons design (e.g., confusing gun-assembly HEU designs with implosion designs, or asserting that there is no difference between engineering the capability to create HEU or LEU).

This manner of technical speculation (e.g., the aluminum tubes debacle) is what led to the whole "what if the smoking gun is a mushroom cloud?" mushy thinking that got us into Iraq in the first place, so it's poor form for us to engage in it now.

Those who know the relevant technology simply cannot describe its technical details here or almost anywhere else outside of the NNSA complex (it's classified, and the non-disclosure agreements involved are lifelong regardless of whether one continues to work in the nuclear weapons complex or not), and those who describe the technology openly are almost invariably incorrect on the all-important details (if not simply wildly incorrect, e.g., John Bolton).

Nuclear WMD technology in the U.S. is governed by SRD and TSRD classification, and much of what is released into the media is deliberate misinformation intended to provide a certain level of "security through obscurity". And that disinformation stream is a part of what leads to divergent assertions such as those found here.

The only places in the U.S. where this information is readily available in a complete, coherent, and accurate form are the two physics labs (LANL and LLNL), and the DUSA's at these labs do not permit public discussion of the underlying technologies, period. It's highly illegal (the penalties for violation are truly ugly).

So in general, we shouldn't trust any of the assertions made in the media about nuclear WMD production or design. But on the other hand, the NIE integrates over all the relevant intelligence-gathering agencies, including DOE/NNSA. So the NIE is arguably the best document to trust, and thankfully, we can read the unclassified version.

It's a good document, well worth reading in its entirety.

And finally, as a veteran of both LANL and LLNL, I would especially advocate complete mistrust of opinions from un-informed un-American neo-con-men like Kissinger.

Where did Kissinger earn his doctorate in weapons physics, anyway?

Clifford Kiracofe

How about Kissinger in 1957-1958?

From a paper I prepared for a conference in China in 2006:

"The imperial faction strove once more to create an intensified sense of external threat and “emergency.” Not surprisingly, we find Paul Nitze again playing a critical role in the escalation of Cold War fears in 1957. At this time, a study on the US-Soviet military balance was put together by the “Gaither Committee,” a group of outside advisors originally tasked by the White House, as the “Security Resources Panel,” to consider civil defense issues.

Nitze played a central role drafting the committee’s final report, which was a sharp criticism of the Eisenhower Administration’s overall defense policy. The final report, using language similar to Nitze’s NSC-68 document, claimed there was a rapidly growing Soviet intercontinental nuclear missile capability. The report laid the groundwork for the “missile gap” propaganda of the late 1950s and early 1960s. Similar propaganda, in 1955, created a falsified “bomber gap” threat. The Gaither Report called for increased defense spending on the nuclear triad as well as spending to create a capability to fight “limited wars” in peripheral areas around the globe.

In January 1958, a similar report was created for the Rockefeller Brothers Fund under the direction of a young Harvard professor named Henry Kissinger. Kissinger’s report offered a sharp criticism of the Eisenhower defense policy and called for defense budget increases and policies much the same as the Gaither Committee report. The Gaither Committee report was a classified government secret document while the Kissinger report was public and, hence, could be used politically in the fall 1958 Congressional mid-term elections and in the run-up to the 1960 general election. There was an overlap in the teams of consultants for both reports which explains the similarities of criticism and policy recommendations.

The Rockefeller Brothers Fund report drafted by Kissinger was used by Nelson Rockefeller, then Governor of New York, to attack President Eisenhower’s defense policies and thereby force a change in the Republican Party’s foreign policy and defense policy in the direction of the requirements of the Wall Street-based imperial faction and away from the Eisenhower “defense liberalism” perspective.

During the 1960 Republican Convention, held in Chicago, Richard Nixon secretly left the convention and went to New York City to meet with Nelson Rockefeller. Rockefeller demanded that Nixon accept his defense policy views and influence the convention accordingly. Nixon accepted and returned to Chicago to work with the Rockefeller Republican forces to defeat the Eisenhower defense perspective. This meant that, whichever candidate won the coming election (Nixon or Kennedy), the imperial faction’s defense policy and imperial strategy would be implemented as Kennedy had adopted the same policy perspective.

History records that there was no “missile gap.” Our intelligence services, and President Eisenhower, knew this from the Central Intelligence Agency’s secret U2 flights, which began in 1956, and other national technical means such as the CORONA satellite launched in August 1960, SIGINT (signals intelligence), and HUMINT (human intelligence) such as the Penkovsky case. The hyperinflated Soviet threat was a calculated deception on the part of Nitze and the Gaither Committee, and the Kissinger Rockefeller Brothers Fund report, for political purposes to support massive increased defense spending and an imperial foreign policy."

Grumpy

As I have been reading this discussion, there appears to be a separation. On one hand, you have the nuclear Iran and our thoughts about that situation.

But there is another whole discuscussion in here. This one centers on things like tradition, honor and respect I read what Col. Lang wrote yesterday, 13 Dec 2007 at 03:36PM, "In short, I have ceased to consider them honorable men." This is one of those statements which felt like a real "back of the head slap." As I read it, I was reminded of the RICO Act. You have the poisonous tree and everything that comes into contact with it is contaminated, EVERYTHING. This is the reason Col. Lang's comment had such great value.

To Former Capt. Steve, USMC (Former?), you raised the oath, this is something we should be doing all of the time.

Thanks to all of our military, their families and veterans for your service to this GREAT Nation.

Sidney O. Smith III

The news just keeps getting better and better. The leaders of the GOI -- including those of the IDF -- are becoming more and more vocal in their criticism of the NIE and, presumably, the US military and intelligence community.

Maybe the USM will become more vocal in its criticism of the IDF.

Arguably, the USM is at its best when it sticks to the American tradition based on its national experience and history. You can see this tradition at work when reading the handbook for soldiers headed to Iraq during the Second World War and it’s this: respect the local culture and fight the bully.

This tradition appears to have evolved into the guiding rule that Fall gave us in Street Without Joy: to win, the military and the people must emerge on the same side of the struggle.

In contrast, the history of the IDF is the complete opposite. Its strategic goal and resulting tactics appear worse than the USM at its worst, meaning "burn the village to save the village". For the GOI and IDF, it’s just burn the village. Source: Pappe and his book on Ethnic Cleansing of the Palestinians.

If true, then the strategic goals and tactics of the IDF and USM are mutually exclusive.

It didn’t have to be that way. If the IDF had followed the ways of the USM and began building hospitals and schools for the Palestinians starting back in 67 (if not earlier), then the odds of peace today would be much greater. The military and the people would have emerged on the same side of the struggle. But such a concept, at least at this point, seems alien to the zeitgeist of the IDF.

And, most interestingly, when the USM is at its worst is when it reflects the tradition of the IDF instead of the one that arises out of E Pluribus Unum. By that I mean, pre-emptive strikes (Shock and Awe), the destruction of a local culture (Iraqi museums) and torture (Abu G).

Whatever improvement that has occurred in Iraq is due to our returning to the American tradition: Respect the local culture and fight the bully. To win, the military and the people must emerge on the same side of the struggle. It is the formula, I contend, that makes the US military Sun Tuz’s “sovereign imbued with the moral law.”


The IDF appears to have rejected Sun Tzu’s maxim and instead rely on a strategy and tactics that are outdated. Burn the village is obsolete in Western thinking. Perhaps the IDF can turn it around and adopt the winning ways of the USM. But if so, then I think every Israeli general who visits the US needs to pay homage to the Vietnam Vet Wall in DC. In many ways, that is our wailing wall. And it is the sacrifice that arose out the Vietnam War that help give us our winning tactics.

And Luti called General Zinni a traitor?

frank durkee

As a 'simple man from the back mountains of Colorado' it seems to me that Fred has asked the essential question. What nations are we willing to allow to become owners of these weapons and which will we not and why? As I stated months ago iran lives in a dangerous area with several atomic powers playing in their neighbourhood. I think their desire for an effffective weapons program makes sense from their perspective. Unless one thinks they are suicidal, then the argrument concerning attacking Isreal shoul be handled by a MAD argrument. As for religious inspiration as a basis for destructive policies check out our president President and his statements about his relationship to and messages from God. if I were an Iranian that would scare the hell out of me. it is not just that wer don't really understand othersw as the Col. keeps pointing out we also don't really see ourselves as others may legitimately percieve us.
Great blog, keep it up.

arthurdecco

“Examining connections between Kissinger and the neocons do not show that his views are wrong…

…Sadly, the tendency these days is to lump people into certain "camps" where they can be safely dismissed without having to substantively address their arguments.

The trouble is that focusing on groups like the neocons as a group instead of addressing the arguments they make on their merits alone is likely to appeal only to the already converted neocon-haters out there and not those who are sitting on the fence, much less those who are sympathetic to the other side. IOW, refuting arguments, policies and positions is more likely to influence than attempts at labeling.”

Posted by Andy

Thoughtful post, (among many). You’re almost right, I think.

But.

Using Kissinger’s connections to the neocons as shorthand to explain his motivations and/or prejudices to an audience too damned busy to delve into the minutiae of his existence themselves helps get the message out to more people than would otherwise hear or read of it. This man is malevolent. He does not mean well. More people need to make the connection between Kissinger and the neocon movement.

Surely you can agree, Andy, that some “camps” CAN be dismissed. (Though I don’t know how safely it can be done.) Some “camps” have proven themselves to be incompetent, others larcenous, even dangerous. The opinions and prejudicial policies of such people should be easy to dismiss.

In the past we’ve all deconstructed the neocon’s arguments until we’re blue in the face with little or nothing to show for it. We wasted time trying to reason with this pack of snarling, snapping dogs circling the bloodied body of the United States of America while they were incapable of any thought but of filling their bellies. And I don’t have to be a hater of anyone, Andy, to recognize the utter depravity of the neocons and their enablers. All that’s required is a sentient brain and access to nearly accurate information.

We need to distill our arguments to the essential if we are to convince enough people of the seriousness of the situation. Madison Avenue may have something to teach the rational “camp”. But only if we can match the Cons in the Talking Point wars.

Admit it - long, complicated, (even if rational and reasonable), argument doesn’t hold a candle to “Mission Accomplished”.


TR Stone

In regards to the comment about disproving another's position with the facts, try agruing with a creationist using the facts of cosmology or evolution and see if their "light" comes on.

Andy

Pat,

Fair enough. For what it's worth, I don't think we differ to a great degree on the neocons, except on the tactics best suited to hindering them.

Babak,

There is no way to make industrial development safe from a proliferation point of view

Of course not, but that does not mean there shouldn't be limits on the transfer of dual-use technology.

Realistically, what you can do is to try to changes states' calculations for deploying nuclear weapons. So far, the United States, in my opinion, has done an excellent job of creating incentives for their creation and deployment by many many state actors.

Agreed. Take Japan for instance. Should it make the political decision to do so, they could manufacture a nuclear weapon in a matter of weeks. Few fear this though, for a variety of reasons, but it mainly boils down to intent. And therein lies the problem with Iran that almost everyone agrees on - Iran's future intentions. IAEA Director El Baradai makes this point constantly:

That frankly is the key question that I think the international community is focussing on right now. It is the future of Iran´s intention, it´s how you assess the risk... it´s the risk assessment of Iran´s future intention.

And Jeffrey Lewis, another notable expert:

There are two ways to make it “hard” for Iran to build a bomb: One way is to restrict Iran’s access to information and technology; the other is to propose monitoring and verification efforts to make any decision to move toward a bomb a very public decision.

JohnH,

Assessments vary (see last paragraph) on Iran's ability to overcome it's hex purity problems and range from a couple of months to about 2 years - and this was back in 2005. The Hex impurity issues are a temporary roadblock - Iranian scientists are not stupid and they will overcome this problem if they haven't already.

Jonst,

You seem to imply that you embrace the--false, in my opinion-- paradigm that Dr. K, and many, many others offer. That is 'possession', or even the desire to 'possess' the weapons in question should be the central issue in the matter.

Well, hate to break this to you, but that's been US policy since at least 1979 and not just with Iran. With regard to Iran vs China and Russia, if you don't understand the difference between nuclear weapons states and non-nuclear weapons states under the NPT then I don't know what to tell you.

Steve,

I was unaware that writing an opinion piece in a major newpaper was a Constitutional violation. BTW, I served in the Navy and Air Force, but always secretly wished I'd joined the Marines instead. Semper Fi.

tons15,

the more I hear or read voices like 'Andy' - the more I am disgusted

Pointing out relevant facts and engaging in debate is "disgusting?" Considering I have not provided any political opinions in here, I fail to see why I deserve such opprobrium.

Will,

The fact remains is that Uranium weapons can be used on missiles, no matter what you choose to believe.

eaken,

The NIE has political consequences, but it is not a political document.

I find it interesting that you are able to reduce this aspect of the nuclear program to coming down to a simple cost benefit analysis but you fail to consider the overall cost benefit analysis which dictates that Iran should maximize its natural resource exports.

How, exactly, does spending less money on a nuclear program hinder natural resource exports? It doesn't, it makes more money available for other priorities. Consider, for example, that Iran is spending 1/5 of it's annual revenue importing and subsidizing gasoline (equivalent, in percentage terms, to what the US spends on Social Security).

The fact is that purchasing nuclear fuel is cheaper in the long run, particularly since Iran will have to import fuel and/or ore anyway in a couple of decades because their uranium reserves are so small.

Cieran,

Sorry, but centrifuge technology is not hidden by DOE classification, nor is it some arcane science only understood in the hallowed halls of DOE labs. And as a someone who's worked at the labs, you obviously know that the US doesn't use centrifuge technology for it's own enrichment needs, right?

Stating that the facilities and technology to make LEU and HEU are the same is not exposing classified information, nor is it a lie. You don't even have to take my word for it(see page 7).

Thank you all for the engaging debate. For the record, I wish to make clear my position regarding Iran since it seems some are making assumptions. I do not support military action against Iran and I do support engagement, beginning with the reestablishment of our embassy. In my view the only long-term way to keep Iran from getting nuclear weapons is to work to bring about conditions where Iran believes they are not needed and not worth the cost. In my view that will require not only security guarantees from the US, but also peace and recognition of Israel along with a regional denuclearization treaty. The Brazil and Argentina programs are instructive. Once they came to an agreement and largely settled their differences, there was no longer a need nor desire for nuclear weapons.

Mad Dogs

Pat,

Marvelous, simply marvelous!

If the WaPo had any sense (yes, an oxymoron these days *g*), they would have taken your piece and juxtaposed it with that mealy-mouthed piece that Henry the "K" threw up.

Unfortunately, those Villagers who only get their talking points from has-beens like the WaPo Op-Eds, will continue to curtsy and gibberishly gush on about how Henry the "K" still "has it".

Others, not so "fortunate" to be "Villagers", will knowingly nod their heads that what Henry the "K" has, they don't ever want to catch.

Cieran

Regarding Andy's comment:

Sorry, but centrifuge technology is not hidden by DOE classification, nor is it some arcane science only understood in the hallowed halls of DOE labs

This is a perfect example of exactly the means by which the honest discussion of the Iranian WMD topic is devalued, by assertions that are irrelevant at best, and deliberately misleading at worst.

It's a straw-man argument, plain and simple. It's what the neocons have been doing for years, and it's a big part of why they are not honorable men.

It's not quite outright mendacity, but you can see it from there.

No one has stated here that centrifuge science is classified: anyone who has ever enjoyed watching hot dogs crack open on a barbeque grille (coupled with just a dash of D'Alembert's magic and some elementary considerations of hoop stress in a cylinder) can grasp the salient science behind what makes effective centrifuge technology difficult.

The science is seldom the problem: it's the engineering that's difficult. It's the engineering that's classified. That's what "weaponization" means, in practice.

Furthermore, conflating "centrifuge technology" with "design of a nuclear weapon that can be effectively deployed against distant enemies" is tantamount to confusing "making rubber for tires" with "design and deployment of a Ferrari convertible".

One is a part, and only a part, of a much more complex technological whole.

We need to pay attention to whether Iran has developed nuclear weapons, not whether they have centrifuges. Conflating the two concepts is a big part of what got us into Iraq, and hence such willful obfuscation is part of the current problem, not part of any real-world solution.

Curious

In my view the only long-term way to keep Iran from getting nuclear weapons is to work to bring about conditions where Iran believes they are not needed and not worth the cost. In my view that will require not only security guarantees from the US, but also peace and recognition of Israel along with a regional denuclearization treaty.

Posted by: Andy | 14 December 2007 at 12:00 PM

1. Iran getting a nuclear is their way to equilize the power imbalance with Iran and now US presence in their border. You want to make Iran feel secure, take those two parameter away. With bunch of neocon talking about attacking Iran every day. Nobody believes We and Israel are nothing but bad news for Iran. ) You can say "Be my friend or I'll kill you" It just doesn't work that way.

2. Nobody trust Israel. It's one of the worst nation in the planet when it comes to international treaty and obligation. Every time Israel think it can get way with stealing land. I will steal land and invade neighboring country. That's just Israel.

Observe current Israel rhetoric in the news.

3. In order to "denuclearize" Israel has to declare their nuclear first right?

Anybody actually believe Israel EVER going to give up their nuclear? lol ...

no really. seriously .. you are killing me. not going to happen ever.

Israel entire military strategy, therefore existence, is based on the premise that It has superior force, including final strike than anybody else.

----

Israel cannot suddenly talk peace, after years and years of hostility. People in the area are going to ask for proof first.

And the fact Israel start building settlement and invade Gaza 20 minutes after Annapolis, pretty much says it all to everybody. What level of trust one can put in Israel willingness to negotiate.

Andy

Cieran,
I was specifically referring to the bolded portrion of what you said:

We're seeing a number of less-than-accurate assertions about nuclear weapons design (e.g., confusing gun-assembly HEU designs with implosion designs,or asserting that there is no difference between engineering the capability to create HEU or LEU

There is hardly any difference in the engineering requirements with centrifuge technology. All that's required is reconfiguring the cascade or batch processing the output.

Furthermore, conflating "centrifuge technology" with "design of a nuclear weapon that can be effectively deployed against distant enemies" is tantamount to confusing "making rubber for tires" with "design and deployment of a Ferrari convertible".

Had I ever made such an argument, then you might be right! Strawman indeed!

I would be the first to admit that there is a huge difference between having a nuke or nascent capability and having a deliverable, safe nuke that can survive a missile flight and still detonate. You're right to point out there are tremendous engineering and systems integration challenges in mating bombs to missiles. No argument there.

However, I point out again that US policy for decades has been to essentially "conflate" (as you put it) enrichment technology with actual weapons. The US (and most everyone else) focuses policy efforts in this direction because fissile material is such a fundamental requirement for weapons and it is arguably the most challenging requirement.

It sounds like you're suggesting the focus on nuclear material and the technology to make it is misplaced and that instead we should draw the red line at weaponizing, is that correct?

Andy

Curious,

Point 1. Iran was pursuing nuclear weapons (according the the IC) long before GWB came into office, long before troops were either in Iraq or Afghanistan and long before neocons were talking incessantly of "all options" being on the table.

Point 3. Israeli policy since at least 1980 is that it would become a party to a verifiable nuclear-weapons free zone treaty once the region recognizes it and there is a peace agreement, to include Iran.

Michael Murry

I do not see where Pat Lang has to defend the notion that credibility enters into any discussion worth having. As a matter of unfortunate fact, it takes far longer to rebut an obvious and insincere fallacy once than to shamelessly utter it again and again. Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes explained this truth long ago when he said that "Controversy equalizes wise men and fools alike -- and the fools know it." I do not blame Pat Lang for refusing to play the Neocon fools' prefered game of controversy-for-its-own-sake. I only chide him for taking so many years to tire of the tendentious twerps and their tawdry twitterings.

As a victim/veteran of the Nixon-Kissinger Fig Leaf Contingent (Vietnam 1970-1972), I realize that many will dismiss my jaundiced views regarding the unctuous Teutonic influence peddler as personally aggrieved and therefore illegitimate "ad hominem" argumentation. Therefore, I submit a few brief quotations from Paul Krugman's book The Great Unraveling (2003) which I think intellectually and historically support Pat Lang's choice of "Jacobin cabal" as the relevant phrase describing the Republican Party's current take-over and dismembering of the American government.

"Back in 1957, Henry Kissinger -- then a brilliant, iconoclastic young Harvard scholar, with his eventual career as cynical political manipulator and, later, as crony capitalist still far in the future -- published his doctoral dissertation, A World Restored. One wouldn't think that a book about the diplomatic efforts of Metternich and Casterleagh is relevant to U. S. politics in the twenty-first century. But the first three pages of Kissinger's book ... seem all too relevant to current events. In those first three pages, Kissinger describes the problems confronting a heretofore stable diplomatic system when it is faced with a "revolutionary power" -- a power that does not accept the system's legitimacy."

Pat Lang has only come to recognize and forthrightly state Kissinger's old thesis (which the influence-peddling Kissinger has long since come to personify) that the Republican Party "neoconservatives" -- who fully consider themselves a "revolutionary power" -- do not recognize nor do they accept the legitimacy of the American political system. As Krugman again quotes Professor Kissinger: "The distinguishing feature of a revolutionary power is not that it feels theatened ... but that nothing can reassure it. (Kissinger's emphasis). Only absolute security -- the neutralization of the opponent -- is considered a sufficient guarantee."

I won't go any further into Paul Krugman's crushing use of Kissinger-against-Kissinger to expand upon the essential point that the people Pat Lang calls a "Jacobin cabal" fully deserve the epithet. Not only that, but since nothing can ever appease their ravenous appetite for power, one can only cease falling for their duplicitous dialectical dithering and combine with other concerned citizens to drive them from office under as much opprobrium and with as great a degree of humiliation as humanly possible. No one can "argue" with them because they do not accept any rules of argumentation. They will say anything, anything at all, no matter how illogical or contradictory if it advances their power-grabbing agenda for even a day. They care not for any "system," but only for power. Pat Lang now recognizes this and says so. Good for him. Better late than never.

DH

He floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee.

Cieran

Andy:

About your LEU/HEU assertions:

There is hardly any difference in the engineering requirements with centrifuge technology. All that's required is reconfiguring the cascade or batch processing the output.

That's all that's required? *laugh*

The term "Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF)" comes to mind here. That's a huge and inexorable engineering requirement. Do you have any technically-grounded idea just how difficult it is to enrich substantial amounts of uranium to what is required for a set of useful weapons?

(please remember that one needs a set, as it's not considered good strategy to run out of ammo right after firing the first shot in the Battle of Armageddon!).

Then there's this:

I would be the first to admit that there is a huge difference between having a nuke or nascent capability and having a deliverable, safe nuke that can survive a missile flight and still detonate. You're right to point out there are tremendous engineering and systems integration challenges in mating bombs to missiles.

Mind your manners, Andy -- I never said (or wrote) any such thing. The challenges I wrote about are not in mating bombs to missiles. The most important challenges are in designing and manufacturing robust and reliable bombs in the first place.

As George W would say, "it's hard work".

And this:

However, I point out again that US policy for decades has been to essentially "conflate" (as you put it) enrichment technology with actual weapons.

To the extent that's true (and it's not entirely true), that's largely about whether nuclear testing can be depended upon to detect a clandestine weapons program. Gun-assembly weapons don't need testing, but such weapons cannot be made without HEU (Plutonium doesn't work for those designs). Making HEU generally requires enrichment (assuming you're not stealing it or somesuch).

Hence we watch enrichment technologies because they are a necessary condition for the kind of bomb program that cannot be depended upon to show up on seismograms.

But there are bomb programs that don't require enrichment, so U.S. policy is actually to deploy a wide variety of intelligence measures in the hopes of detecting a concomitantly wide variety of weapons programs. We strive to detect all feasible bomb programs, and we're actually pretty good at this extremely difficult task.

Finally, there's this:

It sounds like you're suggesting the focus on nuclear material and the technology to make it is misplaced and that instead we should draw the red line at weaponizing, is that correct?

Not even close!

Actually, what I originally suggested is that we should not believe Hank Kissinger when he bloviates about nuclear WMD.

You've been doing the lion's share of the suggesting ever since.

And seriously, I'd recommend otherwise, Andy, because you really can learn a lot from the good folks who contribute to Colonel Lang's corner of the intelligent universe (or is it the intelligence universe?).

SubKommander Dred

Charlottesville, Virginia
15 December 2007

Andy;
Your assertions that the Neoconfederacy of Dunces currently running our country into the ground should have their arguments countered with reasonable, measured dialogue disproving their worldview falls on deaf ears in regards to myself. To wit; all of these guys have lied for so long and caused so much suffering, heartache and bloodshed in the world that I'd just as soon kick 'em in the teeth as rebut any argument they have to make about Iran.
The fact that Iran is a theocratic, undemocratic quasi police state that is run by the Persian equivilant of the "Moral Majority" can't be disputed. 'Res Ispa Loquitor,' as the toadies in the legal profession would say. But that doesn't get Cheney, Fieth, Rice, Wolfowitz or any other those rat bastard neocon pricks off the hook for lying us into this awful war in Iraq, and trying like hell to start another in Iran. Not enough evidence? Why, forge it! Don't like the intell your own agencies are telling you? Why, just start another one, that is absolutely certain to give you the info you know is right (Office of Special Plans, anyone?) Trying to terrorize your own citizens into a war? Just send out the DC goon squad to hit the Sunday Talking Head shows until it's "Smoking guns and Mushroom Clouds" morning, noon and night.
Your assertion that the likes of Henry Kissinger or John Bolten are making some sort of reasonable argument for taking action against Iran is, for me anyway, kind of like listening to John Wayne Gacey talk about the great insulating quality of dead bodies jammed into the crawlspace the his house, or Jeffrey Dahmer extolling the great health effects of his 'special' dietary preferences. Oh, and Kissinger...wasn't he the one that said (after we had screwed the Kurds the FIRST time back when they were engaged in a guerilla campagn against...wait for it...Saddam Hussien...for the then Shah of Iran's geopolitical aspirations in the region) "Diplomacy is not missionary work." (or something very close to that). In short, Andy, these guys have about as much credibility with me as Wile E Coyote, Super Genious, and his corporate masters at The Acme Corporation. Alas, the only person Wile E Coyote, Super Genius ever hurt was himself, typically by his own hand in pursuit of some half assed plan that, in retrospect, appears to have all the earmarks of something the likes of Fred Kagan would cook up in his office, deep in the bowels of the AEI.

SubKommander Dred

SubKommander Dred

Charlottesville, Virginia
15 December 2007

Andy;
Your assertions that the Neoconfederacy of Dunces currently running our country into the ground should have their arguments countered with reasonable, measured dialogue disproving their worldview falls on deaf ears in regards to myself. To wit; all of these guys have lied for so long and caused so much suffering, heartache and bloodshed in the world that I'd just as soon kick 'em in the teeth as rebut any argument they have to make about Iran.
The fact that Iran is a theocratic, undemocratic quasi police state that is run by the Persian equivilant of the "Moral Majority" can't be disputed. 'Res Ispa Loquitor,' as the toadies in the legal profession would say. But that doesn't get Cheney, Fieth, Rice, Wolfowitz or any other those rat bastard neocon pricks off the hook for lying us into this awful war in Iraq, and trying like hell to start another in Iran. Not enough evidence? Why, forge it! Don't like the intell your own agencies are telling you? Why, just start another one, that is absolutely certain to give you the info you know is right (Office of Special Plans, anyone?) Trying to terrorize your own citizens into a war? Just send out the DC goon squad to hit the Sunday Talking Head shows until it's "Smoking guns and Mushroom Clouds" morning, noon and night.
Your assertion that the likes of Henry Kissinger or John Bolten are making some sort of reasonable argument for taking action against Iran is, for me anyway, kind of like listening to John Wayne Gacey talk about the great insulating quality of dead bodies jammed into the crawlspace the his house, or Jeffrey Dahmer extolling the great health effects of his 'special' dietary preferences. Oh, and Kissinger...wasn't he the one that said (after we had screwed the Kurds the FIRST time back when they were engaged in a guerilla campagn against...wait for it...Saddam Hussien...for the then Shah of Iran's geopolitical aspirations in the region) "Diplomacy is not missionary work." (or something very close to that). In short, Andy, these guys have about as much credibility with me as Wile E Coyote, Super Genious, and his corporate masters at The Acme Corporation. Alas, the only person Wile E Coyote, Super Genius ever hurt was himself, typically by his own hand in pursuit of some half assed plan that, in retrospect, appears to have all the earmarks of something the likes of Fred Kagan would cook up in his office, deep in the bowels of the AEI.

SubKommander Dred

Alex

And what do you think of Obadiah Shoher's arguments against the peace process ( samsonblinded.org/blog/we-need-a-respite-from-peace.htm )?

jonst

Andy wrote:

>>.Well, hate to break this to you, but that's been US policy since at least 1979 and not just with Iran. With regard to Iran vs China and Russia, if you don't understand the difference between nuclear weapons states and non-nuclear weapons states under the NPT then I don't know what to tell you.<<,

What you can "tell me" is what the hell you are talking about? My point is the following: Dr K, the nut in the VP's robes, and the rest of the cabal, think that we should contemplate military attacks against Iran for their termidity in attempting to secure nuclear weapons. Correct, so far? Where else, for what other nation, has that option been discussed?

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo

February 2021

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
  1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28            
Blog powered by Typepad