Wolf! Wolf!

The monumental waste of human protoplasm known as “John Bolton” is threatening a military action against Iran, according to Julian Borger of The Guardian.

The US ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, has told British MPs that military action could bring Iran’s nuclear programme to a halt if all diplomatic efforts fail. The warning came ahead of a meeting today of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) which will forward a report on Iran’s nuclear activities to the UN security council. …

…According to Eric Illsley, a Labour committee member, the envoy told the MPs: “They must know everything is on the table and they must understand what that means. We can hit different points along the line. You only have to take out one part of their nuclear operation to take the whole thing down.”

It is unusual for an administration official to go into detail about possible military action against Iran. To produce significant amounts of enriched uranium, Iran would have to set up a self-sustaining cycle of processes. Mr Bolton appeared to be suggesting that cycle could be hit at its most vulnerable point.

Elaine Shannon of Time magazine says that the Bushies are preparing a security briefing on Iran for the UN Security Council.

It will rely mainly on circumstantial evidence, much of it from documents found on a laptop purportedly purloined from an Iranian nuclear engineer and obtained by the CIA in 2004. U.S. officials insist the material is strong but concede they have no smoking gun.

They do, however, have diagrams that they believe show components of a nuclear bomb. According to a Western diplomat familiar with the U.S. intel brief, a Farsi-language PowerPoint presentation on the laptop has “catchy graphics,” including diagrams of a hollow metallic sphere 2 ft. in diameter and weighing about 440 lbs. Other documents show a sphere-shaped array of tiny detonators. No file specifically refers to a nuclear bomb, but U.S. officials say the design of the sphere–an outer shell studded with small chemical-explosive charges meant to detonate inward, which would squeeze an inner core of material into a critical mass–is akin to that of classic devices like Fat Man, the atom bomb dropped on Nagasaki during World War II. “Because of the size and weight and the power source going into it and height-of-burst requirements,” says the diplomat, Western experts have concluded that the design “is only intended to contain a nuclear weapon. There’s no other munition which would work.”

Iran claims much of the laptop evidence is fabricated. Let it be noted I don’t trust Iran, either.

Yesterday the London Times reported that NATO would help US airstrikes on Iran, which suggests to me that the plans for such airstrikes are complete and are just waiting for implementation. You might remember that over a year ago Seymour Hersh said plans for U.S. airstrikes in Iran were in the works.

The Guardian article says that the CIA and the U.S. State Department do not appear to support airstrikes, but favor a diplomatic approach. The fact that the Bush Administration is not speaking with one voice brings us back to the question of who’s in charge? Condi takes her orders from Bush. Is Bolton getting orders from Cheney? Or is he a loose cannon?

Today the IAEA is meeting to determine if Iran should be reported to the UN Security Council. Not that anything the IAEA or the UN Security Council decide really matters to the Bushies.

Unlike Iraq, Iran really does have the capability to process uranium. It is engaged in small-scale processing right now. The question is, is the processing resulting in weapons-grade uranium? Iran says it needs nuclear reactors for energy. The U.S. says this is just a front for making bombs. Over the past several years most of the rest of the world has been trying to work with Iran to allow it to have energy-producing reactors but preventing Iran from engaging in the additional refinement of uranium required to produce weapons. A Russian-built power-generating reactor in Iran is scheduled to go online later this year.

So now a race is on — not only to resolve the situation before Iran has bombs, but to resolve it before the Bush Administration charges ahead with airstrikes that would further destabilize the Middle East. Good luck, planet Earth.

Both Tehran and Washington are playing this issue for political leverage at home. In the VRWC echo chamber the Bushies portray themselves as the only people on the planet with the wisdom and guts to stand up to Iran. The UN, the IAEA, Europe — all a pack of girly wusses who aren’t smart enough to see how dangerous Iran is. So the Lone Ranger and Tonto (probably Israel this time, not Britain) must go in alone to shoot it out with the bad guys while the tenderfeet hide out in the saloon.

Meanwhile, as this New York Times editorial explains, Bush is Iran’s best friend.

At the rate that President Bush is going, Iran will be a global superpower before too long. For all of the axis-of-evil rhetoric that has come out of the White House, the reality is that the Bush administration has done more to empower Iran than its most ambitious ayatollah could have dared to imagine. Tehran will be able to look back at the Bush years as a golden era full of boosts from America, its unlikely ally.

Be sure to read the whole thing.

Update: Former Iranian president Mohammad Khatami says that Islam is the enemy the West needs.

22 thoughts on “Wolf! Wolf!

  1. Get out of NYC, Maha. It’s only a matter of time before someone floats a nuclear device into the harbor in reaction to our policies.

  2. Why would anyone believe anything Bushco has to say about what Iran is doing? Haven’t they forfeited the presumption of honesty and competence regarding just about every policy matter you can name?

  3. Pretty shabby, stealing a guy’s notebook computer. They’re damn expensive in Iran. I’d be irked. The nuclear device parameters are way out of line, and not believable. If true, its no wonder they don’t ‘have the bomb’.. But I suppose this is disinformation to mislead the bad guys. We’re on tenterhooks awaiting news of the poor guy’s taste in porn.

  4. This is the kind of article I’ve come to appreciate nearly everyday from your blog, and it’s why yours is often the first blog I turn to. You have a nice gift for synthesis, of doing the work of pulling things together for the rest of us, and laying it out, with references. This is a fine kind of journalism and we get treated to it daily, for free.

    I’m glad the NYT has figured it out, and is bold enough to say so. I remember the years when this kind of probity in the country’s op ed pages was the rule rather than the exception. Joni Mitchell’s line in Big Yellow Taxi “don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone” runs through my mind about our once great democracy.

    I’m also glad to read the remarks of sane people “from that other civilization” such as Khatani. People like him and the interfaith group he was meeting with need a much larger podium, such as the UN, instead of the world having to listen to bullies like Bolton.

    Clearly we have much to do in the US to eject the bullies, and restore the reputation of the much maligned UN. I encourage others to join me and others in trying to bring about the creation of a US, cabinet level Department of Peace as one of the many steps we can take to empower peacemakers instead of warmongers.

    I’m frustrated with the links to the wampum site (Koufax awards) in that I can’t seem to vote yet for yours and other blogs I enjoy (“Once again, voting will open soon, hopefully next week”).

    I second what Steve Nichols said, comment 1.

  5. floats a nuclear device into the harbor

    I’m far enough away from a major body of water not to be too concerned about that. What has worried me all along, however, is a strike on the subways or commuter trains, as in London and Madrid.

    On the other hand, I’ve heard respectably knowledgable people say it’s unlikely New York City will be an al Qaeda target again. They “got” New York. It’s more likely they’ll strike somewhere else next time.

  6. It isn’t clear to me what a “Department of Peace” would do that the Department of State wouldn’t be doing were it functioning like an actual Department of State.

  7. Why shouldn’t Iran have the Bomb? Israel has the Bomb, India has the Bomb, Pakistan has the Bomb. Bush showed in India last week that having the Bomb will get you many favors with the USA. Israel gets more support from the USA than any other country. I would say our invasion of Iraq only proves to the Iranian government that they need the Bomb. We haven’t invaded North Korea they have the bomb. Isn’t it ironic that the only country that actually ever used the bomb (on civilians no less) walks around telling countries they can’t have the Bomb? Didn’t we start disarming a couple of decades ago? What ever happened to that?

  8. As Bolton continues to beat the nuke drums Iran readies for the opening of it’s euro-denominated oil bourse later this month. This can potentially have a dramatic impact on the value of the US$ and it’s position as the world’s favorite reserve currency. It may be safe to speculate that we will be hearing these drums until the effectiveness of the new bourse becomes clear.

    That the best evidence being presented to the Security Council may be some cool looking graphics of a bomb casing (we’ll see, I guess) from a pilfered laptap does not give me much confidence that we’re not just trumping up another WMD panic, or that the administration has any intention of resolving it without their other desires being satisfied. Does anyone have a link to those drawings of water-trucks Powell busted out in 2003? Those were pretty awesome, but a PowerPoint of an actual virtual bomb! Whoa! Is there some rule about showing actual evidence to the public when making cases like these?

    What is even more mind boggling to me about this scenario is that it’s the same damn thing that marked the lead up to the invasion of Iraq. If ‘getting away with it’ doesn’t even matter then why the charade? It’s like dealing with a junky – total denial even as the they nod off at the dinner table. So, if you wanted to preserve dollar hegemony or just some semblance of economic stability in the face of inevitable change, what would you do if you were looking for some other leverage with Iran than bombing it? Bomb Isreal! Just kidding…

  9. I don’t buy into the idea that al Qaeda will hit another city now that they’ve hit NYC.

    Bin Laden has explained why he is targeting the U.S.–it’s because of our interference in the Middle East and our support of Israel. From the Arab perspective those are legitimate grievances.

    NYC is far and away the best target for a nuclear attack. Manhattan is one of the most densely populated areas on the planet. It is our economic and cultural heart, and it also has the benefit of probably having more Jews than any city outside Israel.

    No other American city comes close to being as attractive a target. If I were a New Yorker, I’d be all over Bloomberg and the other politicians to safeguard that harbor. Bush won’t.

    In fact, Dems out to push that idea.

  10. On the update:

    It sounds like Iran’s Khatami recognizes the Orwellian nature of the Bush administration.

  11. NYC is far and away the best target for a nuclear attack. Manhattan is one of the most densely populated areas on the planet. It is our economic and cultural heart, and it also has the benefit of probably having more Jews than any city outside Israel.

    On the other hand, if al Qaeda just keeps striking New York City the rest of the nation might be complacent.

    No other American city comes close to being as attractive a target. If I were a New Yorker, I’d be all over Bloomberg and the other politicians to safeguard that harbor. Bush won’t.

    Actually, the city of New York is doing a good job protecting itself. I got a chance to talk to Gary Hart about this a few weeks ago in a conference call, and he said that New York might be the safest large city in the nation for that reason. It’s a very security-conscious place, which is obvious if you spend much time here. Unlike poor New Orleans, NYC is rich and resourceful and doesn’t have to wait for handouts from the feds to look out for itself.

    The biggest points of vulnerability IMO are the transportation infrastructures, like bridges, tunnels, and trains. As I said, I think if they hit NYC again that’s what they’ll hit. My understanding is that floating some “dirty nuke” device offshore is not all that much of a danger. Nobody drinks the water anyway. 🙂

  12. The neocons like Bolton need a new ‘fix’……the Iraq ‘fix’ is wearing off. NeoCON warriors [hrumph] ….. ‘drug’ high cumin’ in the form of hysterical hype, the very hypnotic thump thump of the incessant, growing louder, war drums [kinda like the teenager in his car sitting at the traffic light, amping up his music], creating delicious visions of attack and destruction…….evil Cheney pacing his heartbeat with the excitement….

    But Bolton, Bush and friends can only project at being real action figures…..they themselves would crap their pants in a second if in personal danger……they remind me of 18th century pampered women who, bored and wanting another moment of manipulative drama…..swoon with ‘the vapors’ to get attention.

    What if the whole world just……. yawned …….and let Boltonetta swoon and fall on his face?

  13. I’ll try again.
    After the customary compliments, I was mentioning the omission in the dialogue on port security of the contract clause allowing the company to keep its books offshore and out of the reach of US courts.
    The zeal for globalization has had many ramifications for US economy, but chief among them is the potential for companies playing on the world stage to act independently of sanctions inherent in our national structure of fair labor and tax laws. This gives multi-national companies great advantage over the traditional homeland corporations. Such advantages seem usually to mirror disadvantages to the homeland national economy and citizens.
    Expanding those advantages by exempting foreign countries from our legal systems suggests that the world court is the only recourse left for obtaining equal fairness. Coincidentally, our leaders are devaluing world law by seeking as many exclusions and exemptions as possible.
    So I ask whether the port management contract will be worth the paper it is written on or whether responsibility for fulfilling the contract will be left entirely to the good will of whoever..

  14. So I ask whether the port management contract will be worth the paper it is written on or whether responsibility for fulfilling the contract will be left entirely to the good will of whoever..

    Pretty much the latter, although I believe I pointed that out last week sometime.

  15. “This gives multi-national companies great advantage over the traditional homeland corporations.”

    This is a little off topic but (never stopped me before) when and why did we start using the term “homeland”. I don’t remember hearing that term used until BU$H-CO. The term gives me the creeps. It reminds me of my high school history classes watching Hitler in black and white filmstrips. “Homeland” it gives the impression of imperialism doesn’t it? Couldn’t we just use domestic?

  16. What Scatwood said. Don’t the Bushies think the UN Security Council remembers the last major pro-war US speech ( ask Sec. Powell) that relied on circumstantial evidence? Ask Sec. Powell , and the Iraqis how that one worked out. Do the Bushies think the rest of the world is as dumb as they are? The answer is, they must. The question is, what is the rest of the world going to do to prove to the Bushies hat they are not–why would they buy another such speech?


  17. The term gives me the creeps.

    uncledad — It gives me the creeps also..It reeks of Fascism.

  18. Not to keep harping on the oil, but my understanding of the ports deal is that it’s a good faith gesture towards Dubai, whose UAE Dubai Crude pricing happens to be one of the 3 major global markers for setting the cost of a barrel of crude. If successful, the Iranian bourse may set a competing standard and serve as the marker for oil sold in euros. I don’t think it has anything to do with avoiding labor laws and operating regulations.

    This is fascinating to me and I hear very little reporting and open speculation on the matter. Dollar hegemony is very much threatened by the euro, and the absurdity index is bound to go way up before it welcomes the competition. And we’re going to have alot more smoke blown up our asses.

    I’ve always liked the ring of ‘homeland’ despite it’s other fans. Reminds of that aweful David Lynch movie Dune. Which was all about oil, of course. OK, maybe I should lay off the kool-aid.

  19. I thought globalization was supposed to widen the base for the pyramid scheme consumerism we call an economy…..how did some non-USA company get so big and influential?

    Umm…could the Dubai entity be tied to USA corporate interests in some layers-deep hidden connection?

    Or, in an alternative scenario, have USA corporate interests ‘evolved’ in a way that ‘loyalty to country’ threatens a bottom line that turns out to be more deliverable through allegiance to Dubai….?

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