Those who know about the centrifuges used to refine
uranium tell me they must spin at an almost unrivaled velocity almost
unrivaled, because Bush administration statements are being spun at equivalent
speed by White House and corporate media spiders.
Without weaver-in-chief Karl Rove and former presidential spokesman Tony Snow,
it is amateur hour at the White House. And the theater would be as funny as
"The Daily Show" were the subject not so serious.
Judging from President George W. Bushs words and body language he is
far from giving up on ways to justify attacking Irans nuclear
program weapons-related or not. He appears convinced he must honor the
pledge he has made to Israels current leaders to eliminate what they have
called an existential threat to Israel.
This came through in a particularly pointed way when an agitated president
ad-libbed about the possibility of World War III, complaining loudly, Weve
got a leader in Iran who has announced he wants to destroy Israel.
Not at all helpful to the president was the judgment of U.S. intelligence that
the Iranians halted their nuclear weapons-related program in 2003, a judgment
the administration made public this week.
The White House knew only too well that this bombshell could not be kept secret
very long the more so since Congress intelligence committees, Pentagon
brass, and senior CIA officials reportedly made it clear they would go public
if the White House did not publish a sanitized version of the key judgments
of the National Intelligence Estimate.
On Oct. 26, Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell launched a trial
balloon, declaring he would no longer declassify and release summaries of National
Intelligence Estimates, but that balloon was quickly shot down.
So what can Cheney and Bush do now to justify striking Iran?
Several months ago, about the time new intelligence established there was no
active nuclear weapons program in Iran, there were signs in the rhetoric coming
from the president and Gen. David Petraeus that the argument was going to hinge
on claims that the Iranian Revolutionary Guards were supplying the wherewithal
to kill our troops in Iraq.
Petraeus was clearly ready to play that game, but his superior, Admiral William
were-not-going-to-do-Iran-on-my-watch Fallon would not play
along. And neither would the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates is now back from a brief visit to Iraq and his
caution so far on this issue suggests he is paying more heed to Fallon than
In other words, there is no sign that Gates wants to abet using Iranian meddling
in Iraq as a pretext for a military strike on Iran. Gatess well-deserved
chameleon-like reputation counsels caution here, since a word from Cheney or
Bush could conceivably make Gates a fervent champion of this pretext for war.
But people do mature; Gates is smart; and I doubt he would want to be so closely
associated with starting a regional war, if not WW III.
So where does that leave the beleaguered president?
This weeks spinning by the White House and subservient media suggests
the administration still thinks it can make a case for war, by obfuscating the
nuclear program in Iran.
This has become clearer as administration mouthpieces blur the distinction
between uranium enrichment for a civilian energy use (permitted to signatories
of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty) and the much more demanding requirements
of a nuclear weapons program.
The spinners have resurrected the discredited argument that Irans nuclear
program must be for weapons, because Irans oil and gas should suffice
to meet all its energy requirements.
Thus, the administrations Pravda, also known as the editorial page of
the Washington Post, on Dec. 5: Irans massive overt investment
in uranium enrichment meanwhile proceeds...even though Tehran has no legitimate
use for enriched uranium.
And thus another major administration mouthpiece, also known as the New
York Times, on Dec. 6, in an op-ed, In Iran We Trust? by Valerie
Lincy and Gary Milhollin: Why, by the way, does Iran even want a nuclear
energy program, when it is sitting on an enormous pool of oil that is now skyrocketing
This is a familiar canard; i.e., that Irans claim that its nuclear program
is for electricity production is given the lie by its own large oil and natural
gas reserves, so uranium enrichment must be for nuclear weapons development.
Condoleezza Rice took that line over a year and a half ago (shades of those
infamous aluminum tubes that she said could only be used in a nuclear
application but turned out to be for conventional artillery).
At about the same time Dick Cheney complained that since the Iranians are already
sitting on an awful lot of oil and gas, nobody can figure why they need nuclear
as well to generate energy.
It all makes me think of Harry Trumans complaint: They must think
we were born yesterday!
Rice and Cheney have selective memories or take us for fools.
Back in 1976 with Gerald Ford president, Dick Cheney his chief of staff,
Donald Rumsfeld secretary of defense the Ford administration bought the
Shahs argument that Iran needed a nuclear program to meet its future energy
That argument, of course, is even more valid today, with the price that can
be obtained for oil and the specter of Peak Oil.
Cheney and Rumsfeld persuaded a hesitant President Ford to offer Iran a deal
that would have meant at least $6.4 billion for U.S. corporations like Westinghouse
and General Electric, had not the Shah been unceremoniously dumped three years
The offer included a reprocessing facility for a complete nuclear fuels cycle
essentially the same capability that the U.S. and Israel now insist Iran
cannot be allowed to acquire.
A pity that our domesticated media seem unable to catch the disingenuousness.
This article originally appeared at ConsortiumNews.com.