December 04, 2007

Unintelligent designs

The National Intelligence Estimate on Iran, has been widely queried. Instance the assertion that Iran stopped its military nuke program in 2003 due to pressure from 'the international community'. In 2003 the US deleted the fascist regime next door to Iran with WMD as a significant casus belli. That 'pressure' prompted Libya to de-nuke and, apparently, Iran too. A fair evaluation would be that removing Saddam prevented at least 3 of America's enemies from pursuing a military nuke program..Iraq,Iran and Libya. Suppose a Blixian inspection regime had kept Saddam bottled up indefinitely (far-fetched, but suppose), we now know that Iran and Libya had their own programs. So the collateral benefits of the Iraq war include some meaningful stiflement of the nuke ambitions of those terrorist regimes. Not bad.

This NIE may bring unforeseen consequences. At first the Baker Report seemed an efficient rebuke of the US infliction of raw power on its incalcitrant enemies. Appeasers wallowed in Baker's nostrums...'negotiate with Iran from a position of weakness' etc, but Baker marked a fork in the road; it brought into view the humiliation and danger of appeasement and surrender, while advocating those very things. The looming debacle of US defeat led to the Surge and that may lead to 'victory' and that may lead to a conservative President in 2009 and that may lead to 'we win, they lose' at a far lower cost than World War 3 against Islamofascism.

The NIE brings these truths hard up against our noses:

1. America's 'intelligence community' is unintelligent, waffling, inefficient and self-confessedly incapable of spying on crucial enemies. It needs scrapping and reforming under strong, patriotic, intelligent leadership which operates as tho America were in a life-or-death war.

2. Iran has run a military nuke program at least until scared off by the Iraq invasion. It may have re-started or it may be disguised within the technically ambiguous civilian program. The American 'intelligence community' hasn't a clue.

3. Iran may already have the ingredients for a nuke and, if not, it may buy them. American intelligence doesn't know and likely won't know when the chips are down.

A rational actor contemplating that lot would find that regime change in Iran is the least worst option. America can't risk being taken by surprise or getting drawn into a facedown with an enemy which may be a suicide bomber with nuclear bombs. The lack of good intelligence should force America to a more risk-averse, ie more threatening, posture than just whistling in the wind to find out whether Iran gets nukes. So, against intuition, the NIE may induce clear thinking and a steelier resolve. Moreover fixing Iran now sends an offer that's hard to refuse to future would-be threats like a desperate Chavez, an Islamofanatic Pakistan or nuked-up Norks. That is, "Don't raise the stakes, America doesn't bluff."

Update: The New York Sun:
when the historians look back on this period, they will see that by sabotaging our diplomacy, our intelligence analysts have clarified the choice before the free world — appeasement or war.