Can We Live with a Nuclear Iran?

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Yesterday Iran announced that it has been able to enrich uranium to 3.5%, enough to fuel a reactor but not a bomb. And nuclear energy is Iran’s stated intention, but of course the quest for nuclear energy is just Kabuki theater that nations put on for the world when they want the bomb. So can we live with an Iran that has the bomb?

“No,” says the White House. “You don’t seem to have a choice, do you?” says Tehran. “Maybe,” says Barry Posen.


Is it possible to contain Iran’s nuclear capacity the way it was for forty years with the Soviet Union? They are reckless and possibly mad, but so was Stalin; they have as much to lose from handing off the bomb to a third party as we do, and there might be ways — existing security guarantees, NATO membership, a dependency on foreign aid — to keep other states in the Middle East from going nuclear, too.

But how long can we manage a standoff? That one with the Soviet Union was pretty taxing. And there are bombs in more places this time.

Barry Posen

Ford International Professor of Political Science, MIT

Author, We Can Live with a Nuclear Iran, The New York Times, 27 February 2006

Farideh Farhi

Professor of political science, University of Hawai’i at Manoa

Author, The Iranian Nuclear Threat and U.S. Policy

Paul Kerr

Research Analyst, Arms Control Association

Blogger, Arms Control


42 thoughts on “Can We Live with a Nuclear Iran?

  1. The fact that you are doing two progams in one week about this says something.

    What is the actual threat at the moment?

    Is this a game of chicken in which the Sy Hersh/Wapo/Cirincione articles & appearances are inadvertantly playing a part? ( What is going on?)

    What about a nuclear arms race in the Middle East which this might set off?

    Would this be a good time to allow the Iranians to feel the pride that they crave but also extend a hand and welcome them into the community of all nations to work for the common good ?

    How about assuring Iran some security ( from US attack) in return for an agreement ( coming clean and inspections)?

    Can we know for sure what they are doing even if they allow some inspections?

    Would that mean that we are supporting an unpopular government in Iran? Is it really our business to interfere internally politically ( regime change)?

    Is this a challenge to us to work seriously towards elimination of all nuclear weapons or towards another level towards elimination?

    Time for Israel to come clean? Wouldn’t Israel’s bomb have a deterrent effect?

    What about the Libya example?

  2. “The bellicosity out of America is stunning” – Sy Hersh (Terri Gross/Fresh Air today)

    Bush’s “red line” seems to be within Iran’s legal rights according to the treaty Iran signed ( but did not ratify).

  3. I suppose it comes as no shock that an Iranian president who denies the Holocaust ever occurred would have no trouble thinking a nuclear-tipped Iran is a sign of progress. And a US president who avoided Vietnam and surrounds his people with right wing revisionists who dismiss the one soldier in their midst — Colin Powell — can be, well not forgiven, but most likely to consider the use of nuclear weapons an option. What we are missing in this whole debate isn’t the saber-rattling–it is the nuke rattling. Those too young to remember the utter fear of the Cuban Missle Crisis cannot really appreciate how deadly serious and frightening that was. Iran part of the nuclear club, given its leadership? I don’t think that is really acceptable. Use nukes to stop them? How does that make sense? This ‘diplomacy’ with Iran is more like the blind march to war that Tuchman painted in The Guns of August.

  4. However irrational Iran seems it is, how often has the Iranian regime acted in military aggression against it’s neighbors, or more importantly directly or indirectly at targets outside its immediate borders? I’m not clear on this and wish I knew more about what they have done in the past, to guess what they might do in the future.

  5. John (6:03): right. And it sounds like you’re old enough (like me) to recall the nuclear war ‘shelter’ drills public schools ran for the kids in the 60′s. Like it or not and however well intended, those sorts of terrors are scarring.

    But when ideologues control governments instead of mutter in seclusion their lunacy to the heavens like they should, this is what we get.

  6. It would be refreshing if someone would try to convey how the US position is regarded by the world’s people. Self-absorbed in our own myths and the blinding light of American exceptionalism, we stagger around in arrogant hypocrisy.

    What nation nuclear bombed a civilian civilization and twice?

    What nation fire-bombed Tokyo, with an even greater civilian toll?

    And now, what nation refuses to move toward ridding the world of nuclear weapons, and speaks of developing new forms?

    And what nation refuses to seek a balanced nuclear arsenal policy toward Israel?

    And now what nation tries to pretend that none of this happened yet seeks to speak as an arbitor toward other nations in this field.

    How does this look in the Muslim world, or in South Asia?

    A just peace and world order cannot be built on hypocrisy or expecting others to adopt premises that make sense only to those with an absurd sense of American self-interest.

  7. Should I be surprised that so few people understand science, engineering, and technology? That the US was able to make just enough Highly Enriched Uranium during WWII for just one bomb was a feat that required significant portion of the resources that a rich country like the US had with certainly the world’s leading technology and manufacturing capability.

    So, Iran, a country that is hardly even a minor manufacturing center, is certainly in no position to build the massive refining and enrichment facility needed to make HEU even in the next decade. And Iran will be lucky to get to the point where they can produce enough Lightly Enriched Uranium for just one nuclear reactor by the time the power reactor that the Russians are constructing is complete.

    Going beyond that point to being able to product a HEU bomb is an order of magnitude more difficult.

    The only possible threat that I can see is that Iran might be in the position of supplying reactor fuel in competition with the US which is faced with the costly process of diluting all the HEU that the US and Soviet Union spent what would now be billions manufacturing. The US and Soviets ended up with so much HEU that they started putting it in research reactors and that is almost certainly the source of the uranium that was used for quite a few of the bombs that Iran doesn’t have, but that Pakistan, India, Israel, have.

    Of course, there is still a lot of HEU fuel sitting around the world in research reactors or storage pools that is hardly guarded. Why is no one concerned about all that bomb material?

    I just get the feeling that the decision making and conversation is based on a complete lack of knowledge of science, technology, history, inventories of nuclear materials, etc. and then the least risky item identified as the one to blow out of proportion. What about Pakistan???

  8. What is DISGUSTING about the fact that they haven’t even made an ESTIMATE of Civilian Casualties if they smoke the place?? Can these guys see two inches beyond their own noses?? CREEEEEPY !!

  9. Due to the fact that Iran is the 4th largest exporter of oil, why is there so much ambivalence over whether they are speaking truthfully about their pure acts of good in producing energy only. With so much oil on hand to produce all the energy necessary, how can anyone seriously believe they need nuclear capabilities for anything other than geopolitical cache. Personally I feel strongly about invading Iran quickly and early in their nuclear developments to set a precedent that we didn’t pursue with North Korea. The main question is, because of their vast oil suppy do they have a valid argument that their nuclear program is necessary for energy only?

  10. Please, somebody, especially Prof. Farhi address this incident from 2002. What could it possibly mean? And what about Uncle Sam assisting the Shah in nuclear research during the early 1970′s?

    1 of 7 DOCUMENTS

    Copyright 2002 The Jerusalem Post

    The Jerusalem Post

    August 30, 2002, Friday


    LENGTH: 722 words

    HEADLINE: Latest incident puts spotlight on illicit arms trade industry

    BYLINE: Matthew Gutman


    While many Israelis’ faces registered shock Wednesday night when the news broke that a ship carrying Israeli military parts destined for Iran was seized by German authorities, illicit Israeli military sales to the hard- line Shi’ite state is hardly a new phenomenon.

    This latest, and possibly most benign, link in a long chain of Israeli arms sales to Iran began when a Netanya- based company under the name PAD tried to ship a container full of Israeli-made rubber treads for armored personnel carriers to Iran via Germany. The company had received a license from the Defense Ministry to send the shipment to Thailand.

    According to defense industry experts, the name of PAD’s chairman, Avihai Weinstein, piqued the Germans’ suspicions, causing them to more closely inspect the ship’s docking request and the ostensible transfer of its contents to a Malaysian ship.

    Weinstein, 34, along with his brother-in-law, Eli Cohen, had been involved with a previous arms smuggling incident two years ago when they allegedly tried to sell Iran surplus Canadian military equipment through European intermediaries.

    Prior arms trafficking incidents involving Eli Cohen compelled the US State Department’s Bureau of Political- Military Affairs in September 1993 to ban business with any subsidiaries, associated companies, or successor companies he was affiliated with.

    While Israel continued to illicitly sell parts for Phantom jets to Iran even after Ayatollah Khomeini came to power in 1979, by far the most severe cases of Israeli arms trafficking involvement with Iran came under the aegis of US National Security Council staffer Oliver North, and other American officials in the mid 1980s. This became known as the Iran-Contra affair, or “Irangate.”

    Throughout 1985 and 1986 Israel arms dealers connected to the Israeli government and with ties to American intelligence agencies including the NSC’s North, allegedly supplied Iran with more than 1,000 LAW anti-tank missiles and parts to Hawk anti-aircraft missiles in deals worth over $ 100 million.

    The proceeds of this trade were then funneled into the coffers of the Contra rebels in Nicaragua. Meantime, the US and Israel tried to leverage these sales by asking Iran to pressure Shi’ite groups in Lebanon to release Western hostages.

    According to reports, much of the arms trading was allegedly conducted through a private Israeli company called International Desalination Equipment, Ltd., then run by Ya’acov Nimrodi, who from the 1950s until the Shah of Iran was overthrown in 1979 was Israel’s military attache in Tehran. Nimrodi was often aided and counseled by then- prime minister Shimon Peres’s adviser on terrorism, Amiram Nir – who also had close connections with North and later died in a mysterious plane crash in Mexico.

    While Israeli arms merchants’ dealings with Iran appear treasonous and even suicidal given Iran’s efforts to attain nuclear weapons, such clandestine contacts have served Israel’s interest for years, according to Dr. Gerald Steinberg of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies.

    “There is overriding Israeli political interest to maintain informal ties with Iran, in anticipation of a formal change in Iran’s perception of Israel,”

    he said.

    Steinberg, an expert on the arms trade industry, said arms smuggling has long existed on the margins of Israel’s legal system. Such illicit trade, often involving large sums of money, serves the interest of arms producers who have high overhead operating costs, he said.

    “The large sums of money often involved in such trade and a significant amount of jobs on the line creates an incentive to sell.” Steinberg said. This need, he added, is also what enables Defense Ministry officials to allot arms- selling licenses to dealers, like Weinstein, with known ties to staunch enemies like Iran.

    Given the lack of strategic relevance of rubber treads used for APCs, and the pace of recent events in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, many Israeli experts reportedly believe the PAD affair will blow over quickly, according to Steinberg.

    He said the most severe political fallout will likely occur in Iran, where President Muhammad Khatami’s pro- reform administration will have to weather the accusations of Iran collaborating with the “little Satan,” Israel.

    LOAD-DATE: September 1, 2002

  11. Also – - John, your reference to The Guns of August is only too apt! To let carnage become slowly inevitable like the clumsy beginning of WW1 (as is so well documented in The Guns of August) is heart-rending. Excellent reference: read it if you haven’t, y’all.

  12. To put this kind of capacity in the hands of a gov that has show no capacity for general order let alone its own nuclear security seems to beg for an inccident

    An accident for example in Iran would have global impact on the oil producing nations as one possibly concern

    I am not sure how your guest is considered an expert in this area

    his use of the word “mischief” as a euphemism for terrorism is a bit frightening

    His views on the posibilities of what Iran will do seem very rudimentary

    Is the memoery of the hostages of the Iran embassy so diminished

    This state has no SUPERPOWER status but the same can be said of Afghan and as we all saw that did not stop thenm from devistating the US and the world ecomnomy

  13. Some facts about the US facilities.

    A new enrichment facility is under construction in Ohio; the construction and piloting started in 2002 with licensing expected in 2007 and full scale production expected in 2011, built at a cost estimated to be 1.7 billion dollars. The plant is based on experience from facility that were in operation during the 60s through 80s, or a quarter of a century of operational experience.

    Supporting this operation is the machine manufacturing facility in Oak Ridge that has been doing such for since the 40s to present day. The design work is being done by UT-Battelle which has been working in this area for decades and employs some of the best of US scientists and engineers. Their contract is in excess of $100 million dollars.

    So, for $2 billion dollars and over a decade of construction time, and with half a century of experience in building such facilities, the US is constructing a facility that can enrich uranium to fuel nuclear reactors, not make bombs.

    Is it realistic to believe that Iran can scale up to bomb making capability in their first go faster than the US can build up a nuclear fuel enrichment plant?

    Maybe the Iranians are a lot smarter and harder working than US citizens are?

  14. What is the root of this problem? What new roots will sprout as more countries seek nuclear energy? What is being done to address these roots? As more and more countries want nuclear energy due to increasing industrialization and “Westernization” they are going to want more energy. I would like to hear this addressed in some long term plans…the issue will not end with Iran.

    The current situation…again what are the roots…may it have to due will Middle Eastern frustration at their feeling of being left behind in the industrial, technological, western paradigm that the world is adopting? We need to talk with Iran first and foremost, take an even mind on the matter, avoid potential urges to act unilaterally, and impulsively as it appears was the case in the Iraq war.

    May we use the “soulforce” Gandhi spoke of as the means of addressing our problems first and foremost. We can avoid the awful suffering of further war – the hatred – the suffering. Don’t let anyone make you think otherwise.

  15. “rattlesnakedriver Says: Due to the fact that Iran is the 4th largest exporter of oil, why is there so much ambivalence over whether they are speaking truthfully about their pure acts of good in producing energy only. With so much oil on hand to produce all the energy necessary, how can anyone seriously believe they need nuclear capabilities for anything other than geopolitical cache…”

    Well, how about the fact that Iran will be out of oil before the Iranian children born today get old enough to die of old age. The US once had the world’s largest reserves of oil, was once the world’s largest exporter of oil, and was the world’s largest consumer of oil, but today the US is the world’s largest importer of oil, the largest consumer of oil, and is way done the list on reserves, not for lack of trying, and the US can’t even think about exporting oil – rationally the US should export oil to Japan from Alaska and import more from the Persian Gulf, but that isn’t politically acceptable.

    I can only assume that you are like me, over the age of 50 and have no worry of a world with oil as a very scarce commodity, and a price that reflects that scarcity.

    Of course, I’m am hoping to see a quarter of Florida flooded from a number of Greenland glaciers sliding in to the seas; this isn’t something I hope for out of spite, but as a goal to “live long and prosper”. ;-) And to say, “I told you so….”

  16. This is a NIMBY game of chicken, to mix metaphors. It seems that it’s ok for the US to have nukes, for France and Israel to have nukes, for North Korea to have nukes, and India and Pakistan.

    I’d like to know how Iran is any more scary and volatile than Pakistan. According to Levy’s book, Who Killed Daniel Pearl, Pakistan is a very scary and volatile place indeed.

    Aside from geopolitical considerations, lobbing a nuke into the middle of Eurasia would be a crime against humanity of enormous magnitude.

    Iran has every right to have nuclear energy. As for weapons, no, they should not have them. Neither should we. Let’s work toward a bigger and better nuclear non-proliferation agreement.

  17. I just listened to the Podcast and found the guests the least serious on any show that I have listened to.

  18. PS. There aren’t bobms in more places this time. The US / USSR have reduced more nuclear weapons since Bush took office than anytime since they were invented.

  19. The guy who was talking about the US smashing Iran with our superior armaments sounds insane.

    If they try this, we’ll beat them to a pulp. Whatever happened to growing up, and learning to be diplomatic, joining the community of nations and talking through problems?

    Does he GET the difference between nuclear and conventional weapons? Do any of these neocons understand what radiation is and does, long term?

    One would like to think that cooler, wiser heads would be making policy for our country.

  20. No one but Iran, the Arab League and the moonbats on this thread think that Iraq has a right to process nuclear materials.

    ElBaradei puts pressure on Iran

    Mr ElBaradei, who heads the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), is to report back to the UN Security Council at the end of this month on whether Tehran is complying with its demand to stop all enrichment activity by 28 April or face isolation.

    On his arrival in Tehran he said he was seeking “more active co-operation” between Iran and the IAEA.

    He said he wanted to discuss “how we can bring Iran in line” with demands by the international community that it cease enrichment and take “confidence-building measures”.

  21. That MIT professor you had on earlier doesn’t quite know what he’s talking about when he says that Iran would be afraid to use a nuclear weapon against the friends of the U.S. because of our massive stockpile of nuclear weapons with which we could retaliate. That’s ridiculous. Think of China who not so long ago said they were not afraid to lose several hundred million people from U.S. retaliation if they took out Los Angeles with a nuclear warhead. Or what about North Korea? The leaders could hunker down in hardened bunkers. I’m not trying to foment terror or to demean either of these states, or Iran. But why presume that other countries are so cowed by U.S. might they wouldn’t dare to do anything? The Chinese have a saying, “When you’re pushed up against a wall, you’ll do something desparate.” Don’t you think Iran feels desparate now, with the U.S. in Iraq and all its blietzkrieg of media threatening attack? Give me a break.

  22. With the other nuclear armed countries surrounding Iran it only makes sense for them to want nukes.

    Idealy Iran would have nukes to counterbalance Israel’s nukes and we would have a stalemate and MAD.

    The fact is Iran has no reason to attack the US unless we attack them, in fact Iran has no reason to attack Israel unless Israel attacks them. With Iran also armed with nukes the chance of either one attacking the other is slim to none.

    The other fact is this..the US/Isr bid to realign the ME is not because of any nulcear threat but is simply about strongarming our way to “power economics”…the US “wants’ to control the area and Israel “has to have” leverage to survive economically since they can’t make friends and do business the old fashioned way.

    And the final fact is, the ME will resist yet another “colonization” by yet another foreign power…so don’t expect this idea of a “democratic empire” in the ME to work.

    And the final, final fact is..there is no way you will stop a country in this global day and time from obtaining nukes if they are determined to have them….so what are you going to do?….Nuke every country you don’t want to have nukes?

    If I were the Iranian leader, particulary after we just O.K.’ed India’s nuke plans, I would tell the US to go cheney itself….

    This whole “Green Peril” thing as the next cold war and hopefully the next World War was crap when the neos thought it up in ’92 and it’s still crap.

  23. Most animals when cornered and given no alternative will first take an aggressive stance, growl, try to make themselves look larger and more feroicious and then lash out and attack if necessary. So why make it necessary? Why did the US push Iran to seek the nuclear option in the first place? Why provoke, unless it is to use the defensive counter-movement as a justification for your originally intended aggression. Just the next imperial fuel-stop along the road to global dominance, this.

    The real question is not whether we can live with a nuclear Iran (we can’t LIVE with any nation that has nuclear arms). The real question is whether the US public can live with a government that takes them into another illegal war? The rest of the world can’t, but we don’t seem to have any say in the matter. Do the right thing. Get out into the streets and bring your “leaders” to account.

  24. sidewalker: I wholeheartedly agree with your above post . “can’t LIVE with any nation that has nuclear arms” was just what I thought when I read the title of this thread. Thank you again!

  25. “Do the right thing. Get out into the streets and bring your “leadersâ€? to account. ”

    Er….I would suggest you take along some silver bullets and woooden stakes…so they can’t rise from their crypts again in another administration.

  26. Of course the US can live with a nuclear Iran. There ought to be little doubt about that.

    To speak of Iran in the same breath with the Soviet Union is already to concede far too much to the Iran-hawks: it had (and has) thousands of nuclear weapons (as does the US), and no one is suggesting that Iran will come close to that (even China has only about 200-300 nuclear weapons). There is no mutually assured destruction here; if Iran starts a nuclear war with the US it will be quickly destroyed.

    I presume that the leaders of Iran are rational actors. There ought to be very strong reasons brfore we start to question that presumtion; a few reckless and outrageous comments about Israel certainly doesn’t rise to that level.

    I should also note that if its the Mullahs (and not Ahmadinejad) who are ultimately in charge (as someone noted in Hersh’s New Yorker piece), then its not really that important what Ahmadinejad says anyway.

    Given that the US can live with even a hostile Soviet Union, the whole question of whether the US can live with a new (but hostile) member of the nuclear club seems to buy into the Cheney’s idea that US non-proliferation efforts is foremost concerned about US survival or even protection of its citizens from nuclear attack. This is not true. Instead US efforts in this regard are directed at two primary goals: 1) safeguarding its allies (especially Israel); 2) maintain its level of power, which will be reduced if they can’t, or are less able to, threaten its enemies (beause they have nuclear weapons). (In this particular case we have a third reason as well, namely, pre-empt the possibility of of Israeli military action.)

  27. If this administration and it’s neocons want to maintain strength and achieve dominence they seem to be doing the wrong things. They seem to know well how to threaten even tough it gets NO postive results. The more they threaten, the more those who they threaten will want to protect themselves from us ( duh). We simply do not know how to talk with anybody and give them what they need from us which it seems to me is recognition and assurances. When that is tried seriously and that does not work, then you go to other measures like boycotts/sanctions/embargos and shame (of UN resolutions- declarations) in concert with other nations. When even that does not work I am still not sure we should be threatening to use the very weapon that we do not want them to possess.

    Everyone knows what we have. We should keep quiet about it. As some higher ups in the military know( and are ready to quit over), nukes should be off the table, out of the discussion.

    We think we can pick and choose who is and is not allowed to have even nuclear know-how. This reads as a form humiliation to those who we appear to be against, and, at that it is coming from an obnoxious arrogance. It gets backs up. ( duh) Of course they want to show they can do it, that they can achieve this breakthrough in technology. We should be challenging them to show expertise in other areas, perhaps offering investment.( duh)

    The experts seem to agree that Iran wants to talk with us. Can we listen and respond with wisdom instead of puffing ourselves up to show how big we are the way apes do?

    I wish Prof. Fukuyama perhaps (or someone) would write a book about “The End of Military Power”". Sharon came to that point in Israel. Our leaders can’t see it yet. Perhaps we are blind at the top.

  28. Potter, This idea may be way out there, but, what if the boys at the top don’t want peace and stability. What if there’s a lot of dough to be made by their former employers and friends in an unstable world. Maybe the idea is to go in, destabilize, and make money. What if you could offer your former employer and biggest supporter a lifetime of no bid contracts. Do you know who is the most likely gigantic conglomerate to take over the ports. It’s from Texas. It also runs the show in Iraq and has a big part in the “clean-up” of Katrina. Follow the money. Of course, I’m not suggesting any of this is true. I think the sun may have gotten to me, forgive me for interjecting.

  29. Last night on CBC’s As It Happens:

    RUMSFELD OUT Duration: 00:08:00

    John Batiste, like many Americans, is joining the ranks of those who are critical of U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s performance on the job — particularly as it relates to the occupation of Iraq. But unlike many Americans, John Batiste is a U.S Army Major-General who, until he retired last year, was serving in Iraq. Maj-Gen. Batiste, along with several other prominent former generals, is calling for Mr. Rumsfeld to step down.

    We reached Maj. Gen. John Batiste at his office in Rochester.

  30. Gen Batiste is part of the “old Army” that is being “resructured” out of business. The new Army is the one that is meeting and exceeding its recruiting goals because of the fact that the members of the Army who ahve been to Iraq agree that it was as good thing and that that we are winning.

    And I love Potters continual use of “illegal war” when this one is now sanctioned by the UN just like Clinton’s in the Caucuses was.

    And once agiain, I must point out that in is the UN that says that the world cannot live with a Nuclear Iran.

    Talks fail to halt Iran programme

    UN nuclear watchdog chief Mohamed ElBaradei arrives in Tehran

    Mr ElBaradei must report back to the UN by the end of April

    UN nuclear watchdog chief Mohamed ElBaradei has failed to convince Iran to freeze its nuclear programme during a brief visit to Tehran.

    Our correspondent says that, while there is no sign of a compromise from Iran, there is debate within the country about whether that is the right direction.

    Reformists argue that having mastered enrichment, Iran is now in a strong position and can afford to make concessions to the West.

    The BBC’s Daniel Griffiths in Beijing says China has so far kept a low profile but it is increasingly keen to be seen as a responsible, international player, and Iran is a perfect opportunity to strengthen those credentials.

    So let me recap:

    The international community says, thru the UN that a nuclear Iraq is unacceptable. The reformers in Iraq agree, the Chineese and Russians agree (but not on how to prevent it) yet the moonbat brigade here debates the issue.

    Hum . . . .

  31. What are the choices? That ship has effectively sailed. If we don’t find common ground with ALL nations that will eventually get the ability to posess nuclear weapons to peacefully control them, then global warming may get an unexpected support.

  32. Re: Chris’ post game analysis: A one in three chance of a nuclear showdown is very poor odds. So, if you win this bet, who do you pick your winnings up from?

    We’ve been at the brink before. Perhaps, it’s just a numbers game. Go to the brink enough time and somebody is going to pull the trigger. Of course, in ’45 the trigger was pulled and the results were catastrophic, but localized. The next time may not be so localized.

  33. RBI: “Gen Batiste is part of the “old Armyâ€? that is being “resructuredâ€? out of business.”

    In circa 1930′s USSR, this was called a ‘purge’. Now, I’ll give the neocons their due for merely ‘retiring and discrediting’ the purged instead of shooting them. But the purge is disgusting either way. On the other hand, what else should we expect from convert-ideologues who took lessons from the Stalinist Communists before their conversions to conservatism (hence the ‘neo-’ of neoconservatism) .

    Isn’t it reassuring to know that our nation’s military is in the hands of such kindly, humble men?

  34. We should be torturing AQ Khan.

    From yesterday’s NYTimes:

    I.A.E.A. officials say solving the mystery of the P-2 shipments has become one of the most critical issues on which they need answers in the next two weeks, before Mr. ElBaradei issues a report to the United Nations Security Council on April 28.

    Other pressing questions include Iran’s reluctance to discuss a document found by inspectors — one that the Iranians were not willing to let the inspectors take out of the country — that sketches out how to shape uranium into perfect spheres, the tell-tale shape for a primitive weapon. Investigators say that document, too, appears to have come from the Khan network.

    It is also unclear whether Dr. Khan sold the Iranians a complete Chinese-made bomb design similar to the one Libya turned over to the United States when it gave up its weapons program. Questions about other copies of the bomb design have been met with silence, in Iran and in Pakistan.

    “Frankly, I don’t know whether he has passed these bomb designs to others,” Mr. Musharraf said. Even under a loose form of house arrest for the past two years, he said, Dr. Khan “sometimes has been hiding the facts.”

    Article: Iran Claims Nuclear Steps in New Worry

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