December 8th, 2007

Chris Keeley

Intelligence community learned from Iraq debacle

Intelligence community learned from Iraq debacle,0,915322.story
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   Intelligence community learned from Iraq debacle

By Melvin A. Goodman

December 6, 2007

U.S intelligence agencies have concluded in a National Intelligence
Estimate (NIE) that Iran halted its nuclear weapons program in fall 2003
and that Tehran is now "less determined to develop nuclear weapons." The
new findings will make it more difficult for the Bush administration to
gain domestic and international support for the use of military force
against Iran. The findings also will complicate efforts to arrange a
third round of U.N. sanctions against Iran and could open the door to a
policy of diplomatic engagement.

The new estimate comes at an important juncture in the bureaucratic
battle between the White House and the Pentagon over the possible use of
force against Tehran. President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney have
been making the case for military power, with the president warning in
October that a nuclear-armed Iran could lead to World War III and the
vice president promising "serious consequences" if Tehran did not
abandon its nuclear program. Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney were aware of the
new findings before they used their provocative language.
At the same time, senior military leaders have been arguing in public
against the need for force against Iran, which they didn't do prior to
the Iraq war. The new chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm.
Michael Mullen, and the commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East,
Adm. William J. Fallon, have sought to play down speculation about
striking Iran's nuclear facilities. General officers in Iraq have noted
that Iran has cooperated in stopping the flow of roadside bombs to Iraq
and that Iraqi Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, who has support from Iran,
has begun to rein in his militia. Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates,
though silent during these exchanges, must have lent tacit support.
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Chris Keeley

Squandered Confidence in the United States

Squandered Confidence in the United States*

*William Pfaff*

Paris, December 6, 2007 – At a stroke, the international credibility of
the United States government has been restored. The Bush White House and
its friends do not seem to understand what has happened.

There are few governments, even among the most sober, where the civil
service agencies of government would deliver an analysis not merely
unpleasing to the elected political authorities, but decisively
undermining what currently has seemed the most important foreign policy
project planned by those authorities before they leave power twelve
months from now.

Publication of a National Intelligence Estimate of Iran that directly
contradicts what the Bush government has relentlessly and heatedly
maintained, during the better part of the past eight years, against all
opposition, about the danger of Iran’s nuclear project and intentions,
has delivered an international shock. It has demonstrated that the
American system of government is recovering its ability to defend
objective intellectual standards against powerful pressures to twist
professional judgement to conform to partisan interests.

The Bush White House and its spokesmen and allies are fools to try, as
they are doing, to twist the NIE verdict as somehow supporting them. The
report indicates that the Iranians had a military program in the past,
thus they could have one again in the future, therefore – so the claim
goes – the report really validates the Bush administration’s case.

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Chris Keeley

History of Bush's Iran Policy (by the Leveretts)

Date: Thu, 6 Dec 2007 22:36:48 -0500
From: Flynt Leverett

Note: *Flynt* L.* Leverett* has served in senior posts at the National
Security Council (under george W. Bush), the State Department (counter
terrorism) and the Central Intelligence Agency. He holds a PhD from
Princeton (1992). His wife, the former Hillary Mann, is also a highly
respected analyst and authority on international security matters.

*Bush's real lie about Iran*

*Despite recent claims otherwise, the White House has rebuffed negotiations
with Iran at every turn -- a major strategic blunder.
By Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett

Dec. 07, 2007

The latest National Intelligence Estimate on Iran's
nuclear program raises questions once again about the Bush
administration's veracity in describing a nuclear threat. But President
Bush's worst misrepresentations about the Iranian nuclear issue do not
focus on whether Tehran is currently pursuing a nuclear weapons program or
when Bush knew the U.S. intelligence community was revising its previous
Rather, the real lie is the president's claim that his administration has
made a serious offer to negotiate with the Islamic Republic, and that
Iranian intransigence is the only thing preventing a diplomatic

Negotiations over Iran's nuclear activities started in the fall of 2003,
initiated not by the United States, but by the "EU-3" -- Britain, France
and Germany. Iran, for its part, agreed to suspend its nuclear activities
as talks proceeded. But, contrary to Bush's statement at his press
conference this week, the United States did not "facilitate" these
negotiations. Indeed, the Europeans had launched the talks to fill a
diplomatic vacuum, after the Bush administration cut off its post-9/11
dialogue with Iran over Afghanistan and rebuffed an Iranian offer to
a comprehensive resolution of U.S.-Iranian differences earlier that year.

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