One day after a visit from Dick Cheney, the Saudi government-controlled newspaper, Okaz ran an ominous story about the Saudi Shura Council’s newest project:
“(Making) plans to deal with any sudden nuclear and radioactive hazards that may affect the kingdom following experts’ warnings of possible attacks on Iran’s Bushehr nuclear reactors”.
Oh, I know what you’re thinking: those Lefties are whining again. They got a whiff of Adm. Fallon’s retirement from CINC/CENTCOM and decided it must be due to his opposition to a U.S. attack on Iran. So naturally they’re pulling out the ol’ Bush is a war hawk argument. *yawn*
Not so fast, folks.
After months of reports coming out of Washington, D.C. claiming that Iran was developing nuclear weapons, the National Intelligence Estimate — a consortium of the nation’s 16 intelligence agencies — concluded that Iran had abandoned its nuclear weapons program in 2003, but was keeping options open for the future.
Two weeks ago, Vice President Cheney was asked about this report. His response should sound eerily familiar to those who recall the administration’s statements just prior to the start of the war in Iraq:
It’s important if you’re going to look at the National (Intelligence) Estimate that we be precise in terms of what it says,” Cheney said. “And what it says is that they have definitely had in the past a program to develop a nuclear warhead; that it would appear that they stopped that weaponization process in 2003. We don’t know whether or not they’ve restarted.
“What we do know is that they had then, and have now, a process by which they’re trying to enrich uranium, which is the key obstacle they’ve got to overcome in order to have a nuclear weapon,” he said. “They’ve been working at it for years. They’ve now got a large number of centrifuges operating. We know this from the work of the International Atomic Energy Agency.
“I have high confidence they have an ongoing enrichment program,” Cheney said.
So, is the country stepping up to launch yet another war based on this “hunch”?
• Last week, a U.S. nuclear sub joined the fleet stationed in the Persian Gulf.
• On land, Russian sources say the U.S. is currently massing forces on the Iranian border.
• Today the U.S. announced plans to sanction Iran’s Central Bank for funding state-sponsored terrorism.
Military positioning plus sanctions: that sounds awfully familiar to me.
Not that we’ll hear much about it, what with today’s big brouhaha over the domestic economy that everyone’s been worrying about.