05 December 2007

Thoughts on Thoughts About the NIE

I have not read the latest National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) thoroughly yet, but there sure has been a lot about it on the television and on the internet. Whether or not Iran has the capability, capacity, or impetus to continue a nuclear weapons program – once a certainty – is now in doubt. It really is amazing what a few pieces of paper can do to opinion.

What should not be in doubt is the nature of Iran’s theocracy. It is a real theocracy; not like the one supposedly being built in the US according to some folks on the left fringe. Iran supports active terrorist organizations. Iran ships arms into Iraq which are used against US, Iraqi and Coalition troops, with civilian casualties, no doubt. Iran, like Hamas, has openly and repeatedly declared the removal of Israel as a state goal.

None of the above has anything to do with nuclear arms.

So, the NIE with regard to Iran’s pursuit of nuclear arms is either good news (they really aren’t pursuing them), or bad news (that won’t be figured out until after something bad happens). Either way, the “revelation” about Iran’s nuclear program does not change the nature and goals of Iran’s theocracy. It does not mean that the Iranian theocracy is a rational actor. Folks who use the NIE to reach these conclusions delude themselves, potentially to dangerous ends.

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