Wednesday, March 09, 2005


Data Lacking On Iran's Arms, U.S. Panel Says.

Yeah, I know-- every reader of Garfield Ridge that cares already read this New York Times story today. Sorry, I wish I could've posted earlier.

WASHINGTON, March 8 - A commission due to report to President Bush this month will describe American intelligence on Iran as inadequate to allow firm judgments about Iran's weapons programs, according to people who have been briefed on the panel's work.

The report comes as intelligence agencies prepare a new formal assessment on Iran, and follows a 14-month review by the panel, which Mr. Bush ordered last year to assess the quality of overall intelligence about the proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.


In its report, the panel is also expected to be sharply critical of American intelligence on North Korea. But in interviews, people who have been briefed on the commission's deliberations and conclusions said they regarded the record on Iran as particularly worrisome.
Worrisome? Yeah, I'd say.

Of course, I can see why the New York Times would be interested in this report. I can just see the journos there sharpening their pencils at the possibility that President Bush would go to war over faulty WMD intelligence yet again. . . and subsequently find that no WMD's existed.

I couldn't care less whether we know for sure if the Iranians have the bomb or not. I frankly don't care to be friends with them, either. Just because we're holding hands doesn't mean Iran and I will be taking warm showers together until the wee hours of the morning.

Perhaps it's just my Pentagon-trained KillBot mind talking, but what I *do* care about is actionable intelligence. I don't need to know where every last fuel rod or gas centrifuge is. I need to know two things:

-- Where their constructed nukes are.
-- Where their soon-to-be-dearly-departed leaders are.

In a wargame I participated in not too long ago, we were faced with the problem of finding and defeating dozens of North Korean ballistic missile launchers, some mobile, some fixed yet hidden. A lot of folks spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to do that with the cards they were dealt.

Me? I couldn't care less about missile sites. It'd be great to find them, but you're not going to find them all. Rather than waste the resources we have in finding the guns, I maintained you just need to find the criminals. It's a centralized dictatorship-- threaten the regime leadership with a painful death (and offer ridiculously wealthy bribes to everyone else) and you have a better chance at ending the situation than playing ballistic missile whack-a-mole.

With respect to Iran, it'd be nice to know what all the details of the Iranian nuclear program are. I'm sure we'll learn all about it after the revolution.

Until then, I want the Iranian leadership on notice: stop.

Stop it now.

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