Squaring the Culture




"...and I will make justice the plumb line, and righteousness the level;
then hail will sweep away the refuge of lies,
and the waters will overflow the secret place."
Isaiah 28:17

10/08/2009 (10:08 am)

Iran, and a Blast From the Past

The Wall Street Journal brings up an interesting point from the past today regarding Iran’s imminent nuclear capability, and it bears on a great deal of history from the Bush years.

Back in December of 2007, a gathering of government intel professionals produced a National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) claiming “with high confidence” that Iran had ceased its nuclear development as of 2003. That this was not true is evident now. What the Journal reports is that the intelligence community was already well aware of the recently-announced uranium enrichment facilities and weapons design efforts at the time the NIE was published. This demonstrates that the NIE was published as propaganda; they knew it was false, but it served a political purpose, so they published it anyhow. I reported this at the time, and confirmed it with evidence later.

The purpose it seems to have served is to cripple the US’ response to the threat of a nuclear Iran. The Bush administration may have been planning air strikes back in 2007 to address the budding threat; the NIE was the culmination of political infighting within the Executive branch to stop the administration’s unilateral response to the Iranian threat, and more or less signaled the President’s capitulation to his internal adversaries. Scott Horton, the reliably loony leftist at Harper’s, reported this at the time in an article that errs by assuming that the NIE was the truth and that it was Cheney et al that were operating on false information (an assertion we now know to have been 180 degrees off the mark, something that sensible people would have expected even then.)

The propagandistic NIE was merely the last shot in the long-standing revolt by leftists within the US intelligence community against the Bush administration — a revolt that was only a hair shy of being a full-blown attempt at a coup d’etat. Leftist rogues within the intelligence community were actively undermining Bush administration policies, and executing plots with the sole intent of discrediting the President. I’m convinced that the entire Joe Wilson-Valerie Plame affair was one of these — an operation planned and executed by rogues within the CIA to discredit the President. I wrote about the revolt at the time, in the early days of this blog (you can review my thoughts by clicking on the Intelligence Community topic under my topical index, at the bottom of the sidebar.)

History has done us the favor of sorting out the truth quickly, but we should not miss the lesson. The lesson is not just that the NIE was wrong. The lesson is that the intelligence community was deliberately manipulating reports throughout the Bush years with the intent of discrediting the administration and crippling its policies. We should apply this knowledge to whatever we now take for granted from the Bush years that came to us by way of the intelligence community — like the claim that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

Almost a year ago, Jeff Lewis at the American Thinker produced an essay explaining the cost of leftist power-seeking in the form of crippling our response to nuclear proliferation:

George W. Bush has been crucified for five long years in the media, by the feckless, hysterical and cowardly Europeans, by the United Nations, and of course by the Democratic Party, because he took the only sane action possible in the face of the apparent WMD threat from Saddam. Because presidents don’t have the luxury of Monday morning quarterbacking. They cannot wait for metaphysical certainty about threats to national survival and international peace. There is no such thing as metaphysical certainty in these matters; presidents must act on incomplete intelligence, knowing full well that their domestic enemies will try to destroy them for trying to save the peace.

But that is water under the bridge by now. What’s not past, but rather a clear and present threat to civilization are the consequences of the unbelievable recklessness of the International Left — including the Democrats, the Europeans, the UN, and the former communist powers. Because of their screaming opposition to the Bush administration’s rational actions against Saddam, we are now rendered helpless against two even more dangerous challenges. With Saddam there was genuine doubt about his nuclear program; the notion that he had a viable program was just the safest guess to make in the face of his policy of deliberate ambiguity. In the case of Ahmadinejad and Kim Jong Il there’s no guessing any more. They have nukes and missiles, or will have within a year.

The entire anti-proliferation effort has therefore been sabotaged and probably ruined by the Left. For what reason? There can be only one rational reason: A lust for power, even at the expense of national and international safety and peace. But the Left has irrational reasons as well, including an unfathomable hatred for adulthood in the face of mortal danger. Like the Cold War, this is a battle between the adolescent rage of the Left and the realistic adult decision-making of the mainstream — a mainstream which is now tenuously maintained only by conservatives in the West.

And now, in the face of a growing Iranian threat, our Peerless Messianic Leader has eliminated the planned missile shield aimed at protecting Europe from an Iranian nuclear threat, in exchange for assistance in managing that threat from Russia, which arguably supplied Iran with the means to produce nuclear weapons in the first place.

David Horowitz has argued for years that there exists an unspoken alliance between radical Islam and radical Socialism. It becomes plausible to assert that radical elements in the US — read “progressives,” and include the President — have more policy goals in common with Iran than they have with conservatives in America, and would prefer a nuclear Iran to a Middle East with stable republics like Israel and a free Iraq. Might this explain President Obama’s fecklessness regarding the Taliban in Afghanistan? Can we trust the President to act in the international community with America’s best interests at heart, or is he serving a wider agenda?

For my part, I think it is long past time to revive treason as a crime suitable for legitimate prosecution. Perpetrators of active disinformation campaigns aimed at undermining actual governmental policy should be prosecuted seriously, with decades-long prison terms at a minimum for active attempts at crippling lawful policy. It is one thing to oppose policy publicly, and to argue against it; it is another thing entirely to undermine that policy actively. Congress should pass laws to that effect, with clear exceptions made for active defense of the US Constitution against unlawful acts by the Executive branch.

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46 Comments »

October 8, 2009 @ 12:01 pm #

“Shadow Warriors” by Timmerman leaves you with the inevitable same conclusions about the CIA, and the State Department as well. Bush’s mistake was in not cleaning house. He thought he could work in DC – I think he made the assumption that although Dems and Repubs had different approaches to how the country should be governed, he could work with them to achieve the best ends. What he didn’t completely appreciate was that the Dems have a different agenda entirely – to change the foundations of society in the US to socialism – and they needed power to get it, and were willing to destroy anything that stood in their way.

That’s still their approach. If the GOP ever gets back into power, they need to forget the gentlemanly art of governance and ruthlessly eliminate from all governmental positions possible those who have a goal of socialism. If not, I see some very unsettled times in the future.

“If thine eye offend thee, pluck it out”. If a tree doesn’t bear good fruit, burn it down.

The lessons of history are there – we just need to learn from them.

October 8, 2009 @ 1:57 pm #

“Leftists within the intelligence community”? The CIA was being run by “leftists” during the Bush Administration?

Do you really believe that? Do you really believe that “leftists” within the Bush administration’s intelligence community were powerful enough to (1) produce a knowingly false intelligence report and (2) release it to the public, despite the administration’s opposition?

That don’t make no sense no how!

Why wouldn’t the CIA officials who supported an attack on Iran have told the Bush administration about the Iranian facility? And if they had, can you imagine the numerous Bush administration officials who supported an attack on Iran not using this information to justify an attack? If you’ll recall, the Bush administration opposed the release of the report because it undermined the case for a pre-emptive attack. If they knew it was false, why didn’t they just say so and bomb the facility that proved it was false?

Perhaps the leftist CIA officials hid this information from the Administration’s allies in the CIA?

Please . . .

Also, what evidence is there that the intelligence community knew about the Irainian facility prior to Iran revealing its existence? Greenwald has an excellent piece on this issue today. He demonstrates that there is no evidence whatsoever supporting the claim that the intelligence community knew about Iran’s facility. The Wall Street Journal (and others) are apparently repeating an assertion that has no evidentiary basis – and which appears to contradict the historical facts.

http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/

Is he wrong? Can anyone point to facts that would make this report credible?

Finally, I believe that the NEI report indicated that Iran had ceased its pursuit of a weapon. Has that been disproven?

Joe H.

October 8, 2009 @ 3:47 pm #

Joe –

Your reading of Greenwald is incorrect. What he argues is that there seems to be no solid evidence that the reason the Iranians told the IAEA about their Qom facility was because they’d learned that the IAEA already knew about it. Greenwald accepts as fact that the intelligence community knew about the facility; at the very end, he uses the very same evidence I and the Wall Street Journal use to question the assessment that the Qom facility is obviously military. His basis for questioning is precisely what I point out — that the finding of NIE appears to have been contrary to facts known at the time. It appears inconceivable to Mr. Greenwald that the intelligence community might have deliberately lied, but in fact, it appears that that is precisely what happened.

Regarding his claim that the theory lacks proof that says “they only told about Qom because they knew the whistle had been blown,” consider what it is that might be regarded as “proof” in a claim like that. How, exactly, would you go about proving a country’s leader’s motive for announcing a facility to the IAEA? About the only thing that might be taken as evidence is if the facility had been underway for some time, but only announced recently — which is exactly what happened. I don’t know what other evidence you would accept, or what other evidence is even possible. We’re talking about scuttlebutt gathered by professional spooks, apparently. The world of foreign intelligence is an arena in which “you have no proof” will always be safe, because it will always be true — but it will likewise always be irrelevant, because the motives of foreign leaders, or for that matter anything for which we rely on foreign intel, is almost never provable.

Answers to your questions regarding the other matters can be found in previous posts on this blog, to which I referred in the article. Specifically included in that set is the evidence demonstrating that the intelligence community had solid evidence of the existence of Iran’s ongoing nuclear program well in advance of the writing of the NIE in 2007.

I don’t hold you specifically responsible to have read everything I’ve ever written, or more to the point, everything to which I have ever linked. However, I also do not hold myself responsible to repeat in condensed form, for your benefit, everything I’ve ever written or read on the subject. If you simply don’t know, you might start by reading FrontPageMag’s interview with Kenneth Timmerman. Timmerman’s book Shadow Warriors, so far as I know, is the definitive investigative journalism covering the subject of the intelligence community’s war against the Bush administration. I have not read the book, though I have read much of Timmerman’s investigative journalism on the subject. On the subject of the 2007 NIE, I think you can find all the evidence you need by reading the articles listed in the category, “Intelligence Community,” and following the links to the various supporting articles.

October 8, 2009 @ 5:22 pm #

Phil,

I read Greenwald again. I don’t read him accepting as fact that the US intelligence community knew that the Irainian facility was an enrichment facility three years ago. He said things like:

“Obviously, it’s possible that the U.S. really did learn three years ago that Qom was an enrichment facility, that Iran somehow found out that this was the case, and that it was this that prompted the Iranians to disclose to the IAEA.”

and:

“The WSJ Editorial does unintentionally highlight one towering contradiction in all of these claims: if (a) the CIA has known about the Qom facility for three years (as Panetta claims); and (b) it’s so clear that it is designed for military, not civilian uses, then (c) why did the NIE — the consensus of American intelligence agencies — conclude in 2007 that “Iran halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003 and that the program remains frozen”? That conclusion was affirmed at a time when the CIA knew of the Qom facility. Doesn’t that rather obviously raise serious doubts about how “clear” it is that the facility could only be designed for military purposes?”

These passages indicate Greenwald doubting American knowledge that this facility was an enrichment facility.

As for the “proof” question, if proof that Iran notified international authorities because it learned that the Americans already knew about its enrichment facility – i.e., that it had been “caught red handed” – is impossible to obtain, then why is everyone repeating that claim as if it were an established fact? Greenwald’s point is that this claim is sustaining a war drum narrative – and it is entirely unsubstantiated.

Further, one of the difficulties I experience when engaing with you is that you accept “interpretations of fact” as fact. For example, you accept descriptions like “the intelligence community’s war against the Bush administration” as factual premises. That is not a factual premise. It is a conslusory allegation. I’m certain there was friction between the intelligence community and the Bush Administration – but the underlying reasons for that friction are almost certainly not “leftist opposition” to the Bush administration. It was far more likely the product of fact based opposition to Bush administration policy.

Consider the possibility of my doing investigative report on the very same disputes between the intelligence community and the Bush administration, citing the very same facts regarding the disputes, and calling it “Our intelligence community’s heroic stand against Bush administration radicals.” That description is not a fact. It is a propagandistic summary description of a set of facts. Its a conclusory allegation, not a reliable premise.

Finally, you claim that “[t]he purpose [the NIE report] seems to have served is to cripple the US’s response to the threat of a nuclear Iran.” But this assumes the very thing in question – that the intelligence community knew that Iran was a nuclear threat and deliberately sabotaged our ability to respond. How do we know that? How do we know that Panetta is telling the truth?

Do you really believe thatthe best explanation for the intelligence community’s NIE Report is treason? Do you really accept Jeff Lewis’ analysis that:

“The entire anti-proliferation effort has therefore been sabotaged and probably ruined by the Left. For what reason? There can be only one rational reason: A lust for power, even at the expense of national and international safety and peace.”

What evidence is there for such a conclusion? Can’t you tell the difference between facts, reasonable inferences, and a smear? Which leftists are you and Lewis referrring to? Isn’t it at least possible that the intelligence community believed what they were saying about Iran and published their report to inform the congress and the country so that they could not be easily fooled into another unnecessary and disasterous war? Isn’t that at least possible?

Lewis’ claim that the only rational explanation for the intelligence community’s behavior is “leftist lust for power” is equivalent to the “truthers’” claim that the only rational explanation for 9/11 is that Bush administration officials knew about the plot, but allowed it so that it could consolidate power.

Both charges are completely ridiculous.

Joe H.

October 8, 2009 @ 6:29 pm #

suek is absolutely correct. GWB – as most Americans don’t – had no idea of the evil nature of his domestic opponents, which is curious because he had his foreign opponents pegged pretty well.

One correction for Jeff Lewis: The phrase “metaphysical certainty” is incorrect. You should have written “epistemological certainty”. Metaphysics is study of the nature of reality. Epistemology is the study of what constitutes knowledge and how it may be obtained.

October 8, 2009 @ 7:15 pm #

So you guys really believe that the senior staff of America’s intelligence agencies conspired to commit treason in 2007? That their “lust for power” drove them to knowingly facilitate Iran’s capacity to build a nuclear bomb?

Frankly, I suprised that anyone believes that senior intelligence officials working for the Bush administration were “leftists.” But believing that these people conspired to commit treason – rather than believing that Panetta is lying in order to portray the Iranians as international rogues (and keep international pressure on them), is pretty wild eyed. The obvious explanation is that Panetta was lying, but simply forgot about the NIE report from 2007. That’s surely a more reasonable inference than “the heads of all our intelligence agencies conspired to commit treason out of their leftist lust for power.”

But that’s just me.

Joe H.

October 8, 2009 @ 7:37 pm #

Conspiring to commit treason is indeed a serious. I think – once again – it has to do with your definition of treason. I do not think they considered what they were doing as treason – that is, an attempt to bring down the government. I think they have a very different idea of what the government should be and they acted to tear down a legally elected government to replace it with one they preferred.

However, their idea of what the government should be does _not_ comport with the Constitution of this country – so in fact, they are trying to bring down the legitimate government which is generally following the fundamentals of the Constitution in order to install an entirely different system of government.

Usually treason is considered to be an attempt to bring down a government or a leader in order to replace it with a different leader – or an effort by infiltrators from an opposing nation to bring another nation into submission. I don’t think what they did qualifies as either of those. But if they are a relatively small number, and what they intend is without the consent of the governed, but done in secret – are they not conspiring to bring down the government? and is that not treason? It certainly was an attempt at a coup…

October 8, 2009 @ 9:15 pm #

“That is not a factual premise. It is a conslusory (sic) allegation.”

I presume you mean “conclusory,” though that’s not really a word. And what you mean is, I’ve drawn a conclusion with which you disagree. Fine, you may feel free to disagree; but why should the fact that you disagree mean that I have to forgo conclusions that I’ve drawn? Are you saying that I’m not entitled to my own conclusions if there exists somebody, somewhere, who disagrees? And, do you hold yourself to a similar standard?

Don’t bother answering that last question; I know that you don’t. You have no shyness about declaring, right here on my blog, that the Bush administration violated both national and international law… even though the only people who agree with you are hard leftists, and it seems to me to be EXCEEDINGLY clear that they did not. I don’t think you have much room to criticize those who state as fact things for which they feel they have sufficient evidence, even though there exist some who do not.

Consider the possibility of my doing investigative report on the very same disputes between the intelligence community and the Bush administration, citing the very same facts regarding the disputes, and calling it “Our intelligence community’s heroic stand against Bush administration radicals.” That description is not a fact. It is a propagandistic summary description of a set of facts. Its a conclusory allegation, not a reliable premise.

If you did that, you would be acknowledging the same set of facts, but putting a different interpretation on those facts. But I think that in that case, “a war by the intelligence community against the Bush administration” is an accurate description, not a propagandistic one. There is such a thing as a just war. You might actually believe this is one; hence your (hypothetical) description of it as an “heroic stand.” I might think it an unjust war. But it’s clearly a war.

But this assumes the very thing in question – that the intelligence community knew that Iran was a nuclear threat and deliberately sabotaged our ability to respond. How do we know that?

{sigh}

You’re asking me to reproduce a great deal of reading. I can give you a starting point for the information on which I’m basing my confidence. Here you go, and don’t forget to follow the links:

Regarding the NIE:
http://www.plumbbobblog.com/?p=214
http://www.plumbbobblog.com/?p=77
http://www.weeklystandard.com/weblogs/TWSFP/2007/12/nie_an_abrupt_aboutface.asp
http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110010946

Regarding the alleged shadow war against the Bush administration, start with the following articles:
http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/Read.aspx?GUID=0ADC3041-E624-45A4-B608-E5C9DEB99079
http://www.plumbbobblog.com/?p=24
http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/006/417aldhj.asp
http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/006/327jhrsr.asp
http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2007/12/019334.php

Finally, your reading of Greenwald is STILL incorrect. Compare the following two sentences, the first from Greenwald, and the second from you:

“Doesn’t that rather obviously raise serious doubts about how “clear” it is that the facility could only be designed for military purposes?”

These passages indicate Greenwald doubting American knowledge that this facility was an enrichment facility.

Greenwald questions whether the facility is MILITARY or not.

You assert that Greenwald is questioning whether the facility is FOR ENRICHMENT or not.

See the difference?

Perhaps you don’t realize that there are non-military applications for enriched uranium? You don’t realize that the question of whether the facility is military or not is NOT a dispute over whether enrichment is taking place, but simply a dispute over the SIZE of the facility? Or is there some other explanation for the fact that you follow up a statement in which the mans says “A” with a claim that he’s said “X”?

October 8, 2009 @ 9:24 pm #

But believing that these people conspired to commit treason – rather than believing that Panetta is lying in order to portray the Iranians as international rogues (and keep international pressure on them), is pretty wild eyed. The obvious explanation is that Panetta was lying, but simply forgot about the NIE report from 2007.

I’m sorry, Joe, but you’re merely displaying your ignorance here. There were LOTS AND LOTS AND LOTS of people who declared the NIE bunk when it was issued in 2007, including both British and Israeli intelligence organizations. To assert now that it was unquestionable and that Panetta is simply lying is to pretend that the past does not exist. The NIE was a partisan lie, and everybody aside from partisan Democrats knew it perfectly well at the time.

Please take the time to acquaint yourself with the discussions to which I’ve linked.

October 8, 2009 @ 10:52 pm #

Phil,

“Conclusory allegation” is a term used in the law. When a plaintiff files a complaint, the plaintiff cannot simply state that “Defendant slandered me.” A plaintiff must plead specific facts that, if true, would establish that Defendant slandered Plaintiff. Defendant slandered me is a factual allegation, but it is a conclusory allegation. “The intelligence community waged war on the Bush Administration” is also conclusory allegation. Conclusory allegations cannot serve as foundations for analysis or discussion, since they are debatable until proven by specific relevant facts.

So, no, by “conclusory allegation” I don’t mean that you’ve drawn a conclusion that I disagree with. I mean you’ve drawn a conclusion that is debatable given the current state of established fact. My perception is that you start with these types of premises quite frequently, which is why it is difficult to engage with you.

It is true that I have confidently stated that president Bush and Dick Cheney violated US and International law – but I did not state that as a conclusory allegation and insist on it as a starting point for discussion. I presented and explained the relevant law, presented and explained the uncontroverted facts – facts admitted by President Bush and Vice President Cheney themselves – and then demonstrated that, applying the law to the facts, it was clear beyond any doubt that they had violated the law.

For a recap of that careful argumentation, see here:

http://moreunsolicitedthoughts.blogspot.com/2009/05/motive-verses-specific-intent.html

You are, of course, mistaken when you say that the only people who agree with me are “hard leftists.” But even if that were true, it is irrelevant. The argument that the Bush administration violated federal and international law is unassailable, based on the law itself and the undisputed facts. You say that it is crystal clear to you that they did not violate the law, but you have not made any argument to that effect. You have not shown that I’ve misinterpreted or mistated or misapplied the law or mistated the facts. You simply declare that Bush administration officials did not break the law without any argument whatsoever.

As for lots of people declaring the NIE bunk, lots of people wanted to go to war with Iran. The NIE report rendered that option politically nonfeasible. Of course they’re going to call it bunk. But has that report been proven false? Have we determined that the Iranian facility in Quom is designed to make weapons grade urainum? Have we determined that the intelligence community knew this when they put out the NIE in 2007? When did we determine these things?

My understanding is that the Irainians have agreed to international inspections of this facility. Would they have agreed to these inspections if the facility was designed to produce weapons grade uranium? I don’t think so.

This is what I mean about conclusory allegations. You said the report was a “partisan lie.” But I’ve yet to be shown any factual evidence establishing that: (1) the NIE report’s conclusion (that Iran had abandoned its nuclear weapons program in 2003) is false; (2) that the intelligence community knew that it was false when it published the NIE report in 2007; and (3) that it published the report for partisan reasons.

When you have evidence for any of these claims, please present it.

By the way, I am aware that enriched uranium has different uses, and the question has always been are the Iranians seeking to produce bomb grade enriched uranium.

Joe H.

October 9, 2009 @ 10:18 am #

Once again…

Joe, is it your position that Iran _doesn’t_ have or intend to create nuclear weapons? Or simply that we don’t have concrete _proof_ of such an intention?

You really do get wrapped around the shaft…

October 9, 2009 @ 2:03 pm #

“Wrapped around the shaft?” What does that mean? All I asked for is evidence for conclusory allegations. What’s crazy about that?

If there is good evidence that the NIE report was a “partisan lie,” I’ll believe it. If there is good evidence that the NIE report was false – that Iran did not cease its program to acquire or build a nuclear weapon in 2003, I’ll believe it. If there is good evidence that America’s intelligence officials knew all this in 2007, when they issued the NIE report, I’ll believe it.

Just cite the evidence and stop with the name calling. Either these things have been established or they haven’t. So stop with the nonsense and point to the evidence.

Joe H.

October 9, 2009 @ 3:41 pm #

So, no, by “conclusory allegation” I don’t mean that you’ve drawn a conclusion that I disagree with. I mean you’ve drawn a conclusion that is debatable given the current state of established fact.

No, you mean that I’ve drawn a conclusion that is debatable given the current state of your knowledge.

What you seem to be doing here, Joe, is throwing bricks at my feet, making it uncomfortable to take steps. The way you do it is by applying a courtroom standard of evidence to current topics whenever I write opinion that is based on my assessment of current situations. Because my style includes commentary on broad topics of cultural momentum, I frequently make allusions to current topics without supplying complete, factual reporting to establish the situation about which I’m theorizing. This is not substantially different from the approach of any number of cultural commentators on all sides of any issue; but you seem to want to tie me up with doing your factual homework for you, in such a manner as to make my task much harder.

The fact that you, yourself, engage in similar conclusory allegations whenever it suits you, is the indication to me that you’re really more interested in causing trouble than you are in truth.

As for lots of people declaring the NIE bunk, lots of people wanted to go to war with Iran. The NIE report rendered that option politically nonfeasible. Of course they’re going to call it bunk.

Like I said. Talk about conclusory allegations…

This is why I cannot take you seriously, Joe.

October 9, 2009 @ 4:00 pm #

But I’ve yet to be shown any factual evidence establishing that: (1) the NIE report’s conclusion (that Iran had abandoned its nuclear weapons program in 2003) is false; (2) that the intelligence community knew that it was false when it published the NIE report in 2007; and (3) that it published the report for partisan reasons.

I just deleted a completely frustrated comment in response to this. Perhaps you can help me calm myself by explaining why you don’t seem to be able to follow links or read supplementary material.

I posted links yesterday to a number of articles discussing the background for these conclusions about which you say “I have yet to be shown any factual evidence.” I should not have had to, though, as I had already placed some references to background information in the article itself. This blog is not a courtroom, and my articles are not legal briefs. The way this usually works, Joe, is that if I post links to supporting material, readers who wish to object to the factual basis for the conclusions associated with those links need to read the supporting material before claiming that the conclusion is unsupported. This is not a formal system, however, so I’m inclined to be lenient when people ignore the links and don’t read them, and I’ll refer to them a second time when necessary. In your case, I actually went to the trouble of visiting some of the older material myself and extracting THEIR supporting material, so you would not have to chain through a potentially infinite regress of articles. But you still haven’t visited them, and you’re still here claiming that you have not been shown evidence.

I’m pretty sure you’re going to find some of the material to which I’ve linked insufficient, vague, chatty, less then fully persuasive, or whatever. That’s fine; you clearly have your standards of evidence, and, as I’ve noted several times, they’re a great deal more stringent when the claim you’re examining is one to which you are not predisposed. That’s common enough, although I think perhaps you should drop your posture as a dispassionate critic, since it’s obvious on the face of things that you’re not that.

The point is, public opinion is not a courtroom, and claims here do not require the courtroom standard of evidence. And whether you like it or not, Joe, my standard for stating something as a fact, or as a likely fact, is whether or not *I* have been convinced of it, not whether or not you have been convinced of it. I don’t make things up; I do draw conclusions based on my readings of situations, and then I do proceed in my reasoning based on that conclusion. We do not live in a world where perfect information is available. The courtroom standard of evidence is appropriate for protecting the liberties of citizens accused of crimes and standing to lose their liberty and reputation in a court of law. It is not how anybody I know (including you, Joe) assesses the news, and I will not be held to that standard, nor should I.

October 9, 2009 @ 5:01 pm #

Phil,

You still haven’t grasped the idea of a “conclusory allegation.” There is nothing wrong with citing facts and drawing reasonable inferences therefrom. Responding to your point that “lots of people claimed the NIE report was bunk” – which, by the way, is a fact, and not a conclusory allegation (Kudos to you) – by noting that “lots of people wanted to go to war with Iran” so of course “they said it was bunk,” is again, a factual and inference based response. It is not a conclusory allegation.

A “conclusory allegation” is a description or characterization of a phenomenon that is based on other factual premises, some of which may be in dispute. Your claim that “the “NIE report was a partisan lie” is a conclusory allegation. It assumes the truth of several sub-facts, all of which are disputed, including:

(1) The NIE report was false;

(2) The Intelligence officials knew it was false when they published it; and

(3) They did it for partisan reasons.

As to your “sources,” I can check them out. But I’m certain to find additional conclusory allegations. This is because it has not yet been determined that the NIE report was false. It has been alleged. People have speculated. But it has not been proven. Has there been any authoritative and/or official report stating that the 2007 NIE report was incorrect? Has it been firmly established that Iran was and is seeking to build a nuclear weapon? Do we have any definitive proof?

If (1) is debatable, (2) clearly is debatable because (2) presupposes the truth of (1). As for (3), the idea is so preposterous – Leftists controlling our intelligence agencies during the Bush Administration – that I can hardly entertain it. But I’ll read your sources.

Phil, I’m not demanding that you meet courtroom standards. There is nothing wrong with stating facts and drawing reasonable inferences therefrom. There is also nothing wrong with stating conclusions that would be conclusory, were they not accompanied by proof (or at least discussion) of the underlying sub-facts.

However, a credible thinker does not lob around conclusory allegations and treat them as unquestionable premises for discussion. If you want to call the NIE report a “partisan lie” you you be able to explain, in very short order, why you thing sub claims 1-3 are true – it is not sufficient for you to make such a claim and then say, “everyone but hardcore leftist partisans knows this.”

This kind of thinking is okay for polemicists, but you’re aiming for something higher. So go for it.

Joe H.

October 9, 2009 @ 5:16 pm #

>>Has it been firmly established that Iran was and is seeking to build a nuclear weapon? Do we have any definitive proof?>>

Well…they seem to say so. Note the year.

http://www.iran-press-service.com/articles_2002/Jun_2002/iran_has_nuke_6602.htm

October 9, 2009 @ 5:17 pm #

Also,

You claim that my “standard of proof” is much lower when I’m examining a belief that I hold, than it is when I’m questioning a claim that I disagree with. I invite you to point this out whenever you see it. If that is true, I certainly want to know about it.

Joe H.

October 9, 2009 @ 5:22 pm #

Joe,

I know perfectly well what a conclusory allegation is. “Of course they’re going to say it’s bunk” is one of them, as it implies somebody is lying to defend their point of view. It’s an ad hominem fallacy as well. Be honest.

Have you read the links I provided earlier? If not, we have nothing to talk about. We’ll talk again after you have read the evidence I provided.

October 9, 2009 @ 5:30 pm #

Here’s a more recent one…

http://www.aawsat.com/english/news.asp?section=2&id=18269

October 9, 2009 @ 5:38 pm #

I’m still not sure what Joe’s position is – that Iran does not now have a nuclear program, and didn’t have one in 2003, so therefore the NIE was not lying, or that he doesn’t have any idea what Iran’s nuclear program is or was but he’s certain that the NIE was not lying.

I think it’s the latter. Since he’s certain the NIE was not lying, it’s up to you to prove that it was – if that’s your position(I think it is, and I agree). In order to prove that it was, you have to provide conclusive evidence that not only was Iran working on a nuclear weapons program at that time, but that the NIE had knowledge of it.
Of course, if it’s true that Iran had a program to develop nuclear weapons and the NIE _didn’t_ know it, they wouldn’t be lying – they’d just be incompetent.

Would that be preferable?

In any case…

There are none so blind as those who _will_ not see.

October 9, 2009 @ 5:41 pm #

Here’s another interesting article that indirectly addresses the matter. Note that it states that the facility was under construction in 2006…would such a facility be built if there were no program for it to work on?

http://warincontext.org/2009/09/26/locating-irans-secret-nuclear-facility/

October 9, 2009 @ 5:50 pm #

Yet another with additional information on the nuclear history of Iran…

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/iran/6235516/Discovering-Irans-secret-nuclear-plant-has-wiped-off-Mahmoud-Ahmadinejads-smile.html

October 9, 2009 @ 6:09 pm #

Suek,

I did not say that I am certain that Iran is not trying to obtain a nuclear weapon. I am aware that Iran has a nuclear program.

The NIE report, published in 2007, said that Iran had abandoned its attempts to obtain a NUCLEAR WEAPON in 2003. Phil said the report, and the particular claim about Iran stopping its attempts to obtain a nuclear weapon, was a “partisan lie” and that everyone but “hardcore leftists” knew this.

I said that Phil’s claim that the NIE report was a partisan lie was a conclusory allegation that had yet to be proven. I said it involves three sub facts that are all open to dispute.

So, my stated position is that Phil’s claim – that the 2007 NIE report was a partisan lie, put out by power lusting leftist traitors running the US intelligence agencies in 2007 – is an irresponsible and unproven claim. If you read Phil’s original post, you’ll see pretty clearly that this was Phil’s position

My actual view, hitherto unstated – but what the hell – is that it is a preposterous claim. It is classic conspiracy theory thinking. The preposterous part, by the way, is not Phil’s claim that the NIE report was false or that it was a deliberate lie – those claims are debatable – I’ve yet to be convinced, but its certainly possible. The preposterous part is Phil’s claim that power-lusting leftists were running our intelligence services in 2007, during the Bush Administration.

No need to beat a dead horse Phil. You can have the last word.

Joe H

October 9, 2009 @ 6:42 pm #

>>The preposterous part is Phil’s claim that power-lusting leftists were running our intelligence services in 2007, during the Bush Administration.>>

Read Timmerman’s book. You need to broaden your horizons – read more than law books!

October 9, 2009 @ 9:15 pm #

The preposterous part is Phil’s claim that power-lusting leftists were running our intelligence services in 2007, during the Bush Administration.

I’ll answer Joe in greater detail when I have time, but this needs comment now.

Joe, you need to consider that the Executive branch of government employs more than 700,000 people, and most of them are career civil servants not subject to Presidential appointment. Even in high-profile departments like State and the CIA, most of the employees are permanent and full-time, and not subject to Presidential appointment. The President appoints, if anybody, the top seat in the hierarchy, and that’s all. And recall that Bush did not even appoint that seat — he retained Clinton’s CIA head, George Tenet, and left the rest of CIA’s hierarchy intact as well. You also need to understand that the personality traits and attitudes that commonly occur among conservatives, predispose them to reject “government work” unless it’s military, and that as a consequence of this, the Democratic party represents a large majority among federal government employees. Though there are apparently conservatives in the field at CIA, the Langley hierarchy is notoriously Democratic, and has been for quite a while. This is not widely known, so I understand your surprise, but it’s a fact. The same is true at State. I’m not making this up.

You also need to consider that a large percentage of Democrats genuinely felt that George W. Bush stole the 2000 election, and made a great deal of noise during the early days of the administration to the effect that he was “not my President.” Couple that outrage with a hierarchy trained in subterfuge and psychological warfare, and you have a prescription for mischief.

I understand that the above does not prove my thesis. What I’m attempting here, briefly, is explaining why a thesis like this might be credible. There is no reason on earth why the CIA might not have been largely left-leaning during the Bush years, and also largely hostile to Bush personally. It’s not outrageous at all; in fact, one might even expect it to have been so.

October 9, 2009 @ 10:06 pm #

Phil, all one has to do to see how silly your thesis is to ask why the power lusting, lefty, Bush haters populating our national security aparatus during his administration didn’t undermine President Bush on Iraq? Why didn’t they undermine Bush’s claims about WMDs, the war’s likely costs, and so forth, particularly when so many of those claims were so spectacularly wrong?

Sure Phil, anything is possible. But now you’re accusing a whole lot more people of treason. To carry off what you say was an intentional lie, a substantial number of people within several different intelligence agencies had to be involved. And others, who later read the report had to be willing to remain silent even when they knew the conclusion was precisely the opposite of what the government actually believed.

I’m sorry Phil. The thesis that leftist traitors within our government intelligence agencies conspired to publish a knowingly false report on Iranian nuclear activities in order to hobble our government politically and thereby facilitate Iran’s ability to develop a nuclear weapon is . . . well . . .

Whatever!

Joe

October 10, 2009 @ 6:33 am #

Phil, all one has to do to see how silly your thesis is to ask why the power lusting, lefty, Bush haters populating our national security aparatus during his administration didn’t undermine President Bush on Iraq?

Simple. They did.

And it wasn’t the “national security apparatus.” It was rogue elements within the CIA and State.

Don’t you recall all the leaks to the New York Times at critical moments? Where do you suppose they came from? Don’t you recall the Wilson-Plame affair? Who was it that wrote the assessment that there were probably no WMDs in Iraq — after examining 1/4 of 1% of possible locations, and after David Kay had accurately produced an interim report exposing the existence of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons programs?

Joe, you need to consider what sort of intellect says of a thesis “this is silly” without examining even the first sliver of evidence supporting it. That’s what you’re doing. I don’t generally fall for conspiracy theories, but I do examine what they’re saying and consider what evidence they have. That’s why I can, for example, explain to you why it’s unreasonable to think that anything other than a Boeing 757 hit the Pentagon on 9/11, or why the thesis that WTC 7 collapsed due to a controlled explosion is provably incorrect.

October 12, 2009 @ 11:38 am #

Two people walk into a room and one of them says “look there’s a table” and the other says “what table”; it is at this point that all worthwhile discussion ceases because one of these people are disconnected from reality as we understand it. Nor does it matter if there is a table there or not, what matters is that there is disagreement about something so basic.

The table in the middle of this room is whether Iran had an active nuclear program in 2003 contrary to what the NIE report claimed, and I might add, “with high confidence”. So Joe, was there an ongoing nuclear program in Iran in 2003 or not? Because, if there is disagreement about this any further discussion is pointless.

On the other hand if there is agreement on this basic question then there would seem to be only two possible conclusions.

1. Our National Intelligence community is so incredibly incompetent that they are not to be trusted no way no how! And in fact we would be better off without them.

2. They know that the report was false when they released it, and in fact we would still be better off without them.

So again, which is it Joe, was there really no ongoing nuclear program in Iran in 2003 or is our National Intelligence community so incredibly incompetent and/or corrupted?
To take a line from Phil, “we are so screwed”, Dale…

October 12, 2009 @ 1:25 pm #

Dale,

The question is not whether Iran had or has a nuclear program. The question is whether they were still attempting to develop a nuclear WEAPON, or whether they had abandoned their attempts to acquire such a weapon in 2003, as the NIE reported.

The answer, as far as I can tell from the available evidence, is “we don’t know.” However, Iran has agreed to allow international inspections of the enriching facility at the center of the current controversy, and this supports their contention that the facility is designed to produce fuel for domestic energy production, not weapons.

The reason I brought this up in the first place is that claims like “the NIE report was a partisan lie” and that “everyone execpt hard core leftists knows this” are really over the top. They confidently presume the truth of facts that have not only not been confirmed, but which are extremely implausible.

I mean, even if the NIE report was false, and even if we confirmed that our intelligence officials knew it was false when they published it, is a “partisan lust for power” the most plausible explanation of their behavior? Wouldn’t their belief that war with Iran was too costly or imprudent, similarly account for – what would admittedly be – criminal behavior in publishing a false report?

I’ve yet to see evidence that: (1) the NIE report was/is false; (2) that our intelligence officials knew it was false when they published it; (3) that partisan lust for power was the motivating factor for their publishing the report.

I’m just trying to help you all stay in touch with reality.

Joe H.

October 12, 2009 @ 1:46 pm #

One more thing,

I looked through the materials supplied by your readers. Some of the things they pointed to raised questions that should be answered, but none of it rose to the level of convincing evidence for any of the claims embodied in the claims I criticized.

Your “partisan” theory also overlooks the obvious alternative thesis that many people within the Bush administration were genuinely horrified at the lawless policies initiated by the Bush administration. Declarations of unlimited executive powers? Secret prisons? Torture? Secret illegal warrantless wiretapping? Politization of the Justice Department? Etc. These are genuinely horrifying things in terms what America is supposed to be.

There’s no way to describe people like John Dean, Bruce Fein, and Colin Powel’s assistant Col. Wilsinson, as “leftists” and yet each of these men called for Bush’s impeachment.

Resistance to the Bush administration need not be understood in partisan terms. There were plenty of reasons for conservatives to oppose president Bush that had nothing to do with progressive sentiments. I fully admit that I never liked the man. But I think very differently about him now than I did at the beginning of his presidency.

Joe H.

October 12, 2009 @ 4:54 pm #

Your “partisan” theory also overlooks the obvious alternative thesis that many people within the Bush administration were genuinely horrified at the lawless policies initiated by the Bush administration.

My theory overlooks that alternative because it’s just an instance of the sort of conclusory allegation you mentioned earlier. The only people who regarded the Bush administration of having committed horrifically lawless policies were progressives (with a few libertarian exceptions noted below), who would have also regarded the sort of undermining of Bush policies that we’re talking about as appropriate defense of the Constitution. Basically, you’re simply endorsing my theory but putting a progressive spin on it.

Anybody who can’t call John Dean a leftist is probably not aware of his more recent writing. I don’t know Colin Powell’s assistant, so cannot comment on him. Bruce Fein is one of a number of right-leaning commentators who, like those on the far left, felt as though the Bush administration policies were over the top. Ron Paul and Pat Buchanan, I believe, took similar positions. The fact that such people exist has no bearing whatsoever on the topic we’re discussing; how does the existence of a person with a certain position on the right, mitigate against there being others on the left with similar positions who are abusing their positions within the government? The same is true about resistance to the Bush administration in general; I personally opposed his Medicare plan, his education plan, his border policies, his TARP collaboration — really, nearly everything other than his foreign policy, his judicial appointments (aside from Harriet) and his opposition to partial birth abortions and federal funding of ethically questionable research — but that has nothing to do with cadres of rogues in CIA and State deliberately undermining foreign policy initiatives.

Your list of horrifying things in the Bush administration are what I would expect from a progressive; yes, those are on the list of scare words and manufactured crises produced by the Democrats in their morally offensive and intellectually indefensible efforts to smear the President these past 8 years. I’m not going to rehash those discussions; I will simply say that we not only disagree on the substance of those descriptions, but that I regard those who recite them as either morally reprehensible, delusional, or dangerously gullible.

October 12, 2009 @ 5:30 pm #

Joe, I admit I used the words nuclear program as if it was the same as nuclear WEAPON. And, you did answer my question, as far as you’re concerned there’s no table in the room. Any sensible person would be highly suspicious of ANY claims made by Iran that all they want to do is generate power. I mean it’s not as if we have to guess at their intentions, they’ve told us many times over what they want to do. I know when I first read about that report that it was BS. The only way you could believe it was to stick a finger in both ears and then go la la la la la as loud as you could. Well Joe you can believe what you want, but Iran is going to end up with nuclear weapons and the ability to deliver them, and our gas bag of a President is going to be totally unable to deal with it. La la la la la

October 12, 2009 @ 5:57 pm #

When Iran delivers a nuclear right into the heart of Israel…_then_ Joe’ll believe that they have a nuclear weapons program.

Of course, it’ll be a bit late then…at least for the Israelis. Is Joe an anti-semite?

Is there a reason for Joe not to believe the Iranians when they state flat out that they intend to wipe Israel off the face of the earth?

Do you consider the Iranians to be liars, Joe?

October 12, 2009 @ 6:20 pm #

Joe Huster has been maintaining for several days that the post under which this discussion occurs is irresponsible in its treatment of the facts. His latest articulation of that argument came in his response to Dale:

The question is not whether Iran had or has a nuclear program. The question is whether they were still attempting to develop a nuclear WEAPON, or whether they had abandoned their attempts to acquire such a weapon in 2003, as the NIE reported.

The answer, as far as I can tell from the available evidence, is “we don’t know…”

I’m just trying to help you all stay in touch with reality.

While I’m happy to acknowledge that the article here states conclusions of my own, and that the supporting evidence underlying some of these conclusions is less than proof positive, I think that it is Joe who needs to be jolted back to reality.

The evidence that Iran has been engaged for some time in a) learning to enrich uranium to weapons grade, b) learning to assemble the components of a nuclear bomb, and c) learning to deliver such a weapon using medium-range ballistic missiles, is very strong. The evidence has been presented publicly not only by the IAEA, but also by German, British, and Israeli intelligence. In addition to the facts supplied in the article to which I link at the very top of the post, this article from the New York Times documents a number of the specific details that have come to light recently, suggesting that the Iranians have been actively engaged in one task or another pursuant to building nuclear weapons since 2002. Several of the articles suek supplied demonstrate the same thing.

That the construction and operation of the Qom facility has been underway for several years without notifying the IAEA, as international treaty apparently requires, is not in question. The charge that the Iranians only reported the facility after it became evident that the world knew of it, is literally true; I would say that the burden of proof here rests squarely on anybody who wants to argue that Iran just “forgot to mention it.” Just a few weeks ago, the IAEA announced that Iran had acquired enough information to build a nuclear device; does anybody suggest that this information simply marched up to Iranian scientists and said “Here, use me?” Don’t be ridiculous; they acquired it because they were looking for it.

This is a radical regime that has announced to the world its intention of attacking and destroying our allies in Israel, and repeatedly tells home audiences that the US and Israel “will soon come to the ends of their lives.” This regime has trained, funded, and controlled several paramilitary organizations whose primary purpose is to attack and destroy Israel. This same regime engaged in war by proxy against the US in Iraq, and has issued dire threats against the US. They refer to the US as “the great satan,” and their President gives speeches publicly articulating Muslim apocalyptics in which nuclear conflagration serves to produce the will of Allah. They expel dozens of IAEA examiners, and then claim they are cooperating with them. If we are going to make any error with these nutballs, it had better be on the side of safety — and by “safety,” I mean assuming the worst and doing the utmost to prevent them from carrying out the threats they have already issued.

To say “we don’t know” is not just wrong, but grotesquely irresponsible. We do know. What we don’t know is the extent to which they have progressed. This knowledge is not strictly possible in a world of subterfuge and espionage. It’s also fairly well irrelevant. We know they want to, and we know they have been trying to. Again, given the level of knowledge around the world, and given the stated intentions of the nation itself, the burden of proof at this point rests squarely on those who want to maintain that Iran is just a peaceful Muslim state trying to defend itself (with aggressive threats and medium-range offensive missiles.)

The NIE that we’re discussing was issued in December of 2007, and claimed that Iran stopped trying to build a nuclear device ‘way back in 2003. It now comes out that the US intelligence agencies knew about the Qom facility even while issuing this NIE. It has been evident all along that Iran was enriching uranium using the facilities it already had on hand. Even when the NIE was issued, it argued a position opposite statements made by one of its authors just 4 months prior, and it argued a position that flew in the face of evidence available to the British at the time.

That the NIE effectively prevented any vigorous response to Iran’s nuclear threat is beyond question; that it was intended to do so has already been supported, and by a progressive author. That it was consistent with a number of other actions taken by intelligence and diplomatic professionals during the Bush years is also pretty hard to question; the only question is whether these actions were organized and deliberate.

I think that they were, and I will say so. You may disagree, but to say that my position is “conspiracy theory” is nothing but pejorative talk; it’s “conspiracy theory” being discussed by US Representatives and major conservative columnists on the basis of solid investigative reporting, and about which books have been written. If those books had been addressed and rebutted with facts, like the “Truther” books have, that would be one thing; but they have not even been acknowledged, let alone rebutted.

You’re going to have to do better than say “It’s just not believable,” Joe. The burden of proof here is on you, and you’re not within a light year of meeting it.

October 12, 2009 @ 7:14 pm #

>>Several of the articles suek supplied demonstrate the same thing.>>

I get the feeling that he ignores links provided. It seems to me that he thinks he knows all he needs to know to make judgments.

October 12, 2009 @ 10:26 pm #

Phil et al,

It is not irresponsible to say we don’t know. I read the articles you pointed to, and they were far from definitive. All of the claims were qualified with statements that the findings are “preliminary.” Some of the officials even said things like “no hard evidence.”

You’ll note that I’ve never denied that Iran is attempting to build a nuclear weapon. Quite frankly, I’d be suprised if they weren’t attempting to acquire one. It would be a very rational thing for them to want. But that’s not hard evidence. Yes, there appears to be some scattered evidence that they at least want the knowledge of how to build one. And American officials are revaluating their 2007 conclusions, as they always do.

But that’s not conclusive evidence.

Nothing that I’ve seen from your sources demonstrates that the 2007 NIE was incorrect. It may have been incorrect. There are reasons to question its accuracy. But there is no definitive proof that it was wrong – as your own sources make clear.

There is certainly not sufficient evidence to call the NIE Report a “lie,” much less a “partisan lie.”

If you’ll all recall, we were talking about Phil’s claim that the NIE report was a “partisan lie,” perpetuated by “power lusting lefties inside our intelligence agancies.” Even if I conceeded, for the sake of the argument, that the NIE report was false, there is still no evidence that American intelligence officials knew it was false. Thus, there is no evidence that they intentionally lied.

Additionally, there has been no evidence presented in this forum that the intelligence officials lied based on a “partisan lust for power.” We have seen no evidence that they were leftists, much less partisan leftists.

Phil’s post was not about Iran. Phil was smearing political opponents with a baseless and irresponsible claim – that they committed treason in their quest for political power and, in the process, intentionally facilitated Iran’s ability to acquire a nuclear weapon. The only support anyone has offered for that proposition is Phil’s statement that “everyone except hard core leftists knows it was a lie.”

Most of you keep wandering away from this issue. But I’ll ask you all once more: What evidence is there that American intelligence officials knew that the 2007 NIE report was false? What evidence is there that they believed it was false? What evidence is there that their belief in its truth was unreasonable?

If you tell me that the evidence was in the links you provided, I’ll simply say that that evidence is way too tentative and incomplete to base such a conclusion on.

Then, assuming for the sake of the argument that American officials knew or thought the report might be false, what evidence exists indicating that their motives were “partisan power lust”? Aren’t there equally or more plausible alternative explanations – perhaps they thought a war with Iran would be catastrophic for the US and the rest of the world (which it likely would be) without solving the nuclear problem, and these officials wanted to do their part to prevent it. Granted, we have good reasons for not wanting unelected officials setting public policy, but attempting to do so is not necessarily partisan.

How can any of you possibly rule the other explanations and determine, without any hesitation, that the report was a “partisan lie” perpetuated by traitorous lefties in the intelligence departments – which still seems like a completely preposterous proposition to me, despite Phil’s explanation.

My point all along, has been to try to point out how irresponsible and counter-productive such smear rhetoric is. No one who thinks they are correct on the merits ever needs to smear and/or demonize their opponents. It makes dialogue impossible.

Anti-semite Suek? Please.

Anyway, you all can have the last word on this (for real this time). Unless you present evidence for the “lie” and “partisan” elements of Phil’s claim, I’ve said all I want on the subject.

Joe
Joe H.

October 13, 2009 @ 12:07 am #

“Of course, it’ll be a bit late then…at least for the Israelis. Is Joe an anti-semite? ”

The guerrilla is back! The Viet Cong and Al Qaeda would be proud!

October 13, 2009 @ 9:45 am #

But that’s not conclusive evidence.

So, your entire argument rests on the assertion that since more conclusive information is not available regarding the actions of foreign governments, it’s improper to draw conclusions and take actions. I think if the US government took your position, no foreign policy would ever be carried out, nor would conversation about it be possible. Much hay can be made by applying different standards of evidence to places where they don’t actually belong (like insisting on logical proof for carrying out national defense) but policy cannot be made in this manner.

If the current level of knowledge is not sufficient for Joe, we can take comfort in the fact — and fact, it is — that it’s sufficient for the governments of Russia, Germany, France, Britain, Israel, and the US. Fortunately for us, Joe’s obtuseness does not have a wide following.

Phil’s post was not about Iran. Phil was smearing political opponents with a baseless and irresponsible claim – that they committed treason in their quest for political power and, in the process, intentionally facilitated Iran’s ability to acquire a nuclear weapon. The only support anyone has offered for that proposition is Phil’s statement that “everyone except hard core leftists knows it was a lie.”

Actually, a great deal more support was offered — only, it was offered in the form of lists of links, titles of books, etc.

Joe, you seem not to understand a fundamental distinction, the distinction between claims about which no support exists, and claims about which you, yourself, have not examined the support. The limits of your personal knowledge are not the limits of all available knowledge. Nor is it my responsibility, on this blog, to provide directly to you all possible knowledge on a given subject. A claim is irresponsible if it’s made without support; the definition of “without support” is not “without Joe having seen the support.”

I recommend that you read Kenneth Timmerman’s book, Shadown Warriors. That’s not the definitive standard on the subject, but it is a single-point collection of data and discussion by a recognized, responsible journalist. If, after reading his book, you’re still convinced that there existed no active effort within the Executive branch to undermine the Bush administration’s foreign policy initiatives, then I’ll respect your opinion on that subject. In the meantime, though, you’ll have to accept my assurance that my opinion on the subject is based on more information than I can offer in a succinct form in my Comments section.

Short version: just because YOU have not read what I’ve read, does not make my claims based on my knowledge irresponsible.

Your efforts to protect your own ignorance are impressive, in a curious way. The claims you base on that ignorance are meaningless — but they’re alarming, if it’s understood that a lot of people think the way you do.

October 13, 2009 @ 10:57 am #

This article is tangentially related – not directly – but is worth a read if you have a spare 5 minutes.

http://pajamasmedia.com/ejectejecteject/2009/10/12/mirroring-and-compromise/

October 13, 2009 @ 11:49 am #

>>The guerrilla is back! The Viet Cong and Al Qaeda would be proud!>>

I take it then that you think that the fate of Israel is irrelevant to the discussion of Iran’s nuclear ambitions?

October 13, 2009 @ 3:59 pm #

I know, I know. I said I’d give you the last word Phil but, I have to point out the obvious.

> If, after reading his book, you’re still convinced that there existed no active effort within the Executive branch to undermine the Bush administration’s foreign policy initiatives >

For the last time – we were not discussing the premise in the sentence above – except tangentally – as it related to my belief that your claim that “leftist traitors” were in control of our intelligence agencies in 2007 – is preposterous. I don’t doubt that there was an active resistance to Bush’s Foriegn policy within the executive branch. There always is such resistance. Nothing I said indicates that I thought there was no resistance.

What I doubt, and what I think is preposterous, . . . focus now . . . is your claim that this resistance was the product of “leftist power lust.”

Recall once again – and for the last time – you claimed that the 2007 NIE Report was a partisan lie perpetuated by power lusting leftists who had effective control of our intelligence agencies. Nothing you’ve said so far has established conclusively that: (1) the NIE report was wrong; (2) that our intelligence agencies knew it was wrong with they published it (3) that the people who published it were leftists; and (4) that they published it as part of a strategy to gain politcal power.

My entire argument is not, as you put it:

“So, your entire argument rests on the assertion that since more conclusive information is not available regarding the actions of foreign governments, it’s improper to draw conclusions and take actions.”

My argument is that you should not accuse political opponents of treason (by lying) unless you can provide pretty good evidence for all the elements of that claim. If you want to go further with this discussion, please stay on this point.

Joe H.

October 13, 2009 @ 4:30 pm #

Pointless.

He’s blind by choice.

October 13, 2009 @ 9:15 pm #

Suek,

Yes, I see blindness too…only from a different quarter. What Joe is after makes perfectly good sense, and this discussion casts light on my “demonization” comment from a few posts ago.

What’s a better word than “demonization” – it sound like the wrong one to me. But Joe is asking that we hold ourselves to a very high standard of proof before we start lofting terms like “treason” around. And there isn’t anything close to proof here.

Or Suek, is it okay to slander someone just because they disagree with me politically?

It feels like a lot of people here REALLY REALLY WANT the unproven charges to be true…and, scary enough, likely want someone to take matters into their own hands and go do something about it.

No?

October 14, 2009 @ 11:33 am #

The very high proof that Joe – and you – demand is entirely appropriate for the courtroom.

It is _not_ appropriate for normal human interactions. What’s more, we’re talking about motivations here. There’s no way to determine a person’s motivations. Even if they tell you what their motivations are – because people lie. They’ll tell you what they’re “supposed” to tell you – every time. Sometimes they’re true – sometimes they’re not.

As for “demonization”…who am I supposed to be demonizing? Those I think were deliberately sabotaging the President’s stated policy or Joe?

How do you define “demonizing”?

What have I said that you consider to be slander? I think you’re slandering me when you say I’m demonizing…whoever.

Any disagreement is demonizing and/or slander?

October 14, 2009 @ 3:38 pm #

What I doubt, and what I think is preposterous, . . . focus now . . . is your claim that this resistance was the product of “leftist power lust.”

Please. I’m dizzy from the shifting targets.

What would you prefer that I attribute this behavior to?

October 16, 2009 @ 4:40 pm #

Just an add on that I ran across today. I’m not sure what to make of it – other than ElBaradei is working for the islamists. Which is what I’ve suspected for some time now… He walks a tightrope, but as careful as he is, he’s still a muslim – first and foremost.

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1121587.html

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