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January 21, 2006

No Military Option with Iran
Posted by Lorelei Kelly

Joe Cirincione at the Carnegie Endowment has penned an important analysis that cautions policymakers against using military options to break the current nuclear impasse with Iran.  He writes:

There is no need for military strikes against Iran.  The country is five to ten years away from the ability to enrich uranium for fuel or bombs.  Even that estimate, shared by the Defense Intelligence Agency and experts at IISS, ISIS, and University of Maryland assumes Iran goes full-speed ahead and does not encounter any of the technical problems that typically plague such programs. 

He also elaborates on the failure of the Osirak Raid--when Israel bombed an Iraqi reactor on June 7, 1981:

The raid energized Saddam Hussein and Hussein's nuclear ambitions went from a side project to an obsession. He launched a new effort to secretly construct gas centrifuges and other devices (particularly electromagnetic isotope separation units) to produce weapons-grade uranium. The program went underground and mushroomed. "At the beginning we had approximately 500 people working, which increased to 7,000 working after the Israeli bombing," Hamza explained to a Washington audience in November 2000, "The secret program became a much larger and ambitious program.

Read the whole thing here.


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Fact Check: The head of the IAEA, who did say there was zero evidence vis a vis Iraq, was recently interviewed and did not provide a 5-10 year timeframe. Given that the intell agencies of the world were wrong on Iraq one way and wrong on Libya the other way it seems less than prudent for people to state anything with certainty.

What is certain is Iran is pursuing a robust nuclear program that is so secret and extensive there are serious studies floating around saying they can't be taken out by air strikes. However, the notion that a military strike is the wrong option because paradoxically the result will be a stronger program is defeatist and irrational- the original 500 people would have given Iraq nukes in the 1980's while the 7,000 ended up providing no nukes by the time of the Gulf War.

Lane Brody

"What is certain is Iran is pursuing a robust nuclear program that is so secret ...."

If it's so secret, how come it's certain?

"It isn't what we don't know that gets us, it's what we know that ain't so."

If the so-secret nukes can't be taken out with airstrikes, what are we going to do instead? Maybe we can supply the air support for the russians and chinese to invade and occupy iran? Let them try their hand at counter-insurgency and nation-building? Seems unlikely.

Or maybe the argument is that the iranians have given us no possible other choice than to nuke them. Before we did that we'd have to be *sure*. So we're getting sure now.

Why are you repeating these talking-points? You don't always seem like a neocon shill.

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