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August 26, 2008

Office of Special Plans Analysis of Joe Biden
Posted by Ilan Goldenberg

Apparently Michael Rubin has been reminiscing about his old days at the Office of Special Plans where if A = B and B >C then Saddam Hussein must have weapons of mass destruction and be working with Al Qaeda. 

Rubin has one of the sillier pieces I've seen in a long time on Joe Biden's record on Iran.  Naturally, it's in the WAPO op-ed page.  Rubin makes a convoluted and non-sensical argument that A.  Joe Biden supported engagement with the reformist Khatami government of Iran during the late 1990s and first half of this decade.  That B.  During that time trade between Iran and the EU increased.  That C.  A National Intelligence Estimate found that Iran had stopped working on its nuclear weapons program in 2003.  From this he deduces that it's Biden's fault that Iran has moved ahead on its nuclear weapons program because it used increased trade with Europe to fund a nuclear weapons program.  What???

This makes very little sense from a timing perspective.  The NIE did not mention when the nuclear weapons program began.  But apparently the Iranians hid a uranium enrichment program from the world for 18 years.   And the Iranians themselves decided to end it in 2003.  The Europeans increased trade with Iran between 2000 and 2005.  We have no idea how much of those revenues may have gone into a nuclear weapons program that is now defunct anyway.  We have no idea how active the weapons program may have been between 2000 and 2003 and how active it was before.  Rubin basically takes a bunch of unrelated facts and uses them to conclude that Iran must have spent 2000 to 2003 working furiously on its nuclear weapons program and that it did it with money from Europe that somehow Joe Biden was responsible for.  Yup, putting those rigorous analytical skills that he learned that the Office of Special Plans to work.

Rubin also forgets to mention little details.  Like the fact that under this Administration trade with Iran has actually increased ten-fold and is at its highest levels since before the Iranian revolution.  Or the fact that the 2007 NIE concluded that Iran did in fact stop working on its nuclear weapons program in 2003 and was still years away from building a bomb.

Rubin then claims that Biden's vote against Kyl-Lieberman was partisan politics because Biden said that he didn't trust this Administration.  Ummm.... Trying to prevent war with Iran is not exactly a partisan activity.  It's not partisan to fear that an administration that has a track record of escalating conflict and misleading the American public might do it again.  That is in fact the exact opposite of partisan if you believe that war with Iran is against America's interests.

Finally, Rubin uses the fact that some of Biden's statements have been used by the Iranian regime.  Rubin writes

In the Dec. 7, 2007, official sermon, Ayatollah Mohammad Kashani speaking on behalf of Iran's supreme leader, declared, "This Senator [Biden] correctly says Israel could not suppress Hizbullah in Lebanon, so how can the U.S. stand face-to-face with a nation of 70 million? This is the blessing of the Guardianship of the Jurists [the theocracy] . . . which plants such thoughts in the hearts of U.S. senators and forces them to make such confessions." The crowd met his statement with refrains of "Death to America."

First of all.  Biden's statement was factually correct.  But even more importantly, according to Rubin's logic no one should ever say anything about opposing war with Iran and how it is totally impractical because that would only make the Iranians stronger and provide them with propaganda.  That is the precise logic that has brought us the last eight years of disastrous foreign policy.

For a paper that does such great reporting, the Wapo's op-ed pages never cease to disappoint.


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......."For a paper that does such great reporting, the Wapo's op-ed pages never cease to disappoint.".......

It's like a home grown Wall Street Journal: good, sometimes great, reporting and an editorial column good for wrapping fish.

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