Sometimes - not too often, mind! - one has a brief feeling of sympathy for our 'inglorious leaders'. As we have discussed before on this blog, the situation in Iran is poised dangerously in that cliché between a rock and a hard place. The problem is that no-one is too sure which is the rock and which is the hard place, and nor does anyone seem too know for certain precisely how hard either of them are in reality. Pity the poor President - oh, go on, give it a try! He has now been presented with an intelligence report which represents the combined views of sixteen US intelligence agencies (Sixteen?!) My immediate thought was that any report upon which sixteen different bureaucracies can agree is probably waste-bin material! Even so, there appear to be have been some subtle minds at work on this particular effort which comes to us from The LA Times quoted in The American Thinker with my emphasis:
A highly classified U.S. intelligence assessment circulated to policymakers early last year largely affirms that view, originally made in 2007. Both reports, known as national intelligence estimates, conclude that Tehran halted efforts to develop and build a nuclear warhead in 2003.
The most recent report, which represents the consensus of 16 U.S. intelligence agencies, indicates that Iran is pursuing research that could put it in a position to build a weapon, but that it has not sought to do so.
Although Iran continues to enrich uranium at low levels, U.S. officials say they have not seen evidence that has caused them to significantly revise that judgment. Senior U.S. officials say Israel does not dispute the basic intelligence or analysis.
So, the Iranians are lining up all their nuclear bits and pieces but are not actually assembling them - yet! But, and here you can see the subtle minds at work in the higher reaches of the intelligence agency bureaucracies, it is "a known known" that President 'Peace 'n' Love' Obama would do anything, including surrender, to avoid going to war and this 'intelligence report' meets his needs precisely, as The American Thinker points out:
President Obama has been very careful in saying that we would not allow Iran to build a weapon. In other words, until we have conclusive evidence that Iran isn't merely preparing to build a bomb, but is actually constructing a weapon, we will take no action.
So which came first, the presidential chicken or the intelligence agency egg? The Israelis, of course, cannot afford the luxoury of such subtle parsing and will strike as and when they are convinced that "there is no alternative", as another very tough and realistic politican once said. In an uncertain world I am content to leave it to the Israelis to decide if and when.