Diplomacy Is Cheaper Than War

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Memo To: Sen.
John Edwards [ D NC]
From: Jude Wanniski
Re: Iran's u201CNuclear Weapons Programu201D

I caught you
on a film clip last night, Senator, where you were blasting President
Bush for diverting resources from the war on terrorism to the war
in Iraq. If I'm not mistaken, you also criticized him for allowing
Iran and North Korea to develop nuclear weapons programs on his
watch. The fact is, Senator, that neither Iran nor North Korea have
nuclear weapons programs. As best I can tell, you and the rest of
the American people have been misled to that belief in the same
way the neo-cons in the Bush administration fooled you on Iraq.
They had almost everyone persuaded, including you and Senator Kerry,
that Saddam Hussein had an arsenal of weapons of mass destruction
or at least ongoing programs. I noted an informal poll last night
on CNN where the audience responded two-to-one in the belief that
Iran at the present time has an ongoing nuclear weapons program.
It does not. I've been pointing out for some time now that these
fictions have been cooked up by John Bolton, the Undersecretary
of State for Non-Proliferation, a junior officer in the neo-con
bureaucratic army that is devoted to the use of force to get what
it wants.

What they
count on is a national press corps that dutifully reports whatever
they say in their background briefings. Bolton clearly misrepresents
what the provisions of the nuclear nonproliferation treaty (NPT)
and the charter of the International Atomic Energy Agency permit
a signator to do or not do. The other day I wrote in this space
that New York Times reporter Stephen Weisman acknowledged
to me in an e-mail that he should have written u201Csuspected nuclear
weapons programu201D in his dispatch on the dispute with Iran, not its
u201Cnuclear weapons program,u201D as if it were a fact. In yesterday's
LATimes, reporters Maggie Farley and Tyler Marshall did write
that u201CIran denies such ambitions,u201D but added that u201Cinspections by
the U.N.’s nuclear energy agency have not provided conclusive evidence
of an arms program.u201D In fact, if the reporters were sticklers for
accuracy, they would have reported the IAEA has u201CNO evidence of
an Iranian arms program.u201D Not conclusive, but NO evidence!

Of course
you can't take my word for it, Senator, but if you would ask around
at least you will find that Iran has absolutely, totally agreed
to live by the strictest terms of the NPT, the Nuclear Safeguards
Agreement, and the latest protocol of the IAEA. The latter permits
perpetual inspections by the IAEA, including spot inspections of
any suspected site anywhere inside Iran. Because you and Senator
Kerry have been sharply critical of how President Bush allowed himself
to be bamboozled into the unnecessary war with Iraq, you should
be careful or you will find yourself retracing those same steps
in seeming to authorize the use of force against Iran.

You surely
must have heard that Israel has been making distinct threats from
Jerusalem in recent weeks, suggesting it may have to send its Air
Force to Iran, to blow up suspected nuclear sites. Israel has also
announced plans to buy 500 u201Cbunker bustersu201D from the Pentagon, bombs
designed to blow up underground suspected sites. You ask me: u201CBut
hasn't Iran said it will permit IAEA inspectors to look at any and
all suspected sites?u201D Yes, but so did Saddam Hussein, and the inspectors
crawled all over Iraq looking for the sites, and when they found
nothing, the Bush administration declared war anyway. See what I
mean? The neo-cons do what they feel like doing.

Because our
national press corps is so weak when it comes to asking these kinds
of questions, and is now forever having to apologize for letting
the barn door open AFTER the horses are all gone, about the best
you can do is watch the PBS Lehrer News Hour for useful information.
PBS does not have to survive on a commercial basis, so it can resist
special interest pressures. If you missed the show September 27,
I'll provide the link here so you can review the Ray
Suarez interview of Iran's Foreign Minister
, Kamal Kharazzi.
As you will see, Kharazzi is stating as explicitly as he can that
nobody has to fear an Iranian nuke, not because he asks us to trust
Tehran, but because his government is offering to submit to the
strictest regime that can be devised. And, by the way, the Iranian
government foots the bill for the UN's IAEA inspectors.

Even before
the PBS interview, it was clear to Dr. Gordon Prather, a nuclear
physicist who was the army's chief scientist in the Reagan years,
what Iran was committing itself to do. Here is his Sept. 25 column
“Iran's Golden Offer.”

After you
check this out, Senator, please pass the word to the top of the
ticket, as I think Senator Kerry may also be relying on what he
is reading in the papers and thinks the President should u201Ccrack
downu201D on Tehran instead of simply accepting this golden offer.

30, 2004

Wanniski [send him mail]
runs the financial/political advisory service Wanniski.com.
(If you subscribe,
and check LewRockwell.com
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