Our Intelligence, and Theirs Iran, nukes, and geography

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Ron Rosenbaum, journalist (the New York Observer, Slate.com), author, and one of the few liberals to sign on to the ill-fated Pajamas Media fiasco, is damned mad:

“Will all the pundits who relied on the discredited 2007 NIE on Iran now admit that they were wrong? That they bought into and kept citing, without any serious questioning, the now clearly politically skewed analysis in the so-called National Intelligence Estimate of that year? You remember: the considered consensus wisdom of the entire U.S. intelligence community, which misled the world into believing there was nothing to worry about Iran’s nuclear program, that it had virtually ceased.”

Bring in the “congressional intelligence committees”! Heads must roll! Someone call 911 — because those shifty-eyed spooks who gave us the NIE [.pdf] knew, knew about this “secret facility” and still they insisted the Iranians had given up their nuclear weapons program in 2003. Has Tehran infiltrated and taken over the CIA?

Well, uh, no. It’s just that, unlike Rosenbaum, the spooks operate in a world where logic rules and what’s required before reaching a conclusion is something we call “evidence.” This is a matter Rosenbaum and the “bomb-bomb-bomb Iran” crowd couldn’t care less about: Iran is evil, the Qom facility is (or was) secret, so what else do we need to know in order to start World War III? Surely not something so pedestrian and wimpy as solid evidence. After all, it’s only lives — many thousands of lives lost to murderous sanctions, as well as the inevitable war to follow — that are at stake.

The mere fact that the CIA issued their NIE — averring “with high confidence” that the Iranians had ceased their previously undisclosed nuclear weapons program “in the fall of 2003″ — with full knowledge of this sinister, secret facility should tell Rosenbaum something: not that our CIA is a front for the Iranian Republican Guard, but that he knows less than they do about what is really going on in Qom. After all, they’ve had years to conduct surveillance and analysis. Is it possible they know more about Qom than Rosenbaum does?

But of course not. According to Rosenbaum, the NIE was a “lie,” deliberate “disinformation” planted by those traitors in the CIA who ought to be brought up before a congressional committee and grilled until they’re as overdone as Rosenbaum’s histrionics. Yes, and all those pundits, too, who took the NIE as gospel and were “had” — when are they going to “fess up”?

Coming from someone who supported the Iraq war — a war based on completely made-up “intelligence” — Rosenbaum’s posturing takes the cake. But then again, as someone who sees Hitler under every bed, it wasn’t hard for Rosenbaum to be “had,” as he puts it: he and his pro-war confreres on what today passes for the Left — Christopher Hitchens, Paul Berman, and the rest of that Legion of Lost Souls — were ready, willing, and perfectly able to be let themselves be deceived, because they didn’t care one whit for the truth.

They still don’t. The accusation that Iran is going nuclear in order to make a bomb that it plans to drop on Israel is nonsense, and they know it. It is enough for them that Iran exists, and, for some, that it opposes Israel.

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Justin Raimondo [send him mail] is editorial director of Antiwar.com and is the author of An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard and Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement.

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