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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Dec. 10, 2007 / 1 Teves 5768

A reassuring Iran report? Hardly

By Jeff Jacoby

Jeff Jacoby
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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Now that the new National Intelligence Estimate on Iran's nuclear intentions has had a few days to cool off, how does it look? A few reflections:


1. Iran's nuclear program is alive and well. Yes, I know — the very first of the NIE's "key judgments," the one that launched a thousand headlines, is that "Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program" in the fall of 2003. But what that first sentence giveth, a footnote to that sentence taketh away: "By 'nuclear weapons program,' " explains Footnote 1, "we mean Iran's nuclear weapon design and weaponization work. . . . we do not mean Iran's declared civil work related to uranium conversion and enrichment."


But that's a distinction without a difference, since the accumulation of enriched uranium is by far the most important component in developing nuclear weapons. Iran's "civil" uranium enrichment — those 3,000 spinning centrifuges at the Natanz facility in central Iran — continues unabated, in defiance of Security Council resolutions ordering that it stop. Whether the nuclear-fuel program is labeled "civilian" or "military" is irrelevant. The more uranium the mullahs enrich, the closer they are to getting the bomb.


The NIE concludes that Iran suspended its "nuclear weapons program" — the actual designing of a nuclear warhead — due to international pressure. But what if Iran halted the work because it has already come up with a satisfactory design, and now awaits only the enriched uranium to make a weapon? Just last month, the International Atomic Energy Agency reported that Iran possesses the engineering specs to shape uranium into the hemispheres needed for the core of a nuclear bomb. What other blueprints does Tehran already have?


2. The NIE is not very reassuring. Once you get past the attention-grabbing opening line, the estimate is far from a sunburst of good news. For starters, it is the first NIE to explicitly acknowledge the existence of a covert nuclear-weapons program in Iran. It has only "moderate" confidence that the regime hasn't resumed that covert effort, and it admits: "We do not know whether it currently intends to develop nuclear weapons."


Moreover, the 16 intelligence agencies whose consensus the NIE reflects "cannot rule out that Iran has acquired from abroad . . . a nuclear weapon or enough fissile material for a weapon." They have no doubt that "Tehran at a minimum is keeping open the option to develop nuclear weapons." And they are sure "that Iran has the scientific, technical, and industrial capacity eventually to produce nuclear weapons." Feel better? Me neither.


3. Chalk up another win for the Iraq war. If the NIE is taken at face value, the mullahs stopped their efforts to weaponize uranium in 2003 "primarily in response to international pressure." Now to what could that be referring? There is only one plausible candidate: the US-led invasion of Iraq and toppling of Saddam Hussein. Add the Iranians' purported nuclear retreat, then, to the list of dividends generated by the Iraq war: The overthrow of the Arab world's bloodiest tyranny. The surrender by Muammar Qadhafi of Libya's weapons of mass destruction. The arrest of A.Q. Khan, the sleazy Pakistani scientist who for 15 years had been trafficking nuclear technology to Libya, Iran, and North Korea. The withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon.


The failures of the Iraq war are frequently denounced. All the more reason to take note of its accomplishments.


4. The intelligence agencies' record for accuracy doesn't inspire confidence. Not everyone embraced the NIE's startling judgment. Even the UN's nuclear inspectors were dubious. "We are more skeptical," an official close to the inspection agency told The New York Times last week. "We don't buy the American analysis 100 percent. We are not that generous with Iran."


Given the history of US intelligence blunders, such skepticism is well warranted. The intelligence community badly underestimated Saddam's nuclear progress before the first Gulf War and badly overestimated his stock of WMDs — a "slam-dunk," George Tenet insisted — on the eve of the 2003 war. It was taken by surprise when Pakistan went nuclear in 1998s, just as it had been stunned when the Soviets went nuclear in 1949. The intelligence agencies didn't expect Japan to attack Pearl Harbor. They didn't foresee North Korea's invasion of South Korea, or the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, or Saddam's invasion of Kuwait. They were blindsided by Sept. 11.


Now they conclude that the Iranians have shelved their nuclear weapons program. Two years ago they concluded the opposite. "Across the board," the bipartisan Robb-Silberman commission found in 2005, "the intelligence community knows disturbingly little about the nuclear programs of many of the world's most dangerous actors." Considering their track record, that sounds about right.

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Jeff Jacoby is a Boston Globe columnist. Comment by clicking here.

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