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What do we know about Iran’s nuclear ambitions?

6 January 2012

Summary:  What do we know about Iran’s program to build atomic weapons?  For decades Americans have been subjected to saturation bombing by misinformation and outright lies about Iran.  The information from our intelligence agencies has painted a more accurate picture, if we choose to see it.  Sixth in a series; at the end are links to the other chapters.

Contents

The situation is clear, if we would only make the effort to see what our national eyes tells us.

  1. The 2007 National Intelligence Estimate about Iran
  2. The new National Intelligence Estimate about Iran
  3. Another perspective on the new NIE
  4. Other posts in this series
  5. Other articles and resources about Iran’s nuclear program
  6. Other posts about Iran and US intelligence resources

(1)  The 2007 National Intelligence Estimate about Iran

National Intelligence Estimate Iran: Nuclear Intentions and Capabilities, November 2007  — Despite the hysterical criticism following its release, so far its conclusions have proven correct.

Key Judgements

(A)  We judge with high confidence that in fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program; we also assess with moderate-to-high confidence that Tehran at a minimum is keeping open the option to develop nuclear weapons. We judge with high confidence that the halt, and Tehran’s announcement of its decision to suspend its declared uranium enrichment program and sign an Additional Protocol to its Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Safeguards Agreement, was directed primarily in response to increasing international scrutiny and pressure resulting from exposure of Iran’s previously undeclared nuclear work.

(B)  We continue to assess with low confidence that Iran probably has imported at least some weapons-usable fissile material, but still judge with moderate-to-high confidence it has not obtained enough for a nuclear weapon. We cannot rule out that Iran has acquired from abroad — or will acquire in the future — a nuclear weapon or enough fissile material for a weapon. Barring such acquisitions, if Iran wants to have nuclear weapons it would need to produce sufficient amounts of fissile material indigenously — which we judge with high confidence it has not yet done.

(C)  We assess centrifuge enrichment is how Iran probably could first produce enough fissile material for a weapon, if it decides to do so. Iran resumed its declared centrifuge enrichment activities in January 2006, despite the continued halt in the nuclear weapons program. Iran made significant progress in 2007 installing centrifuges at Natanz, but we judge with moderate confidence it still faces significant technical problems operating them.

(D)  Iranian entities are continuing to develop a range of technical capabilities that could be applied to producing nuclear weapons, if a decision is made to do so. For example, Iran’s civilian uranium enrichment program is continuing. We also assess with high confidence that since fall 2003, Iran has been conducting research and development projects with commercial and conventional military applications — some of which would also be of limited use for nuclear weapons.

.
(E)  We do not have sufficient intelligence to judge confidently whether Tehran is willing to maintain the halt of its nuclear weapons program indefinitely while it weighs its options, or whether it will or already has set specific deadlines or criteria that will prompt it to restart the program.

(F)  We assess with moderate confidence that Iran probably would use covert facilities — rather than its declared nuclear sites — for the production of highly enriched uranium for a weapon. A growing amount of intelligence indicates Iran was engaged in covert uranium conversion and uranium enrichment activity, but we judge that these efforts probably were halted in response to the fall 2003 halt, and that these efforts probably had not been restarted through at least mid-2007.

(G)  We judge with high confidence that Iran will not be technically capable of producing and reprocessing enough plutonium for a weapon before about 2015.

(H)  We assess with high confidence that Iran has the scientific, technical and industrial capacity eventually to produce nuclear weapons if it decides to do so.

(2)  The new National Intelligence Estimate about Iran

Early in 2011 that DNI updated the 2007 NIE.  It’s content remain secret, although there has been an aggressive program of leaks — apparently designed to influence public opinion.  Of course there have been no announcements of efforts to identify and arrest the criminals responsible for these leaks.

(a)  The Secretary of Defense tells us the simple truth

“Are they {Iran} trying to develop a nuclear weapon? No.”
— SecDef Leon Panetta interviewed on “Face the Nation“, CBS, 8 January 2012

(b)  The Director of National Intelligence tells the Senate about the new NIE

Here is a cautious and professional statement about the new conclusions by James R. Clapper (Director of National Intelligence) before the Senate Intelligence Committee on 16 February 2011 – From the DNI website; here is a transcript of the full hearing (with Q&A).  Here is the section discussing Iran.  Unlike the hot fantasies of the war hawks, his remarks suggest that the new NIE agrees with the 2007 NIE.

The Iranian regime continues to flout UN Security Council restrictions on its nuclear and missile programs.  There is a real risk that its nuclear program will prompt other countries in the Middle East to pursue nuclear options.

We continue to assess Iran is keeping open the option to develop nuclear weapons in part by developing various nuclear capabilities that better position it to produce such weapons, should it choose to do so.  We do not know, however, if Iran will eventually decide to build nuclear weapons.

One of the most important capabilities Iran is developing is uranium enrichment, which can be used for either civil or weapons purposes.  As reported by the IAEA, the number of centrifuges installed at Iran’s enrichment plant has grown significantly from about 3,000 centrifuges in late 2007 to over 8,000 currently installed.  At the same time, the number of operating centrifuges that are enriching uranium has grown at a much slower pace from about 3,000 centrifuges in 2007 to about 4,800 in late 2010.  Iran has used these centrifuges to produce more than 3,000 kilograms of low enriched uranium.

Iran’s technical advancement, particularly in uranium enrichment, strengthens our assessment that Iran has the scientific, technical, and industrial capacity to eventually produce nuclear weapons, making the central issue its political will to do so.  These advancements contribute to our judgement that Iran is technically capable of producing enough highly enriched uranium for a weapon in the next few years, if it chooses to do so.

… We continue to judge Iran’s nuclear decision-making is guided by a cost-benefit approach, which offers the international community opportunities to influence Tehran.  Iranian leaders undoubtedly consider Iran’s security, prestige and influence, as well as the international political and security environment, when making decisions about its nuclear program.

(c)  The Secretary of Defense tells us about the new NIE (update)

SecDef Leon Panetta interviewed on “Face the Nation“, CBS, 8 January 2012 (red emphasis added):

I think the international strategy here, and this really has been an international strategy to apply sanctions, to apply diplomatic pressure on them, to try to convince Iran that if, you know, they want to do what’s right, they need to join the international family of nations and act in a responsible way. I think the pressure of the sanctions, I think the pressure of diplomatic pressures from everywhere — Europe, United States, elsewhere — is working to put pressure on them, to make them understand that they cannot continue to do what they’re doing. Are they trying to develop a nuclear weapon? No. But we know that they’re trying to develop a nuclear capability. And that’s what concerns us. And our red line to Iran is do not develop a nuclear weapon. That’s a red line for us.

…  the responsible thing to do right now is to keep putting diplomatic and economic pressure on them to force them to do the right thing. And to make sure that they do not make the decision to proceed with the development of a nuclear weapon.

(3)  Another perspective on the new NIE

Iran and the Bomb – How real is the nuclear threat?“, Seymour M. Hersh, The New Yorker, 6 June 2011 — Excerpt:

A government consultant who has read the highly classified 2011 N.I.E. update depicted the report as reinforcing the essential conclusion of the 2007 paper: Iran halted weaponization in 2003. “There’s more evidence to support that assessment,” the consultant told me.

… The N.I.E. makes it clear that U.S. intelligence has been unable to find decisive evidence that Iran has been moving enriched uranium to an underground weapon-making center. In the past six years, soldiers from the Joint Operations Force, working with Iranian intelligence assets, put in place cutting-edge surveillance techniques, according to two former intelligence sources. Street signs were surreptitiously removed in heavily populated areas of Tehran — say, near a university suspected of conducting nuclear enrichment — and replaced with similar-looking signs implanted with radiation sensors. American operatives, working undercover, also removed bricks from a building or two in central Tehran that they thought housed nuclear-enrichment activities and replaced them with bricks embedded with radiation-monitoring devices.

High-powered sensors disguised as stones were spread randomly along roadways in a mountainous area where a suspected underground weapon site was under construction. The stones were capable of transmitting electronic data on the weight of vehicles going in and out of the site; a truck going in light and coming out heavy could be hauling dirt — a crucial sign of excavation work. There is also constant satellite coverage of major suspect areas in Iran, and some American analysts were assigned the difficult task of examining footage in the hope for finding air vents — signs perhaps, of an underground facility in lightly populated areas.

(4)  Other posts in this series

  1. Is the War on Terror over (because there are no longer two sides)?, 3 September 2008 — Rumors of covert ops by us against Iran, including aid to terrorists
  2. Iran’s getting the bomb, or so we’re told. Can they fool us twice?, 16 January 2009
  3. Iran will have the bomb in 5 years (again), 2 January 2010 — Forecasts of an Iranian bomb really soon, going back to 1984
  4. About the escalating conflict with Iran (not *yet* open war), 4 January 2012
  5. Have Iran’s leaders vowed to destroy Israel?, 5 January 2012 — No, but it’s established as fact by repetition
  6. What do we know about Iran’s nuclear ambitions?, 6 January 2012 — US intelligence officials are clear:  not as much as the news media implies
  7. What does the IAEA know about Iran’s nuclear program?, 9 January 2012 — Their reports bear little resemblance to reports in the news media
  8. What happens when a nation gets nukes?  Sixty years of history suggests an answer., 10 January 2012
  9. What happens if Iran gets nukes? Not what we’ve been told., 11 January 2012
  10. Status report on the already-hot conflict with Iran – and the looming war, 12 January 2012
  11. Continuity and dysfunctionality in US foreign policy (lessons for our conflict with Iran), 13 January 2012 — Insights about today from Cold War strategist Colin Grey
  12. What the conflict with Iran teaches us about modern State-to-State war, 16 January 2012
  13. Has Iran won a round vs. the US-Israel?, 17 January 2012
  14. Is Killing Iranian Nuclear Scientists Terrorism?, 19 January 2012

 

(5)   Other articles and resources about Iran’s nuclear program

  1. Archive of IAEA reports about Iran
  2. The Secrets of the Bomb“, Jeremy Bernstein, New York Review of Books, 25 May 2006 — About nuclear intelligence.
  3. Iran: Nuclear Intentions and Capabilities, National Intelligence Estimate, November 2007
  4. Iran’s New Nuclear Site: Much Ado About Nothing“, Jeremy R. Hammond, Foreign Policy Journal, 27 September 2009
  5. The Status of Iran’s Nuclear and Missile Programs“, Conference by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 22 November 2010 — Esp note the presentation by former National Intelligence Officer Paul Pillar.
  6. Important: “Iran not working on bomb: Israel intelligence head“, AFP, 2 January 2011 — “Iran is not currently working on producing a nuclear weapon but could make one within ‘a year or two’ of taking such a decision, Israel’s military intelligence chief said on Tuesday.”
  7. Important: “Outgoing Mossad chief: Iran won’t have nuclear capability before 2015“, HAARETZ, 7 January 2011 — “Meir Dagan tells Knesset committee that Iran’s nuclear program has been set back several years after a series of malfunctions.”
  8. Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement and relevant provisions of Security Council resolutions in the Islamic Republic of Iran, IAEA, 8 November 2011

(6)   Other resources about this topic on the FM website

(a)  For links to all posts about this topic see these FM Reference Page:

(b)  Posts about Iran’s nuke program:

  1. War with Iran, 9 November 2007 — Why Iran is not necessarily our enemy.
  2. Is Iran dangerous, or a paper tiger? , 13 November 2007
  3. The new NIE, another small step in the Decline of the State , 10 December 2007
  4. Iran’s getting the bomb, or so we’re told. Can they fool us twice?, 16 January 2009
  5. More about Iran, things you know that might not be so, 3 October 2009
  6. Jeremy Hammond explains why Iran’s New Nuclear Site is “Much Ado About Nothing”, 30 September 2009
  7. Follow-up on America’s latest wetting our pants episode: Iran’s secret atomic facility, 13 November 2009
  8. Iran will have the bomb in 5 years (again), 21 January 2010
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32 Comments leave one →
  1. Pluto permalink
    6 January 2012 12:15 am

    FM, in the past you’ve been doubtful of rumours of a planned attack on Iran. It appears that you have changed your mind.
    1. Am I interpretting your comments correctly?
    2. Can you share what has changed your mind?

    Like

    • 6 January 2012 12:53 am

      (1) Current viewpoint, the opening of the January 4 post About the escalating conflict with Iran (not *yet* open war):

      The first article on the FM website about Iran, in November 2007, said that the rumors of war were “almost certainly a bluff”. The dozen articles since then came to the same conclusion. That’s no longer true. Hostilities have began, with strikes by US-Israel (we don’t know who has done what). History shows that these low-intensity conflicts can quickly escalate, from a combination of the attackers’ momentum and the defender’s eventual resistance.

      (2) Several things.

      • We have escalated to violence, then escalated again. Hitting their scientists, sabotage, stuxnet, now economic warfare.
      • The continued and even intensifying propaganda campaign (mostly lies) has built a critical support level among Americans.

      • Years of war have developed a blood lust among many Americans. Like June 1914, we’re ignore for war, exulting in our ability to kill without any risk to ourselves (this may be wrong, but is a commonplace of agressors).

      It’s not a matter of angels and demons. White and black. It’s a run-of-the-mill regional power struggle between a rising power and a proxy + global hegemon.

      Who’s right? I leave the moral judgement to our readers, since the higher power seldom enforces them. But the cost of war is always real. Always paid in full.

      Like

  2. Pluto permalink
    6 January 2012 12:57 am

    What is your position regarding Obama’s most recent appointment? Is it legal? Probably more important regardless of legality, will he get away with it?

    Like

    • 6 January 2012 2:10 am

      Offtopic! But interesting.

      (1) Legal? It’s in the grey zone.
      (2) Yes, he’ll get away with this, but it serves to further enrage the GOP (probably a good trade-off from their perspective).

      See this analysis by Mike Lofgren.

      Like

  3. Mikyo permalink
    6 January 2012 5:16 am

    Paul Shanklin’s song “Bomb Iran” is a great song and is supposed to be sung by John McCain. It’s a parody of the song “Barbara Ann”.

    Like

  4. 6 January 2012 5:43 am

    Iran’s nuclear ambitions? Bunch of Nutandyahoo BS. Iran can’t be allowed to get nuclear weapons because that would limit Israel’s freedom of action a la cast lead 2 or Lebanon 2 or 3?

    Clean break. Gimme a break. The IDF has degenerated into a glorified prison guard army who couldn’t beat their way out of a wet paper bag.

    Meir Dagan should have told Nutandyahoo to STFU stupid coint. I’ll do it for him: Hey Benjamin Nutandfuckingyahoo, when was the last time someone told you to STUFU stupid coint.

    Like

    • 6 January 2012 6:08 am

      “Iran’s nuclear ambitions? Bunch of Nutandyahoo BS. Iran can’t be allowed to get nuclear weapons because that would limit Israel’s freedom of action a la cast lead 2 or Lebanon 2 or 3?”

      You will see in chapters 8 and 9 that history shows that nukes in fact are almost useless for such things:

      • What happens when a nation gets nukes? Sixty years of history suggests an answer.
      • What happens if Iran gets nukes

      Like

    • 12 January 2012 6:23 am

      An Iranian nuclear weapons program is just excuse for war. Remember the mushroom clouds Saddam was going to produce over an American city? Does Iran have a nuclear weapons program?

      The biggest pushers of war on Iran are Nutandyahoo and Ehud Barak. They’re trying to implement Perle’s Clean Break strategy on Iran and sucking the USA into doing the heavy lifting for them.

      2006 Lebanon invasion was a failure. 2009 Cast Lead attack on the Gaza strip was a failure. the IDF is overrated crap. So Nutandfuckingyahoo is trying to suck stupid American coints into… ?

      Hezbollah? Hamas? Iran? Whacking Iran so that Isreal can have another crack at Hezbollah and Hamas.

      The Iranian nuclear weapons program BS is? Is like when Poland attacked Germany in 39?
      Is like, if Iran said “how high” when the US said “jump”; would the US have a problem with an Iranian nuclear energy program like when the Shah was in power?

      I’ll say it again: Nutandfuckingyahoo shut the f*** up stupid coint. {… bad language snipped}.

      Like

  5. 6 January 2012 7:21 am

    As a friend of mine in the middle east said, the other day, over tea: “Having ‘the bomb’ means the US can’t invade”

    Like

    • 6 January 2012 2:08 pm

      Yes, that’s pretty much the conclusions from chapters 8 (history of nukes) and 9 (what if Iran gets nukes).

      Like

  6. USCSWO permalink
    6 January 2012 2:21 pm

    Does the recent federal ruling in Havlish, et al. v. bin Laden, et al mean that we will find a way to go to war with Iran regardless of their nuclear ambitions?

    Like

  7. Whirlwind permalink
    6 January 2012 4:00 pm

    Looks like Iran is planning more wargames.
    http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/01/06/us-iran-idUSTRE8041RA20120106

    Like

    • 7 January 2012 12:11 am

      That’s how the power game is played by nations. We threaten, they demonstrate the ability to strike back. This was the pattern of the Cold War, and seems to be frequent in the Long War.

      Like

  8. annanic permalink
    6 January 2012 11:00 pm

    Just wondered if any corporations , which had subsidiaries manufacturing for the nuclear power industry , could make nukes .
    Then wondered whether any arms-making or security-personel-supplying companies had directly deployed their products in their parent company’s interests , without bothering about nations or politicians ?
    No , I havent been watching too many movies, havent seen one for years .

    Like

    • 7 January 2012 12:09 am

      No corporation have the capacity to build nukes. Nor do any terrorist groups.

      Like

  9. annanic permalink
    7 January 2012 8:34 pm

    The assumption is being made by some , that as Iran is developing nuclear power , it can go on to develop nukes. There are companies making and running nuclear power plants to whom the same theory could be applied. If you are CEO of the Watsibooma Electric Co and decide you need a nuclear power plant , you dont set your own men digging foundations and welding reactor vessels , you pay Nuclear Solutions Inc to do it for you .

    I’d imagine if you are Head of Procurement for the US armed services , you dont set your soldiers welding bomb cases and your airmen riveting cooling systems either . You’d buy the bits off some expert company , maybe one part off each of 3 suppliers so no one supplier was making a whole nuke .. unless the companies were bought up by one organisation. Maybe a nation’s armed services do make their own nuclear weapons ? I dont think they make their own ships , planes , guns , missiles , vehicles , electronics , uniforms , vaccines etc though …..

    Like

    • 7 January 2012 8:53 pm

      The answer is the same as in your previous comment. No private company has the technology and infrastructure to develop atomic weapons. What work they do in atomic-related industries is closely regulated. Your suppositions are false.

      Like

    • 8 January 2012 1:06 am

      A good reference on the topic of proliferation and some of the engineering involved is The Nuclear Express – A Political History of the Bomb and Its Proliferation by Thomas Reed (2009). {Reed was Secretary of the Air Force 1976 – 1977}

      Also, Richard Rhodes’ various books on atomic weapons are excellent, if you want an idea of the level of resources consumed to make a nuke.

      Some of the technologies used to make some of the technologies used to make nukes are on the open market. I.e.: you might be able to buy off-the-shelf components for making components of a gas centrifuge. Many of those components are fairly closely monitored because they’re so specialized that you don’t need ‘em unless you’re making a nuke. For example, you can’t make the harness to detonate the explosive lenses for an implosion bomb out of any off the shelf components because nothing else needs to send signals to that many detonators with that level of prevcision. I originally wrote “pretty much nothing needs to…” but after a bit of reflection, actually nothing else needs to. So if you’re building a nuke and want to do it below the radar screen you need to either launder purchases of those components, somehow, or re-develop them yourself at extreme difficulty and therefore cost.

      Like

  10. annanic permalink
    8 January 2012 2:39 pm

    Sorry to labour the point . But I always think its interesting when mulling over politics to think , how would I do that if it was my job ? Whether taking elephants over the alps , setting up an Israeli settlement in the West Bank , running a CT scanning facility , demolishing the twin towers , setting up a single payer system for healthcare or providing your homeland with nuclear weapons – when you think about the actual business plan it doesn’t always fit the politicians’ rhetoric. So you’d say, for example ,a US government facility with US government employees , actually makes that harness ? Not a private , expert company makes it and the US government buys it ? ( I’m not talking about ‘ the open market ‘). You see , that shifts the power from the government to the private company . ( I think this was an issue with the supply of some conventional armaments in WW2 but I cant cite a referance. )

    Like

  11. annanic permalink
    8 January 2012 3:32 pm

    Answered my own Q via Wikipedia . US nukes made by Lockhead Martin , Honeywell etc . All corporations , Dow jones listed.

    Like

    • 8 January 2012 4:13 pm

      Wikipedia knowledge — so similar, yet so different from the real thing.

      You are probably looking at the corporations of the government-owned facilities, such as Sandia and the Kansas City Plant. While operation of some of the facilties has been outsourced to private corporations, they remain under tight government control.

      Your original question was “could corporations make nukes, to directly deploy their products in their parent company’s interests, without bothering about nations or politicians?” The answer is still no.

      Like

  12. 8 January 2012 9:36 pm

    “they remain under tight government control.”

    Thank goodness they are run by sheep and not Milos ( Catch 22 )then .

    Like

    • 8 January 2012 9:41 pm

      That’s silly. The corporate employees are carefuly vetted people working (properly) under tight supervision. Insulting them (“sheep”) tells us nothing.

      “not Milos”

      No, they are no Milos. Nor are the corporate executives like “Dr No”, or the corporations like “SPECTRE”. Reality is not fiction. Facts are facts, even on the Internet.

      Like

  13. 8 January 2012 10:54 pm

    I doubt they are like Spectre , it would be more in their interests to talk up war threats but maintain peace . I just think they could manufacture nukes / antinukes a lot easier than a government could , and without stirring up any fuss . Time will tell .

    Like

    • 8 January 2012 11:00 pm

      This is how the Internet works against us, generating what I call “google knowledge”.

      Step one: speculation, questions. Always a good thing.
      Step two: search on the Internet. A good first step.
      Step three: finding something confirming one’s belief. OK, so long as one does not then…
      Step four: STOP looking. Ignore larger context, alternative data. Bad, but it gets worse by…
      Step five: Spread this misinformation elsewhere.

      Like

  14. 9 January 2012 2:05 pm

    Important news — The Secretary of Defense tells us about the new NIE

    SecDef Leon Panetta interviewed on “Face the Nation“, CBS, 8 January 2012 (bold emphasis added):

    I think the international strategy here, and this really has been an international strategy to apply sanctions, to apply diplomatic pressure on them, to try to convince Iran that if, you know, they want to do what’s right, they need to join the international family of nations and act in a responsible way. I think the pressure of the sanctions, I think the pressure of diplomatic pressures from everywhere — Europe, United States, elsewhere — is working to put pressure on them, to make them understand that they cannot continue to do what they’re doing. Are they trying to develop a nuclear weapon? No. But we know that they’re trying to develop a nuclear capability. And that’s what concerns us. And our red line to Iran is do not develop a nuclear weapon. That’s a red line for us.

    … the responsible thing to do right now is to keep putting diplomatic and economic pressure on them to force them to do the right thing. And to make sure that they do not make the decision to proceed with the development of a nuclear weapon.

    Like

  15. Atilla permalink
    9 January 2012 6:28 pm

    Isn’t all of this out of date? Any US military attack on Iran is futile and the cost would completely finish off the US economy. It feels so good emotionally to think that US aircraft carriers can send waves of planes to crush the Iranian nuclear facilities and “show them.” And if worse comes to worse we can nuke ‘em. Then what? 4-billion arab, muslum, indonesian, latin american, Chinese, Russian … enemies of the US around the world?

    4 billion people align with China and Russia and Brazil, and … But, damn it feels so good to be the superpower again. Biggest and best military in the world! The ghosts of Brezhnev and Andropov and Chernomydrin are laaaaaughing so hard. We will just call it the McCain Doctrine as we march into oblivion lead by rotting old men.

    21st cntury calling. Hello, whatya gonna do now? Is the answer just to ignore Iran and move on with rebuilding this nation and all the new ideas, inventions, creativity that has always been here? To compete in the world of ideas and best products and stongest economy with the most freedom? To answer that call means to bury the past and move on from all the blood and stupidity of the 20th century. America can float it rusting aircraft carriers around in the ocean, but all over the world most of the planet frankly “doesn’t give a shit, Scarlett” if Iran has nuclear weapons or not. They just want America to last long enough so that they can get their own economies going strong and be done dealing with us and our preaching at them.

    You kids get off my lawn! Bastards, no respect. I’ll hit you with my cane if you don’t mind.

    Like

    • 10 January 2012 1:15 am

      “Any US military attack on Iran is futile and the cost would completely finish off the US economy”

      That’s the equivalent of proving the Civil War could not happen, that Hitler should not have invaded Russia, and Japan was nuts to attack the US. History is a pagent of folly.

      Like

  16. Atilla permalink
    10 January 2012 3:13 am

    Yes sir I do agree about the folly.

    The question to ask is “is the nation state dead?” The Internet changes everything. Computer programs in a hedge fund in London can destroy a nation like Greece without human action by simply by raising the interest rate on their bonds by a few percent. That is the great game today, not the armies.

    Keep educating young people all over the world and give them facebook if you want to win against Iran.

    For the first time in history the information machines make the individual and what any one person knows irrelavent. Information drives everything and everybody has access to it. In a few generations humans will be able to modify the brain directly and understand exactly how it works – they will no longer be individuals locked in closed containers who can only communicate by voice to be lead around by a few “leaders” My god, does that mean that New Hampshire voters and Iowa kooky christians will not matter anymore! “Shudder!”

    How’s that for the future? ;-)

    Like

    • 10 January 2012 4:58 am

      “Computer programs in a hedge fund in London can destroy a nation like Greece without human action”

      Unlike Die Hard 4, that is not how things work in the real world.

      “For the first time in history the information machines make the individual and what any one person knows irrelavent.”

      Nope. Perhaps someday in the future. The invention of artifical inteligence would make that far more likely. In 1987 I joined the American Association for Artificial Intelligence, and learned that AI was coming in the next decade. Although much progress has been made, it’s not here yet (for good or ill). Skynet or Three Laws, either way changes the world.

      Like

  17. Whirlwind permalink
    16 January 2012 6:29 am

    {comment deleted as both off-topic and discussed elsewhere}

    Like

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