The NIE could increase the danger of nuclear war

If the controversial new National Intelligence Estimate claiming that Iran has given up on building nukes is true, we should all give a big cheer and go back to sleep. If it is not true, it would increase the danger of a nuclear war in the Middle East. So this is not just a wrangle among intelligence careerists with political agendas; it is a matter of life or death. That is why the evidence must be examined with the utmost care and rigor.

Let's go back to the cop-and-shooter example. Yesterday, a man killed 8 innocents and himself at a shopping mall in Omaha, Nebraska. Suppose an armed and trained police officer had been on the spot in the mall. That is exactly the situation the West, and especially the United States, faces with Iranian nukes right at the oil spigot in the Middle East. Like it or not, we're the cop on the beat, because nobody else has either the military power or the sense of responsibility to protect the oil centers for much of the industrialized world.

The shooter in Nebraska apparently hid his gun under his shirt as he walked into the mall. So the cop on the beat has a choice: Does the suspect have a gun or not? Police officers encounter this situation every time they stop a suspicious car. Generally speaking, we place the burden of proof that there is no gun on the suspect: He has to come out of the car with his hands in plain sight. The Iranians have consistently refused to do that, and they still do.

Instead, the burden of proving that our loudmouthed suspect is unarmed has now been placed on the cop. If the cop assumes, like the NIE does, that the perp has no gun, he is automatically risking his own life, and the lives of innocents. An NIE judgment of "innocent" can therefore increase the danger of Iranian nukes if it is wrong.

As former CIA advisor Herb Meyer suggested the other day, the only question in professional intelligence is "what's true?" It is the responsibility of the NIE to be accurate to the best of human ability. If it is pitched to influence policy, the NIE could well increase the  danger of nukes in the hands of a Jim Jones-style suicide cult in Iran.

Remember again, that once the Iranians have a nuclear weapon, they become close to invulnerable. We've seen it with the Stalinist regime in Pyongyang -- nobody can touch it, no matter how many of its own people it starves to death, and no matter how much it threatens its neighbors, because it is likely to have a nuke. To prevent nuclearization of the Middle East, the only possible military action is preemptive, before nukes ever get involved.

The liberal press has been cheering this NIE, not because it is truthful (we just don't know), but become it confirms their preexisting biases. That is bizarre and thoughtless. There is one, and only one question: Is it true?

A number of commentators suggest today that the NIE has been politicized, perhaps to keep the United States from acting against Iran's nuclear program, or perhaps to curry favor with the Democrats, to enhance the career prospects of the authors of the NIE if Hillary is elected next year. If that kind of corruption has entered the intelligence process, its authors should be instantly, publicly reprimanded and retired, not just for being political, but because they greatly endanger the safety of the nation and the world.

James Lewis blogs at dangeroustimes.wordpress.com/
If the controversial new National Intelligence Estimate claiming that Iran has given up on building nukes is true, we should all give a big cheer and go back to sleep. If it is not true, it would increase the danger of a nuclear war in the Middle East. So this is not just a wrangle among intelligence careerists with political agendas; it is a matter of life or death. That is why the evidence must be examined with the utmost care and rigor.

Let's go back to the cop-and-shooter example. Yesterday, a man killed 8 innocents and himself at a shopping mall in Omaha, Nebraska. Suppose an armed and trained police officer had been on the spot in the mall. That is exactly the situation the West, and especially the United States, faces with Iranian nukes right at the oil spigot in the Middle East. Like it or not, we're the cop on the beat, because nobody else has either the military power or the sense of responsibility to protect the oil centers for much of the industrialized world.

The shooter in Nebraska apparently hid his gun under his shirt as he walked into the mall. So the cop on the beat has a choice: Does the suspect have a gun or not? Police officers encounter this situation every time they stop a suspicious car. Generally speaking, we place the burden of proof that there is no gun on the suspect: He has to come out of the car with his hands in plain sight. The Iranians have consistently refused to do that, and they still do.

Instead, the burden of proving that our loudmouthed suspect is unarmed has now been placed on the cop. If the cop assumes, like the NIE does, that the perp has no gun, he is automatically risking his own life, and the lives of innocents. An NIE judgment of "innocent" can therefore increase the danger of Iranian nukes if it is wrong.

As former CIA advisor Herb Meyer suggested the other day, the only question in professional intelligence is "what's true?" It is the responsibility of the NIE to be accurate to the best of human ability. If it is pitched to influence policy, the NIE could well increase the  danger of nukes in the hands of a Jim Jones-style suicide cult in Iran.

Remember again, that once the Iranians have a nuclear weapon, they become close to invulnerable. We've seen it with the Stalinist regime in Pyongyang -- nobody can touch it, no matter how many of its own people it starves to death, and no matter how much it threatens its neighbors, because it is likely to have a nuke. To prevent nuclearization of the Middle East, the only possible military action is preemptive, before nukes ever get involved.

The liberal press has been cheering this NIE, not because it is truthful (we just don't know), but become it confirms their preexisting biases. That is bizarre and thoughtless. There is one, and only one question: Is it true?

A number of commentators suggest today that the NIE has been politicized, perhaps to keep the United States from acting against Iran's nuclear program, or perhaps to curry favor with the Democrats, to enhance the career prospects of the authors of the NIE if Hillary is elected next year. If that kind of corruption has entered the intelligence process, its authors should be instantly, publicly reprimanded and retired, not just for being political, but because they greatly endanger the safety of the nation and the world.

James Lewis blogs at dangeroustimes.wordpress.com/