Defense Secretary Leon Panetta finally decided to listen to the intelligence experts and admit that Iran is not close to building nuclear weapons, and it may be only “laying the groundwork for making nuclear weapons someday.” That’s what nuclear experts, energy experts in the US and Israel, and intelligence experts in both the US and Israel have been saying for years.
It is still not clear how Panetta came to the conclusion that Iran is laying such groundwork, except may be from the rabid propaganda of the regime in Tehran, which as we know can not be trusted. The enrichment of uranium to 20% U-235 content is not even close to the weapon-grade level of 90%; the small quantities of 20%-enriched uranium can be used only for nuclear fuel and for medical purposes, and a number of nations in the world have the facilities to enrich uranium to that level. The 20%-grade is useless for military purposes.
Meanwhile, Panetta warned Israel not to attack the Iranian nuclear facilities. A pointless warning, given the fact that the Israeli cabinet is opposed to such attack anyway, and that Israeli intelligence officials – former and current – strongly advise against it. While the Israeli government wants to keep the current balance of powers in the region, apparently they are not concerned about Iran’s nuclear program enough to find a strike necessary. They listen to the experts.
Not so with our own chickenhawks among the Republican candidates who keep beating the war drums without any evidence that a war is necessary. With the exception of one, all the Republican candidates for nominee vow to lead America in a new war only to stop Iran from even having a nuclear program, even though there is no evidence that such program really will lead to the production of a nuclear weapon. Nor is there any evidence that Iran does have the technologies to enrich uranium beyond the low level of 20%. But evidence be damned when it gets in the way of political agendas. Therefore we will continue to hear the war drums, at least for the next several months.
And of course, we will continue to see the Iran-scare used to further destroy our liberties here at home in legislation like the Patriot Act and the new NDAA extensions.