C.I.A. Intelligence Claims Iranian Nuke Probably Doesn’t Exist

I feel like it’s the W. era all over again.  Where are those weapons of mass destruction?  Has anyone seen them?  Are they under the coffee table?  Are they buried in the sand?  Oh, right.  They don’t exist.  Now I remember how this story goes!

The New York Times ran an article on February 24th stating that the C.I.A. has so far failed to confirm the existence of a nuclear weapon in Iran.  Well, actually, that isn’t just the opinion of the C.I.A., but rather it is an opinion shared by all 16 of the United States’ intelligence agencies.   Let me repeat that.  Sixteen intelligence agencies have failed to confirm the existence of a nuclear weapon in Iran.  In fact, an intelligence assessment dating back to 2007 stated that Iran had abandoned its nuclear aspirations some time ago.  That view was re-confirmed in 2010, and it is the opinion of the intelligence agencies that it is still held today.  So why in the world are we talking about going tear-assing into Iran because they have nuclear weapons?

This whole business smells like another Iraq.  Can you smell it, too?  It’s a cross between a burning oil field, napalm, and the Fed overheating the computers that “print” the funny money.  And believe me, folks, this gasoline smell doesn’t smell like victory.  It smells like death, destruction, and further loss of freedom for American and Iranian citizens.

Iran has not yet enriched uranium, which is absolutely necessary to make a warhead.  Although it is not outside the realm of possibility for them to accomplish this, and they could be making moves in that direction, in all probability, it has not yet been accomplished.  And that brings me around to another point in the debate about Iran’s nuclear capability: Why shouldn’t they have a nuclear weapon?

Approaching this from a purely unbiased standpoint, if other countries such as the US, China, Russia, and others are allowed to arm themselves for “defensive purposes,” why isn’t Iran allowed to do it?  Who gets to decide this?  Why do they get to make that decision?  Does the United States get to make that decision, and if so, what is the logic behind it?  Is it a case of whomever has the biggest guns gets to determine the destinies of everyone else?  Because if that is indeed the case, one might be able to understand why Iran would want to have a nuclear weapon: self-determination.

Frankly, I am rather surprised that Iran doesn’t have a nuclear weapon.  One would think it might be one of the few ways to keep the American military from invading, quite truthfully.  At least the US government would be far less willing to go to war if Iran had such a weapon.  Certainly we never made so bold a move as to attempt to send an invasion in the USSR at the height of the Cold War.  To have done so would have been risking nothing less than total annihilation.

Let’s assume that the C.I.A., the Mossad, and others are completely correct in their analysis that Iran has not yet produced a nuke, as of today.  Are we going to head into Iran on the off chance that they will have a nuclear weapon?  It seems to me that their only motivation for producing one is the threat of invasion.  And if we are so concerned about this situation, why have we not stopped other countries, such as North Korea, from producing nukes?  What stopped us then?  Was Kim Jong-Il deemed more reliable somehow?  Or could it possibly be that Iran has run afoul of the US government in a way that the North Koreans could never dream?

I have discussed petrodollars and the role that I firmly believe they play in US foreign policy.  The world market is saturated with US dollars, courtesy of our numerous and hefty bailouts.  Iran still refuses to trade in US dollars.  All of its transactions, particularly those big, juicy oil transactions, are settled in currencies other than the US dollar (and, to the best of my knowledge, the euro and pound).  Call me crazy, but I’d be willing to be that if Iran suddenly caved and started settling its international transactions in petrodollars, the US government would suddenly be far less interested in putting boots on the ground.

The article has an interesting moment when it interviews David A. Kay, who was the head of the C.I.A. team that searched for Iraq’s non-existent weapons of mass destruction after the invasion.  He says that, “They don’t have evidence that Iran has made a decision to build a bomb, and that reflects a real gap in intelligence.  It’s true, the evidence hasn’t changed very much [since 2007], but that reflects a lack of access and a lack of intelligence as much as anything.”

Maybe I’m being a bit dense – feel free to tell me if I am –  but that almost sounds like Mr. Kay is hesitant to believe that any reports claiming that Iran doesn’t have nuclear capabilities are somehow false.  If the evidence hasn’t changed much, does it necessarily reflect a lack of intelligence?  What if it reflects a simple truth, that Iran is not nuclear capable and has not concluded that it wants to become so.  Granted, there could be a lack of intelligence, and I’m certainly not an intelligence expert nor would I claim to be such, but the fact that 16 US intelligence agencies agree with this assessment makes me think that perhaps we are trying to see something where there is nothing in order to justify an attack to the American public.  Even the former head of the Mossad has said that Iran isn’t nuclear armed.  Is the US government trying to scare us into war by making us believe that Iran is a Muslim boogeyman that wants to blow us off the map?

I acknowledge that there are extremists in the Muslim world.  However, I don’t think for a second that the Iranian government has a death wish.  I don’t think that they would reach the conclusion that they were going to bomb us simply as a result of them having a nuke.  I do think, however, that their unwillingness to work with the US government probably has something to do with the decades-long sanctions against them imposed by said government.  Sanctions are, after all, the precursor to war.

The economy is the real safety concern in America, not Iran.  Iran is not nuclear capable and even if they were, they would still have to have a way to deliver that payload to US soil.  What is a serious problem, however, is the massive amount of US money floating around in the world economy that could potentially lead to hyperinflation.  A hyperinflation of the US dollar would have disastrous consequences at home and abroad, and the US government cannot be so stupid as to not recognize this simple fact.  Anyone who thinks that inflation is not a serious problem doesn’t know the definition of the word inflation.  As my devoted readers know, inflation is simply the increase in the money supply – nothing more and nothing less.  Therefore, it is silly to argue that inflation does not exist in the current climate.  If trillions of dollars have been pumped into the economy, inflation is real, regardless of whether or not it is yet reflected in prices.

We are embarking down an increasingly dangerous path.  By threatening Iran, we may end up arming a country that was not previously nuclear.  We will be risking the lives of our own young soldiers, and we will be risking the lives of the Iranian people.  And they are people.  I think sometimes that, because the US is somewhat isolated from the rest of the world geographically, we forget that these are real people.  They have homes and families, hopes and ideals.  They may be different from us and we may consider them strange, but they have just as much right to be here as we do.

When it is all said and done, there is only one candidate who is truly a candidate for peace, and that is Ron Paul.  Dr. Paul is the only candidate who is speaking truth to power, in terms of our foreign policy.  He is the only person who is talking about changing our insane monetary policies for the better.  The bottom line, whether or not Republicans, Democrats, or others want to admit it, is this: If you believe in fiat money, bailouts, and redistribution of wealth both at home and abroad (especially abroad), you are in support of war.  That is not a statement I make lightly, but it is the truth.  Without war, our current system will eventually lead to economic failure.  From the looks of it right now, war may not even be enough to feed the widening black hole of debt.

I strongly encourage those of you who haven’t already to consider Ron Paul.  He is the only person on the stage, including Obama, who is talking about real change.  We cannot re-elect Obama just because he says that he is for change; he isn’t.  We cannot elect goons like Mitt or Newt who say they they will work for change; they won’t.  Their records are proof enough that the status quo is all a vote for them will garner us.  It is now or never, folks.  Now is the time to change America for the better.  Vote Ron Paul – he is the best hope for a peaceful and prosperous future!

Check out the Times article here!

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Why a Non-Interventionist Foreign Policy is Safer Than Nation-Building

Ron Paul has been catching a lot of flack from other Republican presidential hopefuls lately for his ideas about foreign policy.  It is no secret to those who have been watching the campaign with some degree of regularity that Ron Paul is not interested in policing the world.  He wants to wrap up Afghanistan immediately, bring troops home from South Korea and Germany, and end various other overseas engagements.  He has also taken a “soft” stance on Iran, saying that it is none of our business if they have nuclear capability or not.

Honestly, I have no idea how mainstream America really feels about this, because most of my friends are quite liberal and are directly in line with Paul’s thinking on this.  So am I.  I don’t believe we have any business starting unconstitutional wars or spending decades and literally trillions of dollars on endless foreign engagements.  For one thing it is foolish.  For another, we simply do not have the money.  There are plenty of Americans at home who need help right now, and because we are spending so much money on foreigners, we are unable to take care of our own.

Still, there are some people out there – I don’t know them, but I’m sure they exist – who fear the US taking a less aggressive military stance.  The argument is that if we “allow” Iran to have nuclear weapons, that they will surely use them on us.  Another argument, of course, is that they might destroy Israel.  In that same line of thinking, some people are religiously motivated to protect Israel at any cost.  The final argument is the one that seems to emerge most often and to me seems like nothing more than a scare tactic: if we go home, the terrorists will come out in full force and destroy life as we know it.  Let’s address these fallacies one-by-one.

There are several points to make about Iran generally and nuclear weapons particularly.  First off, the US is mainly taking a hard line against Iran because of Kish Island and the fact that Iran refuses to trade using T-bills.  In other words, Iran has refused to help the US monetize its debt, given the fact that the US has been sanctioning Iran since the 1970s.  As I’ve mentioned before, Saddam stopped trading in T-bills prior to the US invasion, and look how that turned out for him.  Gaddafi apparently had plans to create an African gold dinar, which would help bring wealth back into Africa and allow Africa to have some bargaining power in a post-petroleum world.  From a strictly common sense standpoint, this is not a bad idea.

Of course, we all know what happened to Saddam and Gaddafi.

On the subject of nukes, it is frankly none of our business what Iran or any other country wants to do with their military defense arsenal.  How would Americans react if suddenly Great Britain was threatening to invade us because we have nuclear weapons?  I don’t think most Americans would react warmly to that scenario.  In fact, I think they would be downright ticked off.  It is none of our business how Iran spends its money.

This is usually the point where people argue that Iran is planning to do bad things with its theoretical nuclear arsenal.  How do we know that?  What proof do we have?  Iran doesn’t have the capability to launch a missile all the way to the US.  In that sense, they are not a direct security hazard to Americans.  The next argument that usually pops up is that they are a direct threat to Israel.  What most people seem to forget is that Israel is armed to the teeth.  They have a sizable nuclear arsenal.  They are more than capable of managing their own defense without our help.  In fact, one might make the argument that giving Israel monetary and military aid only makes them beholden to another country, which directly undermines that country’s sovereignty.

People say that we have a religious duty to protect Israel.  I argue that in our country, according to our founding laws, there is a clear and distinct separation of church and state.  Our government is not allowed to endorse one religion over another.  Religious conflicts are none of our business, and by giving Israel guns to kill Muslims, we are effectively condoning the Hebrew faith and throwing Islam under the bus.  I know that Christians and Muslims don’t have the best history, all told, but we should not be endorsing religions with gun power.  It breeds animosity and puts American, Israeli, and other countries’ citizens in mortal danger.

Of course, the final and usually most vitriolic argument is that if we withdraw from all of these countries that we will be annihilated overnight.  I hardly think that will be the case.  Bringing our troops home means that our nations’ borders will be protected.  How about devoting some troops to the US-Mexico border to help crack down on illegal immigration?  I certainly support that over building a fence.  (The thing to remember about fences is that they can just as easily keep people in as out.)

Some think that by withdrawing from places like Korea and Japan that we will be more at risk from China, a country that is clearly on the way to becoming a formidable military power in and of itself.  I have a lot of faith in American submarines, and I believe that a strong submarine patrol will go a long way towards maintaining our national defense, in that respect.

Most neocons would never admit this, but we create more problems for ourselves by trying to force other countries to bend to our will.  The CIA has admitted that terrorist events are largely the unintended result of a foreign policy that tells everyone else what to do: what weapons they’re going to have, who their leaders will be, and what they’re going to do for us.  Contrary to popular opinion, most suicide bombers are motivated by anger and disillusion, not by religion.  Religious groups tend to be a lightning rod for disenfranchised individuals who are making a protest.  Think about it: would you seriously consider blowing up an embassy in the Middle East because you hate Islam?  Probably not.  Again, contrary to popular belief, Muslims are not completely insane, irrational people.  I would be willing to bet that they are far more angry about American drones blowing up their houses or their grandmother being shot to death by US troops.  That would be a far more likely reason to join a retaliatory group.

The fact of the matter is that most of these terrorist cells are not a direct threat to American citizens.  They have neither the means nor the know-how to carry off mass plots against the US.  The US government talks about “terrorism” as though it is a person, as though a particular group of people or countries directly embody “terrorism.”  Terrorism is a tactic, not a person, not a country, and not a war.  We will never be through fighting a war against terrorism, because there will always be terrorists.  The notion that we can defeat a tactic is foolhardy and dangerous.

Far more dangerous, at this point, is the US government directly intruding into the lives of US citizens in the name of “security.”  The TSA putting their hands down your child’s pants does not make any of us safer.  What is does do is instill the notion in our minds – especially in the minds of young people – that we are all criminals, guilty until proven innocent.  The sheer notion of doing these dangerous X-Ray screenings and invasive pat-downs rests on the fact that you must prove your innocence.  Our country was founded on the principle of “innocent until proven guilty.”

A last point that I would like to make is from an extremely practical standpoint: we can no longer afford these lengthy foreign engagements.  As of the moment I wrote this article, the US national debt was tallied at $15,172,262,100,000, approximately (I can’t type quickly enough to keep up with it, actually).  The US debt per citizen is at about $48,000 per person and $134,00 for each taxpayer.  This information can be gotten from the US Debt Clock.  You may also be interested to know that over 47 million people receive food stamps, about 23 million people are unemployed, there are almost 67 million retirees/Social Security claimants, and 4.3 million federal employees out of a total population of 312,877,758 people in the US.  That means that 15% of the US population receives food stamps, 21% receive Social Security benefits, 1.3% are employed by the federal government, and 7.4% are unemployed.  Does that sound like a population that can afford to be building a new military base in Australia, keeping up an Iraq embassy bigger than the Vatican, and fighting on in Afghanistan, among other places?

From a philosophical standpoint, we shouldn’t be in these countries.  From a practical standpoint, we can’t afford it.  So why in the world are we there?  And why in the world are some of the Republican candidates beating the war drums against Iran?  What are they thinking?  Have they completely lost their minds, or don’t they know how to do simple math?  In either case, I worry a lot for the state of our nation.

At the end of the day, there is only one candidate who is talking about real change, and that’s Ron Paul.  He’s talking about getting out of our foreign entanglements, ending the perpetual monetization of our debt, and getting us back on the road to prosperity.  What are the others talking about?  Imposing their religious beliefs on others?  Attacking another nation for refusing to fund our credit addiction?  As for Obama, I think his record speaks for itself, particularly his willingness to sign off on the NDAA.

It is time for peace.  It is time to dial down the debt.  It is time for our country to have some good old-fashioned common sense again.  We will be infinitely better off for it.

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