It’s hard to trust the details of the New York Times report this evening (linked on top of Drudge), A Nuclear Debate – Is Iran Designing Warheads, because, well, it’s the New York Times and they no longer have much of a reputation for accuracy in reporting. Moreover, one of the keys to article is the truthfulness (or lack thereof) of the 2007 NIE report on Iran that the Times then, among others, swallowed, hook, line and sinker, as Ron Rosenbaum points out.
Nevertheless, the crux of the situation is supposedly this: The Germans, the French and the Israelis, in varying degrees, think the Iranians are at work on a nuclear warhead, but the CIA is more doubtful. All this against the background of the “sudden” (although apparently well known for some time) revelation that the Iranians have a second (of who knows how many) enrichment plants in (or almost in) operation. Into the mix as well is the hope (note that word) of our President that the Israelis can be convinced of the veracity of the American view – that the Iranians are still a ways off from blowing Tel Aviv to smithereens – and restrain themselves from attacking the Iranian installations.
Well, what’s a poor boy to make of all this (but sing in a rock and roll band)? I sure don’t know, but I have one simple, perhaps too simple, question: Why would the Iranians have to design a nuclear warhead for themselves in the first place? Why couldn’t they just get one from somebody (North Koreans, friendly Pakistanis… who knows who else?)? Or just take somebody’s existing plans and adapt them. It’s not exactly the newest technology in the world. If you were telling me the Iranians were going to build their own iPhone, I would roll my eyes, but this?
Anyway, I think we’re all going to be hearing more of this debate in the days to come. But unfortunately, it’s hard to know when we’re being spun on these matters, although we can assume we are. Reading these kinds of articles in the NYT can make your head spin, but at least this one quotes a few real people by name. Not everyone is an “unnamed intelligence official” or a “source close to someone or other.” An improvement.