Big Surprise, Bush Caught in a Lie
Canaan, special to Fog City Journal
December 9, 2007
I called it nearly a year ago. On the day after Christmas, 2006,
I wrote a post that I titled, Iran
May Actually Need Nuclear Energy. In that post, I argued
that Iran was running out of oil and a country that had spent
its entire modernity as an energy seller would want to stay in
the energy business. If you can't sell oil to the world, you can
sell electricity to the Middle East.
In that post, I referred to an Associated
Press story that told us, "Iran is suffering a staggering
decline in revenue from its oil exports, and if the trend continues
income could virtually disappear by 2015..." Iran, it appeared,
had experienced peak oil -- the point at which oil fields begin
to deliver diminishing returns. Iran's decline is between "10
and 12 percent" annually, according to the report.
As I say, I reported this, but in the mainstream media the story
went nowhere. It was a business section story and no one reported
it as being evidence that Bush administration scare mongering
over an Iranian nuke program might be a tad bit overhyped. Someone
owes me a beer.
So, after sitting on the "Iran's running out of oil"
story for almost a year, the media reported yesterday the obvious
as shocking truth -- the Bush administration's full of crap about
Iran's nuclear program.
A new US intelligence report indicates that Iran halted
its nuclear weapons development program four
years ago -- but the White House on Monday nevertheless
urged global powers to "turn up the pressure" on the
Newly declassified portions of the National Intelligence
Estimate find that Iran abandoned its nuclear program in the
fall of 2003 and does not currently possess a nuclear weapon.
The country is still enriching uranium, however, and could still
develop a weapon between 2010 and 2015, according to senior
It's important to distinguish the difference between "could
develop a weapon" and "will develop a weapon."
Iran could develop a nuclear weapon by 2010, if they started working
on one today. But they aren't. We've just established that.
And even this news isn't the first we'd heard of this. In October,
the UN raised their own doubts.
UN atomic watchdog chief Mohamed ElBaradei said December
2 he had no evidence that Iran is building nuclear weapons and
accused US leaders of adding "fuel to the fire" with
recent bellicose rhetoric.
"We haven't received any information there is a parallel,
ongoing, active nuclear weapon program," the director general
of the International Atomic Energy Agency told CNN.
"Second, even if Iran were to be working on nuclear
weapons ... they are at least (a) few years away from having
such weapon," he said, citing Washington's own intelligence
"My fear (is) that if we continue to escalate from
both sides that we will end up into a precipice, we will end
up into an abyss. The Middle East is in a total mess, to say
the least. And we cannot add fuel to the fire."
That Bush and Cheney have been overhyping the threat of Iran
should come as absolutely no surprise to anyone. The only way
to get a position in this administration is to be a shameless
And it's way past time that the media recognized that fact.
In fact, this new story about Iran's lack of a nuclear weapons
program should be seen as as big a scandal for the media as the
administration. There is no possible way that the only person
who thought the whole story was screwy was some blogger in Wisconsin.
If I knew it, they knew it.
And, knowing the story was extremely suspect, they helped the
Bushies scare the bejeezus out of everyone with a nuclear weaponized
This new information doesn't mean we're out of the woods yet.
Shameless as ever, the Bush administration is trying to spin this
report into saying the exact opposite of what it plainly says.
"Today's National Intelligence Estimate offers some positive
news," Bush's national security adviser Stephen Hadley said
3. "It confirms that we were right to be worried about
Iran seeking to develop nuclear weapons. It tells us that we have
made progress in trying to ensure that this does not happen."
Iran's not working on a nuke, so the Bush administration was
right in telling
everyone we're on the verge of WWIII. If your head just exploded,
don't blame me.
In fact, at a December
4 press conference, President Bush told reporters, "I
view this report as a warning signal that they had the program,
they halted the program. The reason why it's a warning signal
is they could restart it." This is beyond spin. This is like
being found in bed with another woman and denying she's another
woman. "Baby, this is you..."
Whether or not the media goes along with this new Bush lie is
an open question. I've been saying that the Bush administration
has lost the benefit of the doubt for a long time. There isn't
a single thing they say that shouldn't be viewed with skepticism.
I also think we've gotten to that point with the media. I don't
think we should assume the "Nuclear Iran" story's dead.
If the mainstream media remains true to form, they'll spend the
next few weeks repairing the scare and we'll be right back where
we were again. We don't just need a new administration, we need
a new media.
Terry Canaan is a former political fundraiser living and writing
in Wisconsin. He publishes the blog "Griper