Obama is by nature a booster–like the first stage of a missile lofting its payload into the upper atmosphere. A huge bang, a mighty whoosh and then, a few miles up, a fizzle as the Obama-booster burns out and drops back to earth. He doesn’t seem to have much stamina or even strategy for getting useful things done. No wonder he leaped on the “secret Iranian nuclear facility.” It was a perfect setup up for a booster.
Half-close our eyes and we could have been back in Bush-time, amid the ripest hours of the propaganda barrage for the US-led onslaught on Iraq. (Though this time the venue was the G-20 summit in Pittsburgh, not the UN General Assembly, since Obama wanted to reserve that for a message of uplift.) Theme: disclosure of fresh, chilling evidence of the duplicity of a pariah nation and of the threat it poses to the civilized world. Then it was Secretary of State Colin Powell obediently dispensing lies and blatant forgeries about Iraq’s WMDs. On September 25, it was Obama flanked by his Euro-puppets, rolling out alarms that were relayed to the world by a compliant press, albeit sometimes with sidebars puncturing the essential claims. Within minutes of Obama’s Pittsburgh ambush, the White House’s scenario about a terrifying new nuke factory near Qom began to crumble; a few days later, it was rubble.
US intelligence knew about the mountainside site back in Bush-time. Work had started on it, then stopped. Obama was briefed about it during the transition. Last spring, US surveillance–from satellites and maybe from spies on the ground–concluded that the plant’s construction was nearly complete. US intelligence then supposedly learned that the Iranians knew the plant was under US observation. Of course they did. Who doesn’t know about American eyes in the skies?
Both Iran and the United States were planning a disclosure schedule matching their political needs. Iran’s letter of notification to the IAEA was probably timed to strengthen the theocracy’s domestic position and Iran’s hand in the upcoming Geneva talks. Claims that Iran violated its obligations under the nonproliferation treaty and subsequent annexes are questionable at best and will give international legal experts plump incomes for decades. One of the United States’ tactics has been to rearrange the legal requirements of the treaty, then to insist that each new arrogant stipulation is retroactive. Iran naturally objects to this and responds with dense legal barrages, some depending on whether or not the Iranian Parliament ratified the successive amendments to the treaty. Its case is pretty good–certainly a hundred times stronger than Obama’s wild accusations, dutifully echoed by his equerries, Sarkozy and Brown. The most persuasive outline of the legal issues comes from Los Angeles-based Muhammad Sahimi, on the (anti-theocracy) site for Frontline‘s Tehran bureau.