Thursday, March 01, 2007

Shorter Glenn Kessler

The intelligence and facts are being fixed around the new policy

The old fact is that Clinton's North Korea policy was a disaster. For the Bush administration, this is (or was ?) pretty much true by definition, but others might want an argument. The argument was that, when Clinton stopped the North Korean Plutonium extraction program cold through "appeasement" (negotatiations) a new hole in the dike popped open, that being a Uranium enrichment program. Now that Bush administration firmness has resulted in North Korea extracting enough Plutonium for roughly a dozen nuclear bombs, making at least one and testing one, the Bush administration has decided to return to the Clinton policy.

Therefore new facts are needed. Therefore, there is no longer a North Korean Uranium enrichment program.

There might or might not be a North Korean Uranium enrichment program. However, it is very clear that the Bush administration will do nothing about it that the Clinton administration had not already done (read nothing). Thus the only conceivable advantage of the Bush approach is based on a fact which has been liquidated. The only difference between the results of the Clinton policy and the Bush policy is some dozens of kilograms of purified Plutonium and at least one atomic bomb.

The one argument used by the Bush administration for the past 5 years against Clinton era policies is, in Ron Zeiglar's immortal words, inoperative.

Update.
Around the left blogosphere, the general interpretation appears to be that the old intelligence (built around the old policy) was bogus, but the new interpretation is valid, that is that North Korea never had much of a Uranium enrichment program. I don't notice many others suspecting the zag as much as the zig.

I see hints of the suspicion in the New York Times article by David Sanger and William Broad

But the doubts were on full display on Wednesday, when Christopher R. Hill, the chief American negotiator with North Korea, testified on Capitol Hill. “If we determine that there is a program, it’s got to go,” Mr. Hill said, words that were far more tentative than American policy makers have used about the program in the past. Expressing his resolve to get to the bottom of the mystery, he added: “We cannot have a situation where we — you know, they pretend to disarm and we pretend to believe them. We need to run this into the ground.” He said that while there was no doubt that North Korea had bought centrifuges from Abdul Qadeer Khan, the rogue Pakistani engineer, there was doubt about “how far they’ve gotten.”
Hmmm we certainly cannot have such a situtation can we. I mean it sure looks like such a situation. Ignore the man behind the curtain.

Now what chance do you think there is that they will determine that there is such a program (as they did in 2002) ?

Also note who started reassessing the intelligence "One former official said that it was Ms. Rice, in a meeting at the C.I.A. in 2004, who encouraged intelligence officials to soften their assessments of how quickly the North Koreans could produce weapons-usable uranium." hmm I wonder why.

Now I have no particular guess about the intelligence or about North Korean Uranium enrichment programs. However, I do think that it is clear that we learn nothing about either from the Bush administration whether on record or leaking to the Wapo and the NY Times.
In 2002, they said the Clinton negotiated agreed framework was no good and that intelligence proved that North Korea had a major Uranium enrichment program, now they have realised it is the best deal they can get (not counting a dozen or so atom bombs) so, barring further evidence which will be brought out on flying pigs, nothing needs to be done about the possible Uranium program. The official line has changed. Nothing can be inferred about anything in North Korea.

Update: Kevind Drum notes that "Fred Kaplan (unsurprisingly) picks up on something [I] Drum missed about our intelligence turnaround on North Korea's uranium enrichment
program:" I am flattered (even though Drum did not link to me).

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Shorter Glenn Kessler The intelligence and facts ...":

http://www.newyorker.com/printables/fact/070305fa_fact_hersh

February 25, 2007

The Redirection
By SEYMOUR M. HERSH

Is the Administration's new policy benefitting our enemies in the war on terrorism?

A STRATEGIC SHIFT

In the past few months, as the situation in Iraq has deteriorated, the Bush Administration, in both its public diplomacy and its covert operations, has significantly shifted its Middle East strategy. The "redirection," as some inside the White House have called the new strategy, has brought the United States closer to an open confrontation with Iran and, in parts of the region, propelled it into a widening sectarian conflict between Shiite and Sunni Muslims.

To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Administration has coöperated with Saudi Arabia's government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that is backed by Iran. The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda....

anne

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Shorter Glenn Kessler The intelligence and facts ...":

http://www.walrusmagazine.com/print/history-bombs-over-cambodia/

February 25, 2007

Bombs Over Cambodia: New information reveals that Cambodia was bombed far more heavily than previously believed.
By Taylor Owen and Ben Kiernan

In the fall of 2000, twenty-five years after the end of the war in Indochina, Bill Clinton became the first US president since Richard Nixon to visit Vietnam. While media coverage of the trip was dominated by talk of some two thousand US soldiers still classified as missing in action, a small act of great historical importance went almost unnoticed. As a humanitarian gesture, Clinton released extensive Air Force data on all American bombings of Indochina between 1964 and 1975. Recorded using a groundbreaking IBM-designed system, the database provided extensive information on sorties conducted over Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. Clinton's gift was intended to assist in the search for unexploded ordnance left behind during the carpet bombing of the region. Littering the countryside, often submerged under farmland, this ordnance remains a significant humanitarian concern. It has maimed and killed farmers, and rendered valuable land all but unusable. Development and demining organizations have put the Air Force data to good use over the past six years, but have done so without noting its full implications, which turn out to be staggering....

anne

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

http://www.walrusmagazine.com/print/history-bombs-over-cambodia/

February 25, 2007

Bombs Over Cambodia: New information reveals that Cambodia was bombed far more heavily than previously believed.
By Taylor Owen and Ben Kiernan

In the fall of 2000, twenty-five years after the end of the war in Indochina, Bill Clinton became the first US president since Richard Nixon to visit Vietnam. While media coverage of the trip was dominated by talk of some two thousand US soldiers still classified as missing in action, a small act of great historical importance went almost unnoticed. As a humanitarian gesture, Clinton released extensive Air Force data on all American bombings of Indochina between 1964 and 1975. Recorded using a groundbreaking IBM-designed system, the database provided extensive information on sorties conducted over Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. Clinton's gift was intended to assist in the search for unexploded ordnance left behind during the carpet bombing of the region. Littering the countryside, often submerged under farmland, this ordnance remains a significant humanitarian concern. It has maimed and killed farmers, and rendered valuable land all but unusable. Development and demining organizations have put the Air Force data to good use over the past six years, but have done so without noting its full implications, which turn out to be staggering....

anne

Anonymous said...

http://www.nytimes.com/books/00/11/26/specials/schlesinger-hundred.html

April 10, 1983

The 'Hundred Days' of F.D.R.
By ARTHUR SCHLESINGER Jr.

Exactly half a century ago, the Republic plunged into the Hundred Days - that time of tumultuous change when a flood of legislation swept away venerable market p ractices and gave the American economic system a new contour....

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/18/books/review/18schlesinger.html?ex=1284696000&en=c7225b818a2f5ced&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss

September 18, 2005

Forgetting Reinhold Niebuhr
By ARTHUR SCHLESINGER JR.

THE recent outburst of popular religiosity in the United States is a most dramatic and unforeseen development in American life. As Europe grows more secular, America grows more devout....

In the midst of this religious commotion, the name of the most influential American theologian of the 20th century rarely appears - Reinhold Niebuhr. It may be that most "people of faith" belong to the religious right, and Niebuhr was on secular issues a determined liberal. But left evangelicals as well as their conservative brethren hardly ever invoke his name....

Robert said...

Suddenly I'm getting some higher quality Spam.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "I believe that some writers have done the followin...":

No; truth is often socially created, of that I am immediately sure but now need to think further.