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Nukes, or no nukes?

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Posted by John Keller

Call me naive and misguided, if you like, but generally I tend to believe the estimates of U.S. intelligence agencies. Let's face it, they're better than I am -- they have more resources and nicer offices -- at judging where in the world are the real threats to U.S. national security. I thought so, at least.

I have to admit, however, that my confidence in the intelligence experts is shaken this morning. For quite a while now I and other people, some of them intelligent and respectable people, have labored under the assumption that Iran is developing nuclear weapons. This assumption has been a cornerstone of U.S. foreign policy for many months, accompanied by saber rattling and international threats of economic sanctions on that country.

But this morning I awaken to new reports from U.S. intelligence experts that Iran really ISN'T developing nuclear weapons ... furthermore that they haven't been pursuing nuclear weapons since 2003. That's four years ago. I know the government can be slow in getting the word, but four years ago?

Now what to believe? For months the experts have been warning us that Iran shortly will have nuclear weapons with which they could menace Israel and other country in the Middle East within range of its ballistic missiles. But this morning? Never mind. This from the International Herald Tribune:

But the new estimate declares with "high confidence" that a military-run Iranian program intended to transform that raw material into a nuclear weapon has been shut down since 2003, and also says with high confidence that the halt "was directed primarily in response to increasing international scrutiny and pressure."

I only wish I could say I still have "high confidence" in the ability of U.S. intelligence agencies to get the story right.

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Welcome to the lighter side of Military & Aerospace Electronics. This is where our staff recount tales of the strange, the weird, and the otherwise offbeat. We could put news here, but we have the rest of our Website for that. Enjoy our scribblings, and feel free to add your own opinions. You might also get to know us in the process. Proceed at your own risk.

John Keller for MAE
John Keller is editor-in-chief of Military & Aerospace Electronics magazine, which provides extensive coverage and analysis of enabling electronic and optoelectronic technologies in military, space, and commercial aviation applications. A member of the Military & Aerospace Electronics staff since the magazine's founding in 1989, Mr. Keller took over as chief editor in 1995.

Courtney Howard for MAE Courtney E. Howard is senior editor of Military & Aerospace Electronics magazine. She is responsible for writing news stories and feature articles for the print publication, as well as composing daily news for the magazine's Website and assembling the weekly electronic newsletter. Her features have appeared in such high-tech trade publications as Military & Aerospace Electronics, Computer Graphics World, Electronic Publishing, Small Times, and The Audio Amateur.

John McHale for MAE John McHale is executive editor of Military & Aerospace Electronics magazine, where he has been covering the defense Industry for more than dozen years. During that time he also led PennWell's launches of magazines and shows on homeland security and a defense publication and website in Europe. Mr. McHale has served as chairman of the Military & Aerospace Electronics Forum and its Advisory Council since 2004. He lives in Boston with his golf clubs.