Kit Bond, in his role as Vice-Chariman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, appeared on PBS’ NewsHour with the Chair of that Committee, Jay Rocekefeller, to talk about the new National Intelligence Estimate (NIE). This NIE has created quite a stir since it concludes that while Iran did at one time have a secret nuclear program, and continues to enrich uranium, the Iranian government closed the actual program down in 2003 based on cost-benefit considerations. A transcription of the interview as well as an audio download can be found here.
Bond’s response was quite in line with the President’s earlier press briefing where Bush continued to insist on the threat posed by Iran, nuclear capacity or not:
Iran was dangerous. Iran is dangerous. And Iran will be dangerous if they have the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon. The NIE says that Iran had a hidden, a covert nuclear weapons program. That’s what it said. What’s to say they couldn’t start another covert nuclear weapons program?
Like Bush, Bond is very worried about the hypothetical possibilities of continued Iranian evildoing:
… there’s no question that Iran continues to be very dangerous. And we don’t know when or if they are going to continue to — or will restart their program to enable them to achieve Ahmadinejad’s goal of wiping Israel off the face of the Earth.
And I might be run-over when I leave my house today so I had better go on the offensive and gun down all motorists. No reason to confine myself to reasonable precautions and trust probability rather than possibility.
(Notice that Bond throws in the Ahmadinejad/Israel straw-man threat for good measure. Numerous commentators have written about the truths underlying this rhetoric and the ways that it is used strategically by Israel, Iran, and our neoconservative friends in Washington to misdirect and mislead. See, for instance, the book by Triti Parsi, Treacherous Alliance – The Secret Dealings of Iran, Israel and the United States (Yale University Press, 2007.))
Bond goes so far as to imply that there may be something suspect about the NIE:
… there’s a lot more work we need to do on this intelligence report. We’ve only had a chance to look at it briefly. We want to learn more about it, because I have some questions about some of the conclusions they reached and how they reached them, not to say that there’s anything wrong in the report. … And I don’t know whether we have good information to know whether there are factors which will indicate that they’re much less likely to pursue nuclear weapons. I am not confident — I am not highly confident that they have forever forsaken it.
While Bond claims that “nobody that I know of … is saying, ‘We need military action against Iran’,” he does lots of twisting and turning to avoid criticizing the recent, rabble-rousing, regime-change rhetoric of the administration he has served so assiduously. In both his and the President’s earlier performance I hear vague echoes of arch-neoconservative Norman Podhoretz’ assertion in Commentary that:
the intelligence community, which has for some years now been leaking material calculated to undermine George W. Bush, is doing it again. This time the purpose is to head off the possibility that the President may order air strikes on the Iranian nuclear installations.
What can one do to let our esteemed Mr. Pork know that this B.S. won’t wash. and that he is only making a fool of himself right along with George W.?