"The United States lacks sufficient intelligence on Iran's nuclear facilities at this time, which prevents it from initiating a military strike against them, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has told European politicians and diplomats with whom she has recently met.
Rice mentioned three reasons why the United States is currently unable to carry out a military operation against Iran: the wish to solve the crisis through peaceful means; concern that a military strike will be ineffective - that it would fail to completely destroy Iran's nuclear capabilities; and the lack of precise intelligence on the targets' locations.
U.S. President George W. Bush and President Jacques Chirac of France met several weeks ago. Bush told his French counterpart that the possibility that Israel would carry out a strike against Iran's nuclear installations should not be ruled out.
Bush also said that if such an attack were to take place, he would understand it.
According to the French official, such a strike would at best delay the completion of Iran's nuclear program by two years.
The attack would also result in Iran cancelling its membership in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, cause a great deal of agitation in the Arab world, lead to a rise in oil prices, and could result in a major Iranian military response that would not target Israel alone."
"Conventional wisdom tacitly assumes that the worst that can happen in Iraq is a continuation of the current low-level civil war, resulting in the loss of thousands of Iraqi lives and dozens of U.S. soldiers each month. But as bad as that is, it's worth keeping in mind that the American occupation has actually made the Iraqi situation worse every single year since it began, and will probably continue to make things worse as long as we're there. And the worse the violence, the worse the Iraqi theocracy that eventually takes root in its wake is likely to be.
But that's not all. The dynamics of violence are nonlinear in the extreme, and the odds of an Archduke Ferdinand moment continue to rise inexorably as our occupation continues to make things ever worse and ever more unstable. A year from now, we could end up in the middle of a full-blown civil war costing a thousand American lives a month. We could end up taking sides in a shooting war against Turkey, a NATO ally. We could end up fighting off an armed invasion from Iran. We could end up on the receiving of an oil embargo led by Saudi Arabia. Who knows?"
* someone's preznit speaks:
"A whole society is a society which welcomes basic freedoms, and there's no more basic freedom than the basic -- the freedom to worship as you see fit."
* Larisa has new digs. her first post is about Sy Hersh's latest - larisa adds:
"The question is obviously not answered completely by anyone with whom Hersh spoke, but the implication of a Sec-Def Gates as independent of the Vice Presidency is once again blown to shreds.
Obviously the nexus of strange findings in Iran (such as the Plutonium recently mentioned), and reports about trumping up Iran's threat (such as the Congo Uranium purchase), as well as the creation of the Iranian Directorate, among many other factors, would suggest that the United States is spending a whole lot of time preparing for something. The question is what?'
* atrios enters the great religious debate:
"So, yes, lots of religious people believe that they've found the one true path to eternal salvation and everyone who doesn't share that view is going to hell forever. This might seem like a rather abhorrent and morally vacuous view of the universe, but it isn't a fringe view. Lots of people believe it. According to this poll, 24% of Americans who believe in the existence of Heaven think that only Christians can get to Heaven."
* tas has left the building.