Thursday, March 01, 2007


Some interesting liguistic revelations have come to light in a recent column by Ray McGovern. The Director of National Intelligence, Michael McConnell addressed the Senate Armed Forces Committee this week. At the hearing, he said,
We assess that Iran seeks to develop a nuclear weapon. The information is incomplete, but we assess that Iran could develop a nuclear weapon early-to-mid-next decade.
Hence the rush to bomb now, considering that Iran offered to fully comply on its nuclear program, recognise Israel, and cease all support for militant groups targeting Israel. But then again, that offer doesn't count because it is embarrassing to the U.S. and because the U.S. brushed the offer aside (then attacked the messenger conveying the offer).

But back to the Director's words. Because it is the government, it is important to know, not so much what they said, but what they think the words they used mean. Take "assess," for example. What does that mean. Here is how it has been defined by the government at the time of their last brilliant "assess"ment:
When we use words such as 'we assess,' we are trying to convey an analytical assessment or judgment. These assessments, which are based on incomplete or at times fragmentary information are not a fact, proof, or knowledge. Some analytical judgments are based directly on collected information; others rest on previous judgments, which serve as building blocks. In either type of judgment, we do not have ‘evidence’ that shows something to be a fact.

So, Iran has a nuclear weapons program, but that there is no "'evidence' that shows [that] to be a fact," and there is no "fact, proof, or knowledge" to show that there is. The total lack of a nuclear weapons program found after 1400 days of IAEA go anywhere, anytime inspections remains the only reliable source of information.

One should really take any U.S. "assessments" with a truckload of salt. Here's a blast from the past: in 1995, the "assessment" was that Iran would have a bomb "within five years."


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