Saturday, October 06, 2007

Iran Sleuth Drum Circle

I know the title doesn’t make sense—yet! It’s a CLUE!

Taking my cue from Cernig’s post and Libby’s comment therein about sleuthing I have to take Kevin Drum (normally of sound mind) to task for not using his own brain but someone else's in considering The Mystery Of The Israeli Attack On The Syrian Nuclear Facility That Never Happened--Or DID It?!!!

Kevin Drum leads his analysis with a select quote from an ABCNews story that through no fault of the reporter Martha Raddatz makes no sense at all (She just writes what she's given):

“....Initially, administration officials convinced the Israelis to call off the July strike. But in September the Israelis feared that news of the site was about to leak and went ahead with the strike despite U.S. concerns.”
Umm…why would the Israeli’s “[fear] that news of the "site" was about to leak”? Who would do the “leaking” and about what, exactly?

In the current ‘dialog’ being played out in the US media, driven by the White House, “nuclear facility” = nuclear weapons.
Entirely ignored is the fact that the world is facing a looming energy crunch and everyone is going to have to diversify their energy sources. Nuclear energy is an obvious choice seeing as the technology is proven and relatively accessible. Because of the time required for construction and implementation a nuclear energy plant needs to be begun in anticipation of its needed use.

If the subject of the strike WERE a “nuclear facility” that MIGHT be used to process weapons grade material, wouldn’t its existence and subsequent destruction be great and justifying publicity for the US and Israeli hawks?
“Look! The threat is real, but we can defeat it and this is the only way!” What better leverage to stop the Iranian nuclear program than the demonstration of force on Syria's "nuclear facility”?
Instead all we’re getting is innuendo and obfuscation; so what does being coy serve?

Drum asks “but was it really a nuclear site?” and then quotes another article that doesn’t address that question at all! Duh!

Instead his excerpt talks about an apparent failure of the Syrian Air Defense system, after which Kevin muses:
“…but it doesn't seem like you'd tip your hand about the capabilities of
technology like this in order to destroy a bunch of rocket launchers and North Korean Scuds.”
I’d agree, especially as the big threat is supposed to be Iran, not Syria.

But it is entirely possible that Syria wasn’t engaged in anything it thought might be provocative (I’m sure the Syrians have their idiots too but being a tiny weak nation that has lost to the Israelis every time since the year dot, I’d imagine they simply can’t afford to be as stupid and provocative as say, the US or Israel).
It’s possible that Syria had no clue that anything it might have been doing would seem in any way provocative to trigger-happy Israel. It’s possible that the Syrian air defense system was simply “napping”—that it hadn’t been “defeated” by some kick-ass technology at all.

If the Syrians Air Defense System failed because they simply weren’t ready I imagine the Syrians would want to engage in some kind of “damage control” and downplay the whole thing—hence their dismissal of the results of the raid and their mundane complaint that their airspace was violated.

Drum continues:
“The mission had to be important enough to make it worth letting the Syrians (and the Iranians and the Russians) know that their air defenses had been compromised. They might figure out how to fix it next time, after all. So maybe there was some North Korean nuclear technology there after all.”

WHAT? Then why all the secrecy? If the “cover" was blown, where’s the pay off—the destroyed nuclear reactor and missile silos etc that would justify the strike and justify the exposure of their awesome stealth technology?

I think the Israelis operated on lousy intelligence (perhaps “stove-piped”), launched a risky but supposedly “justified” strike and hit nothing of “value” at all—certainly not anything nuclear. The Syrians were caught off-guard because they didn’t think they were doing anything provocative and if anything of any importance got hit, they don’t want to admit it—ergo, huge embarrassment all around, so no one wants to discuss it.


“And is it a coincidence that within weeks North Korea suddenly decided to cut a deal with the U.S. to abandon its nuclear program? It might well be. But it is something of a coincidence, isn't it?”

Right, Kevin. Because that’s how these things get sorted—in a couple of weeks. As soon as Kim Jong Il suddenly realized that the Israelis were prepared to fly all the way to North Korea to destroy his super scary nuclear arsenal on behalf of the US because what matters to Israel is what matters to the US, he completely folded.

So to conclude: Kevin Drum, in the Blogosphere, slapped into insensibility with the Tarpon (its like a Tuna but not as big) of media mediocrity and the admininstration's message machine. He's buying what he's hearing, not questioning what he's not hearing--and he's concluding that the Red Herring did it!
(Sorry, but that tortured analogy is just an "enhanced technique"--okay?)

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