Guest Post: The 71%
Submitted by John Aziz of Azizonomics blog,
According to a recent CNN poll, 60% of Americans want go to war with Iran to prevent them from getting nuclear weapons.
This in spite of the fact that the US intelligence community is fairy unanimous that Iran is not even currently pursuing nuclear weapons. According to Micah Zenko:
First, as Director of National Intelligence James Clapper has repeatedly reaffirmed since late January, “we don’t believe they’ve actually made the decision to go ahead with a nuclear weapon.” Just yesterday, James Risen reported in the New York Times that the IC continues to believe (based on an assessment first made in November 2007) that Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei halted his country’s nuclear weapons activities in 2003.
This might be hard for many to grasp, since polling has found the American people disagree with the collective judgment of the 210,000 civilian and military employees and 30,000 private contractors comprising the IC. A recent poll found that 84 percent of Americans think Iran is developing nuclear weapons, while another from February 2010 concluded that 71 percent of Americans believe that Iran currently has nuclear weapons.
So 60% of Americans believe Iran should be attacked to prevent nuclear proliferation. Simultaneously 71% of Americans — in total contradiction to the evidence recognised by both the CIA and Mossad that Iran is not currently even developing a nuclear weapon — believe that Iran currently has nuclear weapons. There is almost certainly a high degree of overlap — and that’s some severe cognitive dissonance. Where are such ideas coming from?
There are some voices in the wilderness that are expressing the view that Iran already has a nuclear weapon to anyone who will listen.
According to Reza Kahlili, who claims to be a former CIA spy who infiltrated the Iranian Revolutionary Guard:
The pressure the United States and the West is bringing to bear on Iran to keep it from acquiring nuclear weapons is all for naught. Not only does the Islamic Republic already have nuclear weapons from the old Soviet Union, but it has enough enriched uranium for more. What’s worse, it has a delivery system.
And where did Iran supposedly get those weapons?
In the early 1990s, the CIA asked me to find an Iranian scientist who would testify that Iran had the bomb. The CIA had learned that Iranian intelligence agents were visiting nuclear installations throughout the former Soviet Union, with particular interest in Kazakhstan.
Meanwhile, Paul Muenstermann, then vice president of the German Federal Intelligence Service, said Iran had received two of the three nuclear warheads and medium-range nuclear delivery systems from Kazakhstan. It also was reported that Iran had purchased four 152 mm nuclear shells from the former Soviet Union, which were reportedly stolen and sold by former Red Army officers.
To make matters worse, several years later, Russian officials stated that when comparing documents in transferring nuclear weapons from Ukraine to Russia, there was a discrepancy of 250 nuclear weapons.
Lt. Col. Tony Shaffer, an experienced intelligence officer and recipient of a Bronze Star, told me that his sources say Iran has two workable nuclear warheads
Unlike the 71%, I’m not really convinced by this — if anything, it could be Iranian disinformation to try and avoid an American or Israeli attack. More importantly, the US and Israeli intelligence community at large don’t buy it. If they had any real evidence that Iran had a bomb today, Netanyahu would have been presenting it at the UN instead of drawing red lines on Wile E. Coyote bomb diagrams.
But if it were true, it would illustrate an extremely important point — that Iran with a nuclear weapon has not tried to obliterate Israel or the United States.
And if America were to attack Iran to prevent Iran from gaining a nuclear weapon, and Iran already has a nuclear weapon, the consequence could be thousands or millions of death — an attack on Iran would be even more dangerous and misadventurous for both the West and Israel than it already seems.
That makes the fact that a majority of Americans — as well as a disturbing number of hawkish policy analysts and talking heads like Reza Kahlili — agree that Iran already has a nuclear weapon, and that Iran should be attacked even more mind-boggling. To conclude (based on rumours and hear’say) that Iran already has a nuclear weapon, and simultaneously to encourage an attack on them is the height of foolishness.