The real nuclear threat

10/05/04 | by david2 [mail] | Categories: General
If you've got the time listen to this realaudio broadcast of Graham Allison being interviewed.

If there's any question that there was anybody (aside from Dick Cheney) who believed (did he really believe it? ) that Iraq posed a credible nuclear threat and not an Invisible Lion threat, Allison puts it to bed in this interview.

He also addresses the relative probabilities of a nuclear attack on the US via missile as opposed to crude but effective improvised devices hidden in the back of panel vans and detonated in the heart of Manhattan.

The good news is that terrorists won't have the technology to put them in suitcases, but the accompanying bad news is that they're ridiculously easy to construct with as little as 100 lbs of fissile material.

100 lbs would yield 10 kilotons which would vaporize everything within 1/3 mile of Times Square and destroy everything within one mile radius.

No one in the intelligence community considers a missile-delivered nuke to be nearly as great a threat as a panel-van nuke. And given the fact that there are limited resources, it makes you wonder why the Bush administration has committed 10 billion a year to deploy a missile defense system that has not been demonstrated to be effective. (Even in limited tests, it failed multiple tests).

Some might ask the question on whether that 10 billion would be better spent on the real threat to our nation.

Yes, folks, this is the one part of the terrorist threat that SHOULD scare you, as opposed to all of the other imaginary stuff the Bush administration has been sabre rattling about.

In his book "Nuclear Terrorism," Harvard professor GRAHAM ALLISON makes the case that nuclear terrorist atttacks are a realistic threat to America. He discusses flaws in our current policies and offers suggestions as to how we can prevent such threats.

From his Bio at Kennedy School of Government at Harvard (which he founded):

Graham T. Allison is Douglas Dillon Professor of Government and Director of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. From 1977-1989, Allison served as Dean of the Kennedy School. In the first term of the Clinton Administration, Allison served as Assistant Secretary of Defense for Policy and Plans, where he coordinated DOD strategy and policy toward Russia, Ukraine, and the other states of the former Soviet Union. His publication Essence of Decision: Explaining the Cuban Missile Crisis (1971) was recently released in an updated and revised second edition (1999) and ranks among the best-sellers in political science with more than 350,000 copies in print. Other publications include Avoiding Nuclear Anarchy: Containing the Threat of Loose Russian Nuclear Weapons and Fissile Material (1996),Realizing Human Rights: From Inspiration to Impact (2000), and Nuclear Terrorism: The Ultimate Preventable Catastrophe (2004).

The Nuclear Threat from Iraq

10/05/04 | by david2 [mail] | Categories: General
Months after the launch of the Iraq war, there is concensus among the intelligence community and arms experts that not only did Iraq not have anything approaching a nuclear capability, but the US government knew that this was the case.

In an editorial by the NY Times, a case is made for the Administration exhibiting either gross incompetence, or if not incompetence, then intentional deception.

In specific, it's now known that the major point used by the administration, the contention that some aluminum tubes possessed by the Iraqis were to be used in nuclear weaponry, was not only false, but there were no less than 3 reports outlining this.

So either the administration was incompetent in not reading these, or it was deceptive in not changing its course once it did read these reports.

We've heard arguments for both: Condi Rice and Cheney still go on about the nuclear threat in spite of the fact that evidence to the contrary exists and evidence for their point of view doesn't exist. (Save for the you never know, there COULD be invisible lions prowling the streets, so always bring your lion trap argument -- presented in the form of I don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud)

But there was also the attempt by Tenet, director of the CIA to try and take the fall by saying that they didn't present the best evidence, suggesting that the administration really was in the dark about how serious the threat wasn't. This boils down to the few bad apples in the intelligence community argument.

Incompetence or Deception. Either way it isn't good.

Ms. Rice's spokesman, Sean McCormack, said it was not her job to question intelligence reports or "to referee disputes in the intelligence community." But even with that curious job disclaimer, it's no comfort to think that the national security adviser wouldn't have bothered to inform herself about such a major issue before speaking publicly. The national security adviser has no more important responsibility than making sure that the president gets the best advice on life-and-death issues like the war.

If Ms. Rice did her job and told Mr. Bush how ludicrous the case was for an Iraqi nuclear program, then Mr. Bush terribly misled the public. If not, she should have resigned for allowing her boss to start a war on the basis of bad information and an incompetent analysis.

The world is a dangerous place

10/04/04 | by david2 [mail] | Categories: General
And if you don't believe me, maybe you'll believe these people instead.

If you thought things were getting better in Iraq:

10/01/04 | by david2 [mail] | Categories: General
From a letter from a WSJ reporter which was made public:

Despite President Bush's rosy assessments, Iraq remains a disaster. If under Saddam it was a 'potential' threat, under the Americans it has been transformed to 'imminent and active threat,' a
foreign policy failure bound to haunt the United States for decades to come.

I am house bound. I leave when I have a very good reason to and a scheduled interview. I avoid going to people's homes and never walk in the streets. I can't go grocery shopping any more, can't eat in restaurants, can't strike a conversation with strangers, can't look for stories, can't drive in any thing but a full armored car, can't go to scenes of breaking news stories, can't be stuck in traffic, can't speak English outside, can't take a road trip, can't say I'm an American, can't linger at checkpoints, can't be curious about what people are saying, doing, feeling. And can't and can't.

Here is how it goes: criminal gangs grab you and sell you up to Baathists in Fallujah, who will in turn sell you to Al Qaeda. In turn, cash and weapons flow the other way from Al Qaeda to the Baathisst to the criminals. My friend Georges, the French journalist snatched on the road to Najaf, has been missing for a month with no word on release or whether he is still alive.

The entire letter is worth reading.

Big rain

09/29/04 | by david2 [mail] | Categories: General
The red is where an excess of 10 inches fell.

rain from jeanne Lincoln Drive

And this is what it caused on lincoln drive.

Demonstration effects and opportunity costs

09/28/04 | by david2 [mail] | Categories: General
James Fallows is on Fresh Air giving a perspective to what the results of the Bush policies have been. He is discussing his article in this month's Atlantic Monthly entitled "Bush's Lost Year". At first blush, you may think 1972, but this is the year 2002.

This was the year that Bush decided to go after Iraq instead of following up the growing nuclear threats in Iran, North Korea, or chasing Bin Laden and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan.

It's lost in the sense that by delaying these actions, there were the huge opportunity costs of allowing each of these situations to worsen greatly.

The popular neo-con theory was that the demonstration effects (i.e. the results from a demonstration of the United States' might) would cause potential belligerent states to reconsider their actions. The actual effect has been just the opposite: those on the verge of nuclear deterrence have only accelerated their programs. North Korea most certainly has nuclear weapons and Iran cannot be far behind.

Libya gets pointed out as a nation that has changed its tune. However, the question remains as to how much this was caused by the Bush Administrations posturing and how much was caused by Qadaffi's change of heart, which appears to have been rather well documented over these past years, well before Bush started sabre rattling.

I'm personally scratching my head over how anybody could have expected a set of regimes like Iran or N. Korea to do anything ELSE besides what they've done. Considering the fact that 'reasonable' and 'considered' are not words you would associate with those states, how could any level-headed analysis conclude that they wouldn't make every attempt to gain a nuclear deterrence once the United States demonstrated its itchy trigger finger?

That part still has me stunned. It would be like expecting David Koresh of the Branch Dividians or Randy Weaver at Ruby Ridge to act with reason and simply come out with their hands up. For that matter, could you even expect that members of the Republican party would all of a sudden see that belligerence doesn't work and call a special session of the UN to gain some international understanding and cooperation? In your dreams pal.

If the leaders of Iraq or N. Korea were born in America, they'd most certainly be Republicans. Don't their fellow he-men see that?

Here's a link to the text of James Fallow's article.

The horror that the US is inflicting in Iraq

09/28/04 | by david2 [mail] | Categories: General
Here's an article that gives a first-hand account of American activities in Iraq.

The irony is that the activities of the Americans are resulting in approximately three times as many Iraqi casualties as terrorist activities.

In response to the retort that there isn't a link to the activities of the terrorists here, I can only ask: "Is that who you want to use as a yardstick to compare your activities with" ?

What kind of Postmodernist are you ?

09/28/04 | by david2 [mail] | Categories: General
Well, why not find out?

You are a Gender Nazi. Your boundary-crossing lifestyle inspires awe in your friends and colleagues. Or maybe they're just scared you will kick their asses for using gender-specific language. Either way, the wife-beater helps.

Now, all I need to do is meet the Theory Slut

theory slut

O'Reilly vs Stewart

09/28/04 | by david2 [mail] | Categories: General
O'Reilly accuses 'Daily Show' watchers of being slackers:
O'Reilly's teasing came when Stewart appeared on his show earlier this month.

"You know what's really frightening?" O'Reilly said. "You actually have an influence on this presidential election. That is scary, but it's true. You've got stoned slackers watching your dopey show every night and they can vote."

When in fact It turns out the opposite is true:

So they did a little research. And guess whose audience is more educated?

Viewers of Jon Stewart's show are more likely to have completed four years of college than people who watch "The O'Reilly Factor," according to Nielsen Media Research.

On the Issues

09/28/04 | by david2 [mail] | Categories: General
Here's an interesting website on political resources.

And here's a quiz on who shares your values from the same site.

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