You can always count on The New York Times to fan the flames of war. They did it with Iraq’s WMDs and now they are doing the same with Iran’s nuclear program. The Wednesday edition carried a frightening headline that alerted us to the fact that “Iran Is Shielding Nuclear Efforts in Tunnel Mazes.”
Accompanying the story was an equally frightening photo of Iran’s President Mahmud Ahmadinejad, surrounded by a group of tieless functionaries, all sporting red hardhats, in a tunnel reinforced by a Byzantine network of equally red I-beams. The tunnel had “threat” written all over it—until you read the caption. They were standing in a newly constructed highway tunnel!
Now, there’s a scare.
The story went on to refer to Iran’s “notoriously opaque nuclear effort,” without the quotation marks.
The article highlighted a problem that has been plaguing the Beltway ever since it started grousing about Iran’s nuclear program: The program is perfectly legal under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty to which Iran is a signatory.
This has forced the administration to obsess on the “possibility” that Iran is really trying to build a nuclear weapon. It’s Cheney’s old “one percent” doctrine. If there’s a one percent chance that a possibility is real we treat it as real.
In all the coverage the story has received, a few salient facts have been left out. Given the hostility the West has exhibited towards Iran and given an Israeli Air Force just chomping at the bit to bomb the hell out of the country, Iran would have to be brain dead not to bury its nuclear facilities beneath the deepest mountain it could find.
For that matter, Iran would have to be brain dead not to develop a nuclear bomb. Nothing changes a hostile nation’s attitude like a nuclear arsenal, as North Korea discovered.
However, such thinking would require commonsense, and that’s the last thing the Beltway can afford. There’s simply no profit in it.