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When Criticism Celebrates Iran's 'Victory'

From the UK's The Guardian is a dripping commentary that gets the pass as a news article. Championing and cheering openly December NIE co-author Thomas Fingar, 'Intelligence expert who rewrote book on Iran' stands as an assault on logic and should stand also as an embarrassment to objective reporting. Addressing the latter, the opening paragraphs aptly set the tone.

But the wheels come off - in a simply stunning and seemingly suicidal cheer - later in the piece.

Joseph Cirincione, author of Bomb Scare: The History and Future of Nuclear Weapons, also welcomed the report, saying: "What is happening is that foreign policy has swung back to the grown-ups. We are watching the collapse of the Bush doctrine in real time. The neoconservatives are howling because they know their influence is waning."

The report is a disaster for Bush's Iranian policy. Although he still refuses to take the military option off the table, it is harder to give the order to go to war. It also makes it harder for the US to persuade Russia and China to back tougher economic sanctions against Iran.

It's fine to disagree with the Bush Administration and even acceptable to relish (in a commentary) when its policy directions take hits.

But to applaud the severely reduced ability to even impose sanctions on the world's foremost state sponsor of terrorism?

This is simply unintelligent and nihilistic. Perhaps the most stunning disconnection from reality I have read in the plethora of reporting and assessments this week on the NIE. Simply stunning.

NOTE: Apparently Ewin MacAskill's Guardian piece linked above did not quite get enough play in its first run. The text was originally published as 'news' on Friday under a different headline and re-published Saturday under a different headline but unaltered text. Below are both headlines and subtitles in the order of release.

'Tensions in the Bush administration and intelligence communities are exposed by the US report on Iran's nuclear weapons programme'
The US intelligence report on Iran's nuclear programme 'swings foreign policy back to the grown-ups' from the neo-cons

'Intelligence expert who rewrote book on Iran'
Report has torpedoed plans for military action and brought 'howls' from neocons

1 Comment

I agree with Michael's Haft of the Spear post that the NIE shouldn't be used as a political football. Having said that, I find the Republican Senators who have announced their plans to investigate the authorship of that document absolutely atrocious; and in the same league as the Democrats using it to support their own flawed military strategy.

But regarding your point, Steve, I read both of the articles that you referenced and neither struck me as being over the top. Maybe I missed it, but I didn't get the sense that the authors were applauding or relishing anything. It read like standard news reporting to me (of course, it is a Saturday and I'm a bit wiped out from a tough week).