<br>Ray McGovern, a 27-year veteran CIA analyst, is a member of the steering group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity and a member of the Truth-Telling Coalition.
<br><br>===============================================================<br><br>Appeal For Truth Telling
<br><br>Enough with the ex post facto apologies. We need government officials and uniformed officers to come forward before the next ill-conceived invasion or the next prisoner abuse scandal. A group of former government officials are joining forces to call on their colleagues to speak out—and perhaps help to prevent the next tragedy.<br><br>There are some hopeful signs that government and military officials—active as well as retired—are beginning to recognize they have a duty to their fellow citizens to inform them of decisions that can seriously impact the country’s national security. Last week, a group we call "The Truth-Telling Coalition" issued a formal Appeal to Current Government Officials to reflect on whether they best serve the country by continuing to keep silent about major mistakes and abuses or by speaking out. We are particularly concerned that officials disclose the truth about the war on Iraq—because to conceal information could likely lead to more death and destruction. Just a few days after we issued our appeal, we we encouraged to learn that a serving U.S. Marine general decided to share openly with the press his chagrin at the flip-flopping orders he received to attack Fallujah—and then abruptly stop after the attack was under way.<br> <br>================================================================<br><br>Preempting Cheney
<br><br>Whatever plans Dick Cheney and his neoconservatives may have had to conjure up a nuclear threat from Iran as "justification" for military action have been sharply undercut by some timely leaks to the Washington Post. In a redux of President George W. Bush's spin on the "grave and growing" danger from Iraq, Cheney protégé and newly appointed UN Ambassador John Bolton is on record warning that Iranian "deception" must not be allowed to continue much longer: "It will be too late. Iran will have nuclear weapons."<br><br>Devotees of Preemption
<br><br>The exposure of these intelligence judgments is extremely well timed. It comes amid rumors that Vice President Cheney's office has ordered up contingency plans for a large-scale air assault on Iran using not only conventional weapons but also tactical nuclear weapons to take out hardened underground nuclear facilities. The action would be framed as a response to a terrorist act – whether sponsored by Iran or not – on the United States. According to former CIA operative Philip Giraldi
, senior Air Force officers involved in the planning are appalled that Iran is being set up for an unprovoked attack but, sadly, no one wants to jeopardize a career by posing objections.<br><br>=================================================================<br><br>Iran Is Judged 10 Years From Nuclear Bomb
<br><br>A major U.S. intelligence review has projected that Iran is about a decade away from manufacturing the key ingredient for a nuclear weapon, roughly doubling the previous estimate of five years, according to government sources with firsthand knowledge of the new analysis.<br><br>The carefully hedged assessments, which represent consensus among U.S. intelligence agencies, contrast with forceful public statements by the White House. Administration officials have asserted, but have not offered proof, that Tehran is moving determinedly toward a nuclear arsenal. The new estimate could provide more time for diplomacy with Iran over its nuclear ambitions. President Bush has said that he wants the crisis resolved diplomatically but that "all options are on the table."<br><br>The new National Intelligence Estimate includes what the intelligence community views as credible indicators that Iran's military is conducting clandestine work. But the sources said there is no information linking those projects directly to a nuclear weapons program. What is clear is that Iran, mostly through its energy program, is acquiring and mastering technologies that could be diverted to bombmaking.<br><br><><br><br>In January, before the review, Vice President Cheney suggested Iranian nuclear advances were so pressing that Israel may be forced to attack facilities, as it had done 23 years earlier in Iraq.<br><br>In an April 2004 speech, John R. Bolton -- then the administration's point man on weapons of mass destruction and now Bush's temporarily appointed U.N. ambassador -- said: "If we permit Iran's deception to go on much longer, it will be too late. Iran will have nuclear weapons."<br><br>But the level of certainty, influenced by diplomacy and intelligence, appears to have shifted.<br><br>Asked in June, after the NIE was done, whether Iran had a nuclear effort underway, Bolton's successor, Robert G. Joseph, undersecretary of state for arms control, said: "I don't know quite how to answer that because we don't have perfect information or perfect understanding. But the Iranian record, plus what the Iranian leaders have said . . . lead us to conclude that we have to be highly skeptical."<br><br>[color:green]"...or am I a butterfly that's dreaming she's a woman?"