Bloomberg reports a starling claim from Stephen Rademaker, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for International Security and Nonproliferation:
Iran, which is defying United Nations Security Council demands to cease its nuclear program, may be capable of making a nuclear bomb within 16 days if it goes ahead with plans to install thousands of centrifuges at its Natanz plant, a U.S. State Department official said.
Does this scare you into wanting to declare war on Iran TODAY? It scares me for a very different reason as noted by Josh Marshall:
Now, I’m pretty new to this issue. But even I can spot that Stephen Rademaker works for Robert Joseph. And that’s the same Bob Joseph who was charged with muscling the CIA into letting President Bush use the Niger bamboozle in the 2003 State of the Union address.
It does seem we are coming into another election where Karl Rove has to pull another rabbit out of the hat.
Update: Juan Cole reports:
the fact is that all President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Tuesday was that it had enriched uranium to a measely 3.5 percent, using a bank of 180 centrifuges hooked up so that they “cascade.” The ability to slightly enrich uranium is not the same as the ability to build a bomb. For the latter, you need at least 80% enrichment, which in turn would require about 16,000 small centrifuges hooked up to cascade. Iran does not have 16,000 centrifuges. It seems to have 180. Iran is a good ten years away from having a bomb, and since its leaders, including Supreme Jurisprudent Ali Khamenei, say they do not want an atomic bomb because it is Islamically immoral, you have to wonder if they will ever have a bomb.The crisis is not one of nuclear enrichment, a low-level attainment that does not necessarily lead to having a bomb. Even if Iran had a bomb, it is hard to see how they could be more dangerous than Communist China, which has lots of such bombs, and whose Walmart stores are a clever ruse to wipe out the middle class American family through funneling in cheaply made Chinese goods.
Walmart and our imports from China tied into this phony war mongering garbage from the White House. CLEVER!