Meta-Blog

SEARCH QandO

Email:
Jon Henke
Bruce "McQ" McQuain
Dale Franks
Bryan Pick
Billy Hollis
Lance Paddock
MichaelW

BLOGROLL QandO

 
 
Recent Posts
The Ayers Resurrection Tour
Special Friends Get Special Breaks
One Hour
The Hope and Change Express - stalled in the slow lane
Michael Steele New RNC Chairman
Things that make you go "hmmmm"...
Oh yeah, that "rule of law" thing ...
Putting Dollar Signs in Front Of The AGW Hoax
Moving toward a 60 vote majority?
Do As I Say ....
 
 
QandO Newsroom

Newsroom Home Page

US News

US National News
Politics
Business
Science
Technology
Health
Entertainment
Sports
Opinion/Editorial

International News

Top World New
Iraq News
Mideast Conflict

Blogging

Blogpulse Daily Highlights
Daypop Top 40 Links

Regional

Regional News

Publications

News Publications

 
Another Look at the NIE
Posted by: Dale Franks on Wednesday, December 05, 2007

In tomorrow's—well, today's, by the time most of you read this—Gary Milhollin of the Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control and Valerie Lincy of the Project's IranWatch organization take a closer look at the NIE. They conclude that the startling assessment that Iran halted nuclear weapons work in 2003 isn't factually true...just technically true.
On Monday the United States intelligence community issued what everyone agrees was blockbuster news: a report stating that in the autumn of 2003, Iran halted its nuclear weapons program. The National Intelligence Estimate has been heralded as a courageous act of independence by the intelligence agencies, and praised by both parties for showing a higher quality of spy work than earlier assessments.

In fact, the report contains the same sorts of flaws that we have learned to expect from our intelligence agency offerings. It, like the report in 2002 that set up the invasion of Iraq, is both misleading and dangerous.

During the past year, a period when Iran’s weapons program was supposedly halted, the government has been busy installing some 3,000 gas centrifuges at its plant at Natanz. These machines could, if operated continuously for about a year, create enough enriched uranium to provide fuel for a bomb. In addition, they have no plausible purpose in Iran’s civilian nuclear effort. All of Iran’s needs for enriched uranium for its energy programs are covered by a contract with Russia.

Iran is also building a heavy water reactor at its research center at Arak. This reactor is ideal for producing plutonium for nuclear bombs, but is of little use in an energy program like Iran’s, which does not use plutonium for reactor fuel. India, Israel and Pakistan have all built similar reactors — all with the purpose of fueling nuclear weapons. And why, by the way, does Iran even want a nuclear energy program, when it is sitting on an enormous pool of oil that is now skyrocketing in value? And why is Iran developing long-range Shahab missiles, which make no military sense without nuclear warheads to put on them?

For years these expensive projects have been viewed as evidence of Iran’s commitment to nuclear weapons. Why aren’t they still? The answer is that the new report defines “nuclear weapons program” in a ludicrously narrow way: it confines it to to enriching uranium at secret sites or working on a nuclear weapon design. But the halting of its secret enrichment and weapon design efforts in 2003 proves only that Iran made a tactical move. It suspended work that, if discovered, would unambiguously reveal intent to build a weapon. It has continued other work, crucial to the ability to make a bomb, that it can pass off as having civilian applications.
In short, they argue that, because Iran isn't engaging in either of the activities that the new NIE specifically defines as working on a nuclear program, it gets a more or less clean bill of health. This, despite the fact that Iran is working on a number of other projects that make no sense at all if the country isn't working on developing a nuclear weapon and its delivery systems.

So, previous NIEs, with a broader definition of a nuclear weapons program, came to a different conclusion.

Confused enough yet? Are the Iranians actively pursuing nuclear weapons, or aren't they?

I should think that the product of the nation's premier intelligence agency would be much more clear about that.

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

No, but seriously, the CIA is a joke.

And it's been a joke since the 1970s, when the Church Committee ended up ripping the guts out of the Operations Division. Since then, the CIA has concentrated on SigInt and ElInt, leaving the human resources to essentially witherr on the vine.

Although, at the time, the CIA was asking for the Church Committee, or something very much like it, as the Operations Division had shown an unsettling tendency to cowboy their way through some fairly unsavory clandestine ops.

But being a bureaucracy, instead of reforming the Ops Division, the CIA castrated it. And we've seen the results of that castration over and over during the last three decades.

The CIA grossly overestimated the economic power of the Soviet Union, and having done so, completely failed to foresee the cracks in the Soviet monolith that would eventually result in the fall of the Iron Curtain. They've been doing the same overestimation of China's GDP as well. Saddam Hussein's invasion of Iraq seems to have caught everyone in Langley napping as well.

And, of course, it was Clinton DCI-appointee George Tenet who assured President Bush that Iraqi WMDs were a slam dunk. Although how he knew this with almost no human presence on the ground in Iraq is an interesting question, or, rather, it would be if we didn't now know that Mr. Tenet didn't, in fact, know that.

It's hard really, to tell exactly what the CIA does know, and of those things they know, if they actually know them at all.

Maybe we should just shut the whole thing down and contract their jobs out to the Mossad and MI6.
 
TrackBacks
Return to Main Blog Page
 
 

Previous Comments to this Post 

Comments
Honestly, their work should be contracted out to the private sector. I think you all, the Blackfive crew, Richard Fernandez and Michael Yon would do a fine job. The CIA has shown the ugliest tendencies of the beaurocracy that it is, and they’ve become quite the picture of hubris; working for the executive, analyzing information and providing analysis isn’t good enough - they want to set and influence policy. Sadly, they’ll get a pass in the media and from the Democrats. It’s sickening watching Ahmadinejad celebrate the NIE that he probably had a hand in feeding. On the upside, what other country on the face of the earth would publish the document and open itself to ridicule? It’s hard not to marvel at what an amazingly open and free country we live in. Thanks, Mack.
 
Written By: Mack
URL: http://bruisedorange.com
I should think that the product of the nation’s premier intelligence agency would be much more clear about that.
You’re wrong to think that, the best you could do is hope they got things right, but when has the intelligence community ever done so?

Relying on ’intelligence’ is a fool’s errand, something only done when the consequences of being wrong are no big deal. When we are dealing with life and death matters, such as in this case, we can’t base our foreign policy on the guesses of a bunch of partisan (who isn’t these days?) bureaucrats who, by their own admission, were wrong on the very same subject just a couple of years ago.

The NIE is a mess, full of flaws and the like, as pointed out by John Bolton (who, admittedly has a dog in this fight). We can’t rely on the intelligence community to sift through the thousands and thousands of bits and snippets of data and come up with the ’right’ answer. They all have the axes to grind, their personal agendas to defend, their favored politicians to support (note: both sides of the aisle play these games, which is exactly why I don’t think anyone - Republican or Democrat) should treat this as anything but the waste of paper that it is. That they do is prima facie evidence that they place partisanship ahead of doing what is right).

So what to do given the lack of confidence in the NIE? We need to go open the horse’s mouth ourselves. We need to credibly threaten Iran with all sorts of problems (including military force) if they don’t open up their facilities to US inspection (as we can’t trust El Baradei any more than we can trust the sweet tea drinking CIA to draw the right conclusions). Just as was the case with Hussein, when we have a situation where an enemy has an unknown potential to do us great harm, when we can’t trust our expensive intelligence agencies to get it right, and when we have the ability to do so, we need to shift the burden of proof to our enemy to prove themselves innocent. Their failure to do so entitles us - in fact obligates us - to assume the worst and act accordingly. If they don’t open a site to inspection, we need to make sure that site is no longer ’operable’. I’d rather lay waste to sections of Iran than to do nothing and find out later that this NIE was wrong, just like so much of what has come before. I’m not willing to trust the lives of my family and friends to these idiots, are you?
 
Written By: Steve Sturm
URL: http://
"And why, by the way, does Iran even want a nuclear energy program, when it is sitting on an enormous pool of oil that is now skyrocketing in value? "

Probably for the same reason everyone else wants nuclear energy. The question contains its own answer. Every barrel they use themselves is lost profit.

 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Every barrel they use themselves is lost profit.
Excellent point, Tim. Since the Hostage Crisis of the Carter administration, there have been various sanctions against the Iranians. The most profound and consistent sanction has been the export to Iran of any and all Oil Infrastructure and operations equipment and software. How does that affect the situation? The Iranian oilfields are currently being run by 1970s vintage equipment and methodologies. It cost the Iranians 3 to 4 times what say the Saudis pay just to get the oil out of the ground. (Estimate for the Saudis is $5.00 a barrel to get it out of the ground and to the Tanker. For Iran it is approximatley $17.50 per barrel) And every day that goes by, the effeciencies of the Iranian production, or lack thereof, gets worse.

Now that is no reason to enrich uranium or plutonium to weapons grade level.
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Iraq seems to have caught everyone in Langley napping as well.
I assume you mean the August 1990 invasion of Kuwait. Yes, just as with the fall of the Berlin Wall, the intel folks had a deer-in-the-headlights stare while watching it happen live on CNN.
And, of course, it was Clinton DCI-appointee George Tenet who assured President Bush that Iraqi WMDs were a slam dunk.
Slightly OT but it was really a hoot listening to Daniel Schorr on National Proletarian Radio last night. He implied ever so subtly that the phrases "slam dunk" and "reality based community" were of GWB administration origin. No mention whatsoever of George Tenet or the leftosphere.
 
Written By: D
URL: http://
"Now that is no reason to enrich uranium or plutonium to weapons grade level."

I didn’t say it was. I was responding to one particular erroneous argument, which I have also seen elswhere.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
"Probably for the same reason everyone else wants nuclear energy. The question contains its own answer. Every barrel they use themselves is lost profit."
Timactual, you are clueless. Do you really believe that lost profits from Iran’s use of oil for its own energy needs would equal the cost of building nuclear power plants and enriching nuclear fuel for those plants? They have to spend their oil profits to fund their nuclear activities. It would be much cheaper for Iran to use its own oil for energy than to sell the oil and pay for nuclear power. Even if SShiell’s estimate is correct, Iran has extremely low oil production costs. The argument isn’t erroneous, your certitude is.
 
Written By: jt007
URL: http://
" Do you really believe that lost profits from Iran’s use of oil for its own energy needs would equal the cost of building nuclear power plants and enriching nuclear fuel for those plants? They have to spend their oil profits to fund their nuclear activities"

Evidently they do, by your own statement.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
You are absolutely right Dale. The ops division of the CIA is crap.

If all the CIA is concerned with is remote intel gathering (SigInt, etc), then it would be better to disband it and give the money and resources to teh NSA who are far better at it.
 
Written By: capt joe
URL: http://
The CIA grossly overestimated the economic power of the Soviet Union, and having done so, completely failed to foresee the cracks in the Soviet monolith that would eventually result in the fall of the Iron Curtain.
The CIA has its problems but that failure isn’t one of them. The hyping of the Soviet threat was all about Team B. When the CIA’s estimate of the Soviets was insufficiently grim for some politicians, they set up Doug Feith et al to reasses. Surprise surprise, the stupidest f%$%ing guy on the face of the earth and his buddies concluded that the intelligence specialists had badly underestimated the threat because they relied too heavily on hard data, instead of extrapolating the Soviets’ intentions from ideology. According to some Team B members, "the principal threat to our nation, to world peace, and to the cause of human freedom was the Soviet drive for dominance based upon an unparalleled military buildup." So don’t lay that failure on the professions.

Sound familiar? It’s the same armchair intel guys who insist that we give more weight to Aminajhad’s supposed ideology.
 
Written By: Retief
URL: http://
The CIA has its problems but that failure isn’t one of them. The hyping of the Soviet threat was all about Team B.
In a word, wrong!
The reality was that even the CIA’s own estimates—savaged as too low by Team B—were, in retrospect, gross exaggerations. In 1989, the CIA published an internal review of its threat assessments from 1974 to 1986 and came to the conclusion that every year it had "substantially overestimated" the Soviet threat along all dimensions. For example, in 1975 the CIA forecast that within 10 years the Soviet Union would replace 90 percent of its long-range bombers and missiles. In fact, by 1985, the Soviet Union had been able to replace less than 60 percent of them.
 
Written By: D
URL: http://
True D, now which direction do you think their estimates were pushed in by the Team B hyperventilating then? How about in 2003, or now?
 
Written By: Retief
URL: http://
failure
Retief - failure, means?
So, the fact that Team B hyped the already hyped estimates means what?
Ultra-hyped?, Super-Hyped?, Mega-Hyped?
All founded on the basis of the word hyped.

On the surface the CIA estimates were wrong and overblown. Now you’re venturing into degrees of wrongness to say the CIA was just less wrong.
The point is they’re budgeted to be right, not ’less wrong’.
Decisions are based on them being right, not ’less wrong’.

Do you want to be operated on by Doctors who are less wrong?
Have mechanics charge you to fix your car who are less wrong?
Interested in paying for a cell phone service that connects you to less wrong numbers?
Shop at a grocery store that charges you less wrong prices at checkout time?
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
The CIA has its problems but that failure isn’t one of them.
...
...which direction do you think their estimates were pushed in by the Team B hyperventilating then?
Look, EITHER the "core" CIA was right but not Team B OR Team B pushed the "core" to inflate their own numbers. It cannot be both.

Will the real Retief please stand up?
 
Written By: D
URL: http://
Wow you people are obtuse.
The CIA grossly overestimated the economic power of the Soviet Union, and having done so, completely failed to foresee the cracks in the Soviet monolith that would eventually result in the fall of the Iron Curtain.
This is simply not true. Yes the CIA did overestimate the power of the Soviet Union. But that did not prevent them from foreseeing the cracks that would result in the fall of the Iron Curtain. The suggestion of those cracks was precisely what the anti-detente idiots got their panties in a twist over, and what they engaged Doug Feith to challenge. Can anyone really be so stupid as to believe that the CIA’s estimate of Soviet abilites was a one time event incapable of being influenced by their political masters touting of Doug Feith’s more belicose conclusions? Apparently at least one person is. Apparently s/he is even after seeing precisely the same thing happen in 2001 and 2002. Go learn some history.
Do you want to be operated on by Doctors who are less wrong?
Have mechanics charge you to fix your car who are less wrong?
Interested in paying for a cell phone service that connects you to less wrong numbers?
Shop at a grocery store that charges you less wrong prices at checkout time?
In a word,yes. Ever heard of "fewer dropped calls"?
 
Written By: Retief
URL: http://
Speaking of obtuse - dropped calls, and wrong numbers are distinctly different things, but have it your way.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
OK, if we aren’t to believe our intelligence agency or experts, who should we believe? Just trust in the neo-cons?

Back when I was studying at Johns Hopkins SAIS I talked with a professor (no longer there, but I’ll not name him) who was a big name and had worked on a project for Casey’s CIA. Three times he came back with information about the Sandinistas that Casey did not like. Finally he was told point blank the intelligence report he was supposed to write. He refused and left that assignment. They found someone who would give a report reflecting the administration’s political goals.

Intelligence gets cooked all the time. It clearly was manipulated before the Iraq war by the administration, much to the dismay of many in the community who thought their work was being ignored. If this is a sign they finally are the ones deciding what gets presented, then that is very good news. (I do enjoy watching the hard core neo-cons respond to this report...no, it destroys their little narrative of a dangerous Iran needing to be attacked, and further discredits their whole agenda. Thank goodness!)
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
looker, thanks. I will.
 
Written By: Retief
URL: http://
OK, if we aren’t to believe our intelligence agency or experts,
Which time? When? When they say things you want to hear?

And when are you going to give up on the ’Iran needs to be attacked’ thing.
Are you privy to an administration plan that no one else knows about, because so far it’s been all diplomacy, and that’s all anyone has talked about seriously.

Saying something is still ’on the table’ is a long long long way from attacking.

Talk about having an agenda.

 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Can I ask you a not-so-simple question? I have concerns regarding the latest NIE Report. Not the least of which is the complete turnaround from this summer to the present. What happened to turn it all around? Until such time as I get some sort of response to that question, the NIE Report does not have the same utility as toilet paper.
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
" (no longer there, but I’ll not name him"

Probably a good thing for him, since if it comes out that he has been talking about classified work with his students he might have some problems. It really, really aggravates me when people with access to or working with classified information cannot keep their f**k*ng mouths shut about it. I guess some people are impressed with their importance, but to me it makes them look like irresponsible posterior excretory orifices. He should have his clearances (if any) revoked and you should never get any.


"Intelligence gets cooked all the time."

Duh. Any serious student of military history could tell you that.


"the NIE Report does not have the same utility as toilet paper"

That is one reason why it is always nice when Presidents and other politicians have enough experience to tell toilet paper from parchment. Lord knows that even then they do not always make good decisions, but it increases the probability that they will make good decisions.


LEARN TO LIVE WITH AMBIGUITY AND UNCERTAINTY.

All intelligence is suspect. There is no such thing as 100% accurate intelligence. Probability is the name of the game.

On a personal and lirrelevant note, I just got back from open mic night at a local joint, and I have been pleasantly surprised to learn that progressive/fusion jazz isn’t all that bad when it is played by really good musicians. I am continually amazed at how much musical (and presumably other) talent is running around unnoticed. Over the last couple of years I have seen plumbers, receptionists, and other amateur and part-time musicians who are as good as most of the big names you see and hear on tv and radio. Things like that give me faith in democracy, because these proles are also smarter than a lot of people give them credit for. They are also not nearly as bigoted and narrow minded as some would suggest. So now I have a little more faith that morons like Erb can’t completely ruin the country. They may screw up a lot of college students, but there are still a lot of folks that they never get to ’educate’.
And now, to sleep, perchance to dream...

 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Dale, this post is based on the premise that the CIA wrote the NIE. That’s not only incorrect, it shows an ignorance of the whole process I didn’t expect from you. Sixteen intelligence agencies signed off on the document, including the plethora of agencies under the DOD and people like Energy and State who had the dissents on the 2002 NIE that turned out to be right.

Meanwhile, the dissent here provides zero facts that the NIE doesn’t already provide.

The signifigance of the findings are, of course, debatable (although I think that "since you’re developing long-range missiles, you’re therefore developing nuclear weapons" is a poor argument). But the findings are new information, and accurate at that. The Iranians are doing things relevant to nuclear weapons development, but they are not operating a "nuclear weapons program". We know what those look like from history, and what’s happening now is unequal to that. That’s the point of the NIE - and an important one. You could argue that they’re running one-fourth of a program, the one-fourth that they are in no way legally obligated to avoid.

The decision to release the findings was a political move, and it came from the President. They could have sat it out through the next election, or tried to.
 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
Which time? When? When they say things you want to hear?
On the contrary. All of us have standing to note that intelligence is often wrong, and based on interpretation of information that is questionable. That’s the nature of the deal. However, it seems that the attacks on the NIE are based precisely because they are saying something others do not want to hear, not because of any real problem with the intelligence. Moreover, it is not that much different than past reports, despite attempts to take bits and pieces out of context and assert they say something different.

Is the report accurate? Certainly not 100% accurate, it may be wrong in many instances. But, unless you have an alternative way of trying to figure out what’s going on in the world, I think we can’t simply dismiss what the experts are saying, especially when it now appears that those experts were internally arguing against what was being said about Iraq by the Administration in 2002.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
it seems that the attacks on the NIE are based precisely because they are saying something others do not want to hear, not because of any real problem with the intelligence.
It seems that you cannot comprehend what was actually written in the original post.

No one here is surprised.
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
I think we can’t simply dismiss what the experts are saying
Even if they are professors of political science?
 
Written By: Jeff
URL: http://
However, it seems that the attacks on the NIE are based precisely because they are saying something others do not want to hear, not because of any real problem with the intelligence
Uh huh.
Funny thing; I don’t recall the left engaging in this level of triumphalism with the previous NIE, despite it having worked off the same infomration.

Look, most of the people who wrote this report are not intel people at al, but State Dept transplants. Yes, the same State Dept that’s been fighting with Bush tooth and nail on Iraq... saying it would destabilize the region, only lead to world war three, Armageddon, body bags, ozone layer damage, dogs and cats living together, and mass hysteria.

The same one who cannot bring themselves to admit there’s a major success going in in Iraq.


 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
I hasten to add that if we take the report literally, the only logical conclusion for it is that Iran giving up their nukes was the result of Bush getting tough with Iraq. If, OTOH, we question the report… and there is certainly much to question… we are left with the conclusion that Iran is still a threat.

The left must be having lots of headaches of late. They’re being forced to either admit that Bush did something right in invading Iraq, or admit to intentionally flubbing a report so as to create a situation they could use to foul up an existing… and apparently quite successful… foreign policy.

The dancing has already begun.

Meanwhile the cetrefuges keep turning.
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
First poll out shows that most people aren’t buying the latest report -
http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/current_events/general_current_events/just_18_believe_iran_has_stopped_nuclear_weapons_development_program

 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Okay - my bad for spinning there - not most, a majority.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
The CIA has its problems but that failure isn’t one of them.
hahahahahahhahahaha

There is a reason that people call the CIA the Central Incompetency Agency or "Caught In the Act" (Ludlum).

The CIA is really screwed up and needs a complete rebuild from the ground up.
 
Written By: capt joe
URL: http://
Granted that the thing is screwed up.
The question is, whether it’s true because of political malace, or incompetence.

As I told somebody else on another subject the other day, incompetence tends to reveal itself in inconsistent results. For the last several years the results from the agency haven’t been inconsistent at all. It’s been rather alarmingly consistent, in fact.

 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
timactual said
Probably for the same reason everyone else wants nuclear energy. The question contains its own answer. Every barrel they use themselves is lost profit.
Actually Iran has huge natural gas reserves that have zero value right now. Natural gas can’t be shipped via tankers unless it is compressed to LNG so they can’t do anything with it.

Iran would get more power, faster and cheaper if they burned some of their valueless natural gas in gas turbine fired generators.

The money they saved could be used for projects that would increase their oil production. And money now is much more valuable then money in the future.

The idea that Iran is pursuing nuclear technology for electrical power production or financial reasons does not make sense.

 
Written By: TJIT
URL: http://
"that have zero value right now"

Right now. There will be a tomorrow.



"And money now is much more valuable then money in the future"

The bond market, for one, might disagree with that.

"Iran would get more power, faster and cheaper if they burned some of their valueless natural gas in gas turbine fired generators."

What is the time to build and bring online A gas-fired power plant vs. a nuclear one? Including the gas and electrical transmission lines. And the respective lifetime costs, including the opportunity cost of using gas?
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
timactual,

Money now is always worth more then money later, full stop end of story.

Time Value of money
In other words, the present value of a certain amount a of money is greater than the present value of the right to receive the same amount of money at time t in the future. This is because the amount a could be deposited in an interest-bearing bank account (or otherwise invested) from now to time t and yield interest. (Consequently, lenders acting at arm’s length demand interest payments for use of their financial capital.
Gas turbine power plants are always faster and cheaper to build then nuclear plants. For example gas plants don’t require the massive containment structures nuclear facilities require.
 
Written By: TJIT
URL: http://
Well, having $10 now is certainly better than receiving $10 in the future. Why, then, do people invest money in bonds and such if they will lose value by doing so?
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
timactual said,
Why, then, do people invest money in bonds and such if they will lose value by doing so?
The Fool FAQBonds
When you buy a bond, you are actually loaning your money to the organization that issued the bond. That is why bonds are often called "debt instruments." The principal (the "face value" of the bond) is repaid on the maturity date. In the meantime, you are paid a set amount of interest, usually every six months. This interest is called the "coupon" or "coupon rate." It’s called that because bonds used to come with little coupons attached that you would cut off and send in twice a year to receive the interest payment. How quaint. Nowadays, the coupon rate is nothing more than the annual interest rate.
 
Written By: TJIT
URL: http://
Summing up:

By investing in a nuclear program the Iranians are costing themselves time, money, and power generating capacity. The opportunity cost of investing the money in nuclear instead of improving their oilfield infrastructure costs them additional money and power generating capacity.

The idea that the Iranians are running a nuclear program for energy purposes fails economic and engineering tests.

Because of that it is reasonable and prudent to ask why are they pursuing a nuclear program?
 
Written By: TJIT
URL: http://
TJIT: It is exceedingly rational for Iran to invest in nuclear power. It is also rational for them to try to get a nuclear weapon (just like it is rational for the US and Israel to try to prevent it). Oil and natural gas are non-renewable resources, and becoming exceedingly scarce. World wide oil producing nations are starting to consume more and export less, and many who have been oil exporters are set to become oil importers. Iran is a natural regional power, with the potential for a growing economy. They should be not only investing in their own alternatives, but if they were smart, the oil producing states (OPEC) would make alternative enegy research and development something they want to invest in and move forward on, especially now that they are awash in petrodollars. Most, however, aren’t foresighted enough for that (though many oil companies, like BP and Chevron seem to recognizing that the future can’t be just about oil, and are increasing their alternative fuel investments).
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
"When you buy a bond,..."

There are other types of bonds, and......

Aw, forget it..


"The idea that the Iranians are running a nuclear program for energy purposes fails economic and engineering tests."

You will forgive me, I’m sure, if I remain unconvinced without seeing the supporting data and figures.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
timactual,

You keep asking simple, obvious questions and I keep giving you links to the answers. I also provide explanations on why natural gas power would be cheaper.

Then you come up with
You will forgive me, I’m sure, if I remain unconvinced without seeing the supporting data and figures.
Sorry, your refusal to do a little search engine work while demanding others do does not excuse your lack of knowledge.
 
Written By: TJIT
URL: http://
Scott Erb,

If you are comfortable having Iran seeking and eventually obtaining nuclear weapons that is one view point. I think a nuclear armed Iran would be a regional disaster and drive further proliferation.



 
Written By: TJIT
URL: http://
TJIT: Given how many nuclear weapons we have, I don’t think we can keep the double standard of "it’s OK for us, but not you" going much longer. Technology and changing geopolitical situations almost assuredly point to that kind of limited proliferation as a short period of time. The only way to prevent that is to make nuclear weapons less valuable so people don’t want them. I doubt we can do that by force — even with North Korea we had to buy them off, and everything failed with Pakistan and India. The cost of trying to stop Iran by force is far greater than the danger it would pose. However, when we call them part of the "axis of evil" and publicly support ’regime change’ and opposition groups within (akin to them supporting terror groups in our country), then of course they’ll be motivated more than ever to get the bomb and to do whatever they can to undercut our position in Iraq. Put yourself in their shoes! That’s why diplomacy needs to be tried, starting with a stepping away from the radical rhetoric on our part. If we step away from that, and they do not and their actions don’t change, then we will have to think long and hard about the possibility of confrontation. But at this point it’s not inevitable.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Oh, one more thing: Look for hints of US diplomacy with Iran already underway, possibly involving Saudi Arabia (who has been chummy with Iran lately). I really think Bush gave this report the go ahead in part as a response towards positive steps by Iran, and in a belief that diplomacy can work here. I do not buy the Bolton idea that somehow the intelligence agencies are in revolt or creating a kind of "putsch;" rather, I think this may be part of a broader policy shift. If so, then I think the President is engaging in deft diplomacy and deserves a lot of credit.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
"You keep asking simple, obvious questions and I keep giving you links to the answers."

Well, I went back over all the comments looking for a link to something about economics and engineering test of gas-fired generating plants vs nuclear, and didn’t see one.
Neither of the two links I did find answered my other question, by the way, which was why people would invest in bonds or anything else if it did not make them a profit?
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
"Money now is always worth more then money later, full stop end of story."

You might also ask yourself why such things as ’hedge funds’ exist.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foreign_exchange_market
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
timactual continues his trend of either being incredibly ignorant or hopefully performing public service by providing teachable moments when he says
Neither of the two links I did find answered my other question, by the way, which was why people would invest in bonds or anything else if it did not make them a profit?
If he had bothered to pay attention to the link he would have seen the following statements. The statements were in fact set in bold type so they would be easy for him to find
When you buy a bond, you are actually loaning your money to the organization that issued the bond.

In the meantime, you are paid a set amount of interest, usually every six months.
Breaking it into easy to understand pieces for timactual we have

1. When you buy a bond you are loaning that money to someone else.

2. Because it is valuable to them to have the money now they pay you interest to rent the money from you.

People by bonds because they don’t want to spend everything they make every month.

The interest payments are to compensate for the lower value the money has when spent in the future.

In other words the money has less value in the future and the interest makes up for that lower value.

Looking forward to the next teachable moment timactual provides.
 
Written By: TJIT
URL: http://
timactual,

Sorry I never considered the fact that you honestly might not know anything about engineering or power generation.

Just a few reasons gas generated power would be much cheaper and easier for the Iranians.

The highly complicated Uranium fuel enrichment process needed for nuclear power
Not needed for gas generation. Realize, they have to perfect this process before they can even begin to think about generating power.

The massive steel reinforced concrete containment buildings you have to have for nuclear power...Not needed in gas turbines

The boiling water reactor, control rods, fuel rods, rod control system, etc. ....not needed for gas generation.

For gas generation you buy a gas turbine, install it and begin generating power.

The Rolls-Royce Trent
This new benchmark for fuel economy combines with fast delivery times and beneficial environmental performance
 
Written By: TJIT
URL: http://
"Realize, they have to perfect this process before they can even begin to think about generating power"

Unless they buy the fuel.

So your idea of an economic or engineering test is an advertisement for Rolls-Royce and an article on uranium enrichment? So what is the cost per kilowatt generated? I missed that part.

Do you also maintain that a barrel of oil now is worth a barrel of oil in the future?
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://

 
Add Your Comment
  NOTICE: While we don't wish to censor your thoughts, we do blacklist certain terms of profanity or obscenity. This is not to muzzle you, but to ensure that the blog remains work-safe for our readers. If you wish to use profanity, simply insert asterisks (*) where the vowels usually go. Your meaning will still be clear, but our readers will be able to view the blog without worrying that content monitoring will get them in trouble when reading it.
Comments for this entry are closed.
Name:
Email:
URL:
HTML Tools:
Bold Italic Blockquote Hyperlink
Comment:
   
 
Vicious Capitalism

Divider

Buy Dale's Book!
Slackernomics by Dale Franks

Divider

Divider