On-line Opinion Magazine…OK, it's a blog
Random header image... Refresh for more!

It’s All Bogus

Here is a nice summary of what we actually know about the situation: The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Iran and the Bomb, Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Facts.

The Christian Science Monitor put out a nice piece last year: Imminent Iran nuclear threat? A timeline of warnings since 1979.

1992: Israeli parliamentarian Benjamin Netanyahu tells his colleagues that Iran is 3 to 5 years from being able to produce a nuclear weapon – and that the threat had to be “uprooted by an international front headed by the US.”

Juan Cole points out: Netanyahu 2002: Iraq has Centrifuges ‘the size of Washing Machines’ to Produce A-Bomb. [Update: hereafter known as WMDs (Washing Machines of Doom!) according to Hipparchia in comments.]

For two decades Netanyahu has been trying to suck the US into wars with countries in the Middle East with his delusional claims about nuclear weapons. He fooled the neo-cons and the Shrubbery at the cost of hundreds of thousands of lives in Iraq, and now he has shifted back to Iran. Netanyahu’s claims about Iran have the same credibility as his claims about Iraq – NONE. He is making this stuff up as he goes along.

Until Israel declares its nuclear arsenal, signs the Non-Proliferation Treaty, allows inspections of its facilities, and obeys Security Councils resolutions, it has no credibility on this issue.

If the US wants to show it is serious about the spread of nuclear weapons, it needs to stop supporting Israeli delusions and ranting.


1 Steve Bates { 09.29.12 at 10:44 pm }

Netanyahu practices a form of interaction attributed to women of the Scarlett O’Hara type, often encapsulated in the sentence, “Let’s you and him fight.” If anyone in US government has any real understanding of international relations, they will ignore him. The US should respond only to a direct military assault on Israel… nothing less… and the response should be proportional, not necessarily overwhelming. GeeDubya Bush’s hots for the nu-ku-lar button notwithstanding, we do not need a nuclear war in the Middle East or anywhere else.

On a related matter, Netanyahu is another good reason to vote against Rmoney…

2 Bryan { 09.29.12 at 11:27 pm }

Bibi is a minority prime minister who has patched together a ruling coalition with whackos. He is trying to convince the people of Israel that they have to support the repressive policies of the Likud, or the country will disappear.

Israel is more isolated than ever because of the Likud policies and I’m sick and tired of the US taxpayers supporting this crap by covering over half of Israel’s defense budget.

If we don’t have the cash for school lunches and food stamps, we sure as hell don’t have the cash for Bibi’s delusions.

3 hipparchia { 09.30.12 at 1:50 am }

Netanyahu 2002: Iraq has Centrifuges ‘the size of Washing Machines’ to Produce A-Bomb

actually, “centrifuges the size of washing machines” are a fairly ordinary piece of research laboratory equipment.

4 Bryan { 09.30.12 at 9:50 am }

Functionally, a washing machine in the Spin cycle is a centrifuge, but we don’t want to confuse things with facts, Hipparchia, or we might not be able to start wars of choice …

5 hipparchia { 09.30.12 at 11:29 am }

Functionally, a washing machine in the Spin cycle is a centrifuge,


but we don’t want to confuse things with facts

we don’t? i guess that leaves us with just snark then. WMD = WASHING MACHINES of DOOM!

6 Badtux { 09.30.12 at 12:38 pm }

And as I’ve repeatedly pointed out, *any* nation with their own native uranium deposits is basically 5 years from an atomic bomb. This is 1940’s technology, folks. It ain’t rocket science (which is 1960’s technology, heh). If you *do* want an atomic bomb, you don’t go about it the way the Iranians are doing it, with a light water reactor and centrifuges — you build either a heavy water reactor (like the research reactor they built near Tehran) or a graphite-mediated pile, neither of which requires enriching uranium because they work with raw uranium and which are much better for making bombs because they allows you to irradiate U-238 to just the right amount of toastiness to extract out fissile Pu-239 without bringing the reactor down. Frankly, if Iran was going for a bomb, they’re doin’ it wrong. Just sayin’.

– Badtux the Engineer Penguin

7 Bryan { 09.30.12 at 2:28 pm }

And so it shall be, Hipparchia 🙂 If you wanted to ‘butch up’ the effort you could use a tire balancing machine instead of a washing machine, or a cream separator for the organic farming crowd.

You should be able to knock at least a year off that time-line, Badtux, with all of the documentaries and books around about the Manhattan Project. Anyone really interested can find out what actually worked which should reduce it to purely an engineering design exercise to match the requirements with the available capabilities in the country.

8 hipparchia { 09.30.12 at 3:47 pm }

washing machines of doom!

9 Steve Bates { 09.30.12 at 11:34 pm }

“which is 1960′s technology, heh” – BadTux

Um… V-2? “Let me tell you the story of Wernher von Braun, / A man whose allegiance is ruled by expedience…” (Tom Lehrer, “Wernher von Braun”)

In our tiny utility room, we’re forced to have a washing machine the size of a (tabletop) centrifuge.

10 Badtux { 10.01.12 at 3:40 pm }

Steve, the V2 didn’t make it to orbit and was pretty close to unguided. It was more of a terror weapon than anything else, and a rather inefficient terror weapon at that, requiring a huge amount of the German GDP for minimal actual effect. Efficient rocket engines capable of reliably getting payloads into orbit didn’t happen until the early 60’s, though of course Sputnik was in 1957 but it took the Soviets several launches that blew up to get Sputnik up, and their next couple of launches blew up too.

In other words, building an atomic bomb ain’t rocket science. Of course, the fact that an atomic bomb is supposed to blow up, and a rocket is supposed to *not* blow up, might be why rocket science is so much harder than making atomic bombs too ;).

11 Steve Bates { 10.01.12 at 10:57 pm }

“It was more of a terror weapon than anything else, and a rather inefficient terror weapon at that,…” – BadTux

Didn’t I write almost exactly that, last week on the YDDV? The reported kill rate for V‑2s in London averaged out to two (2) persons per rocket. Terror weapon, indeed, expensive and ineffective for any other purpose. But it was “rocket science,” because Germany’s top rocket scientists, such as they were, worked on the development. After W.W.II, America and the Soviets competed for defecting German “rocket scientists,” and some (including him of the expedient allegiance) participated in our space program.

Drones serve the same purpose today: in Pakistan, IIRC, US drones have killed some 750 people, one-third of whom were civilians going about their daily nonmilitary business, most of whom were “militants” (uhm-hm, suuuure they were), and 20 of whom were “known” Taliban or Al Qaeda leaders. But no American dies when a drone crashes, or takes out a wedding party…

12 Steve Bates { 10.01.12 at 11:12 pm }

I am mere pages from finishing Stxds Terkel’s “The Good War” (the quotes are part of the title, which, as Terkel points out, without the quotes is an oxymoron). The number of Americans who died or led crippled, miserable lives from direct exposure to radiation from atomic bombs… tests or construction… is breathtaking… and the VA consistently denied their claims for service-related disability.

For many people this may have been news in 1985… but I’ve known most of it for a long time: it’s sickening to have been born on the third anniversary of the Hiroshima bomb, and I’ve tried to compensate by educating myself about its history.

13 Badtux { 10.02.12 at 2:58 am }

Which does point out that one requirement for building an atom bomb in 5 years or less is either a) a blatant disregard for the health and well-being of your population, or b) desperation, i.e., a feeling that if you don’t, your nation and maybe the whole world is FUBAR. Because doing it the quick way, as vs the slow way of first building robots to handle the radioactive materials, means a lot of people are going to be exposed to radiation and likely have shorter lives.

Now, the question is whether the regime in Iran is confident enough in its control of the population to do that kind of thing. The U.S. government in the 1940’s could do it because the populace was largely ignorant of the existence of radiation and its effects upon human beings. That hasn’t been true anywhere in the world for decades now. My guess is that the only way the regime would risk doing it the fast way would be if there was real risk of a U.S. invasion of Iran, a risk that they could communicate and quantify to their population in a way that would work the population up into a patriotic fervor. Which would be hard to do, given that they try doing this so much already that a large percentage of the population is, like, “eh, whatever.”