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The Dangers of Warmongering on Syria, Iran

Author: Leslie H. Gelb, President Emeritus and Board Senior Fellow
March 9, 2012
Daily Beast


I'm not supposed to tell you this. I'm violating the code. I'm giving away the deepest, darkest secret of the foreign policy clan: even though we sound like we know everything, we know very little, especially about the intentions of bad guys and the consequences of war. But since the media keeps treating us like sages and keeps ignoring our horrendous mistakes, we carry on with our game, and do a lot of damage. Let me give you of few of the more recent examples of how ignorant and dangerous we are, and why you should be wary of any flat out "truths" and certainties uttered by my clanspeople.

Take Iran. Those who can't wait to start a war with Iran tell us that Tehran is within three seconds, three months, or a year of developing a nuclear weapon. I promise you they don't know this for anything near a fact. They're trying to push Israel and the United States into a military attack against Iran.

Here's all we do know for sure: Iran is enriching uranium and has the capacity to enrich enough of it to a level of purity sufficient to make nukes—maybe, perhaps, in a year or two or more. Iran may have or may be developing related capacities to place this uranium into explosive form in a bomb or missile warhead. We have suspicions about the latter based on various kinds of imaging and listening intelligence.

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