Syrian reactor allegations, are we going to get fooled again?
The US and Israel accused Syria on Thursday of building a secret nuclear reactor with North Korean help. There was a lot of innuendo in the press that the reactor was intended for nuclear weapons production. But AFP notes:
' They said US intelligence had "high confidence" that the structure bombed by the Israelis was a nuclear reactor, "medium confidence" that the North Koreans were involved in building it, and "low confidence" that plutonium from it was for nuclear weapons.
Because other elements of a weapons program, such as a plutonium reprocessing plant, had not been detected, US intelligence was less certain that the plutonium was for nuclear weapons, they said.'
We would have to know exactly what kind of reactor it was to know if it was suitable to help in a weapons program. As the Bush administration admits, there isn't any evidence of that.
Moreover, I'm not really very impressed that they only have medium confidence that North Korea was involved.
Even the high confidence that the building was a reactor cannot be just accepted without question. They had high confidence that Saddam had a nuclear weapons program in the early zeros, which was not true. We should be skeptical about these sorts of stories until we see the proof.
Why isn't Juan Cole advising our presidential candidates? Why isn't he on cable TV 24/7? Why do we continue to ignore the people who got it right?