Memeorandum


Powered by TypePad

« More Thumping Of Andrew Sullivan | Main | "Nailed" Means What, Exactly? »

April 07, 2006

Comments

Rick Ballard

Apparently the NORK's still thinks T6 aluminum is the right stuff (from page 20)

[13] In April 2003, Egyptian customs officials intercepted a boat carrying 22 tons of 6061-T6 aluminum tubing from Germany with a final destination of North korea. The aluminum tubing would likely have been used for a pilot cascade of about 100-200 gas centrifuges, which indicates North Korea is probably not yet ready to begin operation of a large-scale plant. [14]

The Paki P1 centrifuge design that AQ Khan was peddling used aluminum parts - including the tubing - the P2 design used maraging steel - much better but much, much harder to machine accurately. I believe that Libya was importing aluminum rotors for its centrifuge cascade but tubing wasn't part of the shipment that was seized in December '03.

J. West has done a very good job of discussing the T6/maraging steel controversy before but I'm not sure that the NORK's (as well as Libya's) use of the Khan P1 design was explored.

I wonder if the T6 extruders could use "Two of the world's top illicit nuclear programs depend on T6" as an advertising blurb?

Nash

Nash,

And the MSM and especially the NYT are innocent then? Their not proud of their lies and miscommunication? Their misleading headlines and opening paragraphs?

It's not zero sum, Specter, all appearances to the contrary. But it's good to see you tacitly agree that President Bush sought to mislead the American public. You will think it's good to see that I actively agree that the press have not done a good job in covering these stories, up to and including being unfair to the President.

M. Simon

Rick,

Maraging steel is known for its toughness, ease of machinability, and small and predictable changes in dimensions from heat treating.

Of course the Al tubes come pre-machined. Saving the need to have skilled machinists for that operation.

JM Hanes

My favorite bit from the editorial in the crosshairs:

The most recent additions to this pile came yesterday, in reports by The New York Sun, The National Journal and other news organizations...
Even the New York Times doesn't rely on the New York Times' reporting any more!

The Unbeliever

I'll make you a deal: show me a bunch of rocket launchers that were actually made out of the aluminum tubes Iraq bought, and I'll stop believing in Sadaam's nuclear ambitions. (We'll talk about his ambitions for chemical and biological weapons later.)

j.west

Rick,

The intricacies of the material specifications, tolerances, manufacturing methods and the like may be our downfall in getting the principle across in the aluminum tube argument.

People need a 30 second concept that makes sense to them in order to gain traction. That’s why I believe the “Why build it clandestinely if you can buy it cheaply and legally” idea is the one to push.

The MSM already talks as if the aluminum tubes were proven to be unusable in a nuclear program. They have the same grasp of the facts as Chris Matthews has on the Plame matter – practically zero.

Until some well-read blogger (I’m looking at you, TM) lays this out in simple english for the MSM to plagiarize, the misconceptions will continue.

Rick Ballard

J. West,

I don't know if even Tom can get it down to the Crayola on butcher paper level that the MSM needs. I thought the AQ Khan/P1 connection was pretty clear.

Jake - but not the one

Here is a table comparing various tubes and uses:

Tubes Iraq Tried to purchase illegally:
Length 900 mm OD 81 ID 74.4 Material 7075 T6

Medusa Rocket, Italian Origin
Length 868 mm OD 81 ID 74.4 Material 7075 T6

Tubes Iraq purchased in '80s
Length 900 mm cut to 868 mm OD 81 ID 74.4 Material 7075 T6

Taken from page 37, Table 1 Comparing Characteristics of Aluminum (Al) Tubes Iraq Attempted to Procure Illegally in the article I quoted earlier

Iraq’s Aluminum Tubes: Separating Fact from Fiction - pdf

The table has data on centrifuges as well.

Jake

Javani

"Wow. The editors seem to have forgotten what Joe Wilson actually wrote, and what he actually reported."

Good line Tom. I would add to it "what he spoke, what he wrote, and what he actually reported." The "Spoke" being what he told Brit and US reporters before his coming out in the NYT.

Specter

Nash,

Don't put words in my mouth. What I was pointing out was that you scream and whine saying, "Bush Lied", yet to you it seems fine that someone else does.

Nash

Andrew Sullivan says it much better than I have been


...In this case, we're merely talking about the following set of circumstances. A president is challenged in his public account of pre-war intelligence. The president authorizes a selective leak of classified information to rebut the challenge. He selects only those parts of the classified information that supports his case, and omits the rest that actually show parts of the government disputing his case. He authorizes the veep to authorize Libby to give the selected information to a pliant reporter for the New York Times. Meanwhile, his public statements reiterate an abhorrence of all unauthorized disclosure of classified information.

This is an interesting insight into the president's character. It simply shows his willingness to use the prerorgatives of his office as the guardian of our national security to play political hardball against opponents. It shows a conscious capacity to mislead people by selectively disclosing data that skews - for a while - the public's understanding of the facts. It proves that this president is capable of deliberately misleading the American people as a gambit in a Beltway spat, or even just to keep ahead of the news cycle. It wasn't Karl Rove's dirty tricks or David Addington's Schmittian ideology or Dick Cheney's "dark side" here. It's George W. Bush - hard-assed political fighter, micro-managing press coverage of a minor matter, using the privileges of his constitutional position as commander-in-chief to play Washington hardball at a time of war. This is what we know. And it helps round out the picture of who this man is, doesn't it?

Nash

Don't put words in my mouth. What I was pointing out was that you scream and whine saying, "Bush Lied", yet to you it seems fine that someone else does.

Specter, quit being obtuse. I didn't say Bush lied, I said he misled the country and he did it intentionally. In a blog where the meaning of the word "is" is deemed so crucial, surely you can tell the difference. And can you link me to where I said it was fine that anyone in the press lied? Didn't think so.

My previous post, from Sullivan, gets to the point precisely. Bush had the legal, but not the ethical, authority to do what he did.

Sue

It shows a conscious capacity to mislead people by selectively disclosing data that skews - for a while - the public's understanding of the facts.

I know Mr. Sullivan is referring to Bush here. But I couldn't help but notice the irony that follows.

It's George W. Bush - hard-assed political fighter, micro-managing press coverage of a minor matter, using the privileges of his constitutional position as commander-in-chief to play Washington hardball at a time of war.

J Mann

The funny part is that the NYT actually demonstrates why the WH declassified part of the NIE:

Mr. Wilson was sent by the administration to Niger

Three years later, they're still getting that one wrong.

PeterUK

"They knew the nuclear case was weak, but parsed and massaged and, yes, misled in order to have the war they wanted."

This is the fundamental argument behind the no Niger Yellowcake,no tubes,help me tie my shoelaces contingent.The allegation that the administration lied to go to war....the only problem is,the HMTMS cannot come up with a reason why anyone should want to lie to enable an invasion of Iraq.
Much easier to bomb their asprin factories until Saddam;s regime all went down with a headache.

Nash

Mr. Wilson was sent by the administration to Niger

The CIA is not part of the executive branch, i.e., the administration? That's news to me.

To refresh your memory, Vice President Cheney asked the CIA to look for more information concerning Niger and yellowcake. The CIA sent Wilson.

"Mr. Wilson was sent by the administration to Niger" is an accurate portrayal of the events, no matter what you want to believe. In a blog where the meaning of "is" is eternally debated, it would be hypocritical to say that NYT statement isn't completely defensible. A little help here, TM?

clarice

MMFOOHS Nash.

maryrose

Are any of these tubes being currently used in Iraq to shoot down our helicopters if they are parts in rockets? If so they have in fact found a use for these tubes. Don't worry about our military-we can take out Iran whenever we want to. We should have during Carter's presidency but he just let our hostages sit over there until Reagan got in and rescued them.

Nash

Confirmed! Yeehah!

PeterUK

"Vice President Cheney asked the CIA to look for more information concerning Niger and yellowcake. The CIA sent Wilson."

Perhaps the administration wanted the CIA to send an expert,not unreasonable given the money the "Firm" costs your country. Not unreasonable to expect the CIA to actually know something about Yellowcake production.
The administration did not expect to be shortchanged with an unemployed ex-Ambassador with no knowledge of the subject.
So no, the administration did not send Mint Tea Joe,they asked the CIA to do its job.

clarice

If I were the Administration I would refuse to give any off the record briefings with those papers which are pretending this is wrong..really.

You do know, don't you, that the Demedia has been making much of nothing to undercut the investigation into the NSA and overseas prisons leaks? Real leaks with real national security implications in which the Demedia establishment is deeply involved.

maryrose

Yes clarice , they are dancing as fast as they can because they know that exposing the NSA program is the worst possible decision they could have made. I can't wait to hear Rocky say" Well President Bush disclosed declassified information so why can't I as a member of the Intelligence committee do a little declassifying myself"? They are trying to minimize the damage they have caused by making it seem a commonplace event. I wish they would hurry up and indict the NYT and the leakers[true sense of the word} because these people responsible need to be identified.

clarice

Mac, says a day in May, maryrose. I wait to see if Gonzales has theballs to do it.

larwyn

Taranto: "pornography for the Angry Left"

.......These reports have served as pornography for the Angry Left, which has constructed an elaborate fantasy world around the Plame kerfuffle. One reader shared with us his reverie about how this is actually a signal that Fitzgerald plans to indict Vice President Cheney.
............
......Now we witness the astonishing spectacle of newspapers trying to spin a scandal out of a legal disclosure of information to the press. GayPatriot aptly describes it as "the Orwellian worldview of Bush-haters where releasing facts means having something to hide." Maybe we can't expect better from political partisans, but journalists are supposed to stand for the neutral principle of the public's right to know. If they pervert that principle in the pursuit of a partisan program, they will find it harder to assert it when it serves their purposes, whatever those purposes may be."

And Taranto has this:
Lewis Libby and Libby Lewis
We're hoping some Angry Left paranoiac will develop a conspiracy theory out of this amusing coincidence: National Public Radio has a reporter named Libby Lewis covering the Lewis Libby story. John Robinson of the Greensboro, N.C., News-Record looked into it and assured us there's no relation. But doesn't it at least create the appearance of an interest of conflict? Shouldn't Lewis's NPR bosses encourage her to scoot over to another beat?

RIA - Nice take down on the NYT's reports of minority Military deaths and illogical immigration worries.


larwyn

Darn!

JM Hanes

All this excitement over "a gambit in a Beltway spat!" Heavens to Betsy, we caught the Prez in the act of "micro-managing press coverage of a minor matter!" Whoa! This Prez plays "Washington hardball in a time of war!" Who knew?

J Mann

If Wilson was sent by CIA mid-level personnel, such as, say, his wife, then he wasn't sent by the administration, he was sent by the CIA.

maryrose

J Mann';
Absolutely correct but this is the 100th time NYT has gotten it wrong.

nittypig

I don't think so. Even though it isn't really used that way, "the administration" includes all of the executive branch, so the statement is technically correct. Nash is clearly right. However, I'd be interested to see how often the NYT refers to the actions of CIA middle managers as being those of "the administration". Under that definition it's quite clear that "the administration" never engaged in a "rush to war" since large chunks of the executive branch were working for the exact opposite.

boris

Even though it isn't really used that way, "the administration" includes all of the executive branch

Not really. The CIA is not part of the "Bush administration", nor was it part of the "Clinton administration".

The administration is the elected portion and their apointees. The part that "changes" as a result of elections.

clarice

I love Rick Moran:
"Was there an element of politics involved in the leak? I don’t doubt it. But – and this is something the President’s critics never, ever give him credit for – was there also an effort to pushback against those who sought to undermine Bush’s credibility?

The answer to that question is clearly yes. And I think the overwhelming evidence points to this being the major reason for the Plame Affair, this particular NIE leak, and other actions taken by the Administration to defend their good name. To not acknowledge these facts – as the left and media never do – is to beggar belief. Bush’s critics would have him sitting in the oval office emasculated, his credibility in tatters, while his enemies flitted from reporter to reporter leaking a steady stream of classified information with the President’s men constrained from responding because in order to do so, they must leak back. Meanwhile, our men and women are fighting in Iraq and watching as their Commander in Chief twists slowly in the wind, hung by a cabal of shameless, partisan, witchhunters who worked against the interests of the United States as determined by her elected leaders."http://rightwingnuthouse.com/archives/2006/04/07/flogging-dead-horses/

Is it just me, or can we take the TNR article as a sign that as their rears hit the hotseats, Wilson is losing his charm for the press?

windansea

LOL...the trolls are are feeling cocky today

a little dose of MSM gakblab and they are all supermen!!

surfs up

maryrose

clarice:
It's not just you.
The msm has tired of the Wilson meme because to follow him now puts their own credibility and supposed impartiality{they would like to think} at risk. He doesn't serve any purpose for them anymore.

Syl

Wonderland

And you can't ignore or spin the fact that but for that leak, the leaked information would ahve remained secret until it was released, via normal channels, some weeks later.

::clapping::

Except, er, uh, splutter...

Judy Miller never wrote an article about this or anything else she discussed with Libby that fine day. The 'leaked' information remained 'secret' until it was 'officially' de-classified through 'proper channels' later.

Syl

maryrose

I agree.

Switching to the aluminum tubes is better. They've already lost on the Niger thingy. There are only two people left who still believe Wilson was a 'whistleblower': Chris Matthews and Patrick Fitzgerald.

Sigh.

cathyf
I wait to see if Gonzales has the balls to do it.
Me, too. I'm not real optimistic though -- I mean look at how they rolled over for Sandy Berger, and the 911 Coverup Commission, and Able Danger, and the list goes on...

cathy :-)

M. Simon

I looked at the .pdf jake provided a link for. It is my considered engineering judgement that Saddam was not making centrifuges. He was making rockets.

topsecretk9

Switching to the aluminum tubes is better. They've already lost on the Niger thingy.

No one would ever believe me, but a few months ago I thought there would be a switch to some other aspect and this is the one I thought of. I remember thinking - maybe around the time of Kristof's "answer to right wing blogs" - when Wilson and defenders couldn't get out from under "Cheney behested" and "names were wrong, dates were wrong" - literary flair and misquotes - I thought, perhaps we are in store for a change in subject. Bingo.

M. Simon

Syl,

Actually I'm in the Joe Wilson is a liar camp. He is contradicted by his own reports.

Still, they look like rocket tubes to me.

Jake - but not the one

Clarice, about Rick Moran - I have read only what you posted, but his words in your comment raise once again some of the questions already raised today.

Why release the NIE to Miller, or Novak, or any other reporter? Get the necessary redaction done and simply release it - as was done, what, something like 2 weeks later?

Then there are the President's own words, some of which we have discussed today. Some words were misleading, some simply said much less than they could have. Certainly the President can say as much or as little as he chooses, but if his choices leave his critics substantial room for criticism, I think - in a democracy - the President bears some responsibility for his choice of words and timing.

Jake

M. Simon

I also know that post war we found a lot of Saddam's yellow cake. What was he keeping it around for? Coloring glass? A rainy day?

maryrose

Jake:
No matter what President Bush does or says he is not going to please the likes of you and your fellow cohorts visiting us today.
Better for dems to attack Bush than explain to the American people why they are killing the immigration deal by not allowing votes. Imagine doing that in a democracy. As a party they disgust me. They are partisan hacks who would rather have the issue than resolve this problem of border security and immigration. Harry Reid said " my first duty is to my 44 members in this body" No Harry , your first duty is to your constituents who elected you back in Nevada. What a friggin moron!

Jake - but not the one

M. Simon, in a quick look I only find one source of support for "we found a lot of Saddam's yellowcake" and that is a reference to a book by Minter, and the blurb for his books speaks specifically of 1.77 metric tons of enriched uranium. Are there more sources, supporting this information, to be found?

Jake

Barney Frank

Jake,

Iraq had a large pile of yellowcake sitting around which the IAEA knew about and routinely inspected to make sure it wasn't being accessed. I think its even mentioned in the NIE excerpts TM linked to yesterday from July 13 2003.

Rick Ballard

M. Simon,

They could well be rocket tubes - but the Iraqi official who ordered them could have been whispering into Saddam's ear that they could be converted to use in centrifuges with just a little effort. In any event, they were contraband and unless we find the P.O. and the guy that signed it - and he tells the truth, we're back to Occam's Razor, which in this case doesn't work too well.

That's why the E in NIE stands for 'Estimate', which is sometimes better described as a 'WAG'.

The thing that I find irritating is that this whole little tempest in a teapot is portrayed as having been critical in the decision to go to war when in fact it was Saddam's behavior and Iraq's proximity to Iran that were the top items pertaining to the decision.

This was served up for the world as part of Powell's presentation to Saddam's paid for posturing pimps at the UN. The Axis of Weasels - not the American public, who wouldn't know a centrifuge from a blender, couldn't care less and still thinks taking out that madman was a good idea. That's the part of the polls that the seditionists always forget to mention.

Fresh Air

Now that we seem to have pulled ourselves out of the dense weeds of aluminum centrifuges and so on, back to the main issue. The Times' hypocrisy here is really something, and it occurs on two levels.

First, leaks of confidential and classified information are a staple of Washington reporting. I would wager that no more than two days go by during the course of a year when the Times doesn't run a story based at least in part on a leak from someone in the administration.

Second, the New York Times, the WaPo and 34 other news organizations filed an amicus brief (warning: PDF) one year ago arguing strenuously that Judith Miller did nothing wrong, in significant part because Valerie Plame was not a "covert" agent. Here is their perorating last sentence: "If a neutral analyst determines that the CIA lacks sufficient evidence to fulfill the elements of the crime underlying the leak investigation, then no crime under the Act has been committed..."

Now they want to argue (a) that leaks are wrong, even if they are really just sotto voce disclosures of declassified material made with full authorization of the president; and (b) that this particular "leak," which was not even tied to the release of Plame's identity (except tenuously), was somehow extraordinarily mendacious and damaging, etc. contra their own collective viewpoints elaborately articulated in their own brief.

The real question is, Do they think we're all stupid, just ignorant, or both?

boris

still thinks taking out that madman was a good idea

But not the trolls and moonbats ...

Genocidal madman ... innocent until proven guilty.

Elected president ... guilty until proven guilty.

Jake - but not the one

Mary, actually, the way I understand the immigration tussle, the Dems were pushing for a vote. Whether that is the truth or not, I don't know. I do know the vote in the Senate was 60 to 38 against the bill in front of the senate. That pretty much says the Republicans voted against the bill.

Here is Senator Kennedy agreeing with you - he too thinks we need a bill (from an AFP article):

Democratic Senator Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts said that "the US Senate has failed to adopt the urgently needed immigration reform and in doing so we really failed in our duty to our nation and our democracy and our American people."

Jake

boris

Aluminum tubes built to centrifuge specs ... cost more and illegal.

Aluminum tubes built to rocket specs ... cost less and legal.

Contraband is prosecuted based on possesion, not intent ...

Yes officer, I know it's crack but it's just for show, I wasn't going to inhale ...

People making this kind of argument look like fools.

Jake - but not the one

I calculated the volume of 1.77 metric tons of enriched uranium (presuming it wasn't TOO much enriched). It works out to just a little more than a cubic meter. If it was in fact a lot of Saddam's yellowcake stockpile, it was a pitiful stock pile.

Can it be described as a WMD if it's only possible use in it's current state is in a nuclear reactor? Well, ok, as yellowcake it couldn't be used there either.

Jake

boris

Any person going in fron of the judge and claiming experts tell him the "rocks" of crack in question are too large for most pipes and therefore are less suited for smoking than showing would most likely be ...

  1. Idiot;
  2. Moron;
  3. Defense attorney.
Jake - but not the one

boris, I think the better analogy is the pipe, not the crack.

But probably you disagree. :)

Jake

PeterUK

It is possible, as M.Simon says,that Saddam Hussein was building rockets,the rub is,that he was allowed rockets with specified ranges,these could be bought on the open market,so why build his own? Longer range,modification to take biological and chemical warheads? All very odd considering the blowback the clandestine dealing brought upon Iraq.

Jake - but not the one

I think leaders can be prone to bad decisions if they isolate themselves from dissenting positions and ideas. Saddam certainly fits that bill.

Jake

Rick Ballard

The Senate vote can be found here. It is a vote on cloture which some sophists might have you believe is a vote on the bill. It is not.

The Senate voted against closing debate on the bill and precisely two Dems voted in favor of cloture - Robert Byrd and Ben Nelson. 42 Dems voted against cloture as did 20 Reps.

Lots of liars around today.

Jake - but not the one

Cloture is a vote to end the debate, no? So 20 Republicans voted against cloture. I don't think you can say the Dems blocked the bill when a substantial number of Republicans voted against cloture as well.

And I apologize for not being more specific in my description of the vote. The article to which I referred was vague as to what the vote was about. The key was that 34 Republicans voted for cloture and 20 voted against.

That is a sign of a clearly divided majority, don't you think? I don't claim to know the reasons for voting either way - only that blaming it on the Dems is inaccurate.

I think it is interesting that whateve else is going on, the Dems seem to be putting together their - caucus, is that right word? - while the Republicans are in disarray.

Jake

maryrose

Jake;
Wrong again. Dems under the inept leadership of Reid are REFUSING votes on amendments. Repubs want 16 amendment votes-dems want 6 so dems are throwing a tantrum and won't allow any votes. They want to take their ball home and not play because they can't get their own way. When on the losing side- disregard the interest of the people who want a solution and play partisan games with their futuire. And these are elected officials? They should all be voted out because they are too immature to sensibly govern!

Jake - but not the one

mary, 20 Republicans voted with the Dems. That's a lot. Probably that means there's more to the issue than meets the eye. It is apparently not just a partisan issue.

Or meets mine anyway. What with all the reading on tubes and uranium, I haven't read much on the immigration bill and its travails.

Jake

M. Simon

Rick,

From the finishing, size, and dimension match I'd say better than 95% they are rocket tubes.

And as I and the report pointed out carbon fiber or maraging steel would be much better.

In fact I wish they did look like centrifuge tubes. They would make Bush look better. (I support the war even if done under totally false pretences - the ME needs an enema).

If you have ever ordered engineered parts you would undestand why the match to the rockets is so telling. I'm assuming you are not an engineer.

BTW the tool up to make 20,000 or 60,000 centrifuges is just incredible. With a .1% failure rate per 1,000 hours the system would be breaking down several times an hour.

Much better a system with 5,000 or fewer centrifuges.

You have no idea what a serious undertaking 20,000 centrifuges is. Add in the corrosive properties of UF6 and you have quite an engineering problem. Especially for a country like Iraq - short on reliable talent.

Did I mention a reliable source of huge amounts of electrical power?

M. Simon

Jake,

A couple of tons of yellowcake is more than enough to start a program.

It only takes 50 tons going through the system for at least one and probably several bombs.

M. Simon

Seriously guarding our southern border is going to take 100,000 to 400,000 border guards.

Then there is the other three coasts.

And the wall between the US and Canada. And exclusion zones on the coasts. Roving teams of immigration agents. La migra. Or is it le migra? This is going to be fun. The German soution. There is no problem so trivial that it can't be solved with a gun to a man's head.

Personally I'd make it very easy to cross at border stations. It would then be easier to catch the real sneaks.

boris

I'm assuming you are not an engineer.

But I am. A valid argument doesn't need that kind of remark.

Dual use technology was contraband.

blaster

Jeebus, the level of willful obtuseness is astounding. Ooh, I looked at it, there's no possible nuclear use for these things, Bush lied, slam dunk.

Except, of course, for the inconvenient little fact that the NSG considers tubes of 75mm and larger to be controlled materials.

These were 81 mm.

If there was NO POSSIBLE use of these in nuclear centrifuges, then they wouldn't be on the NSG's list.

As for what we know about them ex post facto not significantly mroe than we knew then. The Duelfer report says "Baghdad’s interest in high-strength, high-specification aluminum tubes—dual-use items controlled under Annex 3 of the Ongoing Monitoring and Verification Plan as possible centrifuge rotors—is best explained by its efforts to produce 81-mm rockets," but it also says "ISG’s investigation into why Iraq sought aluminum tubes with such high specifications before the war—a key factor that raised concerns that the Regime had restarted a centrifuge effort—has uncovered plausible but not always consistent accounts that link the tubes to 81-mm rockets."

You can read it yourself

blaster

And before someone deicdes to go all ad hominem on me, I am a mechanical engineer and a former bomb disposal officer....

M. Simon

Why would Saddam go to all the trouble to make rockets?

Prestige? He had a brother-in-law who wanted to be in the arms business? He had a bad idea one way but couldn't lose face by recinding it? He thought he could save money?

boris

Why would Saddam go to all the trouble to make rockets?

Saddam did a lot of apparently stupid things trying to outfox the world. That doesn't prove him guilty but it does make him dangerous.

Jake - but not the one

Reading up a little, it would take at least 20 mtons to generate enough 20% enriched uranium for a spherical 400 kg critical mass assumimg a neutron reflector, assuming that the tail stream from the concentration process (a centrifuge for example) is at .3%. The 400 kg is approximately the mass required at the 20% enrichment level. Practically speaking, it might take quite a bit more than that to be sure of reaching criticality when you want it.

So round it to 25 metric tons per bomb. 25 cubic yards. 50 US tons.

Jake

M. Simon

blaster,

I will grant you all your points. Except that the tube dimensions and desired finish matched the dimensions a rocket they claimed to be copying. Which is a pretty good indication that they were doing what they say they claimed they were doing. A very small point.

And why ask if the respondent is an engineer? There is a certain pattern of thinking about logistics if you will that is not common among "civilians". Which is one of the things the .pdf talked about. The CIA estimate was not well informed in that respect.

All I'm speaking to is the likely intended use of the tubes.

Think about it: with a shoddy electrical grid is it better to have a more efficient or less efficient system. How long between throwing the switch and building a bomb?

etc.

I have no doubt Saddam had nuclear intentions. It is just that the Al tubes in question are not good evidence of that from an engineering standpoint. Legal under the sanctions and embargo rules is another questiion.

Jake - but not the one

Also worth pointing out is that Saddam does not seem to have tried to purchase the other parts of a centrifuge that would have been required. End caps, bearings, etc.

Further, the tubes would have required substantial, but not impossible, mods in order to work as a centrifuge for uranium enrichment. The wall thickness, for example, would had to have been much less.

Nothing totally conclusive, but perhaps indicative. Had there been bearings and end caps, that would definitely have been a smoking gun.

Jake

boris

Houdini claimed scientists were easy to fool because they think so linear.

Jake - but not the one

It's entirely possible we've been fooled, isn't it?

Jake

skinnydog

"I will grant you all your points. Except that the tube dimensions and desired finish matched the dimensions a rocket they claimed to be copying. Which is a pretty good indication that they were doing what they say they claimed they were doing. A very small point."

M.Simon, the question really is not wheter the tube could be used as rockets--they could and no one doubts this. The question is whether they could be used in a centrifuge. Iraq was not likley to easily procure the ideal tube for making a centrifuge(s). If it did, it would have no explanation to fall back on. Iraq likley would have to settle for a duel use tube and do the best it could with what it could get through illegal channels. Therefore that the tube could be used in a rocket is not surprising at all and should be expected.

skinnydog

"Nothing totally conclusive, but perhaps indicative. Had there been bearings and end caps, that would definitely have been a smoking gun.

so if evidence of this turns up (reliable evidence) you'll change your tune?

boris

settle for a duel use tube and do the best it could with what it could get through illegal channels

Saddam tried to game every US imposed restriction. For all I care he was just doing it to thumb his nose.

Point is, let him get away with it he goes to the next level. With the war on that was unacceptable.

Jake - but not the one

Yes. Well, maybe. It depends upon which tune you want me to change. :)

I, too, have no doubts Saddam wanted nuclear weapons. The question remains, did he have an actual program to develop a nuclear weapon. Bearings and end caps are hard to dismiss as not part of a program. Are they enough of a program to warrant a war? My first inclination is, no, they aren't. We know, for example, that Iran has such centrifuges and we aren't at war with Iran - yet.

If we are willing to continue to talk, to persuade, to push toward non-proliferation with Iran, why wouldn't we take the same approach with Iraq under the same circumstances? So far, Iran is every bit as intransigent as Iraq, and they are much further down the capability road.

I don't want us to go to war with Iran. I agree with ElBaradei. There is time yet for persuasion.

Jake

boris

why wouldn't we take the same approach with Iraq

Credibility bust. Remember Gulf war 1 ???

Didn't think so, otherwise you'd realize how stupid that remark was. Kicked his butt, imposed no fly, sanctions and restrictions for years and years. Did it do any good ???

There is time yet for persuasion.

Based on your perception that we skipped that with Iraq ...

Totally clueless

boris

totally

Jake - but not the one

But, boris, not to put too fine a point on it, we didn't find anything. So if we invaded Iraq only because of WMDs, we owe somebody an apology.

Have you forgotten the administration's line? It's now nation building - we never really cared about WMD's at all. It's freeing Iraq from Saddam that's most important. All those purple fingers! So whether or not he was a bad actor with respect to WMDs doesn't matter. All this talk of tubes and uranium is completely beside the point. He was an evil man (and he was and is) and he needed to go.

Didn't you get the memo?

Jake

Cecil Turner

So far, Iran is every bit as intransigent as Iraq, and they are much further down the capability road.

If you've got your nuke blinders on, they did. Iraq had much more advanced chem and bio programs (and bio was the real threat).

I don't want us to go to war with Iran. I agree with ElBaradei. There is time yet for persuasion.

Better get to persuading, then. Because the Mullahs appear to be set on nuclear weapons, and as that capability approaches, so does war.

Rick Ballard

Probably effluent in French like Kerry and Wilson, too. I hope never to be close enough to an appeaser to actually be able to smell them. And I don't have a sensitive stomach.

Jake - but not the one

So, Cecil, where are the programs? Did we find them and I missed the news? I swore I heard somebody say that didn't find a thing in Iraq. No bio, no chem, no nuke. Just garden variety bomb stuff that wasn't important enough to gather up or take care of, and with which now we are being blasted into early graves.

Jake

skinnydog

Jake, what would be enough to warrant a war? You understand that after Sadaam got a nuclear weapon it would be infinately harder to go to war. Secondarily, if you have no doubt that Sadaam wanted nuclear weapons at what point would you agree that his program had progressed too far? And if bearings and end caps are the line in the sand for you and he gets them . . . what if we miss it. Would your line in the sand give you any comfort if he nonetheless acquired and used nuclear weapons? Sadaam was not just any ol dicator who wanted nuclear weapons he was among the most crazed dictators in the world, sitting one of the worlds most precious natural resources that gave him capabilities far beyond most dictators. And he had a track record second to none. I'm afraid that while you're trying to persuade he's laughing and plotting.

skinnydog

"I don't want us to go to war with Iran. I agree with ElBaradei. There is time yet for persuasion."

I don't want to go to war in Iran either, but where is the success of the UN diplomatic route so far? In 5-10 years when Iran has a nuke and dares anyone to attack it, what would you recommend then?

Jake - but not the one

The facts remain that he had nothing. After 10 years of most of the time inspections and mostly effective sanctions he had NOTHING. If the proof is in the pudding, then the pudding says that what we were doing, before we decided to invade, was working.

It's also true that we we've done SINCE we decided to invade isn't working so well.

Jake

Jake - but not the one

Skinny, I don't know what we do in 5 years. I don't think that ElBaradei is talking that long. My recollection is for now he's talking, what, a month? That's what the security council has allowed him. I think that realistically we have 2 or 3 years before Iran could hope to have sufficent fissionable material for a bomb. That's IF they are actually trying to build a bomb. I know it's heresy, but it's not beyond the realm of reason to think they aren't building a bomb because they say they aren't building one.

Jake

skinnydog

Jake, I really don't think you can have fairly read the report of the Iraq survey group and even remotely say that he had nothing. Their conclusions are frightening. Among other things, IIRC they concluded he had in place the people and means to be producing anthrax in large quantities within months of the sanctions ending, and they were ending. The french Germans and Russians were seeing to that. And the sanctions were resulting the deaths of thousands as Sadaam amassed a fortune.

In hindsight it appears that he had nothing (though at least a low level of legitimate dispute on that point), but the overwhelming consensus was that he still possessed WMD.

Rick Ballard

Skinnydog,

Without the Jakes babbling the mullahs might give up hope - you don't want hopeless mullahs do you? Why, when they shut up, baby Baathists cry, roadside bombs aren't planted and Iraqis get a better nights sleep.

Worse yet, no Amercicans get killed. We can't have that can we? Plus we mustn't forget the competition for the Vallandigham Award for Absence of Valor. It's a crowded field and every word counts.

SteveMG

Jake:
where are the programs?

You did read both the Kay and Dueffler reports, right?

More important - and I'm late getting in on this - re Bush's statements on aluminum tubes or uranium acquisition, et cetera.

Surely you didn't expect the (or any) president himself to determine whether the tubes were the right strength or size to be used for centrifuges or whether contacts between Iraq officials and Nigerian officials actually went through?

Bush - like any president - only receives the finished intelligence product after it has been reviewed and analyzed by his staff and the technical analysts. He neither has the time or capability to study these often extremely technical issues.

Granted, this does not exonerate the president from the wrong decisions by his staff or by the entire government (after all, much of this technical stuff is done by career employees and not appointees).

But the Bush lied argument coming from your side never adequately answers to my satisfaction this important factor. JFK had to rely on his experts to tell him that Soviet missiles were in Cuba. Similarly, Clinton leaned on his staff and experts when deciding to attack the Sudanese pharmaceutial plant. And on and on and on with just about every president in modern times.

And yes, you can include the "Bush is an idiot" meme in your response.

SMG

Jake - but not the one

Steve, we went to war and we were wrong.

If there's anything that absolves a President from his mistakes of judgement, having it all work out has to top the list. I, too, wish that it would all work out. I don't care that Bush whould get off the hook if Iraq were to suddenly turn peaceful, with an elected and effective government.

Ok, I care, but I'd get over it. :)

I think that another working democracy in the middle east can only be a good thing. An Islamic working democracy would be SPECTACULAR.

Call me pissimistic, but Iraq seems very far away from a successful anything. Afghanistan isn't going so great, either. We don't seem to be piling success upon success, do we?

Jake

boris

Point is, persuading Saddam didn't work and never was going to work. He gamed every restriction with a gun to his head and was ready to roll as soon as we turned our back.

Jake is 911 deja vu all over again.

I mean really ....

I know it's heresy, but it's not beyond the realm of reason to think they aren't building a bomb because they say they aren't building one.

Is this just asking for it or what.

boris

Call me pissimistic ...

Ok, your mister piss i mystic ...

boris

Cecil Turner

So, Cecil, where are the programs? Did we find them and I missed the news? I swore I heard somebody say that didn't find a thing in Iraq.

Why don't you read the report for yourself? Then you'd see cute stuff like:

  • There is information that suggests that up to 5 IIS laboratories operated in the greater Baghdad area at various times up until OIF.
  • ISG found a possible DGS laboratory in Baghdad that contained a variety of chemicals but no laboratory equipment. Residents in the building alleged that the laboratory was a biological one. The investigating team found several DGS administrative documents, some of which were from employees requesting approval for danger pay for their hazardous work with biological and radioactive materials.
  • Information collected at the time of OIF led to the discovery of assorted laboratory equipment purportedly used by a suspect BW scientist at a Mosque in Baghdad.
  • A clandestine laboratory was identified by an ISG team at the Baghdad Central Public Health Laboratory in the summer of 2003. According to an employee of the laboratory, the IIS operated a laboratory at that location for several years. In advance of a 1998 UNSCOM inspection, secret documents were removed and stored at the Director’s house. In December of 2002, the laboratory was emptied of all equipment and documents.
You'd also find they discovered several old chem shells, a couple newer ones and were "unable to rule out the possibility that WMD was evacuated to Syria before the war." At the least, you'd be more careful about statements like: "didn't find a thing."

Jake - but not the one

boris, you caught my play on words! Thanks. I hate it when a little fun goes unnoticed.

Jake

SteveMG

Steve, we went to war and we were wrong.

Yes, agreed. Knowing what we know now, which is a harsh standard that few people can withstand (hell, FDR could have saved millions of lives had he gone after Hitler in 1938).

But the calls for his impeachment emanate from the argument that he lied about the weapons capabilities, chiefly nuclear, of Iraq.

Do you believe that Bush himself lied about the aluminum tubes or the uranium question or that, as with every other president that I know of, he was simply (or not so simply) relying on the finished intelligence product that was presented to him?

Presidents have a thousand-and-one problems and issues to deal with. Obviously, the issue of war is paramount. But even in those circumstances the man in the office only has so much time to spend on those efforts.

I have seen no evidence - none - that Bush himself personally said things about Iraq's WMD programs that he knew were untrue. Again, like JFK and Clinton and LBJ with the Gulf of Tonkin, he had to depend on what his top people told him.

Again, I'm talking solely about the direct culpability - as you see it and as the evidence directs us - of Bush in any inaccurate statements about pre-war intelligence.

SMG

Jake - but not the one

Actually, Cecil, the plain words of your quotes support "didn't find a thing". Not one thing. Suggestion, hints, possibilities - it could literally be anything, or nothing. Which is just about what we started with. I'd be willing to bet that you could go to any major metropolitan area in this country and find the same kinds of evidence. If nothing else, the meth labs might fit the bill,

It's not enough, Cecil. It's as much smoke and mirrors as Houdini's illusions. boris brought them up, but I think it a accurate analogy.

We are there. While I think our reasons for being there are suspect, and we have found too little to convince me otherwise, what I really would like to know now is how to make it work.

I don't think staying for some undetermined time - 20 or 30 years? - is the answer. The Iraqis, sooner or later, will have to solve their own problems.

Jake

clarice

MMFOOHS.

Cecil Turner

Actually, Cecil, the plain words of your quotes support "didn't find a thing". Not one thing. Suggestion, hints, possibilities - it could literally be anything, or nothing.

If you insist on having a "quote" with a "thing," how about this one:

Since 2003, insurgents have attacked Coalition Forces with two CW rounds (not including attacks with riot control agents) that ISG judges were produced by Iraq prior to 1991. Neither attack caused casualties and ISG believes the perpetrators did not know the rounds contained CW agent . . .
Not that this was a threat, because it wasn't. The same cannot be said for the IIS labs.

Jake - but not the one

Steve, the Feingold censure is over FISA, not the war. I believe he has lied about FISA and wiretaps. I believe he is subject to the law wrt to FISA.

As to the war, I don't know that he lied. I believe he has compromised himself wrt to his statements regarding when he made the decision to go to war. Perhaps a better way to put it would be to say that I believe he decided he wanted to go to war long before he made the decision to commit forces.

I won't bore you all with the rest of my thinking on this subject. I am sure you have heard it all before and I am sure that nothing I say will change anything.

If I were to promise to not seek impeachment for Bush were Republicans to lose control of Congress, would that provide you some comfort?

No? What, you think I have no influence? I guess that's true. None of us here have much influence on events. :)

Jake

Cecil Turner

Steve, the Feingold censure is over FISA, not the war. I believe he has lied about FISA and wiretaps. I believe he is subject to the law wrt to FISA.

Please make that the centerpiece of the Dems' campaign this fall. Perhaps with a filibuster-proof majority, the Rep senators will find a backbone.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Wilson/Plame