Wednesday, December 07, 2005
Ok, so we don't have a smoking gun, which in nuclear parlance is the same as a smoking crater. Since I live in the neighborhood that the Iranian government plans to rezone as a radioactive fallout area, I have an interest in what Mr. ElBaradei thinks he does have.
The International Atomic Energy Agency has found no 'smoking gun' in Iran that would indicate a nuclear weapons program, Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei, the director-general of the IAEA, told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday. At the same time, however, he acknowledged that, until three years ago, Teheran maintained an undeclared nuclear program for 18 years, which the IAEA failed to detect.
While he does not have a smoking gun, he does have a loaded gun. Well, he doesn't actually have the loaded gun since Iran won't allow him to hold, touch or even see it. But he does have all the evidence he needs to show there is a gun that has been loaded, slowly, carefully and secretly over the last 18 years -- well, at least until 3 years ago, at which point Mr. ElBaradei appears to believe all of the secret stuff stopped. He holds in his peace-loving hands what are essentially the purchase receipts for the gun, the shoulder strap, and all of the ammo. He possesses the hastily scribbled death threats against the neighbor, promising to use the gun as soon as it is ready and loaded. He has heard the phone messages the subject left with family members bragging of his plans and threatening them if they gave him away or helped the intended victim.
Other than that though, nothing. No smoke.
But the job of a nuclear inspector is not to look for smoke -- that is the job of the post-blast response teams and hazmat units. A nuclear inspector's job is to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons, so irresponsible hands can't make them smoke. If the IAEA thinks its job is to be the first to call an outraged press conference announcing the obliteration of Tel Aviv, they can continue on their present path. But they should know that Israel isn't likely to sit around waiting for that press conference. If Mr. ElBaradei won't stop nuclear proliferation, someone else will.