"I believed before the NIE that Iran is dangerous and I believe after the NIE that Iran is dangerous," President George Bush told the White House press corps during a briefing today.
The President got somewhat defensive after being repeatedly questioned by the press corps about a growing public perception of a 'credibility gap' with his Administration, after dire warnings about Iraq's WMD proved unfounded, and now it seems the intelligence community already concluded Iran had ended its nuclear program before Bush recently warned it could be the cause of World War III.
Bush argued that the NIE should spur an increase in international action on the Islamic Republic's nuclear aspirations, re-calibrating the rationale for continued pressure on Tehran by arguing that allowing them the knowledge to enrich uranium would be just as dangerous as allowing them to build a bomb.
He closed the media appearance with a passionately-delivered hypothetical doomsday scenario designed to convince the media of the staggering risks he feels in his current position as decision-maker-in-chief.
I made the decision to come before you so I can explain the NIE. I have said Iran is dangerous and the NIE doesn't do anything to change my opinion about the danger Iran poses to the world.... It makes it clear that the strategy we have used in the past is effective, and the reason why we need to make sure that strategy goes forward for the future is because
If Iran shows up with a nuclear weapon at some point in time, the world's going to say, 'What happened to them in 2007? How come they couldn't see the impending danger? What caused them not to understand that a country that once had a weapons program could reconstitute the weapons programs? How come they couldn't see that the important first step in developing a weapon is the capacity to be able to enrich uranium? How come they didn't know that with that capacity that knowledge could be passed on to a covert program? What blinded 'em to the realities of the world?' And it's not going to happen on my watch.... Psychology 101 ain't workin'. It's just not working. I understand the issues. I clearly see the problems. And I am going to use the NIE to continue to rally the international community for the sake of peace.
Iran: Nuclear Intentions and Capabilities IranNIE2007.pdf