Will Kim Jong Il get the last laugh?
Pool/AFP/Getty Images Joseph Cirincione, author of the brand-new book Bomb Scare: The History and Future of Nuclear Weapons and director of the Nuclear Policy Program at the Center for American Progress, has penned a hard-hitting new web exclusive for ForeignPolicy.com: What once appeared the exception now seems the rule. Officials in U.S. President George W. ...
Joseph Cirincione, author of the brand-new book Bomb Scare: The History and Future of Nuclear Weapons and director of the Nuclear Policy Program at the Center for American Progress, has penned a hard-hitting new web exclusive for ForeignPolicy.com:
What once appeared the exception now seems the rule. Officials in U.S. President George W. Bush’s administration are gingerly walking back from claims that North Korea was secretly building a factory to enrich uranium for dozens of atomic bombs. The intelligence, officials now say, was not as solid as they originally trumpeted. It does not seem that the North Korean program is as large or as advanced as claimed or that the country’s leaders are as set on building weapons as officials depicted.
If this sounds familiar, it should. The original claims came during the same period officials were hyping stories of Iraq’s weapons. Once again, the claims involve aluminum tubes. Once again, there was cherry-picking and exaggeration of intelligence. Once again, the policy shaped the intelligence, with enormous national security costs. The story of Iraq is well known; that unnecessary war has cost thousands of lives, billions of dollars, and an immeasurable loss of legitimacy. This time, the administration’s decision to tear up a successful agreement—using a dubious intelligence “finding” as an excuse—propelled the tiny, isolated country to subsequently build and test nuclear weapons, threatening to trigger a new wave of proliferation.
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