10/07/2005

Meteor Blades: Whoever's on the Nobel committee this year, let me give you a big kiss

A Nobel Bush Won't Love
by Meteor Blades
Fri Oct 7th, 2005 at 07:23:38 CDT

By Meteor Blades

Whoever's on the Nobel committee this year, let me give you a big kiss. Choosing Mohammed El Baradei and the International Atomic Energy Agency to receive the 2005 Peace Prize warms my heart for three reasons: 1) both have deserved it for years; 2) it's recognition that the smirky American rightwing attitude toward international agencies is gravely misplaced; and 3) it pokes Washington in the eye, but that is redundant.

I haven't been over to Little Green Footballs or RedState or other such sites, but I can smell the smoke all the way over here from the ignition of their second tantrum of the week - the delightful Ms. Harriet Miers being the first. Not, mind you, that I haven't occasionally been disturbed by the Nobel committee's choice, Mr. Henry Kissinger comes to mind. But, mostly, they choose well, each year showing that individuals (both obscure and famous), voluntary associations and multilateral agencies can make a difference for peace.

Naturally, the Bush administration wants the IAEA and its director to perform as its agent in all things, just as it did in the case of weapons inspector Hans Blix. Acting contrariwise risks having one's competence and impartiality called into question. In the case of El Baradei, these methods were combined with attempts to smear and humiliate the man. Par for the course in this administration, as anybody who's watching knows too well. White House slimeballs even bugged El Baradei's phones in hopes they would find something to incriminate him of over-friendliness toward the Iranians so they could use this evidence to replace him. They couldn't find anything incriminating and they couldn't find a replacement, although they were once keen on Alexander Downer, the Australian Foreign Minister. El Baradei was selected for a third term last June, after months of what used to be called diplomatic intrigue...

What jerks the Administration's chain more than anything else is that El Baradei was dead right about Saddam's lack of a nuclear weapons development program. And, furthermore, despite all their slanders, El Baradei has done much to budge the difficult-to-budge Iranians to get them to make their nuclear program utterly transparent, which they have not been willing to do.

While Iran denies it has nuclear weapons ambitions, for 20 years, it hid a laboratory-scale centrifuge program, which, if massively scaled up could produce the highly enriched uranium needed to make nuclear warheads. It's apparent that A.Q. Khan, the father of Pakistan's nuclear weapons program now under house arrest for ...uh ...nuke entrepreneurialism, passed on to Iran materiel and advice for building nuclear weapons. Given that Tehran has consistently deceived the IAEA, and one of Iran's long-time leaders has said that the country should not fear using nukes against Israel, and Israel has made barely veiled threats that it might strike preemptively if nothing is done, and Iran is run by an unsavory autocracy, and there's a longstanding blood feud with the United States (which is now engaged in a war next door and is led ideologically by men who have openly called for violently ousting the mullahs), it's obvious that El Baradei's job is a delicate matter of balance. Could the agency and El Baradei be tougher on Iran? Maybe. But there's certainly no evidence that a tougher stance would accomplish more than has been done so far, even if the most recent moves by Tehran are disappointing. ..

No, what really irks the White House isn't lack of toughness or partiality. It's that El Baradei refuses, like Hans Blix, to be one of Bush & Company's sock puppets. The NeoCons have to put up with his being right about Iraq, as this April 2005 piece in Think Progress describes so well

Daily Kos: A Nobel Bush Won't Love

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