Do you remember back a few months when it was reported that the CIA had determined that Iran was probably 10 years away from being able to develop a nuclear bomb? It was in all the papers, and it made almost everyone feel much relieved. It certainly put those hothead alarmists and warmongers in our places. We had been citing Israel's assertion that by the spring of 2006, Iran could have the bomb.
My, how time flies. This week, El Baradei, the chairman of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirmed Israel's assessment to the British liberal newspaper, The Independent, and stated that if Teheran indeed resumed its uranium enrichment in other plants, as threatened, it will take Iran only "a few months to produce a nuclear bomb."
Keep in mind, ElBaradei is not some wild bomb thrower (so to speak). He is the same diplomat who the Bush administration recently, and unsuccessfully, tried to block from being re-appointed chairman of the IAEA because he was insufficiently assertive and too inclined to understate the danger of nuclear development in Muslim countries.
Despite ElBaradei's brief lapse into forthright candor, he is still a true diplomat -- in the worst sense of the word. After agreeing that Iran's nuclear bomb was only months away, he went on to explain that, on the other hand, any attempt to resolve the crisis by non-diplomatic means would "open a Pandora's box, there would be efforts to isolate Iran; Iran would retaliate; and at the end of the day you have to go back to the negotiating table to find the solution."
Meanwhile, for those of you with unnaturally long political memories, you may recall all the way back 10 months to January 2005, when President Bush stated in his State of the Union address that Iran would not be permitted to develop a nuclear weapon. It was a flat assertion, with no qualifiers ("The Iranian regime must give up its uranium enrichment program and any plutonium reprocessing").
And he went further. He concluded his peroration with the inspiring words: "And to the Iranian people, I say tonight: As you stand for your own liberty, America stands with you." That statement was taken in the press around the world, and especially on Iranian websites, as a call for regime change in Iran.
Unfortunately, a few months later, the people of Iran elected by a large majority Mr. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad -- a radical Islamist and a suspected leader of the gang who took and tormented our diplomats in Teheran in 1979.
Blankley, who had been suffering from stomach cancer, died Saturday night at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, his wife, Lynda Davis, said Sunday.
In his long career as a political operative and pundit, his most visible role was as a spokesman for and adviser to Gingrich from 1990 to 1997. Gingrich became House Speaker when Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives following the 1994 midterm elections.