In his first prime time press conference, President Barack Obama declined to acknowledge or "speculate" on Israel's widely known possession of perhaps several hundred nuclear weapons, continuing a long tradition of affected ignorance on the matter embraced by many U.S. heads of state before him. On Iran, however, Obama had no problem engaging in unsubstantiated speculating, declaring that country was developing/pursuing a nuclear weapon:
PRESIDENT OBAMA: I said during the campaign that Iran is a country that has extraordinary people, extraordinary history and traditions, but that its actions over many years now have been unhelpful when it comes to promoting peace and prosperity both in the region and around the world; that their attacks or -- or their -- their financing of terrorist organizations like Hezbollah and Hamas, the bellicose language that they've used towards Israel, their development of a nuclear weapon or their pursuit of a nuclear weapon -- that all of those things create the possibility of destabilizing the region and are not only contrary to our interests, but I think are contrary to the interests of international peace.Unfortunately, no reporter asked Obama how his statement that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons comports with the views of the U.S. intelligence community, which says Iran abandoned any nuclear weapons program it might've had in 2003, or with those of international inspectors on the ground in Iran who have found no evidence of nuclear material being diverted to an illicit program. Thankfully, there will be opportunities to ask the question in the future I'm sure, as Obama has twice before ignored intelligence on Iran that contradicts his unqualified assertions that it is pursuing nuclear weapons, as has Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who has already hired two co-founders of the ultra-hawkish group United Against Nuclear Iran to serve as key State Department officials.
The next head of the CIA, Leon Panetta, has also publicly disavowed the findings of the intelligence agency he is about to lead, suggesting the new administration will be just as dismissive of facts that contradict their self-serving realities as the last one, only good liberal groups like MoveOn.org won't make a big fuss about it now that a Democrat's in charge and people aren't afraid he'll decide to bomb Iran during a lull in the Rangers-Dodgers game. Progress!
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