Editorial: Iran’s Nuclear Quest
New York Times – August 27, 2012
Iran appears to have installed a few hundred more centrifuges at its deep underground site known as Fordow, thus enhancing its ability to produce uranium enriched to 20 percent, a purity that can be converted relatively quickly to bomb-grade fuel. This is unsettling news. But the Obama administration sensibly says “there is time and space” to keep working toward a diplomatic solution, despite growing pressure for military action from Israel and its supporters.
Netanyahu to keep nest egg clear of Israel-Iran war talk
Steven Scheer, Reuters – August 27, 2012
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has dropped plans to revise his investment portfolio, apparently concerned Israelis might think he was trying to avoid any personal financial loss should he opt to go to war with Iran. To prevent conflicts of interest, investments by the prime minister and other Israeli cabinet members are in blind trusts. Netanyahu’s office said on Monday he did not want to give “the wrong impression” and had withdrawn a request to the State Comptroller’s office to allow him to make investment changes.
Op-Ed: Isolating Iran?
Najmedin Meshkati and Guive Mirfendereski, LA Times – August 27, 2012
The 16th summit of the Non-Aligned Movement in Tehran this week will draw dignitaries and representatives from more than 100 countries — 35 heads of state, including Mohamed Morsi, the current chair of the movement and the first democratically elected president of Egypt, as well as U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. For the next three years, Iran will serve as the chair of the movement, which was formed in 1961 to counterbalance the superpowers. In early August, Iran hosted a high-level meeting that included Russia on the crisis in Syria. All this points to the abject failure of the U.S. policy in the last 30 years to “isolate” Iran.
US Nuclear Security
Plan to reduce Y-12 guard force scrapped following breach
Frank Munger, Knoxville News Sentinel – August 28, 2012
A plan to eliminate about three dozen security positions at the Y-12 nuclear weapons plant has been scrapped following the July 28 break-in by protesters, a federal official confirmed Monday evening. In response to questions, Steven Wyatt of the National Nuclear Security Administration said the workforce restructuring plan proposed by WSI-Oak Ridge, the protective force contractor, had been canceled. He did not immediately comment on whether the action was related to the security breach.
U.S. troops tried to burn 500 copies of Koran, investigation says
Craig Whitlock, Washington Post – August 27, 2012
U.S. troops tried to burn about 500 copies of the Koran as part of a badly bungled security sweep at an Afghan prison in February, despite repeated warnings from Afghan soldiers that they were making a colossal mistake, according to a U.S. military investigative report released Monday. The number of copies of the Muslim holy book that were taken to the incinerator at Bagram air base was far greater than U.S. military officials earlier acknowledged in their accounts of an act of desecration that triggered riots across Afghanistan. The incident is also thought to have played at least a partial role in an ensuing increase in attacks against NATO troops by Afghan soldiers and police.
Editorial: Romney Must Show He Will Get Down to Business on Defense
Bloomberg – August 27, 2012
Romney has called for the Pentagon budget to have a floor of 4 percent of gross domestic product, up from the current 3.8 percent (including funding for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq). This idea is odd for someone running to get America’s fiscal house in order, as analysts predict it would mean an additional $2.3 trillion in spending over a decade. It also raises two red flags for even ardent hawks: Why base defense spending on an abstract number rather than on an assessment of actual threats and capabilities? And do we want aggregate military spending to decline when the economy slows?
Blog: Defense spending in the U.S., in four charts
Ezra Klein, Washington Post – August 28, 2012
How much has U.S. defense spending grown?