Research: Commentary

The Iran Nuclear Deal Through the Lens of History

Washington Post, August 2, 2015 | Letter

By Melvin A. Goodman

Regarding George F. Will’s July 30 op-ed column, “Obama makes bad history”:

It was wrong to state that U.S. intelligence capabilities failed to monitor Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction program in 2003, the Tet offensive in Vietnam in 1968 and the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. There was ample intelligence that there were no WMDs in Iraq, that there was a possibility of a North Vietnamese offensive in 1968 and that the Japanese were planning an attack on the United States in 1941.

Before the Japanese attack, the U.S. Army and Navy broke Japanese codes and intercepted a message (“East wind rain”) that pointed to a decision to go to war. The CIA’s field intelligence prior to Tet was good enough to provide strategic warning of an all-out North Vietnamese effort to challenge U.S. forces and warned that Hanoi had abandoned the strategy of a patient war of mutual attrition. In 2003, the CIA’s intelligence was politicized to allow the White House to make the public case for war.

The verification for the nuclear agreement with Iran is more than adequate if the political will exists in Washington over the next decade.

CIP in the Press