The irony would be rich, were the subject any less serious. After years of the the left and international critics accusing the Bush administration of fearmongering and sabre-rattling about Iran's nuclear weapons program, it turns out that Bush was dead on — Iran will have a working nuclear weapon within the year.
Critics of the Bush administration like Paul Craig Roberts accused Bush of trying to use bogus claims of nuclear weapons in Iran to promote an imperialistic agenda. Two years ago Roberts spoke for many on the radical left and the isolationist right when he wrote:
"A truthful statement, which no one any longer expects from any member of the Bush Regime, would be that the weapons inspectors of the International Atomic Energy Agency have pored over Iran's nuclear program and have found no evidence of a weapons program. A number of experts, such as Gordon Prather, have fiercely disputed the propagandistic claims of an Iranian nuclear weapons program...Any expert or knowledgeable person who examines these statements sees nothing but unsupported assertions, paranoid speculations, fear- mongering and blatant lies. It is on this basis, and this basis alone, that the Bush Regime will initiate war with Iran...Iran is being set up by the identical propaganda machine that set up Iraq with fearful imagery of "mushroom clouds over American cities" and nonexistent "weapons of mass destruction."
In trying to counter the Bush claims about Iranian nuclear aspirations, critics like Justin Raimando, of AntiWar.com, pointed to the CIA's National Intelligence Estimate to show that even our own experts disagreed with the Bush administration's assessment of Iran's nuclear potential. Raimondo wrote:
"Leaving the realm of speculation, and entering the region of hard facts: our own National Intelligence Estimate on Iran and its alleged nuclear weapons program shows that the Iranians had a weapons program that they abandoned: 'We judge with high confidence that in fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program.' While keeping the option open, the Iranian regime has not restarted its nuclear program, according to our spooks, and probably could not iron out all the technical problems and hoarding of nuclear materials until at least 2015 – and even then there is no evidence Tehran has any such intention."
Apparently leftist ideology and anti-Israeli fanaticism aren't enough to turn Iran into the heroic and peace loving fantasyland people like Roberts and Raimondo would like it to be. Even the CIA, in its eagerness to show up the administration with which it often clashed, ended up committing the same sin for which the Bush administration was condemned when it launched the Iraq War on speculation and suspicion. All of them put too much trust in Iran and ignored the reality that Iran always intended to develop nuclear weapons and never even paused in its pursuit of them despite its protestations to the contrary.