I’ve forgotten most of the Arabic I once knew. All I can remember now are a few colorful phrases, like “aktar maliki min il malik” – “more royalist than the King.”
Suppose that you decided that you wanted to scaremonger Iran’s nuclear program. An obvious question presents itself: Exactly how much should you scaremonger it? Suppose that you decided you wanted to run even with the world’s top-drawer Iran nuclear program scaremongers. You might reasonably think to yourself, well, surely the world’s preeminent Iran nuclear program scaremongers are Israeli government officials. If I scaremonger Iran’s nuclear program like Israeli government officials, no one’s going to accuse me of being an Iran nuclear program scaremonger patzer.
So, you check the press reports to catch up on the latest in Israeli government Iran nuclear program scaremongering:
Iran is on course to develop a nuclear bomb within six months, and time has run out for further negotiations, a senior Israeli minister said.
Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz said Iran still believed it had room for maneuver in dealing with world powers, and that unless it faced a credible threat of US military action, it would not stop its nuclear activities.
“There is no more time to hold negotiations,” Steinitz, who is close to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said in an interview with the Israel Hayom daily published on Friday.
“If the Iranians continue to run, in another half a year they will have bomb capability,” he said.
So, you might reasonably think to yourself, now I know what the gold standard is for scaremongering Iran’s nuclear program: Within six months they’ll have “bomb capability.” I have a hechsher from the highest authority.
But apparently, scaremongering like Israeli government officials just isn’t good enough for The New York Times’ David Sanger:
Unless a good deal of the current infrastructure is dismantled, Iran will be able to maintain a threshold nuclear capability – that is, it will be just a few weeks, and a few screwdriver turns, from building a weapon (my emphasis).
Now, I need you to sit down for this next part.
David Sanger provides no evidence for his assertion. I know! It’s shocking, isn’t it?
Sanger is being more royalist than the King, but he gives no evidence for his implied assertion that the King is falling behind in his support for the monarchy.
Back in March, President Obama said, “Right now, we think that it would take over a year or so for Iran to actually develop a nuclear weapon.” When did the US government assessment change to “just a few weeks”? I must have missed the memo!
You can write to The New York Times public editor here. You can Tweet her here. And you can tweet David Sanger here. My tweet to the public editor is here.
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