The New York Times today (12/8/11), reporting on the CIA drone that went down in Iran, refers in passing to the
recent public debate in Israel about whether time is running out for a military strike to slow Iran's progress toward a nuclear weapon.
Of course, the assumption here is that Iran is making "progress towards a nuclear weapon." That is what some political elites and many in the media say, but that doesn't make it true. And there is no evidence to support that assertion. And basing a debate around an assumption that might be entirely false is, of course, a problem. (Consider the run-up to the Iraq invasion, 2002-03.)
Today's piece also includes what some might read as justification for the secretive surveillance program over Iran:
In Iran, among other missions, it is looking for tunnels, underground facilities or other places where Iran could be building centrifuge parts or enrichment facilities. One such site, outside Qum, was revealed by President Obama and the leaders of France and Britain in 2009, though it appears that Israel played a major role in detecting that site.
This is a strange assertion, since many accounts have suggested that the facility was revealed by Iran. In fact, that's how the Times reported it last month (11/9/11):
Iran told the nuclear agency about that facility days before President Obama and European leaders reported its existence two years ago, and Iran has recently said it is moving some of its nuclear activity to that underground facility, at a well-defended military base.