As the news channels were consumed with presenting wall-to-wall coverage of the ‘Countdown to Shutdown,’ you had to wonder, what else was going on in the world?
1. The month-old Kinetic Military Action in Libya seems to have hit a stall as NATO is now officially in charge of the operation, but they worry about getting involved in a long war. And our military experts are mentioning ‘putting American boots on the ground’ a lot more regularly. Thursday, General Ham told the Senate Armed Services Committee we were considering that very fact.
SEN. WEBB: I would assume that planners are considering the prospect that there might be an international force on the ground in Libya in the future. Let's say not boots on the ground in combat, but if Qaddafi leaves, is that in the cards?
GEN. HAM: Sir, I think that is certainly one potential outcome of this, an international force of some composition intervening between the regime and the opposition forces.
SEN. WEBB: Would it be a consideration for the United States military to be on the ground in that situation for you?
GEN. HAM: Sir, I suspect there might be some consideration of that. My personal view at this point would be that that's probably not the ideal circumstance, again, for the regional reactions that that would -- that having American boots on the ground would entail.
2. The rest of Northern Africa is still a simmering cauldron of unrest with anti-government protests popping up and getting hammered down like a gigantic game of Whack-a-Mole. Yesterday was Syria's turn with one report saying the regime killed 22 protesters.
3. And oh, yeah, Iran has allegedly been caught making more nukes… AGAIN.
That brief report seems to be all the coverage given to this rather significant event. Why? Is an Iran with weaponized nuclear material now considered to be an eventuality?
When the enrichment facility was discovered in 2009 (or in 2006, according to the CIA), there was talk of the United States or Israel bombing the site. But satellite photos showed the operation under construction at Qum, a city so close to a holy facility that bombing it would cause serious diplomatic problems. Instead, someone dropped a cyber-bomb known as the Stuxnet virus and the operation has been slowed down considerably.
While the Stuxnet worm slowed down Iran's nuclear ambition, it apparently did not stop it completely, as Fox contributor Charles Krauthammer explained it;
'It probably was as effective but it looks as if the Iranians have worked around it by producing their own new machines because the virus didn't only interrupt the enrichment, it destroyed machines. But apparently it's producing lots of its own machines clandestinely, which is what we discovered today, which is why it actually increased in supply of enriched uranium in the last year or two, even though we had assumed as a result of the viral attack it had been reduced.'
No wonder Israel has engaged it's new missile defense system known as the Iron Dome.
Back in 2007, the U.S. believed that Iran's secret nuclear programs were on track to enrich enough uranium to have sufficient quantities for a nuclear bomb within five years. Following the discovery of the facility in 2009, the government again affirmed that belief.
April of 2011 and we are probably less than a year away from watching Ahmadinejad telling the world about the first of many successful nuclear bomb tests that Iran will be conducting.
This news of another secret enrichment facility should be great cause for alarm.