Your items 1, 3 and 4 do not prove that the aluminum tubes could not have been for centrifuges.
Item 5 asks about the anodizing. Anodizing does prevent corrosion, but why would they only anodize the inside when the outside is the most suseptible to corrosion?
Item 4 I do not know about, but again, proving that there could be dual use, or that something is older that what is available today, does not dispute whether the tubes could have been used for centrifuges.
One other item I would like to bring up. The DOE was not always responsible for Nukes. Before Clinton, the DOD was. Also, the facilities that are responsible for our nuke info are all run by liberal universities. You can thank Clinton for that one also.
"Regarding your point about 3ft versus 40ft -- I don't see any evidence that the heigth of a centrifuge is determined by the length of the tubes. My guess is that one centrifuge unit actually consists of a stack of centrifuges, kind of like a stack of pancakes, so that tube length determines the diameter of the thing rather than its height"
The article gives all three dimensions..."were 900 millimeters in length, with a diameter of 81 millimeters and walls 3.3 millimeters thick." The diameter is 81mm which is approx 3 15/32 inches.
"Furthermore, a forty foot tube would be unusably floppy at the speeds centrifuges turn at."
Great theory. You just said that our centrifuges don't work. Why don't you comment on Iraq's centrifuges instead?
As I've said, it's possible they were for centrifuges. The DOE's considered this possility "credible but unlikely, and a rocket production is the much more likely end use for these tubes." At this point, the issue hasn't been *proven* one way or the other, and probably never will be (unless jveritas comes across a revealing document). What's important is that the nuclear experts at the DOE -- guys who know the uranium enrichment process inside and out -- considered the administration's claims (which were based on the CIA's opinions) about the tubes to be much more weakly founded than they were expressing to the public.
The CIA said that the alloy used in the tubes was unsuitable for rocket tubes. But the DOE pointed out that there were rocket designs that used that very alloy.
The CIA claimed that the dimensions of the tubes matched those of an existing centrifuge design. But the DOE pointed out that the dimensions in fact didn't match.
The DOE went on to point out that the tubes were anodized (and it was both surfaces, inside and out), which would have made the tubes unsuitable for use with uranium gas.
The DOE also pointed out that the centrifuge design from the 1950's (which the Iraqi aluminum tubes allegedly matched spec with) was meant for single-unit laboratory use, not for use in a cascade to produce the quanities required for nuclear weaponry.
Furthermore, according to the NYT article the inspection teams in Iraq (I can't remember if these were pre or post war) found crates of 81mm rocket tips and 81mm rocket motor assemblies sitting in the warehouses ready to be matched up with 81mm aluminum tubes of precisely the type the Iraqis had ordered.
Now it is possible that in spite of this, the Iraqis were being sneaky and were planning on using them as the CIA claimed. We know that Saddam was sneaky like that. But the point is that there were strong arguments in favor of concluding otherwise. And remember, the administration was leaning very heavily on the aluminum tubes issue in its case for war, since it was one of the administration's only pieces of direct evidence to back up its claims about Iraq's nuclear plans. On such a critical point one would prefer that there be something like a consensus among the experts. But in fact there was major disagreement among the experts -- in fact, one of the articles quotes an official as saying it was a "holy war". In spite of this, the administration decided not to acknowledge the disagreement in its public communications about the aluminum tubes.
Now, the political upshot of this -- now that no WMD's were found, no significant nuclear program was found, and the public is tired of the war -- is that the Democrats have an opening to claim that the administration was selective in its use of the intelligence. The Dem's ability to land this punch has is completely independent of the actual end use of the aluminum tubes. At this point we'll probably never know. Instead the issue is how the administration handled the intelligence. Unfortunately, it can't be denied that it chose not to acknowledge the counterarguments of the nuclear experts at the DOE. That's the crack that the Dems are going to stick their wedge into if the get the chance.
On your point about the 40' centrifuge length -- you're right, I'm wrong.