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Iran Sprints By: David Solway
FrontPageMagazine.com | Thursday, April 02, 2009


There is a sword of Damocles over our heads. It is a threat that is real but has been all but ignored.
Newt Gingritch and William Forstchen, Newsmax.com, March 29, 2009.

The Israeli/Palestinian nexus, the “two state solution” and the Gaza embroilment have been major headline grabbers for some time now. But if we turn our attention away from the region to the world at large, the so-called “big picture” seems no less disquieting than developments in the world’s primary hotspot.

Like it or not, Europe is finished. A strutting pygmy cannot hope to prevail. Rampant Muslim immigration and high birth rates coupled with non-replacement European reproductive rates, aggravated terror attacks and Islamic political agitation, along with the full connivance of the European Left, will, on the historical scale, shortly put an end to the European adventure in multicultural democracy—if not to the European adventure in toto. In the best-case scenario, Europe has a generation or, at most, two to go before it ceases to be Europe.

Bernard Lewis, the doyen of Middle East scholarship, sounded the knell in a briefing with the editorial staff of The Jerusalem Post (January 28, 2007). Under the rubric of “immigration and democracy,” Muslims “seem about to take over Europe,” he said; the only question about its future is: “Will it be an Islamized Europe or a Europeanized Islam?” Lewis isolates the causes of the European surrender as self-abasement, political correctness and multiculturalism. It appears that Nietzsche’s “good Europeans,” who were supposed to escape their national identities and foster a higher mode of inclusiveness, are on the road to approaching extinction. Some have now become good Muslims; many others will find themselves in the course of time as nominal Muslims under an alien dispensation.

As for the United States, once the stronghold of Western democracy and the guarantor of Western civilization, it is a stumbling giant. This is no longer the America of which Walt Whitman carolled in Song of Myself, “I chant the chant of dilation or pride;/We have had ducking and deprecating about enough.” This is not the America of a determined Ronald Reagan. This is the America of Barack Obama’s softer, gentler approach to its most dedicated enemies. This is Jimmy Carter’s and Bill Clinton’s irresolute America redux, the America of George Soros, Code Pink, the ACLU and the New York Times.

With its weak-willed administration, a Democratic Congress relatively indifferent to terrorism, its academic bullhorns of Islamic advocacy, its national tendency to give failed former Presidents far too much honour and authority, its Intelligence services oscillating between incompetence and treachery, and its adulterated press, America seems to be on the point of entering the first phase of its political eclipse.

But this is not the worst of it. Time may be foreshortening. Islamic groups like al-Qaeda are desperately seeking to acquire WMD. No less worrisome, should Iran decide to launch from a nondescript vessel in the Pacific or via “satellite” trajectory an undetectable high-altitude EMP (electromagnetic pulse) attack over American soil, the social and economic cratering would be tectonic.

We should keep in mind that this is a distinct possibility. William R. Graham, reporting from his post as chairman of the Congressional Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse Attack, testified that Iran has already conducted EMP missile tests from frigates in the Caspian Sea. Additionally, Graham draws attention to Iranian military writings that “explicitly discuss a nuclear EMP attack that would gravely harm the United States” (WorldNetDaily, July 10, 2008). And Iran could get away with it since it is almost impossible to identify the national address of what—especially if it is carried out by sea—would be essentially an anonymous attack. Russia too, for example, has EMP technology.

The damage to the nation’s electrical grid following an EMP assault would be catastrophic. The cascading effect on major infrastructures would result in the destruction or critical impairment of the financial system, the communications network and cybernetic functioning, distribution of food and water, all forms of transportation, law enforcement, medical care, trade and production and, of course, military defense. Even Democrats, professional appeasers and left-wing ideologues would find their pensions and investments reduced to nil, which would at least represent a form of ironic justice. But they would probably not have to worry about impending bankruptcy since they might not even be around to lick their wounds.

This is not science fiction or standard apocalypse-mongering. The accumulating death toll would be astronomical. Gingritch and Forstchen in the article cited in the epigraph point to studies which “estimate that 90% of all Americans might very well die in the year after such an attack.” German director Wim Wenders’ film Until the End of the World, as well as William Forstchen’s new novel, One Second After, depict in their different ways what such an event would entail. It is hard to assimilate so unthinkable a prospect, and inertia or dismissal is a natural response to the probability or imminence of cataclysms. Nevertheless, in today’s explosive world, and in the light of the developments I have outlined, it is a realistic picture. We would be foolhardy to ignore it.

The problem is that western diplomacy and Iranian nuclearization proceed at asymmetrical rates, the former plodding, hesitant and subject to digressions, the latter rapid and goal-directed. There is no doubt as to who will win that race if it allowed to continue. This is not only a question of a muscular Iran progressively asserting its hegemony and so changing the balance of power in the Middle East, which is bad enough. It appears to have far more ambitious plans. Iran has just put a satellite into orbit, demonstrating that it has the means and the technical know-how to launch a nuclear or EMP payload.

The Russians and the Chinese are playing a suicidal game in their support of Iran, and the Europeans are still lining their pockets with industrial contracts and export subsidies in Iranian business deals, indifferent to the fact that they are now within Iranian missile range. Meanwhile, western intellectuals on the Left are toying with the inadmissable, trivializing the Iranian initiative. But apart from North Korea, Iran is the only country in the world that has actually threatened—indeed, promised!—to use nuclear weapons.

We must not be under any illusion regarding the sanity of the Iranian leadership, whether we are thinking of its council of infallible mullahs or its political and military commissariat. That Iranian officials have recently arrested fourteen squirrels for espionage—the poor creatures were apparently fitted with “spy gear”—and that Iranian police commander Esmaili Ahmadi-Moqadam confirmed the report, tells us all we need to know about their mental equilibrium (YnetNews.com).

Thus, given what we know or should know, we would be cretinous not to take Iran with utmost seriousness, just as we are foolish not to raise obvious questions like: why is Iran building a heavy-water plant at Arak even though it has no plans to construct a plutonium-based nuclear power station? why is it developing solid fuel technology? Even the heretofore Iran-friendly IAEA is beginning to have second thoughts, having disclosed an acquired Iranian document illustrating a technique to mold uranium into the shape of a warhead (Realite-Eu Newsletter, June 2, 2008).

The IAEA report also notes that the Shihab-3 ballistic missile is being adapted to explode 650 meters above target, appropriate only for nuclear warheads, and that Iran is engaged in a process to convert uranium Yellowcake into Green Salt, necessary for nuclear weapons cores. Articles 19 and 20 of the IAEA Board of Governors Report for November 19, 2008 are unambiguous.

A rather piquant item from tehrantimes.com for September 17, 2008 adds more fuel to the fire. The article states that when Somali pirates who hijacked an Iranian vessel “opened the cargo, several Somalis died, while others lost hair and suffered skin burns.” The World Tribune.com for October 22, 2008 reports that 16 of the Somali pirates have now died after having opened “sealed containers of a powdery substance believed to be nuclear or chemical weapons agents” on board the Iran Deyanat, a ship owned by the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines. Big surprise.

Several months earlier, the Arabic/English Kuwaiti daily Al-Siyassa for July 29, 2008 reported that Iran is building a secret nuclear complex near the southwestern city of Ahwaz, which was not mentioned in the Geneva negotiations with the IAEA; the report reproduces an intercepted letter of April 7, 2008 from the Office of the Revolutionary Guards, who are guarding the site, ordering that “the construction work in this project must be carried out under absolute secrecy.”

On September 12, 2008, the Daily Telegraph reported that Iran had transferred sufficient quantities of uranium from its conversion facility at Isfahan to make up to six atom bombs. As Ronen Bergman in his shocking 2008 book The Secret War with Iran makes utterly clear, quoting Pakistani nuclear scientist Iftikhar Khan Chaudry who was privy to the Pakistan-Iran nuclear partnership, “It is also apparent that Iran intends to utilize a nuclear weapon—in the future when a nuclear weapon would be operational—against the State of Israel.”

None of the amicable “solutions” proposed by the “experts” to the so-called Iran file have any real value, except perhaps to fill the pages of The New York Review of Books. (See NYROB for February 12 and March 12, 2009.) Robert Holt, former director of the Program for Peace and Global Policy Studies at New York University, believes that if the U.S. is sincere about nuclear disarmament, Iran can be persuaded to follow suit, once such proposals are framed in a global context. Total nonsense.

Others, such as former ambassadors Thomas R. Pickering and William Luers and former Congressman Jim Walsh, propose involving Iran’s nuclear enrichment plants in a multinational arrangement. Victor Gilinski, former Commissioner of the Nuclear Regulatory Commisssion, quashes the notion: small but effective clandestime facilities would spring up that would be largely undetectable. Gilinsky, however, assumes that Iran would be assuaged if Israel’s nuclear arsenal were put on the negotiating table. This, of course, would deprive Israel of its second-strike nuclear deterrent capability and would eventually lead to its inundation by the overwhelming numbers of its Arab and Muslim enemies. Israel is not about to commit politicide at the behest of a committee of irrelevant American pundits.

In their response to Gilinsky, the triumvirate of Luers, Pickering and Walsh do point out that Israel is not about to allow the U.S. to negotiate its advantage away. Yet they insist that their mutuality proposition is workable and that detection is a feasible operation, citing the example of Saddam’s Iraq to support their position. It somehow does not occur to these authorities that their argument is incoherent and self-defeating and calls their collective acuity into serious question—Iraq constitutes a perfect example of why detection does not work.

We have no time for such useless palavering and clever pedantic sparring inside the intellectual cocoons of our newspapers, think tanks, seminars, conventions and gentlemen’s debating societies. There is no doubt that Iran is sprinting to the finish line, the way cleared by Western ignorance, pusillanimity and greed. There is no doubt that it is serious in its bellicose intentions. There is also no doubt that, in the increasingly likely event of Iranian nuclear acquisition, the havoc will not stop with Israel.


David Solway is the award-winning author of over twenty-five books of poetry, criticism, educational theory, and travel. He is a contributor to magazines as varied as the Atlantic, the Sewanee Review, Books in Canada, and the Partisan Review. He is the author of The Big Lie: On Terror, Antisemitism, and Identity. A new book on Jewish and Israeli themes, Hear, O Israel!, will be released by CanadianValuesPress this fall.


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